Two young 50-something females. One big adventure exploring the Americas. Have liquidated everything they own and packed a Saturn Vue with bare necessities to set out on this journey. Planting seeds at each juncture symbolizing their new growth. With an open mind and heart, ready to get a true view of this world.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cliffs and Ridges

This morning has cleared so we take full advantage to explore some of the amazing trails available here in Newport. A view once again of the cliffs outside our window inspires.

But, first we head to Norman's Bird Sanctuary, a spot Paul has clued us to follow, and what a find is here. As it happens, the young woman who gives our initiation, Katherine, is from Jekyll Island and the person responsible for launching the Sea Turtle Sanctuary we visited at the very first part of our excursion. Small world. She is equally excited to run into someone who has experienced her little baby, one she's incredibly proud of, and rightfully so.

Feeling equally proud of her present locale, we receive excellent direction on how to proceed along the 7 miles of trails offered. The ridges are what they are especially known and we head down the Pond Trail seeking a spectacular vantage point. Within a mile we find the summit and what a view it provides! The climb though daunting at a few stages is well worth the effort and we marvel at what we are able to take in. The Atlantic is in its splendor this morning and a valley below presents a swan's nest, protected well by the mother. It is one of those rare private moments which always brings a sense of wonder.

We hover for a good while before retreating and take a few other detours provided in this wonderful place. The trails all seem to interconnect and so a true freedom is allowed as we take a turn here and there at our whim. After a few hours, we reluctantly move on. How we've enjoyed this little jewel of nature.

A short drive from here we come upon Purgatory's Chasm and find a truly unique spot. Always amazed at the earth's interesting geographical creations, this split causes a bit of a pause for us. This coast has beautiful views just everywhere and we can't find a bad turn to make.

Though we've already hiked several miles by now, we still have the cliffs on our agenda. This is the sight we've had our gaze upon since our arrival. The walk does not disappoint. The vistas are extraordinary, whether gazing up into the mansion's back yards or out over the crashing waves of the ocean. The National Park service has once again provided an incredible trail to afford all of these magnificent viewpoints and we are, as always, incredibly grateful.

We start at the south end of the Cliff Walks and make our way 1 1/2 miles up to the Tea Room at the Marble House, where we began our tour yesterday. Turning ourselves around at this point is difficult as we want to make it all the way to the end, another 2 miles, but we have the return trip and about 4 miles already on our feet so far. The walk back entertains with a unicyclist performing just above the cliff ridge, we watch thrilled and horrified, but he survives! We won't be trying this ourselves.

Quite an appetite has been built by the end of our day long hike and we seek out a neighboring landmark, Flo's Clam Shack. This is an experience. Highlighted on Food Network's Best Of, Flo's is best known for their fried clams. All dining is virtually self serve, with fried foods ordered downstairs, the raw bar and broiled items up. Tonight is All You Can Do Crab Legs, and all of the locals are here. Lisa runs the upstairs efficiently as the place fills.

We arrive just short of the start of the crabs, so we start with some Blue Point raw oysters - they are delicious. Delving into the crab legs is next and we do ourselves proud with at least one refill - standing in line for our portions. As the crowd builds and our bellies fill, we make our exit. It does not go unnoticed that we are not part of the normal crowd and one fellow diner wants to know how we know about this well kept local secret?

As we wind down from our very big day, we realize how much we have enjoyed our time in Newport. It will be sad to leave in the morning. But, the cape is calling and we ready for our next adventure!

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