Rainbows over Rhode Island


Sailboat Row. A row of small sailboats line sit out of the water under stormy skies next to Fort Adams in Middletown, Rhode Island.

If it hasn’t become clear by now, on this blog I try to bounce back and forth between featuring recent images and those from a few years ago. This gives me a chance to catch up with images that I should have dealt with in the past but never really did. This week’s post will be the first of a set of three from a fall trip that we took two years ago to the northeastern part of the country. After covering the Rhode Island part of the trip this week, the next two installments will cover our time in the Hudson River Valley in New York and Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.

For the benefit of my overseas readers who might be unfamiliar with Rhode Island, it is not an island at all, but the smallest state in the US. In fact, it is not quite one-seventh the size of Hawaii, which is an island. Although I had been to Rhode Island once, my experience was limited to about half an hour looking out a train window over 30 years earlier. If you live on the other side of the country, Rhode Island is tricky to get to unless you go there on purpose because it really isn’t on the way to anywhere (excepting the train from New York to Boston). Unsurprisingly, Susan had not been there at all. One of the goals of the trip was to successfully check off state number 49 for both of us. For me, this was Delaware (at the end of the trip) and for her, she needed to visit Rhode Island and Connecticut. (If you are curious, for both of us, only Michigan remains.)

I found Rhode Island to be very pretty and, for such a small area, there are enough interesting places to visit that I would happily return to see some more of them. Rhode Island is called the Ocean State and it really isn’t a mystery why: there are inlets and bays and boats and marinas everywhere. If you like sailboats, it is quite picturesque.

We rented a little house in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, for four days. There were a lot of really nice houses in the neighborhood, but where we stayed wasn’t one of them. I am suspicious that it began life as the neighbor’s shed to which other sheds were repeatedly attached until the combined footprint finally equalled the area of a small one-bedroom house and was subsequently kitted out with yard sale furniture and quite a few spiders. We did undertake a pro bono home improvement project, however, and extracted the mother of all lint blockages from the dryer duct. But it was well-appointed with very nice views:

Portsmouth Moonrise. Two sailboats are tied up offshore under pastel skies in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Portsmouth Sunrise. A lone sailboat sits tied up under a colorful sunrise in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Rainbow Over Buoys. Two sailboats sit under an afternoon rainbow in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

As nice as the other houses were in our neighborhood, they were not as nice as in the other neighborhood that we visited along Newport’s famous Cliff Walk:

Riff-Raff’s View. One of the many mansions along the Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island.

Most of these mansions, built from the 1850s-1900s, now offer public tours, but although we meant to take one we never quite got around to it during our brief stay. Reading about the history of these mansions reads like a bad soap opera with the wife of one tycoon moving in with the owner of the “cottage” next door, etc. Social media would have made all of this even more fun, I suspect.

I hesitate to call it a hike, but we went on a long walk at Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the birds we saw were gulls and cormorants—rather boring and quite ugly, respectively—but I did find this lonely tree along the shore:

Sachuest Silhouette. A lone tree stands in front of the ocean at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown, Rhode Island.

We also spent an afternoon walking around the perimeter of Fort Adams, an old army fort that is now a state park:

Rainbow Over Fort Adams. The long-decommissioned Fort Adams keeps watch under stormy skies in Middletown, Rhode Island.

The grounds are quite pretty. In addition to a neat graveyard, there was the Eisenhower House, where the commander of the base once lived:

Eisenhower House. The late afternoon sun warms the face of Eisenhower House, once the summer white house of President Dwight Eisenhower, at Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

There were also beautiful views over the water in all directions. The line of sailboats at the top of this post is looking east, while these views are to the northwest:

Sailboat and Suspension Bridge. A sailboat sails in front of the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge near Middletown, Rhode Island.
Double-Double. Two sailboats sail under a double rainbow in Rhode Island Sound, Rhode Island.

If you are sharp-eyed, you may have noticed something odd in the lower right corner of the previous image. I have no explanation for what he is doing there and did not notice him at the time. I have one more image that shows more of the scene to the right, and this rock is connected to the shore, so I am pretty sure that he did not need to be rescued. This is not the first time I have found something bizarre in a photo years later.

That was pretty much everywhere we visited in Rhode Island. Mid-October was clearly the bitter end of when tourists were expected to be around because various restaurants were shutting down for the winter season. We visited an ice cream shop on what turned out to be their last day until spring and they were down to the bottom of their last couple flavors. So, after this we headed west towards Connecticut and ultimately New York for our next stop. Along the way, we enjoyed the drive through not amazing, but decent, fall colors:

Lucky Shed. Visitors are not welcome in this dilapidated shed, Rhode Island.

Where we stayed in Rhode Island had some issues, but was a step up from this.

Technical notes. All of the images in this post were taken with a Nikon Z7. “Portsmouth Sunrise” used a Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S lens, “Lucky Shed” used a Nikkor Z 14-24 f/2.8 S lens, and the rest used a Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens. All were processed from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

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2 responses to “Rainbows over Rhode Island”

  1. Jim, Sachuest Silhouette is really nice. The cloud mimics the shape of the tree – it’s quite nice. I do enjoy looking at the sailboats also. Very pretty

    • Thanks, Barrett. I had a couple of that tree, but chose that one for the reason you state. And there is something nice about sailboats, I agree.