9 October 2013: Newport, Rhode Island
When Fall Comes to New England
By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Our sail-away from New York was, just as we hoped, spectacular. Silver Whisper backed out of Pier 88 at 5 pm, and we moved majestically down the Hudson River toward its exit to the sea.
The gangway from Pier 88 to our ship during the quiet morning before guests came aboard. Photo by Corey Sandler
The view from the Bridge of Silver Whisper as we backed out of the pier. Photo by Corey Sandler
On our port side was Manhattan; to starboard, the Statue of Liberty. I was up on the bridge giving commentary, but—as always—I had my camera with me.
Scenes from our sailaway. Photos by Corey Sandler
And then we sailed into New England. One of my favorite songs is When Fall Comes to New England, by the singer-songwrite Cheryl Wheeler. She has a lovely line about autumn colors; she says that the leaves turn “Irish Setter red.”
Newport, Rhode Island is where the rich came to play.
One of their games, at the peak of the Gilded Age, was a grand form of one-upsmanship.
The colors of New England. The Newport Museum of Art, and the gardens at the historic Touro Synagogue. Photo by Corey Sandler
It was a competition to impress, astound, and outspend each other.
They built “cottages”, a word they used with a wink and a nod.
Downtown Newport. Photo by Corey Sandler
In some ways, Newport and the rest of Rhode Island was a model for the ideal of America, a place where freedom of conscience and religion was paramount.
They had been all but driven out of Boston by strict and punitive laws and discrimination.
A year later, the original settlement of Pocasett divided, and a group moved south to found Newport.
By this time, many had become Baptists.
Their political beliefs had been shaped by the difficulties of Boston.
At the heart of their plans was separation of church and state, codified in the Newport Town Statutes of 1641.
Newport became one of the first secular democracies in the world, certainly one of the first in the Americas.
Newport’s Redwood Library, and an old hotel in town. Photos by Corey Sandler
The original settlers were soon joined in the 1650s by others including Jews and members of the Religious Society of Friends: the “Quakers.”
In the years leading up to the American Civil War, Newport began to attract influential artists, writers, scientists, educators, architects, theologians, architects, and landscape designers.
Summer residents included the activist and poet Julia Ward Howe, the famed Unitarian preacher William Ellery Channing, the author Henry James and his psychologist brother William James.
After the Civil War came the Gilded Age, a time of great wealth and expansion.
Bar Harbor in Maine, and the Adirondacks of upstate New York boomed: a surge of privately owned American castles, if you will.
Newport was perhaps the greatest beneficiary.
The Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport. Photos by Corey Sandler
My wife and I live in this part of the world, on the island of Nantucket about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. And so we know Newport and southern New England quite well.
On this visit, I chose to go on a photo safari. I concentrated on the glorious details of Fall in New England.
Silver Whisper at anchor, offshore of Newport. Photo by Corey Sandler
All photos and text copyright 2013 by Corey Sandler. If you would like to purchase a copy of a photo, please contact me.