Escaping the humdrum rhythm of the daily grind is like chicken soup for the soul. Having the chance to flee from the usual obligations and chores and indulge the senses with new sights, sounds and smells for even the briefest moments is so rejuvenating. By 5:30 on Friday evening I was so ready to pack away my 9-5 weekday life, jump in the car and disappear from life as I know it for the next 36 hours.
We were off in the car as early as I could convince Charlie to be, leaving behind the typical weekend errands, the dogs and the kids for only the fourth time in the past fourteen years. To say we were overdue could be the understatement of the year.
The ride started out with excitement and more than a bit of giddyness ~ mostly on my behalf ~ Charlie can maintain a much better poker face than I, who wears her emotions on her sleeve. After the first hour or so,
we, I, settled down enough to just breathe it all in and simply be.
We arrived in Newport, Rhode Island just in time for lunch. Hungry from travel and for adventure, we dropped our bags off at the Adele Turner Inn and wandered off in search of way more than full bellies. The streets were lined with trees ablaze in their autumnal glory, the sidewalks strewn with the fallen bounty causing every footstep to bring forth a glorious crunch and crackle. No one does fall like New England.
Then there's the homes. Dripping with history, even the most weathered of these historic places still commands a stately presence. You can feel it in your bones. Hundreds of years gone by, but still so evident that past and present collide in an unimitable fashion that makes this place so special. I simply cannot get enough.
This quick getaway was not without reason, Charlie wanted to take me somewhere to celebrate my upcoming milemarker birthday. We searched and searched for a place to have dinner, somewhere special to mark the occasion. Just when we thought we had found perfection, and a venue steeped in the history that fascinates me, we ended up something terribly disappointed and unsatisfying.
Sunday morning brought grey and brisk weather that was absolute perfection for a stroll on the Cliff Walk. I reminded him that had we lived in the time of the Vanderbilt's or Astor's that an afternoon walk like this would have been considered courting. For a moment in time I could almost see the ladies in their finery, strolling behind Newport's great manses, parasols in hand. The history is rich and very much alive here. Not only rich for the eponymous names that shroud this town. Rich because it is still so evident. So real.
While the excesses of the Gilded Age will always fascinate me, these days I dream more of small cabins and wide open spaces than marble and luxe.
Perhaps that is why the lunch we shared that afternoon in the small village of Jamestown, at a tiny seafood dive with tables covered in white craft paper was the best meal we had all weekend. It gave me pause for thought as to how much I have changed. All of these years working in the world of consumer excess has made me eschew the need to have more and more and instead be present, take notice of the richness that surrounds us all everyday. The richness that comes from those crunchy, golden leaves littering the sidewalk or a magnificent sunset over a small harbor. That kind of luxe requires no starched white table linens.
It was ironic as we drove out of Jamestown through it's modest seaside homes that Charlie suddenly announced that this place was much more "us".
It also explains why the drive home was spent basking in the glow of each other's company. Uninterrupted time alone that, in itself, is more valuable than any earthly possession.