Today’s featured writer is F. Travis Riley, whom you might recognize as the photographer from the Hanauma Bay article earlier this year. Enjoy!
A Texan on Newport’s Coast
A Day at the Brenton Point Seaside (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
Howdy folks! For Texans, it may seem strange to ever think about leaving Texas, as great as our state is, but sometimes you get the desire to see something different from your own neck of the woods. And let me tell you, my day at the beach in Newport was much different from back home, or even from how I would have imagined it!
A Newport Mansion in Fog (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
An imagined scene from a murder mystery thriller (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
Normally when I think of the New England coast, the first thoughts I come up with are of foggy rock cliffs, murder mysteries in old-style mansions, and the occasional eldritch horror from below the depths of the sea! I expected no less when visiting and was struck with some amazing photos and views that seemed to come out of a detective film.
However, Newport, much like any living place, has its own moods and seasons, and I was lucky enough to be escorted by some local residents on a beautiful sunny day to the seashore for a little tour of the local beach. We drove down Ocean Avenue, following the coastline and ending up in Brenton Point State Park, and from there we began our day-trip to this wonderful area.
Kites on the Beach (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
As you can see, during the clear days, you can get an amazing view of not only the sea, but also of the locals at play. The wind coming off the waves not only has a delicious scent of sea-salt, but gives an amazing view of people flying their kites!
Sadly I could not get any up-close, but the dots in the picture at the top of this article show just how high and far you can fly a kite on those days, and it wasn’t even what I would call “blustery” that day! Imagine how high and far a good strong gust would take you. You might even make it over the pond and find yourself in London by accident.
The Beach (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
Traveling down to the actual shore, I was surprised to find not sand, but instead rocks and tidal pools. No walking barefoot down here! Instead, keep your shoes on and take up a little climbing, as parts of the shore will be worn away to different heights, leaving not only an exercise in endurance and balance, but pockets of sea life left behind by the tides.
You can find all sorts of snails, small fish, and insect life in these little tidal pools. Unfortunately, while my companions could name and identify them all, I could only recognize them as “too small to fry”. However, I was amazed at their natural camouflage, as well as the variety of species that could live in comfort. It definitely gave new perspective to the idea of being a big fish in a small pond, and I could only imagine the cycle of life that constantly raised a new generation of new fish (as well as took the mature ones out to sea) going on every day and night, all across the seashore.
Tide Pool Life (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
After a foray out to the sea and small hike around the area, coming back I stopped by the monuments and read some of the history of the area. Though often romanticized, life on the sea is both thrilling and fearful.
The old cliché of the sea being a harsh mistress seems all too true, looking over the monuments to those who went out and never returned. I could imagine standing there when the fog rolled in and seeing the ghosts of the past still out there on the waves, searching for a way back home.
A Mast for a Monument (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
“In Memory Of” (Photo by F. Travis Riley)
Yet, it is also beautiful, and to see a different view of it than I’ve seen from my native home makes me appreciate it all the more. I can only hope I visit again when the storms come rolling in, and see yet another side of this majestic view. Until then though, the thoughts of a warm sun, clear blue skies, and a chill wind will remind me of the enjoyment I’ve had visiting this different and unique landscape, and they give me reason enough to return again in the future.