Heading west on Long Island Sound a stop was made at Newport, Rhode Island. While a tourist mecca, the town did not excite the Last Dance Crew. So a photo of the Point Judith Lighthouse as the southern end of the bay passed by on the trip from Rhode Island to Connecticut is all that will be shared of this small state. It is a beautiful and interesting lighthouse complex.
A stop in Mystic found fall beginning to show itself in the leaves around downtown.
An open private mooring was borrowed for a night's stay to avoid the very high New England dockage prices. A trawler on a mooring nearby demonstrated again one of the interesting aspects of being around boats: the architecture/design varies so drastically among boats; all beautiful in their own way. This designer obviously believes in a narrow beam.
The major reason to revisit Msytic was to rendezvous with friends and fellow Gold Loopers, Bob and Lynda Krueger, who keep their boat, Erika Lin, in Mystic. The crew has nicknamed this pair LyndaBob. Another delicious and different meal was shared at a local bed and breakfast with much shared conversation. Enjoying time with friends and family is one of the most appealing facets of cruising.
Leaving Mystic on a foggy morning, Last Dance passed the Mystic lighthouse among some heavy commercial traffic.
Heading up the Connecticut River a Bald Eagle watched Last Dance as she passed one of the day marks indicating the channel in the river. This eagle had borrowed an Osprey's nest to indulge in a fish it had caught. Wildlife continues to be another facet that makes cruising so enjoyable.
Again, visiting friends was a major reason for making this stop. Jean Quigley joined the crew for dinner aboard Last Dance, which concluded with Jean's peach pie. Some of the best culinary delights occur aboard.
During the first visit to Jean's boat, Miss Ruby, photos were taken for inclusion in this blog to share the amazing boat they had built. Link to that post is below.
Jean's pie came with a special message - look closely at the top crust.
After admiring the unique design, intricate details, and quality construction of Miss Ruby during our earlier visit, it was felt that this boat should be shared with a larger audience than the ones reading this blog. PassagerMaker magazine, THE magazine for power cruising boats, often called "trawlers," was contacted by the Last Dance crew. Photos and background story were submitted to encourage the editors to allow us to compose an article for publication. They bought the idea. When the good news was shared with Jean, she replied that she always wanted to write the story of Miss Ruby. The photographer who does much of the work for the magazine has his office close by in Essex. So a collaboration of Jean and the photographer developed the story, Labor of Love: Building Miss Ruby. Not only did Miss Ruby become published, she made the cover.
Jean suggested a short trip up the river for a boat ride. A ferry boat. Not far from the marina, the state operates a ferry crossing the Connecticut River.
On the opposite bank of the river a large stone building seems to rise above the trees. This was our destination.
Gillette named the house the Seventh Sister, as it is built on the last hill of a series of hills along the river known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette Castle is now a state park, allowing all to enjoy his unique genius expressed in the design and construction of his home.
The castle does not look as massive close up, and it is not a large house, particularly by the standards of the time. The jagged stone faces do create an ominous look.
The main room is two stories tall, comprising much of the house. Gillette's bedroom was up on the landing. He installed a series of mirrors in the great room so that he could see into all the living areas from his bedroom.
All of the windows and doors are hand carved from oak. The windows each have a locking mechanism that Gillette designed which locks them closed or in three different open positions. Simple and effective.
He even designed custom light switches, again hand carved of oak.
Every interior door has a different design. Each door has a wooden locking mechanism, again, every one with a different design.
Gillette collected artwork and built a room to house and properly display his collection. Since he didn't want to leave his estate to someone who didn't understand or appreciate it, the estate became property of the state, thus preserving the house and his art collection for all to enjoy.
At this time, transportation technology was progressing rapidly. Gillette enjoyed and employed many forms of transportation at his estate. The Ner-a-Car fell into a unique category that met Gillette's fancy.
Gillette had a large boat to cruise the Connecticut River, which flows past the estate, and two small train systems to transport people around the property. An interesting and accomplished man who left his history and legacy in solid rock.
Transportation history was further illustrated as an antique car rally was being held in the area and many of the participants decided to visit Gillette Castle at the same time as our visit. Another impromptu car show on this journey.
Deep River, CT
The Whistle Stop sure meets the "small" part of the parameters, with only a few bar stools for seating inside. The majority of the seating is on the sidewalk in front and under a canopy in the back. It also met the interesting and different food parameters.
The Whistle Stop was celebrating October Fest with breakfast dishes filled with German delicacies. The huge German breakfasts became the major meal of the day. Another successful culinary delight search.
To await a calm weather window to continue the journey west on Long Island Sound, Last Dance moored in the well protected Hamburg Cove, off the Connecticut River, just south of Deep Creek. There the crew was entertained by wildlife - swans sailing along the cove, gaining speed by raising their wings, using the wind to propel them across the water.