Mystic, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island Trip with Pat MarkhamBella Tours
Pat and I left Syracuse on Monday at 7:00 AM. Bella Tours representative Ellie Peavey was the perfect hostess the whole time. She greeted each traveler and checked up on them every day. She provided water, snacks and humor whenever needed. Tom, the bus driver, was also excellent. Seats on the bus were a bit uncomfortable for us tall gals.
The trip was very well planned-loads to see and plenty of rest time. On Monday we toured Mystic Seaport and took a self-guided tour of the Museum of America and the Sea, the largest maritime museum in the United States. Both the Viking Museum and Whaling Museum were interesting. We learned later that the whaling boat we toured was the Charles W. Morgan and he was the great, great grandfather of one of our colleagues from school. It is the last wooded whaleship in the world.
The weather did not cooperate with us the first day, but we both had umbrellas. Many of the authentic buildings in the reimagined village were dismantled from another location on the East Coast and reconstructed at this spot-printer shop, cooperage, cordage, all shops needed for the whaling industry.
Pat and I had lunch at a spot called Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern that was originally in New Hampshire and reassembled in this location on the sea.
After Mystic Seaport we went to the Hilton, a recently refurbished hotel in Mystic, CT. We never got to try Mystic Pizza. The hotel was lovely! We had two hours to relax and change our clothes. We enjoyed the hotel bar before dinner. When we arrived at the Steak Loft Restaurant we were given a complimentary glass of wine. Our dinner of chicken breast was tasty. The salad bar was fabulous! Guests celebrating birthdays and anniversaries were treated to a special dessert.
Pat and I enjoyed chatting with our new friends in the back of the bus-Suzette, Deirdre, Joyce and Glo. We often sat with them at dinner.
The bus driver was kind enough to take us to Foxwood for a little excitement. I had never been there, and my parents loved going there. It was very disappointing. I spent $80 and had no luck so we had a drink at the bar. We all turned down Tom’s invitation to go to Mohegan Sun the next night. One gal on the bus won $46 at Foxwood.
On Wednesday morning we woke up early for our day in Newport, Rhode Island. The complimentary breakfast was very good-nice variety. We boarded the bus and headed for The Breakers, the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The ladies at the entrance handed us an audio-internet piece which hung on a lanyard. The home was so beautiful! Such opulence-gold, silver, platinum and luxurious fabrics everywhere! We loved the kitchen and sent Barb Myers a picture! The tour brought back great memories of Howard and our vacation there. I bought a book that has great photos.
Billy Vanderbilt’s Marble House was beautiful, but not quite as spectacular as The Breakers. It was decorated with marble in every room. The view of the ocean from each house was amazing! We enjoyed our walk to see the ocean up close and take a look at Breakers from the back.
After our tour of the mansions, we headed to Brick Market Place for shopping and lunch on our own. Pat and I found a restaurant right on the shore with a great view of the boats. The fried grouper was delicious, but it was greasy. We saw many of the Bella Tour people eating there.
We shopped and shopped until I dropped! I only bought a necklace for Arlene which she loved! I looked for some inexpensive sunglasses, but I had no luck. I was very happy to see the bus as it was getting quite warm, and I was tired. And the lighthouse tour was interesting.
I thought we were on our way home, but we stopped to tour a lighthouse-the Beavertail Lighthouse. I was tired, but the view of the ocean was spectacular! I was so glad to see that breathtaking view!!!!
We got back to the hotel and relaxed until dinner. Dinner was at The Latitude 31 and was pleasant. Pat and I enjoyed our salad and stuffed chicken, but we both wished we had ordered the bistro steak. The Key Lime Pie was very different than what we expected. We had a great group at our table. We went straight to the room after dinner and went to bed.
Wednesday was a fun day. We started out at the Mystic Aquarium and took in all the exhibits and a very amusing sea lion show. Then we walked across the street to Old Msytik Village for shopping. Neither of us bought anything, but it was fun for me to go in the toy store. I let Pat do some more window shopping while I visited with Deirdre and Suzette.
Pat and I enjoyed a great veggie pizza with pepperoni at the Mango Woodfire Pizza Shop. It was a nice break after all the walking.
At this point I was ready to head for home but we still had one more stop at the USS Nautilus, a submarine. We were able to go inside the submarine. It was very interesting. I was fascinated with how close all the quarters were. Good thing I had a Tito’s before the tour. I never would have been able to climb over the bulkheads if I had not had that drink! It really was an experience of a lifetime! I have more respect for Navy men and women stationed on submarines than I ever did!
And now for a little paragraph about my roommate! Pat and I have known each other since 1972 when we began teaching together at Roxboro Road Elementary in Mattydale. We lived in the same house on Summit Ave. for a couple years. We are very different in personalities and style. We have had some very strange experiences on trips-it is a wonder she suggested we travel together again. She often acts like a mother to me. All my money fell out of my pocket at the aquarium and she saw it and balled me out! She often rolls her eyes when I say or do something. She has heard the same funny stories about my life and still laughs. She puts up with my constant moaning when I am tired. She knew my husband and loved him! I have a sister I love, but Pat is like a sister to me also! We had the best time, and after three days together, we are still best friends!
It was a great trip. The price was very reasonable! I would not hesitate to recommend traveling with Bella Tours, especially if Ellie Peavey is the hostess! I hope to travel with her again someplace.