Our Pilgrim Progress

Thursday, April 26, 2012 Road Junkies 1 Comments

On the History Highway, Day 43:  Newport, RI to Plymouth, MA

After visiting a few more sites in Newport this morning, we began to focus on locating a place to hide our Rhode Island letterbox.  Though not as rich in letterboxes as its neighbor to the west, Rhode Island does boast a letterboxing density of one box per two square miles.  So locating a suitable and unoccupied place to plant a box was certainly more challenging than it would have been in, say, North Dakota, where each of the state's 28 letterboxes has the equivalent of a whopping 2,500 square miles of elbow room.  (Clearly someone needs to plan a big letterbox planting party in North Dakota.)

Since we would be out of Rhode Island within half an hour after leaving Newport, we settled on Brenton Point State Park on the southeastern coast of Aquidneck Island as a home for our little letterbox.  Occupying the grounds of a former grand estate, the park is located where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Brenton Point State Park
The ruins of an old garden wall from the estate provided just the right spot to hide our little treasure, allowing us to check off one more state where we've planted this year.  Somehow the planting part of our 'boxing in every state this year' project isn't going quite as well as the finding part.  So far, we've planted in just five states and found boxes in 20 states.

To be fair, we didn't decide to take on this project until after we made our trip to Texas and other parts west in January.  However, we left Georgia on March 15 with 15 boxes to plant.  We still have the boxes intended for Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, though we've already visited those states.  We'll hit the two commonwealths on the way back south, but New Jersey isn't exactly on our route.  Strangely, this isn't the first time we've had a letterbox to plant in the Garden State and left without finding a spot. 

Everyone we encountered as we left Rhode Island seemed to be in a hurry today, zipping from one lane to another in an effort to garner a few seconds' advantage.  One poor fellow in the lane next to us didn't notice a FedEx truck motionless ahead of him until the last minute, forcing him to actually use his brakes and stop his car momentarily.  Offended that Ken hadn't stopped to allow him to move over ahead of us, this hurried fellow bolted around the truck after we passed and drove up even with us so he could give Ken a one-finger salute as he sped off.  (Where was my "Gee, That Was Real Mature!" sign when I needed it?)  For the record, his efforts didn't gain much.  We caught up with him at the next traffic light.

On our way from Newport to Plymouth, we decided to drive out onto Cape Cod since we'd never set foot in that famous part of Massachusetts.  Somehow it turned out to be a bit like eating popcorn.  Once we started motoring out U.S. Route 6, we just couldn't stop until we had driven all the way to the end of the peninsula in Provincetown.  (NOTE:  Since the Cape Cod Canal was cut through the peninsula in 1914 to accommodate the Intracoastal Waterway, some would contend that Cape Cod is now an island.)

Provincetown, MA
By the time we arrived in P-town, as it is often called, it was almost 4:00, and, as usual, we had delayed lunch.  To fortify us for the letterboxing we intended to do before leaving this remote village (pop. 3,174), we stopped in at Fanizzi's Restaurant by the Sea, happy to see their OPEN flag was flying since many local places had yet to open for the season.  Sitting on the shore's edge with the salt spray lapping against the windows, the weathered old house was the perfect spot for a relaxed and delectable meal.

Provincetown Cemetery with Pilgrim Monument in background
As the first place where the Pilgrims made landfall when they arrived from England, Provincetown makes much of its Pilgrim connection.  In the early 1900s, the village completed a 252-ft. granite monument to commemorate the first landing.  When it's open, visitors can climb to the top for what is said to be a spectacular view of the area.

In search of a letterbox, we drove all the way out to Race Point Beach at the end of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Though quiet on this April weekday afternoon, we can imagine this beautiful stretch of beach coming to life with summer visitors in July.

Race Point Beach
Like the Pilgrims almost 400 years ago, we left Provincetown after a short visit and moved on to Plymouth, where we'll spend the night and explore all the sights tomorrow.

More Photos from Today

Interesting shop in Newport
Race Point Road near the end of Cape Cod