Rhode Island and Connecticut rhode island In Rhode Island we stayed at Fisherman’s Memorial State Park, a beautiful park with lots of space and greenery (Jan’s hot-button!) surrounding us. There was wildlife entertainment daily in this lone Groundhog who came out to eat grass every evening. We did a little exploring and went across the bridge to Newport harbor. the first stop was this food trailer for some lobster rolls! Here’s a view of the harbor there, very New England with the colorful lobster trap buoys! We went to a nearby pier in Narragansett to catch a ferry to Block Island, a place that our good friend Steve Bergman told us about. A couple of the many fishing trawlers that ere docked there. Lobster traps ready for use! ferry to block island It was a rather large auto ferry, but we chose to just park the truck and walk on to it. One of the things we saw was what remained of a large hotel that had burned down years ago. It was a part of a map we got that took us to a few key sites of the area. This was an ocean view pavilion overlooking the beach. Lots of greenery and flowers along the way. Part of the walk was paved with these artistic man made stepping stones. Interesting choices of items to include in these stepping stones! This was a beautifully restored “Double Ender”, a sailing craft from the late 1790’s. This was the Historical Society museum of Block Island. Nothing really picture worthy inside, but an interesting look at life back in the 1790’s. We came across this Yellow Kittens Tavern, but unfortunately it was closed for the season, as were many businesses. One of the many beautifully kept houses from the late 1700’s to late 1800’s. This is the National Hotel, a beautiful hotel from the 1800’s. We had lunch there overlooking the ocean. This place is open year round but as you would expect it was pretty deserted. the view looking towards the bay. The surf was pretty impressive crashing on the rocks of the jetty. And there were a couple of brave (crazy) souls surfing in this VERY chilly water! Some attempts were not quite as successful as others! connecticut In Connecticut we stayed at this lovely little park, Nelson’s Family campground. Our campsite backed up to this cool little creek. And every afternoon these geese came by to feed in our grass. We took a driving tour and came to Gillette Castle State Park. The park land and this stone castle, built by William Hooker Gillette, was purchased from his estate in 1943. He was an actor most noted for his role as the original Sherlock Holmes. The castle took 5 years to build from 1914 to 1919. This was the main entry driveway. It was lined with this unique wall, built from the stones from the property as was the castle. This was a scale model of the castle. Here is a view of the rear of the castle that sits high on a cliff overlooking the Connecticut River. The entry arch over the driveway. This was the river view from the castle. The inside was just as unique as the exterior. This castle took 20 men 5 years to complete the main structure. Everything was hand made from wood or stone when possible. This is the main living area. This table in front of the fireplace in the main living area was also hand made. Did you notice the wood things hanging down? They were put there solely to entertain the many cats they kept on the property. This was the workshop where the workmen built the many features of the home, including hand made wooden light switches, curtain rods and windows to mention a few. One of the many hand made light fixtures on a unique wall covering that added insulation as well as being decorative. Some of the many beautifully crafted light switches! All of the doors were also hand hewn wood. We loved the red tint in the interior stonework! One of the many hand carved windows; complete with wooden gears to open and close them! The exterior was pretty much fireproof, but with the interior being made of wood and textiles, he even devised a fire suppression system. You would pull this handle and the water in a huge tank upstairs would come through pipes and into spray reeds located throughout the castle. Pretty ingenious for the time! He went to these measures because he knew that because of the remoteness of the castle the fire department would have difficulty getting there in time in case of fire. This was the steel tank for the system. Luckily the system was never needed and the state now has a more modern traditional fire system in place. When they installed it they did try to use similar materials so it looks like it belongs there. I mentioned the many cats before; he was very fond of them as is shown by the multitude of cat figurines throughout the castle. This is the bell he used to alert the cats it was time to eat! There was even a rock fountain indoors. More of the unique hand carved fixtures in the castle. Even the kitchen sink was hand made! The massive wood burning stove in the kitchen. One of the beautiful bathrooms. Notice the cat rug? Aunt Polly was the name of his yacht; named after his aunt Polly who nursed him back to health at one point. One of the bedrooms; note the handmade apparatus to turn off the light without getting out of bed. i guess an early version of the clapper and/or Alexa! After visiting the castle we continued on and had to take this auto ferry to cross the river. While crossing we got some final views of the castle from the river. Another boater enjoying the beautiful fall day on the water. One of the tour boats on the river. Since it wasn’t too far away, we decided to visit the PEZ Museum, it was pretty cool! As this original poster reveals, the original PEZ in Austria (where it was first developed) was an adult breath mint. The brand expanded and eventually they put a factory in Connecticut to supply the U.S. demand for their product. They also expanded to be the popular candy we know today. Their store is filled with any PEZ related item you could want. Star Wars sets. Some of their historic products. Even the Tuttles got in on the act, building a custom PEZ motorcycle for them. Those aren’t guns they’re pointing, they are PEZ dispensers! The custom chopper, awesome! They even had a small packaging line set up so you can see how it’s done. Even though they have factories worldwide, they are still based in Austria.