The trip out to Rhode Island to see Nicco graduate from OCS was great! The combination of a few days away from HPD, Houston heat, smoke from all the surrounding fires, traffic, etc… and the pride of seeing how well Nicco has been doing was invigorating!
The trip out was okay – we had to layover a bit in Newark, which has seldom turned out well for me – I usually end up spending the night, because I got bumped or the plane broke down. Newark and Purgatory have to have a lot in common!! This time, however, it was only a couple of hours… not so bad – except we had not had dinner. Fifty dollars later, everyone was sated on airport junk food (lucky, because who knew that all of the stores in the airport shut down before midnight???) The flight to Providence was fun… very bumpy with a few near “free-fall” episodes. Got to the R.I. airport and rushed to the car place to find two folks still working behind the counter. After being lectured at length about being late, we got our SUV (white of course)… and headed on to Newport (Middletown actually – I don’t think any town in Rhode Island is more than five miles across… :)). Got to the Rodeway without incident (other than constantly having to slow down – Highway speed limits never got above 55… (insert more really small state jokes here).
Thursday morning – we went into the touristy part of Newport. Had breakfast at Benjamin’s (darn near worth the trip all by itself). I had the Lobster Fatulli – possibly one of the five best restaurant breakfasts I have ever had!!! Words cannot express how highly I recommend this place! After breakfast, we saw a few more sights, then went to the base for Nicco’s ‘Pass-in-Review’ which was splendid. We finally got the opportunity to meet several of the Facebook friends we had made during the previous three months – great people!
Thursday evening was a reception, where we got to meet the executive officers, trainers, and drill instructors for Nicco’s group. Their lists of accomplishments and bearing were impressive. So was seeing 55 soon to be officers in their dress whites for the first time!! After the reception, we went to the Brick Alley Pub (back in downtown Newport). We got seated with almost no wait and again, the food was beyond excellent!! I rank their Clam Chowder right up there with any of them! While we were in the restaurant, it started to rain and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees.
When we woke up at 4am the next morning – it was barely 50 degrees. Quite a change from 114 degrees only a week or so ago in Houston!!! We went back to the base to run behind the class in their last formal PT session. After the run and the motivational exercises – we got to see the routine and requirements for chow hall (serious discipline and dedication required…) We stayed with Nicco a bit, then headed back to our own breakfast – this time at IHOP in Middletown. I swear – even their food was incredible!!
The graduation was moving – if a lot colder than we ever expected. The whole process reinforce my opinion that Nicco made a good choice and is joining a very focussed and meaningful organization.
After graduation, we did the sightseeing thing, then had lunch at the Atlantic Beach Club. Again – the food… words fail. We had every type of seafood imaginable (along with Cakebread Chardonnay). Every bite was memorable – we spent almost three hours there! Went on the beach afterward and got some pictures – saw the cliff walk – then back to Thames Street for coffee and a couple games of chess.
After some more sightseeing and a brief nap – we struck out for the highlight of the evening – dinner at the Coddington Brewery. I had the Lobster Ravioli and some kind of molten chocolate dessert that should be banned – it was that good! Of course we tried as many of their beers between us as we could. My favorite was the blueberry beer!!
So…. that pretty much ended my Rhode Island adventure. Small state, great people and some of the best food I have had in my 51 years! Good place for a Navy Base!! I hope Charleston will be as much fun to visit!
Tonight is back to work – keeping Houston safe…. or at least begging someone to keep the noise down!!! 🙂