Sunday, May 25, 2008

Newport News

It was my dad's birthday this weekend, so the family piled into two cars, and took a trip down to one of his favorite restaurants. In Fall River. We decided to stop in Newport, Rhode Island first, as it was on the way, and do some walking around.

We covered the retail/ restaurant district, down by the wharves and docks.

Hmm. The paparazzi seemed to be everywhere.

We continued on to Narragansett St. which leads directly to the eastern side of the island, where they have a nice Cliff Walk, that runs for a couple miles along that coast.

These steps lead down to a cool area of exposed rock you can walk around on, when the tide is out.

As you walk along the Cliff Walk, you pass near the back of some of the more famous mansions. Some are kind of fenced off, but people can leave and enter the tourist properties fairly easily.

Birthday Boy and grandson:

We didn't have that much time, so we forewent checking out the mansions; they're big tourist destinations, especially this time of year. We also had to skip walking through the historic district; neat little neighborhoods of narrow cobblestone streets and very old, brightly painted, fishing village buildings. Next time...

Lizzie's Town

It was now late afternoon, and we left for Fall River, about twenty five minutes or so away.

An interesting feature of this old mill city are the factories and warehouses made of granite. This gives them a nice tan color, unlike the red brick factories of contemporary industrial era cities, like Holyoke and Lowell.

Fall river thrived in the late nineteenth century, into the 1920's; mostly through it's cotton mills. It was a huge immigration destination. It used to have a beautiful river called the Quequechan, that was sadly, literally, covered over by the factories. It's now underground current became relegated to sewer duty. The underground river and it's water falls were briefly uncovered when some of the abandoned factories burned down in the twentieth century, only to see it's waterfalls blasted down, and the river covered over again, by Interstate 195. How sad, and (in retrospect) short sighted.

Let's Eat

My father did a stint as a truck driver for a Portuguese foods wholesaler a long time ago. As a result, he knows every great Portuguese restaurant from Boston to Philadelphia. The Beira Alta, is on his short list.

When we entered, we (everyone but my dad and mom) were surprised to find the tables all had numbers on them, big maroon napkins on long white linen tables, a huge centerpiece of flowers in the middle, and a DJ playing, loudly, on the stage by a dance floor. The place seemed to have kind of a wedding reception atmosphere. Right down to kids running around in between the tables and playing on the dance floor. I thought it was odd at first, but my dad brushed off any inquiries as to the restaurant's wedding theme. Once we got our food I realized why. Man. This was Portuguese food. I got the spicy Shrimp Mozambique, possibly some of the best I ever had, and a steak/fried egg/potato wedges platter. It was true Portuguese fare. Chris ordered up some flaming Chourico sausages, another favorite.

After dinner we had espressos and brandy, while my dad discussed soccer with The Flash.

My niece and nephew, dizzy with the energy from the big meal, worked off some calories on the dance floor:

I'm sure they slept like babes on the way home.


VanDog said...

The kids dancing are cute. Is that a traditional Portuguese dance? It looked like a fusion of Irish Step, and Neo Punk.

Tony said...

It's definitely not the Safety Dance...