Are you a fan of weekend excursions? I certainly am. Near, far, or within my own city I enjoy traveling. This weekend my boyfriend and I traveled south to Newport to celebrate a nice weekend away. To get to our coastal, Rhode Island destination, we took a bus that departs from downtown Boston and arrives right in the middle of Newport. While I have lived in Boston for the past few years, I am not terribly familiar with the New England area. On this bus ride, I was afforded a nice peak into the picturesque north Atlantic.
We took a Peter Pan bus from South Station in Boston to start our journey. In my opinion, buses, rather than cars, are better for sightseeing because passengers tower over other vehicles and are granted an uninterrupted view of the changing landscape. Although chilly, we were lucky to make our journey on a perfectly clear and sunny day. Within minutes we had escaped downtown and could see coastal-front properties in the greater Boston area. I am specifically referring to the Dorchester and Quincy areas, which are connected to the city through the underground metro system, known as the “T.” That’s one thing that I love about Boston, the T can whisk you from Cambridge to downtown to Quincy and Dorchester, for under three bucks without ever needing to leave your seat.
Our first stop on the bus ride was about an hour south in Fall River, Massachusetts. This city is located on the border with Rhode Island and is framed by water on two sides. From the bus, we could see Battleship Cove, which (apparently) houses the largest collection of WWII naval vessels. To my mind, Fall River from a distance kind of reminded me of a small European city. The town area is set on a hillside and from the bus on our left we could see houses and church spires peeping out between the light-green foliage. On the right we could see the brilliant blue ocean, shimmering under a stately bridge.
Once the bus entered the main commerce area, the city began to look less European and more American to me. The first thing to catch my eye was that many of the buildings looked like old factories or mills. Immediately fascinated, I looked up Fall River to find out more. Through a quick Wikipedia search, I learned that Fall River at one point had over 120 cotton textile mills, and today 65 of these historic structures are still standing. It really is a sight to see factory upon factory, with their ruddy bricks lined with windows and tall chimneys. These buildings are similar in the way that offspring are to their siblings—they look like they came from the same source materials.
Continuing south, we unceremoniously crossed into Rhode Island and went past a grassy stretch of land. In no time at all, we passed through the city of Portsmouth and then reached the outskirts of Newport. This bus ride was interesting to me because I was able to see a different side to New England. In addition to what I have described, I also briefly saw some rural parts of New England. Unfortunately, I was unable to snap a picture in time of Prescott Farm. On the left-hand side, there was a colonial windmill, which looked curiously extratemporal considering we started our journey from modern downtown. Then, on the right, we saw a cluster of schoolchildren leaning over each other to pet the docile farm animals.
Throughout the journey we saw blue skies, bluer waters, and small towns (or cities according to Wikipedia). In my Boston bubble, anything outside the reach of public transportation seems much too far for me. However, places like Fall River is under a two-hour drive with light traffic. New England is so compact. It’s good to know that there are many places to see in an area just slightly larger than Washington state. Whether it is a bus, a train, or the comfort of your own car, if you have wheels, then consider traveling!