My Trip to New England, August, 2005

The Pilot Pen tennis tournament was being held this week.  It is one of the few major co-ed tournaments.  I would like to visit at least once.  So its home, New Haven, Connecticut, was my home base for the week.  I also decided to visit nearby places for the first time, specifically Rhode Island, which has the Tennis Hall of Fame, and Massachusetts.  Since I had never been to these New England states, I allowed a week.  There were quite a few adventures in store for me.

August 17
Due to the excellent price I obtained on Priceline, I arrived in New Haven very late.  I cabbed to my hotel. 
Also snagged through priceline, I stayed at the EconoLodge.  Included was breakfast, local calls, and a fridge, all excellent accessories for the traveler, and a bargain at $60/night.

August 18
Today I figured I would get to know my home base for the next week, New Haven.  I went to Budget to rent a car (below), and I got plenty of resources, maps, guides, etc. 
Some websites with further info are here and here and here.
After a Mediterranean lunch at Sahara, I checked out the legendary Yale Campus.  Took a tour, and then visited some historic buildings.  The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library featured an original Gutenberg Bible, and an exhibit of the Stolen Texts of Moliere, along with thousands of other rare books and manuscripts. I found some dating to the 1400s!
Next I visited the JCC, and finally had pizza, for which New Haven is apparently famous, for dinner.

The car I rented - a 200g Ford Taurus The Yale Bulldog logo above an overhead photo The Yale logo.  The Hebrew inscription means 'light and unity.' It is pronounced 'oreem, otafoam' 

August 19
Traveled north through Connecticut.  On the way, near Hartford, I stopped at the Dinosaur State Park. This was built around dinosaur footprints that were found in the area.  There is a large mural of a prehistoric scene, and we played with real lizards!
Next I continued to Massachusetts.  In Holyoke, I stopped at the Volleyball Hall of Fame.  This museum was small, but worth it for any volleyball fan!
 There are dozens of inductees, exhibits, history, photos, and a regulation court!  Next stop was in Springfield, very close to the VB hall, to another hall.  The Basketball Hall of Fame is huge, with over 3 floors of exhibits, history, hundreds of inductees, and more!
Last major stop in Massachusetts was the Yankee Candle Company Factory in North Deerfield. While they had a marvelous selection, with hundreds of flavors of hundreds of products (candles, air fresheners, potpourri, and more), there were relatively few bargains.  Apparently eliminating the middle man (retail) means nothing here.  But it is worth the trip, at least once. 
Other interesting stops today included Magic Wings, which is a Butterfly Conservatory and Garden, which contained thousands of beautiful specimens, and the Amherst area, which is historic and even becoming trendy!  Interesting sites include the Amherst History Museum (located in a 1750 house), the Emily Dickinson Museum, the National Yiddish Book Center (featuring exhibits about the Yiddish language, culture, and of course literature), Amherst and Smith Colleges, and of course much more!  Here is more info. 


Real dinosaur footprints, a section of the mural, lizards! The VB court exhibit, me with a trophy, me serving like a pro
Me and Larry Bird, with a Harlem Globetrotter, anchoring a 'newscast.' Yankee Candle products everywhere!

August 20
Today I began my journey to Rhode Island.  As the state line was an hour away, I also caught some Connecticut attractions.  These include the Florence Griswold Art Museum in Old Lyme; two large outlet malls within a few miles of each other- Tanger Outlets and Clinton Crossing.
Here is a great CT info site.  
A few miles into Rhode Island, I arrived at a Welcome Center.  I took plenty of info.  I then came upon an old building.  Turned out to be a classic one-room schoolhouse from the 1840s.  I then took a long bridge into Jamestown. Finally I took an even longer bridge, including a $2 toll, into Newport
I walked around the popular Bellevue Avenue area, with plenty of shopping, dining, trendiness, and the famed Colonial Gas Lights.  My first stop was the Museum of Newport History. Excellent exhibitions on architecture, fashion, and the people of Newport.
I next went to one of the major attractions for me, the International Tennis Hall of Fame. They have 13 grass courts, 1 clay, 3 indoor, and even a court tennis court. There is also the museum, which has tennis-related exhibits back from the 13th century.  These include old racquets, clothes, balls, ball cans, and more!  The Hall displays plaques for 186 inductees.  Several of these are shown below.  As usual, this is a sampling, so contact me for more photos!
Next, I met up with Andy, an old Net buddy and mayor of the Friends Zone.  His wife, Ann, and son, Jack, and I visited some sites together, including more shopping, the Touro Synagogue (the oldest synagogue in the US, from 1763, unfortunately it was closed for renovation), saw the wave sculpture, and the Beavertail Lighthouse.  That evening we went back to their neighborhood, near Providence.  We went downtown, and saw the Waterfire show.  The beautiful installation, by Barnaby Evans, features over 100 braziers with bonfires all along the river.

Vintage one-room schoolhouse View from my car on the bridge
over Rhode Island Sound
Hall of Fame plaques, the hallowed grounds, museum exhibits,
some of the many vintage tennis ball cans


Myself, Andy, and Jack; someone got wiped out! Beavertail Lighthouse in action! Outside the Vanderbilts' Breakwater Mansion

August 21
After breakfast, I drove back down to Newport, and saw 2 of the 10 Newport Mansions.  These are summer 'cottages' owned by the wealthy.  Now many are museums.  The biggest is the Breakwaters, owned by the Vanderbilts.  Built in 1895, it has 70 rooms, 20 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces, mosaic-tile floors and ceilings, and magnificent ocean views.
I made some miscellaneous stops on my way back to New Haven, along with not having time to visit others.  Among these are the Museum of Yachting and the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University in Bristol.

August 22
Today I went 1 hour north to the state capital, Hartford.  I visited 3 major sites.
The Mark Twain House is where the author and his family lived from 1874-1891.  It has been restored to its look at that time. There were also several exhibits about him, his family, his inventions, and his humor.
Next door is the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Best known for writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, she and her family lived here from 1873-1896.
Finally I visited the home of Noah Webster. The oldest of the three, this house was built in 1748.  While it had 2 floors, there were only 5 rooms, no bathrooms, and the oven was of an even earlier style!

August 23
Today is the day!  The major reason for my trip, to see the Pilot Pen!
I arrived at the Yale Tennis Center around 10am.  Paid $7 to park in someone's yard. 
Saw dozens of exciting tennis matches!  There were many vendors with tennis-related products.  In addition, there were other events.  Today was Latino Day.  Two Latin tennis players, Nicolas Massu and Fernando Lopez, came to speak to the crowd in Spanish, and some kids hit tennis balls with them.  The Girl Scouts invited their troops to an event, and Alicia Molik, a pro from Australia, came to speak and play for them.
The USTA, in addition to offering discounted tickets to its members, also held a Member reception. 

The Yale Tennis Center Nicolas Massu de Chile Alicia Molik with the Girl Scouts; gamely being interviewed; and with yours truly A light moment with a promotional racquet The author Paul Fein and myself, at the USTA reception, after I bought his book,
Tennis Confidential

Other pro tennis players I met/saw:
Daniela Hantuchova Lindsay Davenport Jamea Jackson Bobby Reynolds and Lisa Raymond Amelie Mauresmo at practice

August 24
For my last day, I checked out by 10am.  I then went downtown to visit 2 museums.
The Peabody Museum is a huge monument to natural history on the Yale Campus. 
Interesting exhibits included the Hall of Native American Cultures, Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, Fossil Fragments: The Riddle of Human Origin, the Great Hall of Dinosaurs, and much more!
Next was the New Haven Colonial Historical Society. 
Exciting exhibits there include New Haveners and their pets, showing photos of animals and their owners from 1880-1940; All About Amistad, which told the story of the slave ship and its rebellion in 1839.  New Haven was one of the cities whose jail housed the Africans, so this exhibit had many resources.  Also, in honor of that history, there is a memorial to the Amistad.
Interestingly, the Amistad Memorial is in front of a government building.  So when I was taking the picture below, some cops came up and asked what I was doing.  I said I was taking a picture.  Of what, they demanded.  Of the memorial.  I offered to show them on the screen.  They said you have to be careful nowadays.
I then lunched on another brand of New Haven pizza, and returned to good old Fort Wayne!

An Aptosaurus in the Great Hall The Amistad Memorial, downtown New Haven

So, looking back, I had a blast, I accomplished very much.  I enjoy talking about my trips (as you can see) so if you have any questions, comments, or want to see more photos ( I am displaying only around 20% of all the photos I took) please contact me.

Thanks for reading!

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