As planned, was able to hit the road at daybreak, 6:30am. Good directions from Rich and light traffic enabled me to get onto the Parkway and 1-95 with no problem. It did cost a hefty $5.50 to cross the Whitestone Bronx Bridge.
Newport came into view as scheduled around 10am. First stop would be the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Had hoped to play on their grass courts-- the only place in the US that has them--but they were all shut down due to overnight rain. It was still interesting to walk around the original home of the US Open...it's a must for tennis fans.
Next up would be the "cottages" Parked near the 40 Steps off Narragansett and headed souh on the Cliff Walk. A tour of Cornelius Vanderbilt's maansion "The Breakers" would provide welcome relief from the heat. If you can only visit 1 of the 12 Newport Mansions, this is the one...It really lived up to the hype..it has to be 1 of the most spectacular mansions on earth...the only disappointment was that pictures were not allowed inside. Continued south on the Cliff Walk until finally reaching Marble House...did not realize it would be such a long walk. Marble House was every bit as spectacular as The Breakers. Italian marble and gold everywhere. Words can't do it justice. Would have loved to tour more of the museum houses and spend the rest of the day in beautiful Newport but time wouldn't permit. The return hike along the Cliff Walk was pretty dramatic, with the ocean waves crashing into the rocks.
On the road again, next stop...Falmouth, Mass...arrived around 3:30pm, checked into the Falmouth Inn hotel, left my car in their parking lot and it was a 5 minute walk to Falmouth Harbor where for $10 the Island Queen was waiting to take me to Martha's Vineyard at 4:30.
It was a pleasant 1/2 hr ferry to Oak Bluffs. Once on the island, asked for directions and headed directly to the Gingerbread Cottages...they are quite a sight...must be around 50 of the quaint, colorful houses originally built for religous revival services in the 1800s. The Camp Meeting Tabernacle is impressive as well. Wanted to see the 1876 Flying Horses Carousel but it was closed, all to be done was peer inside from the front door window.
It was now around 6pm and wanted to get on the MVTA bus and see as much of the island as possible in the remaing hour of daylight. the bus made a brief stop in Edgartown and the airport before arriving at Gay Head. Only had about 10 minutes to see the Cliffs and Lighthouse from the observation point, but the goal had been achieved...that was part of the planning before leaving Houston..try to make it to the Aquinnah Cliffs...it would not seem doable having spent 4+ hours in Newport after leaving NYC at 6:30am this morning...it felt pretty good to look over the beautiful red cliffs as the sun set. Now all that remained was to somehow get back to Falmouth. Couldn't make the final 8:30pm Island Queen ferry in Oak Bluffs. The bus driver was very helpful..after changing buses in West Tisbury, made it to Vineyard Haven in time for the 9:30 Steamship Authority boat---the last ferry off MV for the night..but it went to Woods Hole, 4 miles from Falmouth. A shutte bus would drop off ferry passengers at the Palmer Avenue parking lot in Falmouth. From there it was a nice walk in the quiet Falmouth streets before reaching my hotel.
It was late. I was tired. But Day 5 had been a huge success.