Trip Intro;
Excursion to Poet's Seat Tower
A Tri-State Drive Thru Rural Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts
Shelburne Falls: Bridge of Flowers and Glacial Potholes
Tennis Camp at Amherst College
On the Road Again: From Amherst to Block Island
Block Island Discovery Part 1: God's Glory at Mohegan Bluffs
Block Island Discovery Part 2: Hiking, Biking, and Beaches
The South County of Rhode Island: Point Judith Light and Misquamicut
A Trip to America's Third Oldest Lighthouse
Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport;
The North Shore of Massachusetts
Trinity Church and the Back Bay of Boston

When planning my trip, I had intended for one of the highlights of my vacation to be the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. This was supposed to be a tennis trip, after all... :-) Every year the ATP (men's pro tour) holds a tournament on the grounds of the ITHOF, which is comprised entirely of grass courts. I was actually a week too late to attend the event, but that was actually not a bad thing. Interestingly enough, the facility is the only one in America with grass courts that are open to the public...

Newport is a very attractive town. The streets are still narrow from long-ago planning and construction, so traffic tends to get tight. But in a way that adds to the charm of the place. Long rows of old-style buildings, winding streets, and a few hills make navigating Newport kind of fun. Even though I was trying to find my way to the Hall of Fame, I still enjoyed driving around the town that afternoon.

This is the front of the ITHOF, viewed from the street. I think there may be a casino in the complex too,
but I didn't care enough to look around to verify that.

When you enter the ITHOF, you pass thru a corridor and emerge out into a large courtyard where there is a center grass show court. This is looking back at the old-style buildings surrounding the courtyard.

This is the courtyard I mentioned above. When I was there, these old guys were playing bad doubles on the show court. I never actually went to the museum to check out the Hall of Fame exhibits. I just didn't have the time... and I really wasn't that interested anyway.

Further back in the complex are all the main playing courts. I had called ahead and scheduled a tennis lesson with one of the semi-pros, so I found the dressing rooms and got ready for a workout. Notice that all the players are wearing only white. The ITHOF has a high-class policy that all players must wear white.
I guess the facility is trying to be Wimbledon West or something.

I certainly did get a good workout from my hour lesson! It was extraordinarily challenging playing on a grass surface, since I had never experienced it before. If the ball isn't hit with a lot of pace, the grass catches it, and the ball just dies where it lands. Hardly any bounce. And if you hit a drop shot, there is no chance in getting to the ball before it hits the court twice. I am a pretty speedy player, but grass slows the game down tremendously and cancelled out my quickness. It was a lot of fun though... definitely something you don't get a chance to do very often!

It was around late afternoon when I was done at the Hall of Fame, and I had some distance to travel yet. I had reserved that night's stay in Rockport, a town north of Boston along the North Shore of Massachusetts. I had really misjudged how long it would take me to drive there (about 3 hours). By the time I got there and checked into my motel, I was only able to catch a late dinner of fresh salmon and this beautiful Atlantic sunset.

As a major sailing and fishing hub, Rockport seemed like a really cool little town to explore... But again, disappointingly, I had no time to see much of it.

Before I left for home, I had one more stop to make...


Beavertail Boston
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