After a kind of sad Revolutionary War history and a few decades of stagnation, Newport, RI really picked up around the mid 1800s, when some wealthy Southern planters began building summer homes on the island. Not to be left out, moneyed families from the Northeast soon followed suit with even bigger mansions before finally the truly abominably rich, like the Astors and the Vanderbilts, had no choice but to come and build even bigger mansions.
There are a few miles along the coast where you can get great views of all them, and the city set up a little trail for tourists called the Cliff Walk. It’s gor. geous.
Check that out! Don’t confuse these constructions with “beach houses,” because their architects were definitely not interested in a rustic feel. Walking along the paths you can hardly believe anyone would have been able to relax inside these things.
It was a little further down from this grey one that I ran into Mr. Kick Ass.
He was holding a small rock and banging it loudly on the stone wall as he walked down the path. Immediately recognizing that we MUST meet each other, I smiled and said “Hi!”
He responded, “Are you KICKIN ass? Bein you?”
Is that not the PERFECT GREETING?
“You know, yeah, I think I am. Are you?”
“OF COURSE. Here, let me take your picture, did you see the view??”
“I did, I did, this is crazy!” I handed him my camera.
“Ooooh oh! Take it in front of the dandelions. Dandelions are SO. GREAT. Do you know you can use dandelions for medicine, food, wine…”
While he cataloged the modern and historical uses of dandelions, he took my picture first in front of a dandelion hill and then with the cliffs on the other side as a backdrop before concluding, “Awesome!! These are kick ass!”
I asked if I could take his picture too, and believe it or not he was TOTALLY into it. He first stood looking me straight on, and then said, “No no!! No, get the helmet here,” and turned to his left. “Does it say ‘Be You'”?
“No, it sayyys… ‘Fuck On.'”
“YEAH better, yes, take that one. Ok now get a close up. WAIT no get the other side.”
He whipped around to the “BEE You” side, before saying, “OK! There’s a great view a mile down there- Kick ass!! Be you today ok!?”
I agreed to definitely kick ass and be me, although if I’m honest I have to admit I was kind of hoping that I could be him instead.
He was totally right about the view of course too! The whole rest of the walk was totally sweet.