East Bay Trail, Bristol, Rhode Island, Day 4

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Bristol Town Hall

Martha’s frustration with my slowness in the mornings getting my bike ready to go is getting more evident, and she would have gotten us on an early start today, except that I really wanted to see a little of the old colonial architecture in this interesting little town with red, white, and blue stripes separating the traffic on Main Street. She gave in, like a good friend, and tried to be patient.

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Island Lighthouse

So on time, at 9 a.m., we started on the East Bay Trail at the Bristol Harbor. This was really a scenic trail, rather park like in the environs, and an enjoyable ride.

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Joyce on the East Bay Trail

The trail was almost 15 miles and a pleasant morning ride along lots of water on the sides of the trail.

We arrived at our next RIPTA stop, like pros put our bikes on the front, and rode back into Providence, where we met Kay, who also rode the bus in, but all the way from Bristol. I am gaining new appreciation for Rhode Island and its history and geography. It’s no longer a “dull” image in my mind.

After a delicious hamburger at Luxe Burger, we were again walking the bikes back to Amtrak to head for Boston. We arrived there in order to have our first subway ride with the bikes. This was also an interesting challenge because of all the people on the subway. But we did it. When we exited at Harvard Square, we found ourselves in the midst of a street celebration (HONK?) that was also very crowded. It didn’t seem like Sunday at all. Kind of sad to realize it was the Sabbath and just a normal day for these crowds of people. We meandered our way through the people pushing our bikes to where Martha’s friend Cheryl had a car rented. It was an adventure by itself getting off the Red Line subway with all the people standing in the aisles.  Seems like we had done so much aleady this morning, and it was now only 3 p.m. We were keeping to our time schedule quite well!

Kay and I were packed tightly in the back seat of the rental car with my fold-up bike and two bags that wouldn’t fit in the trunk, and like this we went on to Walden Pond to see where Thoreau spent his two years “living simply.” Although I respect his philosophy, I must admit that I lost a little of my admiration for his venture when I realized his age for those two years was from 28 to 30 (a natural time of life to want to spark out on one’s own, but then that was a century ago and times have changed) and when I read that his parents lived only a half mile away, less than a 30 minute walk. Having been influenced by Emerson, who wrote Nature and Self Reliance, I can understand his motivation and think that it might not have taken as much independence and courage as I once thought.

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Thoreau’s Grave

After a short walk at Walden Pond, which is a beautiful place in spite of my new knowledge, we drove over to a Sleepy Hollow cemetery to see the headstones of Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Hawthorne, and Thoreau. Their families are all buried close together, for they had pretty much been contemporaries. In fact, it was Branson Alcott who helped people know where Thoreau had built his little one-room home in the woods.

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Joyce & Martha on Old North Bridge

We also went to North Bridge in Concord, where the first shot was fired in the Revolutionary War, the “shot heard around the world” (by Emerson). That was really interesting to me, to imagine the British soldiers being met by the colonials,  the British firing that first shot, the farmers’ militia then hitting three of the British and the British then turning to go back to Concord.

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Sugar Maple in Full Color

We ate dinner at the Colonial Inn, which had served as an armory and hospital in the Battles of Lexington & Concord.  It was a neat old building and had tasty food. Then on to the modern day Quality Inn to finally get to bed. We did a lot and covered a lot of territory today, but it was good.

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