Day 36 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast and Hartford Connecticut

Day 36 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA

Misquamicut State Beach

What an action packed day!  I started out at Misquamicut State Beach, Rhode Island’s largest.  The seas were as calm as I’ve seen for days. With barely any surf, if it weren’t for the blue horizon of water and sky, it could have been mistaken for a tranquil pond!  As I walked along the beach with the dogs; however, I spotted evidence of recent rough seas as I passed countless starfish washed ashore every five feet.

I kept up with geocaching and found two caches of a series of Misquamicut caches nearby…one hidden in the brush across the street and another magnetically attached to a “No Parking” sign.  The Oceanside community of Weekapaug across the way reminded me of Rockport, Texas; quiet streets, lined with gingerbread-style beach houses.

misquamicut state beach

Watch Hill

After our walk at Misquamicut State Beach, I traveled a few miles down the road to Watch Hill, a lovely seaside resort.  Most of the stores appeared to be closed for the season, but the sandy path along a peninsula jutting over a mile into the ocean to Napatree Point was magnificent.  Reader’s Digest describes this location as one of the best beach walks in Rhode Island, and I have to agree.  I walked/jogged the beach to wear out the dogs as I knew they would be spending the afternoon in VANilla.  My view to the left was a red roofed lighthouse on the rocky shore, while the view to my right was grassland dunes.  To make the walk even better, a cache was hidden on the other side of the dune where a salty marshland laid nearby.

napatree point

New Haven and Yale University

After a morning on beaches, I headed to New Haven to spend an afternoon with my stepdad’s college roommate to tour Yale and the surrounding area.  We had a busy afternoon!  An ex-student and current fellow, Bill took me through several areas of the campus that I would not have known I could enter or that required an access card.  Our first stop was McClellan Hall, part of the freshman quad, where my stepdad, Bart, and Bill spent their first year away from home.

Thereafter, we walked past Harkness Tower, through the Branford College courtyards, the Saybrook College courtyards, the Trumbull College courtyards (Bart ‘s and Bill’s home as upperclassmen), and the Berkeley College courtyards.  Each College contains a dining hall, a library, and living quarters.  The upper classmen are assigned a college and remain in that college through graduation.  At the time Bart and Bill attended Yale, the dorms simply consisted of stairwells with a suite off each side including a living area with a fireplace and two bedrooms sleeping four men.  The residence halls didn’t have any corridors like most other college dorms.

trumbull hall, yale

Other points of interest on the campus that we visited included the Women’s Table (a granite fountain inscribed with the chronology of years and how many women attended Yale in graduate school until the campus became co-ed in 1970), the Yale Center for British Art which housed some outstanding oil paintings, the Sterling Memorial Library, the Law School, and the Beineke Rare Book Library.

The stone carved figurines in the library corridors and along the windows of the Law School were especially funny to me.  Yale, built in the 1930’s, has a gothic appearance, and I would have passed by the figurines like they were any other gargoyle…not so.  One of the stone carvings in the library was of a college student holding a book open to pages with the inscription U. R. A. JOKE. (Text started a long time ago)!  Each side of the law school window sill was cornered with a policeman figurine with criminals and justice in between.  The campus was chock full with clever and beautifully handcrafted architecture.  I can’t imagine how anything similar could be built today.

The Beineke Rare Book Library, an addition in the 1960’s, was built with translucent marble walls and is home to a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible encased in glass.  Next to the glass case, is a phone number that may be called to hear a translation of the open pages displayed in the Bible.

East Rock

After our tour of Yale and tasty lunch of bean soup and a portabella sandwich, we drove to the top of East Rock, one of the two rocks between which New Haven is settled.  The rock offered a view of New Haven, the town’s harbor, Long Island, and Long Island Sound.  After enjoying the view atop the rock, we ventured back to Bill and Julie’s house, picked up the dogs, walked across the street to East Rock Park and College Woods and enjoyed a view of the rocky cliff.

East Rock Park and College Woods

We walked along the trail and across a footbridge, stopping a few times to photograph the fall colors.  The College Woods, once used by Yale to harvest firewood, was home to a cache.  Bill found my description of geocaching interesting, so we set off on a hunt for an ammo can.  The area, canopied with trees, wreaked havoc on my GPS reading, so that I could only narrow down the search area to about 60 feet!  It took a little while to find, but we were successful, so he knows this activity does actually exist.

Frank Pepe

After only a short time at home visiting with Julie, Bill’s wife, we decided to dine at Frank Pepe, a pizza restaurant established in 1925 and an old Yale hangout.  At 6:40 pm, with over 30 tables in service, a line of 10 people was out the door!  We ran into some of Bill and Julie’s neighbors, Barbara and John, and combined to one table for only a 15 minute wait.  We had a busy day and lovely evening…by the time I sat down to the computer, it was ten o’clock. ETB

Other Posts About Connecticut and Rhode Island That You May Like

Day 35 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast

Day 37 – Connecticut”s Litchfield Hills

Day 38 – Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills – Part 2



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fall colors website copy

Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

5 thoughts on “Day 36 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast and Hartford Connecticut

  1. From your photos and your blog, I would say you have seen an amazing beach and some spectacular fall color! And, have had lots of success finding those caches!

    Yale is pretty amazing, isn’t it! Bill and Bart took me on a tour several years ago. I love the gothic look of the school.

    I’m thrilled you had such a nice time in New Haven and that you were able to spend time with Bill and Julie. Many, many thanks to them from me!

    xo’s M

  2. Yale sounds wonderful! Not sure why – but I can’t imagine having a fire place in a college dorm suite. Sounds a little dangerous providing fire to an 18 year old kid. Then again College Station didn’t get all that cold.

    Your blog always provides a nice escape from my hectic day at work.

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