When my friend Barbara called to ask if we wanted to join her and her husband on a jaunt to Newport Sunday to see a collection of grandfather clocks, I thought that was the best idea I’d heard in a long time.
And I’m not all that crazy about clocks. My grandfather was and he had a lot of them. I never did see the appeal of all that gonging and ringing and bonging going on every fifteen minutes.
Banjo Man has been working too hard. Twelve hour days in his office and long, physical weekends cleaning out the workroom have worn him out. Not that he would admit it.
“And of course we’ll have lunch,” Barb added.
Lunch? I love lunch. I was all in. I told Banjo Man, “You’re taking a vacation day. No computer. No ladder. No hauling of furniture.”
So off we went to the oldest library building in the United States, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, established in 1747 by colonists in Newport who wanted to make knowledge more available to the residents of the island.
The Redwood’s exhibition is “the greatest single presentation of Clagget clocks ever assembled,” according to the library’s magazine. William Clagget came to Newport from England in 1714 and soon established himself as Newport’s preeminent clockmaker.
I cannot even begin to imagine what his clocks are worth. Most of them have stayed in the families that originally purchased them in the 1700’s. One came from the Metropolitan, two others from the Sturbridge Museum.
The library also has an impressive portrait collection decorating its walls. Banjo Man was awed by spotting four original Gilbert Stuart paintings. That made his day.
And then there was lunch at the Brick Alley Pub, a favorite local haunt with great food.
Believe it or not, we were all having a good time.
I never grow tired of visiting Newport. The colonial homes, the Gilded Age mansions, the chowder, the museums, the shops, the cobblestone streets…what’s not to love?