After the boats arrived, traffic in Newport picked up and foot traffic increased greatly. Parking became harder to find and getting anywhere in Newport was taking much, much longer (woohoo traffic). But even with all this increased traffic, everyone, and I mean everyone, was in high spirits. To top things off weather was gorgeous, I even managed to get a bit of a tan (no more Casper nickname this summer!).
I still spent a lot of time in the race village once the boats were there but I also enjoyed some downtime touring around Portsmouth, Bristol and Middletown (all surrounding towns North of Newport). I did some shopping before the boats arrived (sorry credit card) and chatted with local shop owners about the growing excitement of the race. I spotted an antique store on the way home from seeing the ladies of #TeamSCA arrive, (yes, I said antique store) and decided to pop in. Why not? Scored some vintage JFK magazines in the end so worthwhile stop in my opinion. By this time I needed a nap and then some more coffee.
Friday morning I decided to do a Newport Mansion Tour at The Elms, which I recommend to everyone and anyone. Theres about a dozen houses you can tour all along Bellevue Avenue and soak up some of the rich local history. Headed to the race village again and got some great shots of the buzzing race village (even managed to see some of the crew members!). See Below - Will Oxley, Navigator on Team Alvimedica.
I managed to catch up with an old friend for dinner Friday night, heading to one of the local spots in Bristol called Aidans, followed by DeWolf Tavern (heart broken when I found out they took the creme brule off the menu!!). If you ever visit Newport, I recommend taking some time visiting Bristol (yes, going over the bridge and "off the island") and touring around. It's a quaint little town that is full of history, big old houses with lovely porches, local hot spots and loads of small town charm - not to mention the killer view along Hope Street and Thames St. One place that is a must to visit in Bristol is The Herreshoff Marine Museum. Looking for great coffee and a fresh breakfast? Head over to the Beehive Cafe at the bottom of Franklin street.
Saturday morning came (way too early in my opinion) and I got to the race village just in time to see the Exploration Zone open. The Exploration Zone is part of the educational thrust that Volvo Ocean Race Newport is focusing on this stopover and "features more than 20 interactive exhibits on marine life, sailing, ocean conservation, wind, water and weather experiences, and marine technology."
Then I spent some more time in the Team SCA pavilion and saw the awesome Lego VO65 that was done for them. It's made up of over 1,000 pieces of Lego and travels to each stopover in it's own container. It's a working model as well, which is pretty awesome.
Later in the afternoon I headed back to Bristol and visited a friend at The International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS), where he's a TA. Cool stuff happens inside that building on Franklin street. It also happens to be where Adam, our boat builder, went to school!
As the weekend wore on, traffic kept increasing. By Saturday evening (May 9th) Volvo Ocean Race Newport had 50,000 people come through the stopover. Let me put this in perspective, Newport itself only has a population of around 25,000 people, if that, so having 50,000 people come through the stopover is nothing short of impressive and a true reflection of the interest and excitement people had over this whole event.
Saturday night Heineken sponsored a Reggae Rally concert inside Fort Adams that featured local band John Brown's Body, The Ravers, and Mighty Mystic. It may have been insanely foggy but it was an awesome night with friends - cornhole, drinks, music and ocean view. What else could anyone want? Great way to end the week in a gorgeous place.
All I can say is I love my job.
For more pictures from the post-arrivals fun, check out the album on our Facebook page or Instagram account (@foghmarine).