America’s Oldest Tavern, Newport, RI

White Horse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern claims to be the oldest tavern in the country and many, but not all, lists of America’s oldest bars will agree.  The structure was built in 1652 as a private residence and opened as a tavern in 1673. The tavern has a rich history: it served as the meeting place for the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council; was once owned by a pirate; and, served as a rooming house. The building was showing its age by the 1950s, when The Preservation Society of Newport County acquired and restored it. It is now privately owned and still operates as a restaurant and bar. Visited August 2014.

Location: 26 Marlborough St., at Farewell Street


“Collinwood,” Newport, RI

Seaview Terrace

Vampires, werewolves, and witches — oh, my! Long before “Twilight” and “Vampire Diaries,” there was “Dark Shadows,” a gothic afternoon soap opera that aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971. The main setting for the drama was the Collins family estate, Collinwood, the exterior shots of which were of this mansion, Seaview Terrace (also known as the Carey Mansion).

The 40,000-square-foot mansion is located in the Millionaires’ Row section of Newport. Edson Bradley, who had made his fortune in whiskey, began building the home in 1923. It had originally been built in Washington, D.C., where it took up an entire city block and was known as Aladdin’s Palace. When the family decided to move to Newport, Bradley relocated his home piece by piece and incorporated an existing house on the grounds, Seaview, into the design and name. It is the fifth largest mansion  among Newport’s “summer cottages” (the largest, The Breakers, is located just a couple blocks away) and the largest privately owned.  Visited August 2014.

Location: 207 Ruggles Ave., between Bellevue and Wesmore avenues; this is private property and not open to the public

World’s Largest Rotating Globe, Yarmouth, ME

World's Largest Rotating Globe

Eartha, the world’s largest rotating globe, is housed in an atrium at the headquarters of DeLorme, a company specializing in mapping and GPS and satellite technology. The structure took two years to build; it measures 41.5 feet in diameter, weighs approximately 5,600 pounds, and tilts at the same angle as the Earth, 23.5 degrees. The Guinness Book of World Records declared the globe the World’s Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe in 1999 and it still holds that record.  Visited August 2014.

Location: 2 DeLorme Drive, just off I-295 Exit 17 (Route 1)

Happy Anniversary to The Off Ramp

I just received a notice from that I started my blog six years ago today.  Six years — really?? It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. So I thought it was fitting to revisit my first post: “I’m H-ee-rr-ee!”  I found it an interesting read, comparing what I had planned for the blog with what has actually happened. It seems I took a small detour somewhere on the road!.

My intentions for The Off Ramp were to have a “portal of sorts that will contain updated information about Route 66 preservation efforts, stories about other roads, existing and past roadside attractions, and my own road trip diaries.” As for the Route 66 portal, although The Mother Road is still my passion, I quickly realized that there was far too much information about preservation efforts and Route 66 in general for me to keep up with in the limited time I have to write and there are other blogs and websites already doing an outstanding job in this area. The stories about other roads never happened. However, roadside attractions have taken center stage and, for a while, I posted road trip diaries. A blog reflection in 2011 convinced me that my road trip stories were getting too lengthy for a blog format, so I changed to just focus on the attractions themselves (well, a narrative still sneaks in occasionally!).

I’ve enjoyed sharing the treasures I have found at the end of the off ramp and hope to continue to do so for another six years — at least! As I closed my first post six years ago, I will again: “I hope you enjoy the ride.”