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     NO JOY IN MUDVILLE

     AND THE STATE OF WOODWORKING IN NEW ENGLAND

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STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH

This year’s traditional summertime trek to Rhode Island was meant to be one of “less work and more pleasure.” Too many hours during my last two journeys to this stretch of good ground nestled along Narragansett Bay was spent looking through the lens of a camera on behalf of this publication. This time around I arrived on Aquidneck Island with a less ambitious editorial schedule. I would visit the usual cherished haunts, sparingly depressing the shutter button with the intent of improving the look of past layouts, and maybe take in an evening of baseball from the back deck at the MUDVILLE PUB adjoining historic Cardines Field.


                                                Thanks to Eric & Wendy Pastore, www.digitalballparks.com
Cardines Field in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
CARDINES FIELD



                                                 Thanks to Eric & Wendy Pastore, www.digitalballparks.com
Cardine's Field Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
    THE GRANDSTAND AT CARDINES FIELD


What would be more rejuvenating than a pint of Gansett while watching the young guns of the Newport Gulls or the seasoned veterans of the Sunset League under the lights on the same piece of turf where the bats of Doby, Rizzuto and Ruth rocketed balls into the New England firmament? But alas, on this visit there would be no joy in Mudville. The neighborhood landmark was gutted and closed for major renovations brought on by extensive water damage as a result of a broken pipe. I would repair to another preferred pub in order to alleviate my distress and disappointment.

While sitting at the bar at the Celtica Public House I wondered if the mere hand of man could restore Mudville to its former glory. The general physical state of most modern construction tends to make one dubious of the skills and capabilities of the contemporary craftsman. But I was lifted from my melancholia when I remembered that Mark Brennan, the owner of Celtica, had only just built this gem of a tavern in the last couple of years. Apparently Man’s ability to tastefully express his creativity and genius in the medium of wood has remained intact. And in this part of America men have been making exceptional use of trees for many generations.

From the grandstand at Cardines Field to the magnificent old clapboard structures, such as the famed White Horse Tavern, and to the classic wooden yachts and sailboats that dot the harbor, Newport has preserved and honored well the bounty from our once plentiful old growth forests. But ones personal artistic expression need not be as grandiose in order to convey what resides within the soul. This summer I also experienced the beauty of skilled woodworking on a smaller scale.

Andrew McCarthy, the barman at the Wharf Pub, who up until recently only offered his ornately hand carved Tikis on wine corks, now has begun to showcase his dexterity on small pieces of drift wood.



Tikis as carved by Andrew McCarthy of the Wharf Pub in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
TIKIS CARVED BY ANDREW McCARTHY OF THE WHARF PUB


Barry Botelho, a contributing photographer, and his son Michael, the purveyors of New England’s highly prized and most sought-after “Twin Lobster Rolls” are once again making waves at Easton’s Beach with their line of handcrafted surf boards. The work of all these gentlemen has served as a personal inspiration. I might even consider bringing my limited skill sets to Rhode Island this winter to begin the restoration of the ill-fated craft that is beached in front of Flo’s Clam Shack in Middletown. It is more likely though that I’ll spend the chill of the evening in some cozy tavern admiring the mahogany back bar or the cherry mantle surrounding the fireplace.




On our last night in Newport, my wife and I motored out into the harbor on our favorite wooden boat the Rum Runner II. As I watched the sun going down over Narragansett Bay, I thought about those talented beings that build good boats and great bars. Collectively they have provided the settings from which one can enjoy the handiwork of the “Master Builder” – good friends and great sunsets! 



                                                                                                         courtesy of tablehound.com
Mudville Pub in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
MUDVILLE PUB IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND


                                                                               
courtesy of tablehound.com
The bar at Mudville Pub in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
THE BAR AT MUDVILLE PUB



THE BAR AT CELTICA PUBLIC HOUSE


The White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhodeisland as seen in American Public House Review
THE WHITE HORSE TAVERN



The bar at the Wharf Pub in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
THE BAR AT THE WHARF PUB



                                                                                                          courtesy of tablehound.com

Flo's Clams Shack in Newport Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
FLO'S CLAM SHACK


The RumrunnerII in Newport Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review
THE RUMRUNNER II





Sunset over Narragansett Bay by Mark Paltridge as seen in American Public House Review
CAPTAIN MARK PALTRIDGE OF THE RUMRUNNER II CAPTURED THIS SUBLIME IMAGE OF SUNSET OVER NARRAGANSETT BAY






Life Guard Boat on Easton's Beach in Newport, Rhode Island as seen in American Public House Review


MUDVILLE PUB


8 WEST MARLBOROUGH STREET

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND 02840-2528

(401) 849-1408


NO WEBSITE


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