Category Archives: New England Wineries

My Rhode Island Hit Parade

Here is, in no particular order, a list of my favorite spaces and places in this beautiful state.

1.  The Spring House on Block Island.  An old Victorian grand hotel, the front porch of the Spring House is the perfect place to while away an afternoon or evening.

045

2.  Napatree Point, Westerly.  Now a wildlife preserve, this spit of land was swept bare in the Hurricane of 1938, killing 15 people.   Today it’s a peaceful beach free from the crowds that swarm other local beaches.

napatree

3.  The view of Providence from Prospect Terrace Park.   I love this statue of Roger Williams gazing out over the city he founded.  I recently found out that H.P. Lovecraft frequently visited this park.

Roger Williams

4.   The Ocean Mist.  The O’Mist is a legendary beach bar, hard by the shores of Matunuck Beach.  People once played volleyball in front of the deck, but severe erosion has claimed most of this space…..pro:  you feel like you’re on a poor man’s cruise ship….con:  the future of the Ocean Mist is iffy.   Come for live music, excellent fish tacos, and a great beer selection.

oceanmist

5.  Diamond Hill Vineyards.  Yes, a winery in Cumberland is one of my favorite spots!  It’s really come a long way over the last few years, a great spot to hang out and sip wine.  This picture was taken on a beautiful December day, when it warmed up to over 60 degrees!

diamondhill

6.  The Towers, Narragansett.  The entire town qualifies for my Best Of list, but the Towers are an iconic and beautiful landmark.  Built as part of the Narragansett Pier Casino in the 1880s, they’re now a venue for private events.

narragansett

7.  Wickford Village.   Shopping and dining with views like this:

wickford

8.   THIS BARN.   I am on a quest to get a picture of it in all seasons.  Come on spring!!

scituate barn

9.   The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmer’s Market.  I can’t believe this place doesn’t get more press.  It’s bigger and better than the summertime markets.   I counted four vendors selling grass-fed meat.  FOUR.  There are fresh winter veggies, seafood & poultry, products such as herbals, honey, pickles, chocolates.  My routine is to grab an insanely delicious crepe (my fave is brie, spinach & craisins), a coffee from New Harvest, and stroll around for an overview before I buy anything.

pawtmkt

10.  The Clarke Cooke House, Newport.   Four stories of fun in a beautiful Colonial-era building, from the basement nightclub to fine dining on the top floor “Porch”….and five bars that I can think of.

clarkecooke

Well, there you have it!  Do you agree with my choices?  Am I missing anything obvious?  Be in touch and let me know!

 

 

Advertisements

FarmCoast MA

One of the most beautiful and underrated areas of New England is the area comprised of four coastal towns, Tiverton and Little Compton RI, Westport and Dartmouth MA.   It’s pretty, pastoral and quiet, but chock full of things to do ….if you happen to like food, wine and art.  A real tough sell, right?  Every year I swear I’m going to make it to SouthCoast Open Studios Tour, and this year I finally did.    The local artists open their studios to the public twice a year, and a map is provided to drive between them all.  After spending the day at the beach, I hit four or five of them.   But first, lunch.  A local favorite is The Bayside.  You’ll never catch me sitting inside for a meal in summer, but that often means compromising on the quality of the food.  Not at The Bayside!  I had a salmon burger with avocado and tamari aioli, washed down with a local brew (Grey Lady from Cisco Brewers on Nantucket).   I could have stayed here all day.

bayside

A hub of activity in this area is the historic district of Tiverton Four Corners….lots of cute shops, a couple of options for eating, and lots of art and antiques.   The vibe here – and throughout the SouthCoast region – is understated and casual, but with a certain elegance about it.

Tiv4C

tiverton4c

Act like a local – buy a used book at the library’s used book sale:

tiv4c2

gardenshed

tesscarlos

Farming is a big deal here, Westport even bills itself as a “Right To Farm Community”.  It’s written right into their bylaws that farms shall be allowed “to function with minimal conflict with abutters and town agencies”.  It’s common to see an unattended table at the end of a driveway, with a pile of corn or other produce, and a container to leave your money.   One of my favorite stops is Westport Rivers Winery, specializing in sparkling wines.  Like many businesses in this region, they’re closed on Sundays so plan accordingly.

westportrivers1

westportrivers2

The same family owns Buzzards Bay Brewing right around the corner…..don’t miss it.  If you’re looking for more to see and do in this region (as well as addresses and a map), see my Jauntful guide.

Orange you glad foliage season is over?

No?  Well, you will be soon.

This post is All Connecticut All The Time.  I didn’t intend it to be, it just happened.  One of my favorite places in CT is Sharpe Hill Winery in Pomfret.  Classic New England:

Sharpe Hill Sign Sharpe Hill2

This area of northeastern CT is known as The Quiet Corner, and also The Last Green Valley.   If you were to fly over New England at night, this area is the only place from DC to Maine that is in darkness, it’s truly rural.

Right around the corner is The Golden Lamb Buttery, a highly regarded restaurant that has been in the same family for generations.  I pulled over to take a couple of pictures and realized a wedding was going on.  You couldn’t ask for a nicer setting, the only incongruous note was hearing that horrid song “Happy” blaring out of the barn.  This beautiful guy coming over to say hello made up for it.

Golden Lamb2

Golden Lamb1

This fall the abandoned village of Johnsonville CT has been getting a lot of press after it was announced it would be auctioned off in October.  Oh if only I could get my hands on $3M!!   I wasn’t able to buy it but I was able to visit and take pictures.

JVille1

Jville2 Jville 3

002

jville pond

I’ve always heard of Gillette Castle but never got around to going.  Wow, I was really missing something!  The castle is cool although it was closed for the season and we didn’t get to go inside.  But the real star of the show are the grounds which have become a state park, with amazing views of the Connecticut River.

Gillette Castle 2

Gillette Castle

Driving home I saw this cool old barn:

CT Barn

Now for a couple of Rhode Island pictures.  As I got closer to home the light was really cool and I saw a lot of nice foliage in Acotes Hill Cemetery in Chepachet, so I had to pull in.  I love a good cemetery.

Acotes Hill 1

Acotes hill 2

Hard to believe the holidays are almost upon us.  In my next post I’ll list some holiday events in case you’re looking for things to do.  Stay tuned!

Shopping, wine and a little bit of history…

Does it get any better than that? Not in my world. As daytrips go, the Connecticut River Valley is a bit of a sleeper, it reminds me of SouthCoast MA in that regard. Rural, pretty, with a bit of sophistication. Once again, see my Jauntful guide for the area for specific recommendations of things to see and do. So many pretty spots I don’t know where to begin. We had a great lunch at The Blue Oar, a BYOB on the river. Hard to beat this view. I had a medium rare burger, with some Salmon River Red from Priam Vineyards up in Colchester. Blue Oar

The village of East Haddam is home to the Goodspeed Opera House, and the beautiful Gelston House restaurant next door. No, I didn’t see Fiddler, but after seeing this cool place I wish I had. Had a glass of champagne on the Gelston House patio overlooking the river. (did I tell you I turned 50 on the day I was there?). It’s a hard place to leave! Goodspeed Opera Gelston House view Gelston House Haddam Bridge

Okay, on to Chester. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more charming village than this. A handful of shops, and three – count ’em – THREE really good restaurants in this teeny place. The River Tavern, Restaurant L&E and Otto. A shopkeeper told us they have a farmer’s market on Sundays, all the shops open early and they close the town to car traffic. A highlight was the studio and gallery of Leif Nilsson, an Impressionist painter. Just gorgeous. LeifNilssonChesterCT We wrapped up this beautiful day in the amazing village of Essex. Its claim to fame is it’s one of the few American towns ever to be attacked by a foreign power. It happened during the War of 1812, when the British destroyed 28 vessels with an estimated worth of $200,000. That’s in 1814 dollars! You can’t go to Essex without a stop at The Griswold Inn, affectionately known as The Gris. An old colonial hotel/restaurant/tavern. Go. You don’t be disappointed. None of my pictures of Essex came out good ….hard to imagine since it’s such a gorgeous place. I’ll leave you with yet another image of my favorite place…Block Island! You saw that coming, didn’t you?

Ballards Beach

A visit to a North Shore winery and a special guest….

Last weekend I went to Newburyport MA with a couple of friends, and on the way we stopped at Mill River Winery in Rowley.  We were very pleased with the whole experience….a beautiful building, nice wines and a well-stocked gift shop.  What more could a girl want?   My guest photographer took this great shot inside the winery – she is none other than Eden B. of the well known blog Eden’s World.  I hope I can return the favor sometime soon!

Image

Fun on a gloomy day –

Here’s my update to my last post.  Yes, I took a day out of work and hung out on a gray, wet day.  And I had fun!  We hit two wineries:  Maugle Sierra and Saltwater Farm.  Both are well worth a visit.  They are also very close to Mystic, CT and Westerly, RI so you’ll have plenty of dining choices.  We had lunch at The Bridge in Westerly.   The food is good with a fairly eclectic menu but for me the real draw is the outdoor patio.  Yes, Westerly is a beach town but this place sits on a river, and the patio juts out into the river in such a way that water flows by on either side.  Image

Maugle Sierra Winery, Ledyard CT

Maugle-Sierra-Vineyards-Wine-Tasting-Room (2)

I told you there’d be wineries, right?  Maugle Sierra is one of my favorite places within an hour’s drive of home, located in Ledyard, CT.   Nice wines, jammy & fruit-forward (as they describe them).  They’ve done a great job with the tasting room, you feel like you’re in Napa!   Wonderful in all seasons…..a patio for summer picnics and the tasting room has a fireplace with cushy chairs arranged in a semi-circle.  So much fun with a group of friends.  Have you visited any NE wineries?  Do you have a favorite?  If you’d like to visit one but don’t know where to begin, check out http://www.ctwine.com or http://www.coastalwinetrail.com.  Cheers!