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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
7. Wickford Village. Shopping and dining with views like this:
8. THIS BARN. I am on a quest to get a picture of it in all seasons. Come on spring!!
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.
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.
Well, there you have it! Do you agree with my choices? Am I missing anything obvious? Be in touch and let me know!
Like Newport isn’t fun enough, this year the city had the distinct honor of being a stopover for the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race. The race covers 39k nautical miles and circumnavigates the globe over nine months. The Race Village was open for about a week mid-May, and then the boats were on to Portugal. The boats are relatively tiny – can you imagine crossing the ocean in this??
The day I was there was gloomy and cool; much as I love a warm sunny day in Newport sometimes you just gotta work around other people’s schedules. Once I looked at my pictures I realized how much bright color was on display….maybe it was the contrast with the gray day?
This gloomy day morphed into a foggy low-key evening:
The Volvo Race is currently in Portugal, then onto their next stopover in Lorient, France. They’ll have a quick pit stop at The Hague, Netherlands, and the race will end in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of June. You can download the app to follow the race here.
I know it seems a bit early but it’s only because I want you to get out there and enjoy some Christmas events! You know if you don’t plan ahead it won’t happen.
I’m a bit of a history geek and my favorite of the living history museums is Mystic Seaport. For the 35th year they are presenting their Lantern Light Tours, a progressive play set on Christmas Eve 1876. Leave some time for lunch or dinner at S&P Oyster Company in downtown Mystic.
Old Sturbridge Village offers up Christmas By Candlelight, with a full slate of traditional activities such as caroling, roasting chestnuts and the like. The on-site Oliver Wight Tavern offers special dinners to coincide with their Christmas events, as well as Brunch with Santa.
Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth NH is unique in that it encompasses over 300 years of American history, up to 1954 when the site was saved from urban renewal. Sticking with the historical theme of ….candles….their seasonal event is the Candlelight Stroll. Weekends in December bring sleigh rides, live music and seasonal entertainment along walkways lighted with wood and glass candle boxes. This would make a fantastic weekend away, as Portsmouth is a great small city, full of shopping and dining options.
People tend to forget about Newport once summer’s over but it’s really got a lot to offer in all seasons. December brings Christmas At The Newport Mansions, probably the best time to see these amazing Gilded Age mansions decked out in their holiday finery. You can’t go wrong with dinner at The White Horse Tavern; in their own words “from farm to table since 1673”. Yes, really: 1673.
I’d like to end with a reminder that this Saturday, November 29th is Small Business Saturday. Shop local! Shop small!!
I think I care too much about the weather. It’s completely out of my control and yet I fret about it all the time. Some days still stick in my memory…..rare New England summer days that I describe as California days….hot and dry, cloudless blue sky. That’s weather perfection to me. But I get caught up in it, and I don’t like that.
I have a vacation day scheduled for tomorrow; the forecast is calling for rain. One went so far as to use the word “washout”. If a vacation day from work is not one spent outside in sunshine I think of it as wasted. I considered canceling but I thought about the day I have planned with my friend. She’ll be away next week, and another week after that in July. Who knows when we’ll next get to spend a day together with nothing on the agenda? So now I’m thinking of how we can enjoy this day that somehow involves the outdoors, or maybe bringing a bit of the outdoors….in. I will post again and let you know what the day brings.
I didnt have any pictures of a rainy day, so I decided to use this one that I took recently to illustrate what a California sky looks like, for anyone who’s never seen one. This pic was taken at the Clark Cooke House, one of my favorite spots in Newport.
I’m lucky enough to have a pilot friend who has his own plane (fancy huh? I know) and last year we flew down to Newport on a fact-finding mission. Really just sightseeing but I like the sound of fact-finding mission.. I love this view of the mansions. If you’re wondering if I am nervous flying with him, well yes I am. Very. One day I’ll tell you about a flight to Block Island on a windy day.