We really wanted to get out of the house and pick apples on Saturday. It was a beautiful New England Fall day and I wanted to incorporate a nice drive into the day so we headed north from Providence on Route 7. I love this road; as soon as you pass Bryant University, the road narrows and becomes so pictuaresque. Not a light in sight, just the occasional stop sign! We cruised all the way up to Douglas, MA. At this point I realized I did not have a map and I forgot the addresses of the two apple orchards we wanted to drive to, so we took a left and ended up at Douglas State Forest. Bordering both CT & RI, this 5, 730 acre state forest is home to Wallum Lake.
A beautiful area where visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and hiling through woodland trails. I only wish we had packed some food to enjoy a picnic with!
After a short hike through the woods, we took a left outside of the Forest entrance and headed towards the orchards – or so we thought. We were enjoying the scenery(stately town greens, 18th century farmhouses), but nothing looked familiar. Soon we saw signs for Thompson Speedway, which has the highest-banked race track(a 5/8 mile oval) in New England . A short time later we ended up in the center of historic and charming Thompson, CT(inc. 1785).
We were pretty hungry at this point, and luckily saw signs for a farm stand! We drove down a charming road and ended up at Chase Road Growers. They had pumpkins and peppers and squash galore. Zoe grabbed a basket and went “shopping for supper”. The rest if us were just happy to purchase a few apples to tied us over till we found our way back home. Jayne Reynolds, the owner, told us the apples came from Woodstock Orchards just down the road in Woodstock CT, so off we went determined to pick some before the sun went down. We headed south on Rt. 169, 32-miles of which, is a National Scenic Highway.
I have radar for small independent shops, cafes and the like and spied the most adorable tea shop: Mrs. Bridges’ Pantry(860-963-7040): “a little slice of Britain…”. Located at 292 Rt. 169, this was a little gem of a shop where you can pick out a beautiful bone china tea pot from England, English pantry items and even sit down for a respite and enjoy a a perfectly prepared pot of tea paired with scones. We had no time for tea, but we did pick up some goodies for the road.
Woodstock Orchards ended up being just down the road about 5 minutes. We had 1 hour left to pick apples so we got to work. They only had about 4 varieties available to pick, so we stuck with two: Empire & Ida Red: both great for eating and baking. Jim purchased a bag of Bosc Pears to make some jam with and we were done!
We went south on Rt. 169, took a left on Rt. 6 and made our way back to Rhode Island. We had every intention of making supper at home, but as the hour reached 6pm, we realized we would be much too tired, so we stopped at a place we have been meaning to check out for years now: Cindy’s Diner in North Scituate, RI. One of the last classic diners left in New England. The retro, blinking, neon sign beckoned us in. We enjoyed Roast Pork with mashed potatoes and butternut squash and split a piece of cranberry apple pie. A scrumptious way to end the drive!
Check out this video I made of the trip. Hope it inspires you to go for a drive and get lost!