Here in little Rhode Island and all over New England, it has been unbearably hot & sticky out. I have not been motivated to do much of anything besides park myself in front of my fan. Even that has proved futile. By 3pm, my fan starts blowing hot air! No exaggeration.
It was a welcome relief, last week, when my friend Lisa invited me to go to the beach. She has been working from home nursing a bad back and I’ve been home recovering from hip surgery. Surely the ocean air will cool us off and the water will be healing. I got out of my comfort zone, gave the fans a rest and said yes.
I drove, she made and packed our lunch. A terrific deal. Rhode Island is not very big and from where we are in Providence, you can be at the bottom of the state in 45min.
We left early to beat the crowds. We took a few back roads and headed towards our destination. Needing to fuel up first with some caffeine, I suggested we stop at Dave’s Coffee, one of my favorite coffee roasters in New England and the makers of a famous RI item dating back to the 1930’s, coffee syrup (used to make coffee milk!).
We got there just in time as the line started to form behind us. The smell of freshly roasted coffee hits you when you walk in, perking you right up. Then, when you are about to order JUST an iced coffee, you spy and smell the freshly baked muffins. These large, luscious, crumbly looking muffins beckon you as you try to stay firm with your order. You see the ‘in-season’ Strawberry Rhubarb or Lemon Ricotta and you start to feel like you’ve never seen such a muffin before. The next thing I know I’m asking Lisa if she’d like to split one and I cave and order one of the Lemon-Ricotta muffins. (Sorry, no pic. The muffin was warm, the muffin top huge and we ate it in the car before I could snap a photo)
Due to our coffee detour we had to backtrack a bit on Rt. 1 to get to the beach we wanted to go to. This was one of Lisa’s faves and I had never been, despite living in RI for 13yrs. Alas, we drove all the way out the breachway, joined a line of cars, only to see the “lot closed” sign. “Oh well,” Lisa said, “we’ll just go to the town beach.” We were still early so there were plenty of parking spaces. Parking fee is high($20), but it is per car, so bring the family.
It isn’t a huge beach, but pretty with very soft sand. The tide was coming in so we laid our blankets up towards the grass in the back.
We noticed it was still pretty hot out, not sure where the “cool ocean breezes” were, but our iced coffees cooled us right off. While Lisa was resting her back and catching some rays, I walked the short bit to the water. There was a fierce rip tide that day so there was no way I was getting in; bad hip or not.
I have to say it was so relaxing to get away from the city and my hot apartment.
Lunchtime approached and Lisa got out our salads. My color coordinated salad consisted of; grilled chicken breast, arugula, radishes, orange pepper and pineapple(!) tossed in a homemade Dijon dressing finished with a splash of Rosé. Colorful and delicious!
After a healthy lunch with nary a sand pebble as a garnish, we sunned ourselves a bit more, walked a short ways and noticed how packed the beach now was. Time to go!
We weren’t quite ready to brave the beach traffic back to the city so we decided to head down the road a little to see if we could score a seat on the deck at the cool Rhody beach bar/institution: Ocean Mist.
Timing is everything at this beach bar. When bands aren’t playing inside, everyone wants a seat outside on the waterfront deck.
A shady one had our name on it. I ordered a glass of my new favorite beer: Rise, an award-winning American pale ale brewed in Rhode Island, right up the road from us by Whalers Brewing Company
We were also a little bit hungry, so we ordered a basket of fries and I tried one of their stuffies (stuffed quahog) which had a nice amount of bread crumbs, onion, celery and of course, chopped clams!
It was soon time to hit the road but not before we made a quick stop at Carpenter’s Farm Stand to pick up some locally grown vegetables to bring home.
Carpenter’s is a 5th generation family farm located just up from the beach in Matunuck, RI. They have fresh produce, grass-fed beef, a garden center and homemade pies! Lisa bought some veggies and a Key Lime Creme pie and I bought some lettuces and a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.
The drive home wasn’t too bad as Lisa knows all the back roads to take. By the time we got to her house I was having some bad hip pain, but like the great friend she is, she packed up ice into a zip lock and sent me on my merry way with 2 Tylenol and the ice packed resting on my sore hip.
By the time I got home, it was still hot and sticky out. I was hungry for supper but did not want to cook. I grilled some chicken sausages, sliced them. Sautéed sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, added a splash of balsamic vinegar, and tossed that mixture with the sliced sausages and local Carpenter’s Farm lettuces. Quick, easy & delicious.
I sat down on the couch, propped my feet onto some pillows, turned on the fan (hoping for some cool air) and ate my salad while thinking back on my day.
Thank you Lisa for inviting me out for a wonderful day and encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone even if for a day. It was the respite and rejuvenation I needed. Looking forward to more beach days this summer!