My step-mother’s parents, Rose and Jerry (aka Bubbie and Zadie), retired to Florida over 17 years ago. Every year, they return to Rhode Island — the state in which they were born, raised their children, and lived most of their lives.
Of course, they come to visit family, but their journey has also become a pilgrimage to their old favorite restaurants and sights. Their carefully culled picks have nothing to do with hot spots that may rise and fall from the Best of Rhode Island lists. Instead, these are the places that have persisted through the generations and have come to represent a moment in time in Rhode Island.
1. At Twin Oaks in Cranston, they always order the baked stuffed shrimp. They say the shrimp are “scrawny” in Florida compared with the five jumbo shrimps at Twin Oaks. But it’s the stuffing they crave. They also like that when you order a cocktail, like a Black Russian, you get “a drink and a half.” Other favorites here include the house salad dressing and the homemade chocolate pudding.
2. Florida may be the “Sunshine State,” but Rhode Island is still the “Ocean State.” Every year, they plan a beach day at either Narragansett Town Beach or Sand Hill Cove (Roger Wheeler). They love the way the land gradually slopes out to the ocean rather than the abrupt way the land drops at the Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale beaches. (Although they admit the Gulf waters on the west coast of Florida are warm, and the beaches have a more gradual dip.) Still, nothing is better than sitting on the sea wall in Narragansett as the sun is rising or setting. Clam cakes and chowder (which they call chowda) are a must at either Aunt Carrie’s, Champlin’s, or George’s of Galilee.
3. At Crow’s Nest in Warwick, they enjoy the lobster salad sandwiches and their sugar-free blueberry pie.
4. Chello’s by the water in Warwick is a must for the Jim Dandy Burger and the banana berry pie, served only in season.
5. Their trip to Rhode Island is not complete without a Conway Bus day trip to Foxwood Casinos in Connecticut. For 24 dollars a ticket, you get bus service to and from the hotel along with food and gambling vouchers. They give you more in vouchers than the price of the ticket expecting that visitors will wind up spending more gambling. But for Rose and Jerry, it’s a deal.
6. They adore the chocolate walnut ice cream from Brickley’s in Narragansett on route 1A. You can also get Brickley’s in Wickford served in the former Ryan’s market.
7. They love to quench their thirst on a hot beach day with a classic Del’s lemonade. Now with locations in over a dozen states, Del’s started in Cranston. Rose still remembers the owner, Mr. Delucia.
8. They love events like the East Greenwich Main Street stroll; concerts in Wickford and Cranston’s Garden City; and tours in Newport, RI and Mystic, Connecticut.
9. They can’t resist the coffee “cabinets” from Newport Creamery.
10. And no trip is complete without some Walt’s roast beef sandwiches.
Twin Oaks (since 1933)
100 Sabra Street
George’s of Galilee (since 1948)
250 Sand Hill Cove Road
Crow’s Nest (since 1966)
288 Arnolds Neck Drive
Chelo’s on the Waterfront (since 1955)
1 Masthead Drive
Foxwoods Resort Casinos (since 1986)
Brickley’s (since 1995)
See previous post.
Del’s Lemonade (since 1948)
Newport Creamery (since 1940)
See previous post.
Walt’s Roast Beef (since 1957)