Archive for the ‘Johnston’ Category

Del's Lemonade

The girls usually chose watermelon, although I prefer the 'real' frozen lemonade.

The girls usually choose watermelon, although I prefer the ‘real’ frozen lemonade.

There is little argument that Rhode Island has mastered the art of the frozen lemonade: New Yorkers have imported it, and Martha Stewart has copied it.

You usually don’t have to hunt for one of these sweet and sour frozen treats. In addition to physical locations throughout the state, you’ll find either a Del’s Lemonade or New England Frozen Lemonade truck or stand set up near most beaches, farmers’ markets and summer events. They even sell mixes so you can make your own at home (I’ll bet they’re good spiked).

I can’t say I have a preference between the two, although at either I choose the lemonade flavor as opposed to my daughters who always pick watermelon because it’s (sigh) pink.

Del’s Lemonade
locations in North Providence, Cranston, Johnston and East Providence
www.dels.com

New England Frozen Lemonade
locations in Providence, Cranston, Warwick
on Facebook

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Lucy makes her pick...

In our few years in Rhode Island, apple picking has become one of our fall traditions. We’ve gone to Jaswell’s Farm, which has a great farm stand and pasteurizes their own cider, and Sweet Berry Farm, which I love for their café/farm stand (their pumpkin muffins are addictive). This year, to try something new (and because we heard they still had peaches), we headed to Hill Orchards in Johnston, RI.

At most orchards, they discourage you from sampling the fruit, but at Hill they invited us to try before you buy. And sure enough, they still had peaches and plums in addition to plenty of apples — although not all of them ripe quite yet. This weekend, they recommended picking the macintosh, cortland, gala and macoun, although we also found some ripe golden delicious.

There do have a bare bones “farm stand,” which consists of a folding table where you can buy some cider and pumpkins in a variety of sizes (we got both). And they also offer horse-drawn carriage rides around the farm — we passed on the ride, although Madeline insisted on petting the horses.

As usual, we left with enough fruit to make several pies, except this time, we’ll have to add peach pie to our to do list.

Hill Orchards
86 Winsor Avenue
Johnston, RI
www.hillorchards.com

For other suggestions on where to “pick your own,” visit Farm Fresh RI.

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Bowling for a three-year-old warrants even more enthusiasm than the average adult.

On a recent vacation in France, we made the mistake of promising to take Madeline bowling. After trekking out to the outskirts of Nice, we found the Acropolis only to learn that at age three and shoe size seven, she was much too young and too small to bowl. Somehow that never occurred to us.

To give the kids an advantage, they have a plastic ramp to roll the ball down the center of the lane.

So when we decided to take her duckpin bowling in Rhode Island, we called ahead to confirm their available shoe sizes, operating hours, and bumpers. Satisfied that this might actually work, we headed out to The Bowling Academy in East Providence, RI for an early Saturday night bowl (after 8pm, it’s Rock N’ Bowl).

Duckpin bowling, for those who don’t know, is a variation of bowling with smaller, lighter balls and shorter, fatter pins.  The Bowling Academy is one of a handful of alleys in the state that offer duckpin bowling (see list below).  The place is nothing fancy, but the lanes are gleaming and the employees spray disinfectant in the shoes after people leave, which I personally appreciate. Of course, for a three-year-old, none of that matters. Rather, the easy-to-handle balls; bumpers to keep them in the lane; and even a plastic ramp to slide a ball down the lane more centrally are the things that make duckpin bowling a surefire kid-pleaser.  So, it wasn’t at all a surprise that the next morning, she was already asking to go back.

Duckpin Bowling Alleys in Rhode Island

The Bowling Academy
354 Taunton Avenue
East Providence, RI
(401) 434-5839
www.bowlingacademyinc.com

Dudek Lanes
409 Child Street
Warren, RI
(401) 245-9471
www.dudekbowling.com

Legion Bowl & Billiards
661 Park Avenue
Cranston, RI
(401) 781-8888
www.legionbowlinc.com

Meadowbrook Lanes
2530 Warwick Ave.
Warwick, RI
(401) 737-5402
www.ridba.net/Meadowbrook%20Page.htm

Mac’s Bowlaway
890 Main Street
West Warwick, RI
(401) 828-3279

Town Hall Lanes
1463 Atwood Avenue
Johnston, RI 02919
(401) 831-6940

Wickford Lanes
7665 Post Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 294-9886
www.ridba.net/Wickford%20Page.htm

Also see the Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association at www.ridba.net.

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Lockwood's Tree Farm -- nice trees for a reasonable price, plus some extra hospitality.

On Saturday, we had grand plans of heading to the far reaches of Rhode Island to find a Christmas tree.

Let me clarify. I always have found it amazing when we lived in New York that we could drive an hour or two and wind up in some rustic town along the Hudson or a farm in Pennsylvania. Leaving Providence, however, it takes only a few minutes to reach a bucolic setting, as if everything in Rhode Island is miniaturized even the distance between city and country.

Geoff had read about Duquette Tree Farm in Chepachet, RI so we headed west. Our mistake was stopping for a late lunch along the way at Bishop Hill Tavern– not because the food was bad, because, in fact, it was pretty good for a random bar/restaurant, especially one that posts a sign, “Warm Beer. Cold Food. Slow Service. Have a Nice Day.” The problem was that our lunch ended after 4 pm which, in winter, is night or at least looks like it. We didn’t know when the farm closed but guessed it’d be hard to pick a tree in the dark. Nevertheless, we decided to visit Chepachet for the state’s oldest store, Brown & Hopkins Country Store, and happened upon a line of charming antique stores, which we made our way into just a few minutes before they closed at 5.

On Sunday afternoon, we were ready to try again. This time I started with some research and called around. Turned out Duquette Tree Farm didn’t have larger 8-9 foot trees left, but they recommended Lockwood’s Tree Farm not too far from them. I also tried calling Big John Leyden’s Christmas Tree Farm but they never answered the phone. Instead of taking the good advice of a farmer, we decided to be adventurous and drove out to Greene Tree Farm & Nursery because I read they had maple syrup, and well, I’m the kind of person who will go those extra 10 miles for good maple syrup. Plus, over the phone, they said they had 8-9 foot trees, and the cost was $40 for any tree.

Picking a tree in the rain is not nearly as romantic as picking one in the snow, and we trudged around the farm amid drizzles looking at trees. They had plenty that were tall enough, but many were planted a bit too close together so they inevitably were thinner on one side than the other. Also most of their trees were a yellower green, which if I knew anything about them probably indicated that they were cypress instead of fir or something like that. Worse yet, their dilapidated maple syrup stand was filled only with debris.

Enjoy some cupcakes while you wait for your tree.

So we got back in the car, stopping along the way at Pezza Farm in Johnston, RI which didn’t have larger trees and whose wreaths were $50 each. Hence, back in the car to Lockwood’s Tree Farm in Smithfield, RI. As we drove up to their red barn placed alongside their field of trees and a pond for skating (although a bit wet for that currently), we knew we had found the place for us. With very little effort, we found a wonderful tree — tall, full, green, and trimmed — for a reasonable price of $45. Apparently the rain had curtailed business that day so they were glad to see us too. Even better, the owners welcome visitors into a heated room where they offer candy, cupcakes, and hot cocoa for the kids and cider and coffee for the adults — all for free. And every tree comes with a string of lights. Now that’s country charm that’s well worth the 15-mile drive from Providence.

Lockwood’s Tree Farm
129 Austin Avenue
Smithfield, RI
www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=509

Duquette Tree Farm
87 Reservoir Road
Chepachet, RI

RI Christmas Tree Growers Association www.richristmastrees.com

Farm Fresh RI’s list of Christmas tree farm vendors: www.farmfresh.org/food/food.php?zip=02909&food=130

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