Archive for the ‘South Kingstown’ Category

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Geoff and I both grew up with the tradition of Christmas and have continued it with our girls despite the fact that we are not religious. Although our daughters know that Santa Claus isn’t real, we all love pretending during the holiday season. Here are some ways we’ve celebrated Christmas in Rhode Island…

1. Pick Your Own Christmas Tree

It’s the ultimate ‘paper versus plastic’ debate — we’ve chosen a real tree because ultimately it’s more sustainable (another tree can be grown) and so much more festive to have the smell of pine in the air. This year, we once again got our tree from Lockwood Tree Farm. Trees get collected after the holidays in Providence — don’t make the mistake of one over-eager dad who tried to burn his tree in the fireplace and nearly set his house on fire.

2. ‘Christmas’ Waterfire

Tonight (December 13), there will be a special (and as always, free) WaterFire lighting to enjoy. It really is much warmer by the glowing fires, although you’ll still need a coat, and a hat, and gloves, and a scarf.

3. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Providence Ballet also will put on a performance tonight (December 13) at Rhode Island College of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

4. Christmas at a Mansion

Somehow seeing someone else’s house decked out in holiday spirit can be as satisfying (and a lot easier) than your own. Christmas at The Newport Mansions continues through January 5. I personally love to visit Blithewold, a 45-room English style manor house adorned with holiday decorations. Don’t forget to stop in the Carriage House where the “Gingerbread Wonderland” features mini-gingerbread houses of all styles made by area children. And right in Providence, you can visit the John Brown House Museum‘s Home for the Holidays.

5. A Christmas Carol

The Trinity Repertory Theater has certainly perfected its performance of the classic Dickens tale. The show has moments that can be scarier for children, although of course we were brave (or stupid) enough to bring our two-year-old one year. Let’s just say, it was a good thing we packed plenty of lollipops. Anyway, the show kept all of us mesmerized. I also recently discovered there’s another production of A Christmas Carol featuring Big Nazo puppets, which is definitely on my list to check out.

6. The Nutcracker

Festival Ballet's Nutcracker

Festival Ballet’s Nutcracker

Festival Ballet puts on a stellar performance of The Nutcracker at the Providence Performing Arts Center. For next year, you might also consider the Island Moving Co.‘s performance at one of the Newport Mansions, Rosecliff.

7. Gingerbread Houses and Holiday Cookies

Of course, a great way to celebrate is to make your own or build a gingerbread house (or village as the girls did this year) at home. There are also several decorating events and contests (everything’s a contest apparently) throughout the state. Check out the Decorate Your Own Gingerbread Man event on December 21, 2013 at the Smith-Abbleby House Museum in Smithfield, RI. The Ocean House in Westerly also hosts a Gingerbread Village Competition and Reception on December 16, 2013.

8. Ski, Skate and Sled

There are plenty of indoor and outdoor skating options throughout the state, including the Kennedy Plaza rink in Providence. If we actually get enough snow, you’ll probably find us sledding on the East Side. We still haven’t been, but there’s kid-friendly skiing in Yawgoo Valley Ski and Sports Area in Exeter, RI.

9. Shop Local

Two years ago, I came up with a list of great places to shop locally for children’s gifts. There are also guides to Shop Downcity and the Shops at Hope Street, which includes stores like Kreatelier which has wonderful hand-made items for adults and children.

While you’re shopping, get into the spirit by donating gifts at any one of the local toy drives: Children’s Friend or Toys for Tots (Whisky Republic in Providence is accepting gift donations today December 13), for instance.

10. Holiday Pops

Last but not least, tonight the Boston Pops comes down to Providence Performing Arts Center for a special local performance. We went years ago without children when we were living in Boston. I think older children (especially aspiring musicians) certainly would appreciate the performance.

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Matunuck Oyster Bar

There's nothing quite like a plate of lobster.

The whole lobster at Matunuck Oyster Bar.

Personally, I prefer a lobster roll. But it seems that once every summer, I have to order a full lobster despite how much effort it takes to eat it. For me, this needs to be prefaced by a day at the beach so that I’m sandy and salty while I eat it. Matunuck Oyster Bar happens to be located down the street from East Matunuck State Beach, so the location is ideal. Plus, they prioritize fresh, local seafood and local farm produce, which results in a fine meal.

Point Judith Calamari: Lightly fried calamari with cherry peppers, tossed with arugula and fried capers, and topped with citrus aioli

Point Judith Calamari: Lightly fried calamari with cherry peppers, tossed with arugula and fried capers, and topped with citrus aioli

We began our most recent meal with the perfectly tender calamari, which they lightly fry with cherry peppers and toss with arugula and fried capers, and top with citrus aioli. Their clam chowder (New England creamy or Rhode Island clear) also makes a great appetizer, and if you enjoy fresh oysters, you’ll find plenty to choose from here.

Next came the lobster — a monster of a meal, but delicious, of course. I’d also recommend the pistachio-crusted Atlantic cod with curry brown butter, saffron rice, and local roasted vegetables. Somehow, we still had room for dessert. We chose one of the best fruit cobblers I’ve ever eaten (that Geoff didn’t make). A day at the beach followed by a meal like this — I couldn’t ask for more.

Matunuck Oyster Bar
629 Succotash Rd
South Kingstown, RI 02879
(401) 783-4202
www.rhodyoysters.com

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Rock climbing–it’s for kids too.

It was as if she’d been rock climbing her whole life. That said, she is only five. Today, my daughter kept up with the best adult climbers as she adeptly made her way up the 30-foot climbing wall at Rock Spot Climbing in Lincoln over half a dozen times. Using top roped climbing, she was harnessed into a belay device to protect against a sudden fall and create a smooth, slow (and apparently fun) ride down.

When my husband asked her before bed if she’d like to go back, she said yes, she’d love to go back tomorrow.

Rock Spot Climbing
100 Higginson Ave
Lincoln, RI

1174 Kingstown Rd
South Kingstown, RI

www.RockSpotClimbing.com

They also have the largest indoor bouldering facility in New England at:
67 Sprague St
Boston, MA

 

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A chocolate chip ice cream cone from Brickley's.

Summer hasn’t officially started, but as far as I’m concerned, summer starts the first day that I go to the beach, which happened to be today. We drove to Scarborough Beach to find a nearly empty parking lot and to buy our season parking pass before the rate hike. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a spot in the first row of the Scarborough lot — apparently that’s what a weekday in early June gets you, along with a bit of wind and icy water.  But I still loved it.

Of course, where there is a beach, ice cream can’t be far behind, so on our way back, we stopped at Brickley’s Ice Cream for a couple of homemade ice cream cones — chocolate chip for me and chocolate for Madeline.

Ah, summer in Rhode Island…

Brickley’s Ice Cream
www.brickleys.com

921 Boston Neck Road
Narragansett, RI

322 Main Street
South Kingstown, RI

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This little ice cream shop on Succotash Road is the perfect post-beach stop.

Basically in my opinion any day is a “10” if it involves swimming and ice cream.  Happily this weekend consisted of quite a lot of both.  (Note: I’m not opposed to more than one ice cream in a day if there’s also more than one swim in a day).  But the most pleasant surprise was the soft serve at the new ice cream shop at Lockwoods Marina where we stopped after a few hours at the East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingston.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine a soft serve that tops Frosty Freez in Middletown, RI, and this one certainly doesn’t. Still most soft serve is simply terrible, tasting more like dyed ice than something deserving of the name ice cream.  But the soft serve at this new little shop, located on Succotash Road next to Capt’n Jack’s, had a surprisingly creamy, smooth consistency with good flavor.  If you’re not into soft serve, they also serve up homemade hard ice cream and yogurt, many with cryptic names like Mushy’s Monsta Mix and Mo’s Moose Tracks, but the cheerful staff can offer an explanation or even a taste.  They also have a man-made fish pond outside over which the kids love to dangle their dripping cones.  It’s the perfect treat, and if you’ve just come from a swim at the beach, you’ll have earned the calories.

Scarborough State Beach drew crowds as early as Memorial Day this year.

Rhode Island State Beaches

In 2010, the annual parking pass inclusive for all seven of the RI state beaches costs $30 for residents.  Day rates for residents run $6-7/day.

East Matunuck State Beach (mentioned above)
The walk into the water is a tad rocky and the sand isn’t as soft as some of the other state beaches, but it’s quite popular with families and is an easy walk to the beach from the parking lot.
950 Succotash Road
South Kingston, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/eastmatunuck.htm

Burlingame State Park & Beach
Sanctuary RD. (Route 1)
Charlestown, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/burlingastatepark.htm

Charlestown Beach & Camp
Charlestown, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/charlesbreach.htm

Fort Adams State Park & Beach
I guess this is technically a beach but it’s so tiny it doesn’t really feel like one. Most of Fort Adams State Park, which is gorgeous, dangles over rocky cliffs. You can also rent a boat from Sail Newport here. As for the beach part, there’s a small roped off area that has calm water for swimming. It’s definitely popular with families.
Harrison Avenue
Newport, RI, 02840
www.riparks.com/fortadams.htm

Goddard Memorial State Park & Beach
1095 Ives Road
Warwick, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/goddard.htm

Misquamicut State Beach
Arguably, Westerly boasts some of the best beaches in the state. This one has over a half mile of coast. Hence, it’s one of the most popular and tends to fill up on nice weekends.
257 Atlantic Avenue
Westerly, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/misquamicut.htm

Roger Wheeler State Beach
This beach (known to locals as Sand Hill Cove Beach) has calmer waves due to the breakwaters that protect it from the open ocean. Not surprisingly, it’s more popular with families or anyone looking for a more relaxed ocean swim. You certainly won’t see any surfers here, although there are still a few eager boogie-boarders.
100 Sand Hill Cove Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/wheeler.htm

Salty Brine State Beach
On the same strip of land as Roger Wheeler, the Salty Brine is also protected by the breakwaters. The downsides: it’s a smaller beach than Roger Wheeler and is closer to the boats at Galilee (and thus any oil or other substances that might come with them). The upside: the town of Galilee is only a few steps away, which means a much tastier lunch or dinner than the typical greasy beach stand.
254 Great Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/saltybrine.htm

Scarborough State Beach – North & South
This is a picture-perfect beach with soft sand across a wide beach and clear water. It definitely gets crowded and is quite popular with the youts (i.e. teenagers) so it’s a bit harder to keep track of kids especially when you nod off. On one visit, we heard three announcements for lost kids in a two-hour period. There is abundant parking at these beaches, so on a crowded day you’ll still find a spot in the auxiliary lot but it’s quite a hike.
870 and 970 Ocean Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
www.riparks.com/scarborough.htm

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A variety of crunchy apples from Hill Orchards are available year-round at the market.

Next weekend will be the final weekend for the South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market. A down-home version of the Pawtucket Winter Farmers’ Market, the South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market features a modest selection of farms, but certainly enough to buy the wintertime basics — eggs, root vegetables, lettuces, apples, jams, sausages, cheeses, meats — and even a few potted herbs and flowers for building your garden. On our visit, we only had about $25 in cash which didn’t seem like much, but it stretched pretty far, enough to buy some homemade johnny cakes, pizza strips from Palmieri’s Bakery, eight apples from Hill Orchards, a bag of spring lettuce, some popcorn and even some homemade shea butter lotion for $15.

You can't go wrong with fresh, local eggs.

Despite the fact that I actually saw snow fall on Friday, spring has technically arrived, and in just a few short months, we’ll be coming upon the summer markets season with several dozen to choose from across the state. But I will miss the winter markets a bit. I’ve loved discovering such incredible bounty from our local farms in the midst of winter — from baby pea greens to tasty crisp carrots. As for the snow, that I won’t miss at all.

South Kingston Winter Farmers’ Market
Saturdays 10 am -2 pm through April 4, 2010
Peacedale Mill Complex
1425 Kingstown Rd
South Kingston, RI
www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=382

For a list of all farmers’ markets in Rhode Island, view Farm Fresh RI.

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