Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium

Section 4, Row EE. Notice the grassy lounge area in left field.

Section 4, Row EE. Notice the grassy lounge area in left field.

Although we’ve lived in Providence for nearly four years, we only just made it to our first Pawtucket Red Sox (aka PawSox) game this May. Clearly, we are not the most devout sports fanatics.

pawsox2

Our two-year-old may not have been that attentive on the game itself, but she was a big fan of the stadium snacks.

As it turns out, McCoy Stadium is an ideal size, seating 10,000 people, making it large enough to feel the fans’ excitement while being small enough to actually see the game. And, the the general admission prices are quite reasonable at $8 per adult and $5 per child. It may have taken us a few years to get there, but I’m quite sure we’ll be back again this season.

Pawtucket Red Sox
http://www.pawsox.com

Apple Picking and Brunch at Knight Farm

Enjoying an apple straight off the tree.


Each year we try to find a new farm for apple picking in addition to our old favorites. In past years, we’ve discovered Jaswell’s Farm, Hill Orchards, and Sweet Berry Farm. This year, we decided to try Knight Farm, founded in 1800.

Although many farms have stands or shops (Jaswell’s and Sweet Berry Farms are my favorites), few have restaurants. When we arrived this morning, it was clear this was a popular place for brunch and with good reason. It’s certainly nothing fancy, but they serve simple comfort food in a charming and rustic atmosphere. I ordered an egg sandwich, and I was not disappointed.

Knight’s apple orchards feel relatively compact to some of the others (they have about 40 acres versus Jaswell’s 100 acres), but really how many apple trees do you need? We had no trouble picking our own crisp, tasty apples. Of course, the real work came later — peeling apples, rendering lard (from Pat’s Pastured Pork), rolling the crust, and baking the pie. Not that I did any of that. But I did eat a piece of the resulting pie, and it was delicious.

Knight Farm and Restaurant
1 Snake Hill Road
North Scituate, RI
www.knightfarm.com

Also see Farm Fresh RI’s Pick Your Own Guide near Providence.

A View from Fort Wetherill State Park

Perched on the rocks overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Not everyone may think it’s a wise idea to drag their one- and five-year-olds up a jagged cliff overlooking a 100-foot drop to the ocean, and I can’t disagree. Nonetheless, we did exactly that yesterday at Forth Wetherill State Park in Jamestown, RI. Here, there are no fences or barriers to rely on, just common sense. Geoff liked that — it’s very European, he said.

The view from Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown.

From the peak, you can see a wide expanse of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor — yesterday the water shimmered so beautifully that our five-year-old said “I wish I could paint that.” As for our one-year-old, it took a good deal of cajoling and wrestling to keep her from careening over the edge. No wonder my back hurts today. Still, you can’t beat the view.

Fort Wetherill State Park
Jamestown, RI
http://www.riparks.com/fortweth.htm 

Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard at Roger Williams Park Zoo

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On a hot city day, there’s nothing quite like a mini water park. Now, in addition to a handful of others in Providence, we’ve got one at the zoo.

I’ve typically steered clear of the zoo in the summer, but the addition of Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard at Roger Williams Park Zoo has definitely changed that. Kids can cool off in a variety of sprinklers, ponds and other water play, making the zoo a much less oppressive experience.  

One tip — when you plan your visit, check the zoo hours. We didn’t and arrived only 40 minutes before the 4 pm closing. When you visit the zoo, it’s nice to have time to see some animals too.

Roger Williams Park Zoo
1000 Elmwood Avenue
Providence, RI
www.rwpzoo.org
(first Saturday of every month free to Providence residents)

East Bay Bike Path: A Family Ride

Getting ready for a ride on the trailer bike.

As you may have guessed from the ratio of blog posts on restaurants versus sports and recreation, we are not the most athletic of families. But inspired by a recent “bike to school” day, we decided to purchase a trailer bike, which enables our 5-year-old to feel like she’s riding a regular bike (and can even help peddle) but leaves the steering and the braking to the adult rider.

Early Sunday morning, we loaded the bikes on the car rack, ate some oatmeal while wearing our helmets (I’m not kidding, although our 18-month-old Lucy refused to wear hers), and then drove to Warren to park the car and get on our bikes. Of course, you can bike fairly easily to the path from Providence, but we wanted to make our first family ride low-stress by starting directly on the path itself.

There was just one small problem, and her name was Lucy. She screamed, kicked and swung her arms as Geoff attempted to get her into the baby seat on the back of his bike. I didn’t have any more luck than he when I tried, although as it turned out I had less sympathy. Determined to at least attempt a ride on the path, I wrestled her into the seat, got on Geoff’s bike, and rode around the parking lot — and incredibly, she quieted down. So we decided we would switch bikes for this ride — I’d ride Geoff’s and he’d ride mine. More screaming as we strapped on her helmet and locked down her feet,  but again once we started riding, there was complete silence.

After our ride on the East Bay Bike Path.

We kept our first attempt short, but it was nonetheless a peaceful and scenic ride along the water — we started in Warren and rode into Bristol and then headed back. It wasn’t until I was writing this that I learned that the East Bay Bike Path is just one of the paths in the East Coast Greenway’s plan to “create a contiguous bike path from Maine to Florida”. Well, we’re not quite ready for that yet, but you never know…

Greenways Alliance of RI
www.rigreenways.org

East Coast Greenway, RI
www.greenway.org/ri.aspx

East Bay Greenway map in RI
http://www.greenway.org/pdf/RI.pdf

East Providence Bicycle
414 Warren Ave.
East Providence, RI
http://eastprovidencecycle.com/

Adventureland: The Mini Amusement Park

The bumper boats are equipped with water guns for maximum soaking.

Apparently it takes a few friends from France and Germany on holiday to help me find the only amusement park in Rhode Island. Granted, it is small — I’ve passed it dozens of times and never even noticed the sign. That, and I’ve never gone looking for go-karts, although having since ridden one, I can tell you that’s no longer true.

Go-karts speed around the track.

At Adventureland, there are batting cages, go-karts, bumper boats, a carousel, and a 18-hole mini-golf course. Madeline and I rode a go-kart together since she’s too short (under 44 inches) to ride herself. We picked a car with two steering wheels, and I double-checked to make sure mine was the working one before getting started. I did notice that the double go-karts appeared rigged to go a slower — even though we started in the front and had petal to the metal, some over 44-inch tall kids traveling alone passed us.

Madeline equally enjoyed the carousel and the bumper boats. It’s not exactly the full-day event that many amusement parks are, but it may actually be just enough…

Adventureland
112 Point Judith Road (Route 108)
Narragansett, RI
www.adventurelandri.com

Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill

Madeline joins the riders on the Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill.

There are a handful of things that Rhode Island can claim to be the “oldest in America” — such as the oldest synagogue and the oldest lending library. Apparently, we also have the oldest carousel.

The Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill originated in 1876 and is named for the fact that its 20 horses are not attached to the floor but remain suspended from a center frame, swinging out or “flying” when in motion. There is an age limit — no one over 12-years-old may ride, and I particularly liked the sign recommending you re-consider if you are over 100 lbs or over 5 feet tall. Rides are $1 for an inside horse and $1.50 for an outside horse.

The Easton's Beach carousel makes for a great rainy day activity.

Madeline chose an inside horse, and after two rides appeared sufficiently mesmerized so I figured she’d had enough. Our next stop will be either the Crescent Park Carousel in East Providence or the Slater Memorial Park Carousel in Pawtucket…

Carousels in Rhode Island

Flying Horse Carousel
Westerly, RI
www.visitrhodeisland.com/what-to-do/amusements/458/flying-horse-merry-go-round/

Atlantic Beach Carousel
Westerly, RI
www.atlanticbeachpark.com/amusements

Easton’s Beach Carousel
Newport, RI
www.cityofnewport.com/departments/economic-development/beach/home.cfm

Carousel Village, Roger Williams Park
Providence, RI
www3.providenceri.com/parks-and-rec/carousel-village

Crescent Park Carousel
East Providence, RI
www.eastprovidence.com/content/668/830/834/default.aspx

Slater Memorial Park Carousel
Pawtucket, RI
www.pawtucketri.com/about/pointsofinterest.php

For more information on Rhode Island carousels, see http://sos.ri.gov/kidszone/carousels/ or KidoInfo’s list.

Scarborough Beach and Brickley’s Ice Cream: Summer Starts Now

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

Sledding at Moses Brown in Providence, RI

Madeline on one of the novice hills


Although I grew up in New York City, our building in Riverdale happened to be perched atop a hill making sledding at least feasible, if a bit dangerous (your ride ended with a tree or in the road). But it’s hard to imagine a more perfect sledding spot than the one at Moses Brown School. With over a foot of snow in the Providence area today, we joined dozens of kids and adults with an array of brightly colored sleds and tubes who arrived there for sled rides down a variety of hills – some short, subtle ones for beginners and two steep ones for the more adventurous. All of them end in a nice flat field of snow making it fairly safe, except for the occasional collision (like the one when Madeline crashed into me as I stood in her riding path to take an action shot).

The hills at Moses Brown make a great sledding spot.

For our first time out, we stuck to the novice hills and gave the two sleds we bought yesterday at Benny’s a couple of good runs. I’m just glad that I bought two sleds, so when Madeline wanted to go by herself, there was still another sled for me.

Oh, and if you were out there, we were the (only) ones carrying an infant bundled in a car seat.

Underland at the Providence Children’s Museum

Playing in the cozy caves of Underland


Last winter, the Providence Children’s Museum raised funds partly to launch two new outdoor exhibits — Underland and The Climber. Underland has since become one of Madeline’s favorite exhibits. The cave of gnarled trees and dark tunnels with a knotty wood table and wooden chairs appeals to children’s fort-building instincts. Not surprisingly, Madeline’s spent the bulk of her last few visits to the museum in Underland digging in the sand, dressing in animal costumes, and preparing pretend meals with slices of wood and carved cups. She’s been so busy, she hasn’t even yet noticed The Climber…

Underland at the Providence Children’s Museum
100 South Street
Providence, RI  02903
www.childrenmuseum.org/exhibits/underland.asp