Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's a Strawberry Festival?

One of our goals for the summer is to "experience" New England. We don't just want to see the touristy things, we have already done a lot of that. We want to go beyond what we could do on a vacation to the area.
I get a weekly roundup of activities from RI Monthly. One event last weekend was a Strawberry Festival at Smith's Castle. We love strawberries, and the article boasted that they have a short season, so I thought, why not?
So, we took the drive to East Greenwich, about 30 minutes away on a surprisingly non-rainy Saturday afternoon. The entrance fee was $1/person. There were some activities for kids, including a real live 6'5" puppeteer. We could also walk around Smith's Castle for free. It was the first home built by an Englishman in the midst of the Native Americans.
I was a little dismayed to find no strawberries. Oh you could get strawberry lemonade and strawberry shortcake made with frozen strawberries, but no fresh strawberries. The festival was supposed to showcase all the wild strawberries that grow in the area, but I didn't see any.
It was, however, a nice little trip, despite the lack of strawberry goodness.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


When you are the third child, sometimes you have to assert your independence early on.

RI Parks Tour--Goddard Memorial State Park

There are several state parks in Rhode Island. This is the beginning of our RI State Parks Tour! Hopefully the weather will cooperate enough with us so we can enjoy many of the state parks.

Our first stop on the tour was Goddard Memorial State Park located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. It is roughly 480 acres, on the water with bridle/hiking trails, plenty of expansive greenspace to run/play frisbee/chase your dog, and plenty of picnic tables. There are no entrance fees in RI parks, but you do have to pay/reserve picnic table areas.

We saw some pretty flowers. We walked around on the water checking out the "tide" life washed up on shore. We took a hike on one of the trails, being careful to avoid horse "surprises" on the ground.

We laid on the green grass under shade trees and read books together. Some cute birdies joined us.

It was a beautiful day together enjoying "summer" in New England.

Signs I Am No Longer A Visitor in RI

  • I pronounce Pawtucket "P'tucket" instead of "Paw-tucket."
  • Someone gave directions like this, "right on the corner where the old Diamond Shamrock used to be," and I knew exactly where they were talking about...even though the Diamond Shamrock has not been on that corner the entire time we have lived here.
  • We went to the movies last night, and I was disgruntled to see a full theater (of mostly teenagers). I am used to only 10 other people going to the movies with me and having plenty of room to spread out.
  • I think it is perfectly acceptable to be wearing sweaters and jackets in June.
  • I "happily" pay the electric bill every month because we haven't used heat/AC since March.
  • Most of my driving is within a 6 mile radius of our apartment.
  • I know my way around RI way too well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dialectical Differences

It's time to bring our New Hampshire trip to a close. It's amazing that it has been two whole weeks since we were there! We were in New Hampshire at the beginning of the Lupine Festival season. What's a lupine you ask? Well, it looks a lot like a bluebonnet on steroids and comes in a variety of colors. We saw indigo, pink, lavender, and white.

We spent a morning in Sugar Hill, NH (about 30 minutes north of the cabins we were staying in) because there was a Lupine Festival and Art show. We saw some neat work, bought some jewelry, really nice rolling pins, some functional ceramic pieces, and soap. We also saw some not so neat work, but it was a small town. Incidentally some of the police officers working the art show looked 12.

After perusing the art show, we went hunting for lupines to photograph. Since it was the beginning of the season, there were only a few places to go, but we were able to snap some beautiful shots.

After all that hard work (and standing in the sun), we stopped for lunch at Polly's Pancake Parlor. You could order your pancakes anyway you wanted choosing from the type of flour (cornmeal, buckwheat, original, wheat, oatmeal buttermilk) and possibly the type of mix-in (blueberries, coconut, chocolate chips, and a daily special). Then our server made our pancakes in two courses (so they were always warm). They were superbly delicious. I want some right now...

So, lupine is apparently pronounced "lupin,"and is only spelled with a silent 'e' at the end in North America. Although, I like the sound of lupine better. It is in the Lupinus genus, in the pea family, and in fact, the Texas Bluebonnet is a type of lupine. The New Hampshire lupines were much larger than Texas Bluebonnets, so I guess this is one case where everything is not always bigger in Texas.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Water on Rocks

We saw a lot of water on rocks hiking in New Hampshire. These are videos from our hike to the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking on the AT

A visit to the mountains wouldn't be complete without some good ol' hikin. Apparently, when Nicholas and Jeremy were younger, they made plans to conquer the Appalachian Trail. I wouldn't say that the 3 of us conquered it on that beautiful afternoon in New Hampshire, but we did experience 1.5 miles of "stay away from poison ivy" goodness.

We started just inside Franconia Notch State Park at The Basin, a pretty naturally carved pool. Then we hiked on the Cascade Trail for a little over a mile, uphill. We saw many "cascades" and waterfalls.

In many places the trail was just tree roots.

Along the way, Nicholas spotted a hiking pole...which looked remarkably like a ski pole. Hmmm.

After about an hour of hiking, we connected to the Appalachian Trail. It was more woods and less water on rocks, so I took fewer pictures. I did get proof I was on the AT.

After hiking on the AT for about 1.5 miles, we took a 0.8 mile trail back to our car. It followed the Pemigewasset River, so the trees weren't marked with nifty colors to help keep you on track. At some point, when the trail was supposed to cross the river, we lost the trail and had to do some creative trail tracking and rock hopping to get back on course.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Granite State

It was a beautiful, sunny day. We loaded the cars up with food, folding chairs, pillows, charcoal, games, books, grilling tools, and sweaters for the cold evenings. It would take us 3 1/2 short hours to reach our destination, through Boston Thursday afternoon traffic, Massachusetts, toll roads, and on into New Hampshire with "Moose Crossing" signs. It would have been nice to see a moose.

We rented two cabins in North Woodstock that had a tranquil stream in the back. The one room cabin had a mini-fridge and microwave. The two room cabin had a "kitchenette" which consisted of two electric burners, a coffee pot, and a mini-sink. One room had a bed and the "second" room had a futon that Jeremy had the pleasure of trying to sleep on. It was a new adventure every night!

We had fun cooking on the grill. One night we had burgers and chicken sausage and another we had chicken, sausage, veggie kebobs. One night we went to eat at the Woodstock Inn Brewery. The portion sizes were outrageous! Nicholas had a meatloaf sandwich topped with mashed potatoes.
There was a little horseshoe playing, a little reading, a little s'more making, a lot of sitting around the fire, some Settlers playing, hiking, walking, glass slumping experiments, and lots of dirt. I had a lot of fun, enjoy camping/hiking/etc., but I really enjoyed taking a shower in my shower with my towels and no dirt! I am mentioned my feelings on dirt before.