Photo: The harbor at Newport, Rhode Island.
We left Massachusetts in the morning and, as we drove across the bridge into Rhode Island, the fog parted and the sunshine provided a perfect view of The Hummocks on Sakonnet Harbor below.
Photo: We entered Rhode Island from Massachusetts, drving southwest towards Connecticut, with a jog north to Providence.
We pulled into Newport, Rhode Island around noon and Janice charmed the guy at the tourist info booth into letting us park at the bus depot in the only place we would fit: alongside the Greyhounds and other tour buses. When we had decided to skip Martha’s Vineyard because we’d had enough of busy little tourist towns for the time being, we didn’t realize that Newport would fit that description, even more so.
Any truly serious shopper would have thought they’d died and gone to heaven in Newport. Some probably have. Neither of us enjoys shopping very much though so we spent an hour strolling the docks, and a few blocks of the strip, before hitting the road again.
Photo: The harbor at Newport.
The fog cleared by about 3:00, just as we were pulling into the North Kingston Walmart, south of Providence. We walked around for a while in the muggy heat and, as it was Friday, we decided to find a place to have a drink, preferably with some locals.
The only place we could find within walking distance of our RV Site was The Junction Bistro & Trattoria, at the mall, where there were a few guys that looked like genuine working stiffs scattered around the granite topped bar watching big screen TVs. Perfect. We sidled in among them.
It turned out however that, to a man, they were all waiting for pizzas to go, and within a few minutes we found ourselves alone, except for the young bartender.
We discovered that his name was Roland and he was a Flare Bartender, (you know, the kind that flips the bottles and all) of Italian descent who was brought up in Providence, “Rude Island.”
Speaking of rude – drivers in Massachusetts are surprisingly courteous while those in Rude Island are, just that.
We were undecided about what to drink so Roland put a Pumpkin Beer in front of me and suggested a cocktail of his own invention for Janice. When he found out we were Canadian he not only had a lot of questions but also took great enjoyment in regaling us with ‘Rude Island’ aphorisms. When it was time to re-order he suggested that I try his other special drink, with two rums, while Janice should try the Ice Tea Twist.
Most Canadians know that booze in US bars is free-poured. He had heard but couldn’t believe that we’re forced to use one ounce jiggers or liquor guns in Canada. He must have been trying to illustrate his point because I definitely felt a buzz after that first drink.
Roland wanted to show us something uniquely “Rude Island.” In his own flare style he used both hands while he quickly made up individual butter plates of a complimentary appetizer. First, he put a small basket of Italian bread in front of us and then began dripping olive oil onto the butter plates, followed by parmesan cheese, chili flakes and finally, salt and pepper. He didn’t have to instruct us to dip the bread in the concoction. It was unbelievably tasty.
When we overheard one of the waitresses wishing Roland a Happy Birthday, and then him replying, “Ya, twenty-two,” we decided that we were buzzed enough to sound off with a rousing version of Happy Birthday, Cousin McLachlan style, with fingers pointing at him on every “You” and followed by both ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ and ‘Three Cheers’.
Before we knew it we had two more strong drinks in front of us. A half hour or so later we walked/wobbled back to the trailer. It looked as if, for the first time, we would be the only overnighters at the Walmart, so we had some wine. That seemed to make our solitude a little less disconcerting. Janice was awake most of the night listening for any inordinate sound but it turned out to be an uneventful overnight.
Saturday morning was hot and muggy as we drove into downtown Providence. As with most big cities, it is not very RV friendly. Despite that we took a quick tour around the city centre and the state capitol buildings but couldn’t find anywhere to park the rig.
I’ve decided to spare readers another shot of a state capitol building. OK, so maybe we were a tad hung-over, and it was pretty muggy and, damn that little Italian bartender anyway! Okay, I never even took a picture of the State Capitol Building.
We pointed the truck back towards the coast and ended up at Fishermen’s Memorial State Park at Narragansett — I still don’t know why the park bears its name. There was an excellent farmers’ market that morning where we picked up some produce as well as Italian and Asiago/Pesto bread. Narragansett is famed for long sandy beaches. We were fortunate to experience them this late in the year on a day that reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There were still lots of people there, many of them surfers, enjoying the sun, sand and sea.
Photo: The beach at Narragansett.
Photo: Kayaks at the beach, Narragansett.
The next day we were on the road to Connecticut…