Saturday, July 10, 2010

Little Rhodie

Walking back from the beach, Lillie finds a pair of maple tree seeds. They make a fine mooo-stache, no?

We look for things to do that we didn't do last year. Our friend Deborah, Lillie and I made our way across the island to Sweetberry Farm where raspberries were in full season.
I'm not a huge fruit person, so raspberries aren't on the top of my list of fruits to pursue, but, it was a perfect day with blue skies and temps in the mid 70s so how could we not go berry picking? We found the farm in no time (well, after circling the beach a few times). Crops on either side as we drove in, fruit trees still blooming, an old farmhouse, turned a corner and there it was--the updated farmhouse. Walking inside we slowed just for a minute--the front room was full of delectable treats-home made cheeses, ice creams, jellies, chutneys, and breads. In the garden room were home made pastries, sandwiches, coffees, teas and shelves of books from local authors, small gifts, and tables to rest.

We made it to the raspberry field to pick our on berries and Lillie was thrilled. We walked the rows of bushes, picking many of the small berries only to refine our harvesting to the deep fuchsia colored ones... I was instantly in love with fresh raspberries. My limited experience with this fruit has been berries in sad plastic containers in the stores filled with faded berries. Their flavor faint and bitter and not what I would call even remotely tasty. So you can see why I wasn't all aboard wanting to graze the rows and rows of bursting-with-spring-flavor offerings. (This photo of Lillie graced the web page of Sweetberry Farms for several weeks.) We ate fresh berries with every meal, including breakfast coffee for the next few days... how lucky were we!!

I booked Brent and I for a sunset cruise on the schooner Aquidneck. Having grown up sailing, I thought this was a great treat to surprise him with--and it was. Lillie stayed with Deborah and Brent and I eagerly boarded the schooner.

They also encourage visitors to help out, so I volunteered Brent to help raise one of the sails. It was so wonderful to be able to see the town we have fallen in love with from another vantage point.

Deborah and I went to the annual flower show at Rosecliff Mansion, one of the amazing mega mansions from the late 1800s. Many were destroyed and the few that remain are breathtaking. There are tours with all of the mansions and we decided to make that a treat for another time. The flora arrangement here was bigger than any I've ever seen.

Since we were there so early in their spring, the roses were just coming on with their first bloom. The fog left its calling card on all of the flowers making photo taking a must. We strolled the back area where vendors had set up tents for their merchandise. We touched leather riding boots from Ireland, linen shirts and skirts from New York, beautiful purses and bags made with leather tanned in Italy... we found amazing pottery made by Lark and made a new friend as we visited with Lark and her mother Barbara. Lark invited us to attend a garden lecture by a friend of hers, Kent Russell, a garden guru of that part of the country. And he didn't disappoint. His charisma exploded seconds after beginning his talk and he didn't slow until after it was over. I wish I could have purchased every plant he offered that day... and brought him home to do my gardens!

Finally, the evening before our last day, we made it to the cemetery. This particular one straddles one of the main roads into town and ever since our first night last year I've wanted to visit and photograph this place. Many of the headstones were faint and I could only guess the date on them, but some that I could make out were from the 1500s. At first I thought they were made of wood in that you could see the layers of material that made up the head stone, but Brent told me it was slate.

This was a grand statue, the angel majestic and watching over her part of the cemetery. Larger than life and breath taking. It was really very calming to walk through and feel the peace, calm and gentle otherworldliness of the place.

The final photo of the evening--Bunnicula. Ever seen a more menacing cotton tail??

I am out of words about our visit and full of emotion. Brent stays on there in Nirvana until the end of summer. While he claims to miss us and that it's just not the same without us, I know he is enjoying a mild eastern summer of rains, lower temps, and the people who live near and on the water.

There will be another summer of exploration for us next year and the next. I don't know if I can make the jump of relocating--winters there would definitely either make or break me and with my dislike of cold weather, I can imagine I would be running back to Texas once the temps dipped below 70....