Saunderstown and Beyond…

We stayed at the ‘Pink House’, as we affectionately call our friend Beth’s house. Julie and I, and the boys, stayed overnight with her and her husband, Jos, and in the morning we were gone. But it was very nice of them to allow all four of us to encroach upon their own getaway weekend to this special cottage by the sea.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, after taking in a nice bike ride along the East Bay Bike Path, from Colt State Park, to Barrington, where at ride’s conclusion we treated ourselves to a delicious ice cream at the Daily Scoop.

Well, it was only the first leg of our ride as we did have to return to the car at Colt State Park. The boys appeared to enjoy the scenery along the way, and after our morning trip we packed up the bikes and headed to Brenton Point in Newport, a place we are all fond of.

After fighting immense traffic on Bellevue Avenue, we found plenty of parking along the shore, and after securing the bikes we carried our lunches and chairs to a spot below the sea wall. We climbed down a ladder and sought a semblance of shelter from the wind, nestling behind a sea wall that jutted out briefly towards the ocean. It was much cooler here, closer to water’s edge, and we huddled on the rocks, with draped towels and blankets. We ate in silence, marveling at the expanse of ocean before us, with nothing but rugged rocks and waves and sky to see.  No one else was around.

But that was short-lived, as a bevy of folk deigned to descend the ladder; a family all wearing inappropriate footwear for the slippery rocks, a gaggle of teenagers (one with a bike!), and a Chinese couple who carried enormous cameras around their necks.

It was quiet at one point.

It never ceases to amaze me how people seem the need to yell and make noise while clambering along the rocks. What is wrong with just staring silently out into the blue beyond, soaking up the soothing scene in quietude?

After lunch I built a cairn and we tried knocking it over by tossing pebbles at it but I built it solidly and so we left it as it stood. It’s always a pleasure to witness smiles on the boys’ faces as we packed up to go, our next leg of the journey to Beavertail at the southern tip of Jamestown.

We crossed the Clairborne Pell Bridge (better known as the Newport Bridge) and after the tolls, wended our way through Jamestown Center and kept going along Conanicus Avenue until we took a right onto Hamilton Avenue, leading to Beavertail.

If you have never experienced this particular part of Rhode Island, you are in for a treat. Beavertail juts out into Rhode Island Sound, and as you circle around Beavertail Lighthouse, the scenery is expansive and spectacular; rugged coastline, similar to Maine, and tremendous swells and spray. Sailboats come and go and there is always a pleasant onshore breeze. We stayed a bit and then backtracked to Hamilton Ave., banged a right onto Walcott Ave to Fort Wetherill, yet another fabulous destination on Jamestown.

Here, we showed the boys the eerie, long-abandoned fort and after crawling about the grounds and cliffs, set up chairs near West Cove. I braved a swim and the water was incredibly frigid. But the sun was warm, we were sheltered from the breeze, and it made for a pleasant respite before the next leg of our journey.

Crossing the Verrazano Bridge (Jamestown Bridge) we took the Narragansett exit and traveled along Boston Neck Road, stopping for pizza at Kingstown Pizza, and then proceeded to see the sunset at Galilee. It suddenly became very chilly and as we sped along route 1, a dense fog started rolling in with tremendous speed. It reminded me of Stephen King’s horror novella, ‘The Mist’.  The visibility was practically nil.

We were laughing because just a few moments ago there was brilliant sunshine, and now the fog overtook everything in its path. Beth and Jos elected to watch the sunset from Beavertail, and we wondered if they, too, had the same fog bank enveloping them.

We finally arrived at Galilee, managed to find a parking space in the thicket of fog, and stood near the railing to the channel, valiantly searching the heavens for a mere glimpse of sun. It was not to be. We sat at the picnic table, ate our cooled pizza, and huddled against the coastal chill, marveling at how quickly the fog shrouded everything. The world simply disappeared. We took pictures anyway, and you can barely make out the boys in the photo, it was so pervasive.

We piled into the car, headed back home on Route 1, and as we approached 138, we noticed the fog had lifted and shreds of blue sky were visible. Once on the highway, sunglasses were again necessary, as a blinding sun appeared from behind the last vestiges of fog.

All in all a most enjoyable two days, and we managed to pack in quite a bit. These are the kind of summer days well spent, without any form of media to distract your senses. Even the boys didn’t seem to mind the lack of iPods or phones.

While I drove, the other three fell asleep, and I felt quite content, transporting loved ones back home in silence and fading sunlight.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.



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