With the boys and Andi tucked away for the week at their Dad’s, Julie and I decided to take a mid-week break from our labors and engage our spirits by the sea.
This past July 3rd arrived hot and steamy, even at 8am, and by 10 we were on our way. (You have to relax and enjoy a few cups of joe before venturing out, especially when on vacation.)
The itinerary for the day was to park at Colt State Park in Bristol, ride our bikes along the East Bay Bike Path, have a decadent nosh at the Daily Scoop in Barrington, return to the park, and then wend our way to one of our favorite Newport haunts, Brenton Point.
And that is exactly what we did.
There was more to it, of course. There always is.
Parking at the Colt State Park presented no problems, although one does tend to encounter braying herds of families, all crushed and gathered under shade trees, barking and screeching to their crowded offspring, while 20 grams of fat per hot dog link bubbles and blackens on a pathetic charcoal grille.
We hurriedly exited such a scene.
An explosion of cumulus greeted our egress, the clouds spanning the entire sky, reminiscent of a Constable oil. A few patches of blue poked through, and a lone white heron stood tall and serene in the marsh at low tide.
Since it was a Wednesday, traffic along the trails was light. We actually had the chance to ride side by side for the most part, and it was a pleasant way to travel. At times we remained silent, mesmerized by the shimmering bay, where thousands of pixels of sunlight danced upon slow, undulating seas.
Passing the 47-acre Jacob Point Salt Marsh in Warren, we pedaled and listened to the myriad of birds that flitted and chittered through the sawgrass and cattails. It remains a beautiful sanctuary for many species of birds and animals alike.
The sun sparkled in the distance and a soft warm breeze embraced us. At times, when verdant boughs failed to provide welcome shade, the sun seared our skin. It was smart to have slapped on sunscreen prior to our excursion.
Stopping in Barrington, we parked our bikes and ascended the stairs to the Daily Scoop. This place is, by far, the best establishment for ice cream. They also have a sister store in Bristol. But make sure you bring cash; no credit or debit cards accepted.
Julie opted for the coconut almond joy and I had the double fudge brownie. One scoop is enough to sate your sweet tooth (although for 50 cents more you can get a 2nd scoop. But we are not gluttons.)
After consuming these delectable treats we wound our way back to Colt State. From there, a longer-than-necessary trip to Newport.
Well, I should clarify that; it shouldn’t have taken as long as it did but somehow we can never remember the easiest, and quickest, way to Brenton Point. We got tangled up in impossibly narrow roads and ended up taking a rather circuitous route. What a bother.
But soon we were on Ocean Avenue, heading toward our destination, where we hoped to plop down in beach chairs and soak up the sun.
But it was not to be.
As we navigated the serpentine road, a massive and recalcitrant fog bank swept in and swallowed the sun. The seas picked up, and a cold wind lashed the shoreline. This truculent chunk of dense grayness reduced mansions near Gooseberry Beach to ghostly silhouettes.
Despite the sudden and dreary conditions, we shouldered on and parked. Foolishly, I had failed to pack warmer garments for just such an occurrence. One never knows how the weather will be directly on the coast.
Still, we lugged our chairs and coolers to a bluff, set up and wrapped ourselves in feeble blankets. Buffeted by strong onshore winds and specked with froth from tormented seas, we didn’t last too long. A lone gull glided by, taken along by the stiff breeze. It briefly glanced our way and was quickly swept away, vanishing into the impenetrable fog.
Who could have imagined such a temperature change? It must have plummeted thirty degrees from our time in Bristol!
We stayed long enough for me to take these few pitiful pictures. This one was of a sign that read, ‘Danger! Stay off the rocks.’ But right next to it there was a sturdily built ladder, beckoning all to scoff at such signage and descend. But not today.
Here’s a pic of my Love in the mist.
As you can see, the fog was rather opaque, enveloping everything in swirls of briny dampness. It was that odd stickiness, like after you’ve come out of the ocean and attempt to dry your hands on wet towels laced with stubborn sand.
We did not tarry.
Crossing the Newport Bridge (the Clairborne Pell Bridge to those who are particular) gave hope to sunny skies ahead. Jamestown was lit in brilliant light, and as we crested the bridge a distant bay was set aglow, like a shimmering pool of liquid silver.
The Jamestown Bridge (or the Verrazzano) gave us a slight reprieve from the insistent fog bank. To the left we could see how long the bank extended. It did not look promising for Narragansett.
But still we continued on, past Narragansett Beach, where beach-weary patrons lined up in various stages of undress, all waiting for food offered from a BBQ truck or a pizza truck.
I suppose their caloric intake wasn’t enough for the day; stale-chipped nachos with fake cheese, gargantuan soft pretzels with exorbitant price tags, grilled slabs of gray burgers, and preposterously priced flavored ice did not satiate these rubescent pinguid folk. Sustenance was needed in order to plod their way back to their respective cars.
Turning around, we started our journey home. All in all it was an enjoyable stay in Rhode Island, albeit, one somewhat truncated by the weather. Now, as I write this from the comfort of the back yard, on July 9th, instead of a wall of seawater greeting my gaze, an expanse of greenery encompasses my world, the long stretch of lawn a poor substitute for sand.
Cars traveling along Route 84, directly behind me, almost sound like distant crashing breakers. Almost.
Only the scent of suntan lotion hints of our foray to the coast. But sitting here, with a soft, delicate warm breeze, it remains a peaceful reminder of our slight yet soothing sojourn.
Coming up: Dog Daze of Summer…
©Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.