Summer's not over yet!
Normally I don’ take off any time from work in the summer - at least not in July and August. There are so many fun summer things to do right in Middletown and surrounding towns that I fill my free time in the summer with all those wonderful advantages of home. As an example, earlier in the summer I went to the Portland Brownstone Quarry Park for the first time ever and had a blast. This park is a ton of fun and you also get a pretty strenuous workout while you’re at it without even realizing it – until the sore muscles the next day. http://brownstonepark.com/ The entrance fee is a little pricey, but considering you can spend the entire day in there and bring your own food with you, it felt worth like it was worth the money.
In an unusual and much needed move this year I did take this past week off of work. It was the week of Labor Day - summer ain’t over yet! I got a few projects done around my house, began cooking my way through Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook, and spent some quality time with my spouse. We took a trip to Block Island, a place of extreme natural beauty with its dramatic cliffs and beach vegetation. A day trip is definitely possible although we decided to spend one night there. I did a little internet research, then splurged on a nice hotel room and checked the weather.. The forecast called for temperatures in the 60s, heavy winds and overcast skies with 50% chance of rain. “Nah, it’s going to be great, summer’s not over yet”, I said to myself in a delusional moment of wishful thinking. Well, the forecast was correct. The winds and choppy seas forced the cancellation of the high speed ferry run, so we ended up arriving later than planned and leaving earlier than planned too. We took advantage of this to make a stop in Mystic on the way, where we window shopped in the record store and the artsy boutiques by the drawbridge. Then we caught the later ferry which was like riding a roller coaster for an hour. I felt like I was in a movie set as water was crashing onto the decks, people were “oohing” and “ahhing” in chorus at the crashing waves, and, unfortunately, there were quite a few rounds of projectile vomiting going on. I kept my eyes shut the entire time, and the one or two times when I did open my eyes and glance up for a split second were regrettable. The ocean-sky horizon line appeared at a 45 degree angle which was so nauseating to see I promptly squeezed my eyes shut again. My husband was happy as can be and stood out on the deck until the crew shooed everyone inside. I made it off the ferry a little pale but all in once piece. Once on the island, the feeling of being in a movie set continued. I had never actually experienced a storm on the beach let alone a tiny island, and this is one magnificent sight to behold. The crashing waves were very dramatic and the grey skies against the water gave a monochrome or black and white type of effect that was really breathtaking. In our hotel room, we were excited to have cable television, a luxury that we forego at home, and we spent the evening watching VH1’s Top 100 Hip Hop songs of all time which we thoroughly and deeply enjoyed.
The next day, I was determined to swim in the ocean. It just felt like something that has to be done when you travel to a tiny island. I threw on my bathing suit, sprinted over to the water and charged in as fast as I possibly could. I promptly tripped on some rocks and an unseen indentation in the sand. I was still determined to swim but it was so much colder than I expected it to be that I made a hasty exit. I have a nice bruise as my only souvenir of this trip. After that little adventure, we chowed on some snacks we had brought with us and played cards in the quaint parlor area of the Inn for an hour or so while we listened to some slightly panicked Eurpoeans try to figure out how they were going to get back to the car in Orient Point, Long Island, since the ferry going there had been cancelled, and make it to a flight at JFK on time. We don’t know if they made it but they were on the same ferry that we were, headed to Point Judith in Rhode Island. We left on an earlier ferry because of the real threat that the later ferries may be cancelled and we didn’t want to get stuck on the island. In the time that it took us to walk over to the ferry, get our tickets, and board, we were pelted with cold rain and winds that we came unprepared for (due to my delusional need to hold onto summer). After that and then another roller coaster-ish ferry ride I had a newfound appreciation for a hot shower. Our mini vacation was not perfect, it was not as planned. Despite this, it was full of adventure and new experiences, beauty, and relaxation. For one night we didn’t have to make the bed, cook diner, wash the dishes or clean up after ourselves. We were together and we made the best of it.