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OPERATION ROAD TRIP: RI & MA.

July 7, 2011

if you have 31 hours to spare and are looking for a (21+) new england adventure, read on, my friends.

save for a shopping trip to providence place mall and a college visit to roger williams university, my time spent in rhode island was quite limited, prior to this weekend. my best friend since elementary school had a weekend to spare and was going to make the trip to boston, but the question remained: what to do? one day while perusing boston.com, i found a list (you know me and lists) of massachusetts wineries. bingo! our trips home to vermont usually consist of nights drinking wine and playing bananagrams, so this option had real potential. the only catch… driving. so as i looked into wine tours, i found the coastal wine tour of rhode island, where the towns are a whole lot closer together. i proposed a switch in states, putting us closer to the water and cutting down on the driving, and jordan was game. as two college students who had the opportunity to study abroad in europe, we have before and since loved to travel and were ready for a weekend of going “wherever the wind would take us.”

i did a little bit of research online and polled my facebook friends on which wineries they’d recommend, so we had an idea of what we might be able to see and do on our road trip. when jordan arrived in boston on friday, we spent about an hour scouring various hotel websites (priceline.com, hotels.com, travelocity.com) for an inexpensive place to spend the night in the area and mapped out sites to visit, making sure we had the addresses ready for the gps (which, by the way, is affectionately named “dick”). with iced coffees in hand, we hit the road just before 9:00am, headed toward middletown, rhode island.

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the driving was pretty smooth sailing, and it was a holiday weekend no less. as we got closer to the first stop and saw signs for a winery, “dick” started to give us wrong directions… or so we thought. turns out, two of the wineries are so close that we turned down the driveway of the second one on the list (greenvale vineyards in portsmouth, rhode island) before we realized that dick was right all along. sorry, buddy.

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the weather was awesome, so turning down the drive to get to greenvale was pretty picture perfect. down the one-car dirt road we went, arriving to an empty driveway. maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was 10:00am. we are serious about our winetasting. that’s how you do a road trip in 31 hours, people! we could see the water from the drive and were surrounded by the vineyards. the tasting room was tucked inside one building with a patio and was an open room with wine and a few gifts for sale along the walls. they were still setting up a bit when we arrived, but greeted us and said it wasn’t weird to be tasting wine at 10am. plus we got our coastal wine trail passports to get stamped at the other vineyards, so it was almost like traveling through europe. okay, maybe not quite the same, but a decent alternative.

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the staff member who conducted the tasting was upbeat (her words: “i’m on my 4th cup of coffee”) and informative (this was first time i had ever heard the explanation from a real live person about why you swirl wine before tasting it). we tried 5 white wines and 1 red, all of which were rather good. before i left, i purchased a bottle of the skipping stone white, their most popular and a good table white wine. we got to keep our glasses, as you should be able to at most wine tastings like this. i was particularly fond of it since their logo is a “g” monogram. one big plus that maybe i shouldn’t be so excited about… the bathroom was top of the line. i think it was made of cedar. the downfall, which i would only learn in comparison to the other wineries that afternoon, was that they had regular crackers. more about my wine cracker fascination later. after the glasses were wrapped, we walked over to the vines on the lawn for an explanation of that side of things. at greenvale, two people (two!) harvest the grapes by hand… all 24 acres. although the other vineyards we visited were larger, this impressed me versus the machine harvesting of the big kahuna wineries. and then the photo shoot commenced.

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when we had sufficiently filled our media cards, we jumped in the car to head in the direction of newport, ri. just a few minutes from the vineyard, jordan spotted a sign for a strawberry farm. “should we go there?” “i think so. let’s go.” we’re good at following an itinerary, right? hey, it was the wind. soon, we pulled into the driveway of sweet berry farm. though we didn’t pick any berries, we wandered the grounds, got a snack in the amazing country store and soaked in some sun. it was a great find and a relaxing detour.

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so did i mention that it’s only around 12:30pm at this point? yup, a few hours in and we already have two awesome, and somewhat accidental, sites under our belt. now we’re going to lunch and then dessert… aka more wine. check back soon for more on sunny newport. nuggets, the man with fat feet and our “lovely” hotel.

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