THE ROAD TRIP CONTINUES: HELLO, NEWPORT.
aaand i’m back, for the 31-hour road trip, part 2. after our berry farm discovery, dick (jordan’s dear gps) led us to newport, rhode island. the weather was awesome.
with bright sun and few clouds, one might think that a fair-skinned red head like myself would remember some sunscreen. not this girl. i’ve got the evidence to prove it later. but there was meandering and shopping and eating to be done. after a stroll along the water and in & out of some shops, we had been told multiple times that the red parrot was the place to eat lunch, featuring a 20-page menu. feeling like 20 pages might be a little intense, we went with a suggestion from jordan’s fiance: brick alley pub. no offense to the red parrot, but brick alley pub turned out to be a great choice. the service was ridiculously quick, our waitress was very good and the food was fresh and yummy. jordan had a lobster and avocado melt from the specials and i ordered fish & chips (yes, that’s right, this girl ordered seafood… turning over a new leaf lately). the fish was delicious, only lightly breaded and flaky. word on the street, or on their website, is that the lobster roll was featured in bon appetit magazine as one of the six best in the united states and jameson irish whiskey has given them the “best irish coffee award” for three years. not baaaaaad.
the parking meter was running out, so we hopped in the car in search of the next vineyard. we drove by the newport beaches…
…before arriving in middletown, rhode island at newport vineyards.
we knew the drill, so we paid for our tasting glasses and headed to the outdoor (tented) tasting room with a view of the vineyards. there was one inside too, but what’s the fun in that? this winery had a much larger selection of wines and we got to pick six each. jordan went with the sweeter whites and i made my way through the whites and into the realm of reds. some of my standouts were tranquility, vidal blanc (mmm, mango & banana) and great white. the pinot noir was pretty good too. jordan let me try some her rhody coyote hard apple cider… uh, yum! the scent was so fruity and the cider itself was really refreshing. some ciders seem to have a tinny kind of taste, but not this one.
despite the increased selection, we were rather disappointed by the information provided by the guy pouring the wine. sure, they printed a line or two to describe the options on our tasting list, but it wasn’t very helpful. on the other hand, this place had… drum roll, please… wine crackers! keep in mind as you’re reading that i’m a wine amateur, so bear with me. my mom had given me a package of wine crackers a few months ago, but i hadn’t opened them yet. i actually packed them on this very road trip to try with the bottle of wine we brought for the hotel room. at first taste, i wasn’t so sure about these little crackers, which tasted a bit more like cookies. and yet, as the tasting went along, i was hooked on these little nuggets. one more dimension to the wine tasting and new knowledge. boomshakalaka.
after a look around the shop, we lined up for the 3pm winery tour. oh and about 50 of our close friends lined up in that toasty little store too. yikes. we followed the tour leader outside to the vines.
not a few minutes into it, we noticed a guy at the front of the class, who happened to have very, um, large feet. he stood out right away… and then, he became that guy. yep, he took the invitation to ask questions verrrry seriously. and he personally inspected the wines in the midst of his questioning. jordan and i look at each other with a glance that knew exactly what the other was thinking. moving inside to the stainless steel tanks, we had some more prime people watching and ended up in hysterics, from the back of the classroom. it was a situation where one look says “don’t laugh, because i’ll laugh and then you’ll laugh at me laughing and we’ll just be in trouble.” we thought it might be best to excuse ourselves. and conveniently, we beat the crowd to the register so jordan could grab some of that cider.
back in the car, we took a detour on the way to our hotel, with a drive through the roger williams campus and a short tour through colt state park in bristol. the park had campsites, picnic areas, beaches and fields with visitors flying kites. it was busy, but not even close to as crowded as the newport beaches were. it might make a fun weekend camping trip with friends.
after a few more photo opportunities, dick narrated our drive to somerset, massachusetts, where we had booked an inexpensive room at the quality inn. oooh. ahhh. yeah, we knew it wouldn’t be luxurious, but it did the trick. unfortunately, it required that we spray three different kinds of perfume to try and cover up the scent that they were piping in to mask the smell of cigarette smoke. post checking in, we were hungry and heard there was a mall nearby. pulling into the parking lot of the swansea mall (if you could even call it a mall), we glanced around, wondering if any of the stores were actually still in business and jordan checked to make sure that the doors were locked. not such a great option for dinner to say the least. thanks to my iphone (i’m such a dork about being a proud owner of an iphone), we realized that providence really wasn’t that far away. and staying true to our “go where the wind takes us” theme, off we went. hey rhode island, we’re coming back for more!
it’s only about 5:30 or 6:00pm at this point and next, you’ll hear more about the greatest burger on the planet, lighting the river on fire and stamp #3 on the coastal wine tour passport.