Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Islands: Rhode Island & Long Island

We decided to stay in Bristol RI because it has a small but interesting village and is convenient for touring both Providence and Newport. We learned it also has some interesting attractions in it's own right. Upon arrival, we wandered around checking out the restaurants, shops and village coastline. Along the way we discovered Pomodoro, extremely close to our B&B. Pomodoro is a BYOB restaurant so we made a reservation and then went "home" to select a wine from our traveling wine cellar. The Caprese salad and pizza were excellent and went well with the Primitivo wine. 

Next morning we headed to Providence to visit two museums. In the morning we went to the Culinary Arts Museum at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute which provides an extensive history of eating, cooking and entertaining from the caveman to today. The overview of early Chinese and Roman cuisine was especially interesting. Apparently the first cookbook was written by Apicus in 4 AD.  An excerpt from that cookbook shares the secret of making White wine our of Red Wine..."put bean meal or three egg whites into the flask and stir for a very long time. The next day the wine will be white." We are not planning to try this out.

Lunch was in the city center at Figidini’s, more small plates (rabbit and veal meatballs, sautéed rabe, and spicy grilled sweet corn) with a sparkling Barbera. Very tasty.

After lunch we visited the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum.  There were good works form BC through the class of 2015. And there were a good number of impressionist paintings in the collection for Pat to view.
Berthe Morisot - Child in Red Apron 1886
RSID Museum Paintings displayed on tall walls.  
Love the expression on the guy in the red robe!

Dinner at Aiden’s Pub consisted of cheese and bacon stuffed potatoes, onion rings and spinach artichoke dip with a Porter for Pat and Bass for Bill. No fat! No Calories! No cholesterol! Right!! For dessert, Pat ordered a bottle of "Not Your Father's Root Beer". 
Pat's two beers: Porter and Root Beer
Thursday it was time for a mansion tour and we chose to see the servants tour at the Elm’s in Newport. Quite interesting to see how the Elm’s was designed to enable Gilded Age living - keeping the staff and deliveries out of sight of the family and guests. The staff quarters were actually quite nice too. Note: Planning for the summer events took place far in advance and the summer staff was more than double the size of the New York City staff.
Delivery Entrance at the Elm's...nicely out of sight in shade of vines.
Bill outside The Elms, trying to look distinguished so they'll invite him to a party...
For lunch at 22 Bowens we split a lettuce wedge and a fish & chips plate. It was more than enough to satisfy our appetite. The Gavi (white wine) worked well with the meal also.

A stroll through town and a little shopping were next. Along the way we were pointed to a yacht restoration project, the Coronet (more than 100 years old)...appropriate work by a school specializing in yacht restoration.

The Coronet, over 100 years old, is the last remaining grand yacht from the
Golden Age of Yachting. It circled the globe two times. It also provided the inspiration to
found the International Yacht Restoration School
After that we decided that the heat and humidity were too much to accommodate the main house tours of any of the mansions so we headed back to Bristol. We made a stop at a local winery along the way. Some reasonably good wine, lovely vineyards.

On our last day in RI we drove through Colt State Park (a peninsula on the sound which started as a cattle farm in the early 1900's. Only the picturesque barn remains of the farm but there are great areas for picnics and games) and continued on to Blithewood Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum. The mansion and grounds were quite impressive though not as grand as those in Newport.
The barn at Colt State Park
Bridge in the Garden at Blithewood

At the Herreshoff Marine Museum we learned more about the Herreshoff family and the boats they designed for the Americas Cup and military. There is an extensive collection of boats and models to see and some history of the Americas Cup.
75' DEFIANT, built by Herreshoff in 1992
for the successful defense of the America's Cup
We had lunch at Redlefsen’s, a little German cuisine, Asparagus Pfannkuchen, Kasespaetzle, and Weiner Schnitzel. A little shopping and a short stop at the Linden Place Mansion completed the day. The mansion was owned by the DeWolf family who made their money in the slave trade and the Colt family who made their money in United States Rubber (Uniroyal).
Staircase at Linden Place
We were up and away on Saturday for our drive and ferry to Long Island. We got some nice photos from the ferry.

We arrived in Greenport about 2PM to find Pat's MacBook waiting for her. We sent it to Apple for repair from Cambridge and had it shipped ahead to LI. After settling in and starting to reconfigure Pats computer, we went to dinner at First and South where we had Caesar Salad, Mushroom Ragu, and Mac & Cheese with a bottle of Bedell Malbec (local and good).

Sunday we did a little wine tasting and discovered that we like Bedell in general and that they are quite pricy. Some of the other winery’s had a wine or two we rated as pretty good. We bought one bottle at Castello di Borghese Vineyard and enjoyed the bubbles at Sparkling Pointe.

Dinner at Noah’s was a treat, Squash Blossom Tempura, Bacon Cheddar Gougeres, and Roasted Corn Risotto and another bottle of local wine, Kontokosta Viognier. This was followed by Strawberry Shortcake with Rhubarb ice cream.

Bacon Cheddar Gougeres and Squash Blossom Tempura
Corn Risotto
Monday, Labor Day, was a day for wandering the shops in Greenport. The shopping was not productive but we did have a fine lunch at Vino and Vittles before heading off to the wineries and beaches. We tasted some more reasonable wines and got a few beach photos. We particularly enjoyed tasting and discussing wines/wineries with the staff at One Woman winery.

The One Woman Winery...cozy but good.
Tuesday, we headed to the South Fork. Service between the forks is by a fleet of ferries ranging from tiny to small in size. Service is frequent and runs until 2am (or so, so we weren't worried about the timing to get back should we decide to also return by ferry.) The first ferry took us to Shelter Island. We toured abound the island with a brief stop at Reel Point and then headed for the ferry to Sag Harbor. We visited the Information Booth (attractively housed in a windmill) and learned that we and the with the woman who helped us have a mutual San Miguel friend. Sag Harbor is a sizable and down-to-earth. It has a nice downtown (shops, restaurants, and access to water based activities.) Another time, we'd likely spend more time there.

One of the ferries between Greenport and Shelter Island
View from the Ferry
Home of the Sag Harbor Information Office
We moved on to Montauk and the Montauk Point Light House, commissioned during George Washington’s Presidency in 1792. We climbed up to the light for the view...about 140 steps... where we enjoyed the views and took a few photos. 

Montauk Lighthouse
View from Montauk Lighthouse
Montauk village has a few shops & restaurants but none called out to us so we headed back to Amagansett in East Hampton.  Amagansett is another down-to-earth town with a range of shops and a few restaurants that serve lunch. We chose Astro's Pizza. The server was concerned that we only chose the "Pizza for One" but we do have to limit our in-take a little. Truthfully, that "Pizza for One" was more than adequate for the two of us. 

After lunch we explored the shops a little and then moved on driving through East Hampton, Bridgehampton, and Water Mill. The stores/downtowns seemed to be getting more upscale and design oriented so we passed by South Hampton, East Quogue, Quogue, Quiogue & West Hampton. We might have considered mingling with the rich & famous but, thankfully, we were now past the season in The Hampton's. We continued on to Riverhead (the town where the North & South Forks divide to nearly enclose the Peconic Bay) and then back to Greenport passing many wineries.

We returned to Noah's for dinner. This time we chose the Kale Caesar and Flounder Fish and Chips. Again the food was excellent and the Bedell Chardonnay went very nicely with it.

On our last day on Long Island, we just took it easy, catching up a bit on planning.
We wandered out for lunch at Front Street Station for Potato Skins and Spinach Salad accompanied by Ales (Barrier Calm It Copper and Twin Forks Chromatic). Very tasty food and drink.

Dinner was at American Beech a relatively new place in town. Our starters, "Bibb and Bleu" and Moroccan Spiced Lamb Meatballs, were followed by Sripped Bass with Rustic Corn Succotash. We thought the meatballs were a little over-done. Everything else was very fine, including the Apple Cobbler. Interestingly we thought that Succotash was a corn & beans dish, but this one was corn with roasted potato chunks.

Tomorrow: Off to NYC!

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