What’s so special about Rhode Island? Is it the coastline that darts in and out?..The architecture? Why is little Rhody so darned cute?
My best friend from Asheville, North Carolina, came out to visit us, in Rhode Island, the first year after we left. For nine years, during our winters in Asheville, she and I met regularly, got coffee, socialized with the rest of “our group,” attended fashion shows that were charity events, etc.. Over that time, we got to know each other well.
She came to our home in Rhode Island in the fall…almost Halloween time. She’d never been here. She wasn’t alone in never having visited here, before. Some folks mistakenly think Rhode Island is part of New York?” (Long Island, I would assume.) Or they say, “I think we’ve been through it. They mean they traveled through our little state on their way to more (their unspoken words) exciting spots like Boston or the fall foliage territory—Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine. Basically, they meant: anywhere north of us.
They had never been to Rhode Island.
So, we took her to our favorite haunts.
The tiny fishing village of Wickford…the Southern beaches (people make day-long excursions out of Connecticut to hang out at these)…the ever-famous Newport (even if we’re not one of the moneyed set that enjoys the Biltmore-like homes that line Ocean Drive, scene to movies such as “The Great Gatsby”)….our capital city of Providence with “Waterfire” where men on gondolas light the cauldrons in the center strip of the canal, while haunting music is piped in and all is bathed in an eerie glow…the fantastically interesting gourmet food that has given Rhode Island new celebrity (owing to our many ethnic groups that arrived in immigrant waves)…our own city of Warwick, named as 6th. “Safest Cities of America.”
We took her to nearby Mystic, Connecticut for hot lobstah-rolls (yeah, it’s lob-ster but we Rhode Islandahs leave out the r’s on everything and Ct. offers “hot” in more places.)
I showed her the cove in Jamestown where I snorkeled with friends before “Jaws” made me suspect cloudy waters that could hide a shark til the last moment—waters so unlike the Caribbean…
We walked about the neighboring town of Essex, Connecticut, all decorated in ghoulisth delights (remember—it was around Halloween—either that or they are very weird people.)
The good news? Cynthia is coming to visit, again.
Maybe this time we’ll take her north, out of Rhode Island, to Salem, Massachusetts, always a favorite of ours (I gave my daughter a bridal shower gift of a night in the Hawthorne Hotel, there, and dinner at a favorite Salem restaurant.) Maybe we’ll get our palms read by a mystic.
You know what Cynthia shared with me only this year?
After her first visit to Rhode Island, she told our group of friends back in Asheville: “Colleen will never leave there” (meaning permanently).
I asked her how she knew that before I did (as in: “Is she psychic?”).
She said “There’s just something about you and that region. You ARE that region.”
I thought about that. Yes, Rhode Island and I are welded as one…I need the ocean nearby (tho’ I needn’t swim in it, I want to know it’s there.) I like the architecture…the older colonial or Victorian homes (we lived in the latter type for 14 years, along the Bay.) I love the quaint villages strung out, across the state, with little travel time between (remember, RI is only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, tho it’s coastline is 400 miles long, with all those inlets and outlets.) I love the variety of people. I love the accessibility to all, without feeling crowded, I love the food diversity, the many ethnic festivals, the cultural diversity.
But there’s a bigger reason, still… one I never thought about until we had to choose one permanent home—Rhode Island or North Carolina, with little possibility for going back and forth as we age.
That’s when it hit me….My MAIN reason for choosing Rhode Island over North Carolina. ***Hint…***Hint…It’s not grandchildren and family. (They’re all out on the West Coast, in Seattle).
What is the main reason pulling us back to Rhode Island? I tell that in my book, “Boomerrrang”…
The chapters are ALL different. I liken them to them to little morsels meant to be taken one bite at a time—That’ll be good news for those who don’t especially like to read whole books. (According to Pew Research Center, that’s 24% of America.)
And it’s funny—‘howlingly-funny’ some have said. In one chapter, I’m a clueless Lucille Ball character on the candy conveyor belt, but I’m in an advanced Yoga class!
So, Boomerrrang—the journey of two Boomers adjusting or maladjusting to the South.
Anyway, come to Rhode Island, if you’ve never been and if you’re Rhode Islanders considering leaving the state, read Boomerrrang first. It may give you pause.
P.S. I write each of my stories with a respectful nod to Asheville and RI. Asheville “got us” for almost ten years. It intrigued us far more than all other areas we considered for our retirement home. And I found subtle similarities to our home state. But in the end, we had to make ONE choice.
Maybe I should have just talked to Cynthia ahead of time—She apparently knew before I did (or maybe she’s psychic!)
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To read reviews and buy “Boomerrrang,” here’s the link.