Well, it’s here. The Autumnal Equinox, the official end of summer arrived recently. No surprise, we knew it was coming, it always does, but this year it seemed to come too fast. Along with it came a cold front, providing a blast of cooler, crisp fall weather. Goodbye heat and humidity, can’t say I’m sorry to see you go. Despite the above average very warm temps we have been experiencing in New England, the telltale signs of autumn started appearing a month or two ago. Pumpkins at farm stands and local grocery stores, a myriad of ads for apple pickin’ at nearby orchards and a few trees slowly beginning to exhibit signs of their colorful autumnal hues.
Speaking of autumn colors, the local meteorologists are already warning that the fall foliage may not be as vibrant this year due to the stress experienced by the trees due to the lack of water during our fairly dry summer. Not so great news for the leaf peepers who have plans to flock to New England the end of September and early October. Not to worry, maybe it won’t be quite as colorful as other years but it will still be pretty. It’s hard to beat autumn in New England!
And for us another sign that fall is upon us, it is time to ready Quantum Leap for her long winter nap. This year she will rest ashore instead of in the water. Seems like we just finished bringing our stuff on board and now it’s time to pack it all away. Within a few days of her haul date, we’ll be heading west in the coach out to Spartan Chassis for annual maintenance and then to Entegra for some minor warranty work. Then we’ll make our way back to Riverbend in Labelle, FL where we’ll spend the months of November and December.
Each year we have our usual conversation about which we like better, the RV or the boat and each year the answer is still the same – we love both! Although we are looking forward to hightailing it south to escape the coming cold, ice and snow, nothing beats the summer months here in RI living on the boat and enjoying our very inexpensive waterfront property on beautiful Greenwich Cove!
It’s hard to beat the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) rocking motion provided by a nor’easter or the wakes of boats as they enter the cove, listening to the cries of seagulls fighting over clams and crabs, the screeches of ospreys as they fly overhead searching for dinner and watching the cormorants dive for fish near our dock, then seeing them loftily perch as they dry their wings.
Or enjoying the sunset and its warm glow as it lights up the eastern side of the cove and reflects off the water and on the hulls of the moored boats. As the sun disappears, a night heron or two often perches on the bowsprit of the boat next to us, patiently waiting for his evening dinner to float by. As the weather started shifting to cooler temps, it was not uncommon to wake up in the morning to find ourselves enshrouded in fog, barely able to see the tops of sailboat masts or the shore off in the distance. Ah, nothing can beat living on the water!
We really love too that our Greenwich Cove is unusual in that the entire eastern shore is a state park (Goddard Memorial) and completely undeveloped, providing us with an awesome natural view. Check out this aerial view. We often see people, dogs and horses strolling the shore and in the fall the mixed hardwoods along the bluff provide some magnificent color. Just around Long Point to our northeast Goddard Park continues with a half mile expanse of sandy beach very popular in the summer months. Greenwich Cove is also the home of the RI Clam Company and every day we watch the Quahoggers returning on their skiffs and selling their catch to the Clam Queen, the clam company’s roving barge. Did you know that one quarter of the nations Quahog catch come from little Rhode Island?
What’s been interesting this year too was the fish activity in the cove. We have seen more than usual schools of teeny weeny baby fry and large schools of 3 inch minnows that swim closely together in synchronized patterns. So fascinating watching them I found myself sitting there mesmerized for hours. If you want to see them in action, check out this video! Also this year we observed a larger species that literally “slurps” at the surface next to the pilings and dock bottoms, probably going after the tiny shrimp and other creatures that thrive there. When we first heard them slurping away we had no idea what was making the noise, this is the first year we have seen this particular activity. And we even had Beluga Whales in the cove this year too!
And it’s not just the cove, the fish seemed to be considerably more plentiful everywhere in Narragansett Bay. On one particular dinghy ride heading out of the cove everywhere we looked there were hundreds of larger fish, about 5 to 7 inches in length, swimming close to the surface, then jumping, their silvery sides glistening as their bodies caught the reflection of the sun. Sure we’ve seen fish here before but not as many as this year. I think if we had reached into the water with our bare hands, we might have caught one or two.
Although we didn’t do all we wanted to do, it was a fun and somewhat productive summer. Fun stuff included our nearly month long trip to Maine in the bus which we’ve already written about, our brief trip to CT (Rob will eventually write about that trip) and catching up with old friends at the yacht club.
No extended boat cruises though! Unfortunately we made plans several times for a cruise to Newport but never made it there due to assorted distractions. So our only boating excursion was a trip to the gas dock to fill up the tanks and a quick cruise in the bay. Oh well…..
Lots of family activities – a week long family visit with Rob’s Dad and his younger brother and family who drove here for from Chicago in August. A fun time at a family reunion (and very delicious dinner) graciously hosted by Rob’s aunt & uncle, Linda & Herb at their home. So wonderful seeing family members we hadn’t seen since we sold our house in 2013. During his stay, Rob’s Dad treated all of us to dinner at Twin Oaks one night. That’s always a special treat!
And then on one recent Saturday, my brother, Paul, and my sister-in-law, Peggy, asked if we wanted some company. Of course! No special plans necessary, they just wanted to hang out with us for the day. Such a wonderful fun visit and especially knowing that soon we would be leaving the area and not seeing them for six months or more!
Accomplished projects include the install/deinstall/reinstall of our new refrigerator (already bored everyone with the gory details of that saga so enuf said except to say that we’re luvin’ the new new one and it is working really well), remodeling our bed frame so it is ready for a new mattress which we will order next year, cleaning our rather grimy rugs and replacing our nine very old, disintegrating and awful looking miniblinds. That was a fun project since all of the windows are odd sizes. After a futile visit to Blinds To Go (their vinyl blinds were expensive, poor quality and they could not be made wide enough to meet our needs), we ended up purchasing new Levolor Vinyl Blinds at Lowe’s since they came in widths up to six feet and could be cut to our exact specifications while we waited.
Besides all those projects, yours truly found happiness in the galley this summer. One of the challenges with meal prep on the boat (even more challenging than the coach) is that we don’t have an oven, so any baking or toasting had to be done in a tiny under the cabinet toaster oven. Really tough when we invited people over for dinner. I’d struggle trying to figure out what I could make that would fit in there. Very limited choices for sure. Making anything on our ancient electric three burner cooktop wasn’t ideal either, the burners didn’t work well and it was hard to control the temp. And Yacht Club rules prohibit us using our gas grill at the dock for insurance purposes (although we do have access to the public grill located at the top of the ramp to our dock). So yes, cooking was a challenge to say the least. Hmmm, does it seem like I’m always whining about cooking?
Well, I was but not any longer! We debated on installing a new marine propane cooktop and oven. But similar to the fridge, they are expensive and it would be a major project running the gas lines. So we found a much less expensive workaround. Our NuWave Induction Portable Cooktop solves the cooktop issue. And we trashed our existing toaster oven replacing it with a new Breville BOV800XL Combo Toaster/Convection Oven which we bought at Bed Bath & Beyond with a 20% coupon. It’s installed in a cubbyhole beneath the cooktop so my oven (or lack thereof) issue has been resolved. Wow, big improvement! I’ve been happily cooking all summer long! Whew, no more whining! (For now anyway).
Besides our dinghy excursions, we often strolled along Water Street, passing by what used to be the 2nd Kent County Jail (1795), then turning up King Street passing under the railroad bridge, then as we walked up the hill, a number of historical homes. Always fun catching all the activities happening in town. One late afternoon I walked up there by myself and was surprised that it was “Music in East Greenwich” night – there was a different band playing on each corner. Lots of people milling about. Pretty neat! Later in the summer they had a “Taste of East Greenwich” but we were in CT so we missed that.
Each Friday we meandered over to Goddard State Park for the Farmer’s Market (open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from May 1st to October 1st). Lots of local vendors selling everything from locally grown produce, organic, antibiotic free meats and poultry, soaps, olive oils, artisan breads, cookies and pastries, salsas and marinades and so much more. Each week we’d stock up on fresh tomatoes and cukes and a few other veggies. Nothing better than garden grown tomatoes – will hate to have to resort to eating the flavorless store bought variety when the season is over!
Of course, while here, we visited some of our favorite dining establishments and some new ones but I’ll write about that in a separate post.
You might be wondering about how our furry kids are doing this season on the boat. Being the somewhat adaptable creatures they are, it only took a couple of minutes for them to adjust to their new environment, must be because they remember it from previous years. They enjoy being able to sit “outside” in the enclosed cockpit watching all of the activity.
Each night Sparky likes to take an evening constitutional (under our close supervision of course), heading out the front window towards the bow, then returning to the stern of the boat along the catwalks. Sometimes he just sits on the bow watching the people go by and eyeballing the gulls flying overhead.
And occasionally he turns into a real social butterfly, prancing out on the bowsprit to capture the attention of people walking by on the dock. Gizmo tends to be a little more timid, content to sit and look out the front window or out the doorway at the stern.
Yes, it’s been a good summer. We’re sorry to see it end but on the other hand we’re looking forward to hitting the road and gearing up for our “other summer” down south.