As summer’s been winding down for me, I’ve been thinking about all of the places I visited this summer and what sticks out to me as the best. The best coffee, best mansion, best restaurant, you name it. So, considering my time in Westborough, Maine, Rhode Island, New York, and London, I’ve compiled a list of what I thought were the best places in certain categories.
Best Coffee–Red Barn Coffee Roasters and Black Goose Café: I’ve definitely become a bit of a coffee addict lately, and these two coffee shops, in Westborough, MA and Tiverton, RI respectively, got coffee the way I liked it. Red Barn is tiny, has great scones and muffin tops, and their coffee has been my favorite for years. Black Goose is a bit bigger and more of a café, and they’re also open later at night. Custom House Coffee should also receive an honorable mention. Though I’ve only been there twice, I’ve really liked what I’ve had.
Best Ice Cream–Uhlman’s: I may be partial to my hometown favorite, but Uhlman’s really has it all: tons of flavors; amazing, decadent ice cream; and no peanut butter shortage for my friends who have been trying to order chocolate peanut butter from Gray’s all summer to no avail. Brickley’s is runner-up, and I recently discovered the UConn Dairy Bar which actually had my personal favorite, chocolate peanut butter, and it had the perfect balance of chocolate and peanut butter.
Best Italian–Frankies 457: I tried this Brooklyn restaurant a few weeks ago, and they had incredible Italian cheeses and meals. A Tiverton favorite, though, would have to be Nonni’s—though casual and simple, their food hits the spot. Finally, my family tried Camille’s in the Federal Hill area of Providence this past weekend. Though a bit of a splurge, the restaurant has a great environment, there was live music on Saturday night in the bar, and the food was great.
Best Mansion—Windsor Castle: Having moved near Newport, I’ve visited a handful of mansions this summer, and although what I think is the best is more of a castle across the pond in Windsor, England, the castle boasts a medieval feel, Queen Mary’s dollhouse, and a great Changing of the Guard. As far as Newport Mansions go, I’d say The Elms is the best: it offers an interesting tale of preservation, it’s typically less crowded than the most famous Breakers, and the house is still quite beautiful. Rosecliff is another favorite as it’s really open and airy. Finally, Blithewold Mansion in Bristol deserves mention for its homey feel and thirty-three acres of grounds and gardens overlooking Narragansett Bay.
Best Beach—Fogland Beach: I didn’t visit the beach a ton this summer, but Fogland is a nice and quiet, small beach near Little Compton, RI.
Best Rhode Island Town—Westerly: From the first half of the towns I visited in RI39, I think Westerly has been the nicest. It has beautiful beaches, a nice summer atmosphere without being quite as touristy as Cape Cod, and a great downtown. Jamestown deserves honorable mention as well, and this town really took me by surprise as I’d done no research in advance to know how pretty it is by the harbor. Finally, Bristol also should have a ranking. I’ve spent more time here than in the former towns, and they have a wide selection of restaurants on the water and a beautiful Hope Street.
Best Fast Food—Fat Boy: Burgers, shakes, fries…Fat Boy in Brunswick, ME does it right. This drive-in was so good that I even went twice in my weekend visiting Bowdoin.
Best Book Spot—Soho: This area of London has a lot of great antique bookstores right next to each other. Emma and I popped in a bunch of shops one night, and it was really enjoyable to look through their inventory.
Best View—The London Eye: This was one of my favorite parts of my trip to London because the view of the Thames and London which a ride on this Ferris wheel offers is remarkable. Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, RI also gives a great panoramic view of the water.