East Bay Summer, Part II

Before heading back to Bowdoin recently, I spent some time visiting some spots that had eluded me for a while. Now that I’m back, I don’t really have a place to write about them, so here’s a mishmash of some final summer adventures.

I’d heard about The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown for its hiking trails, birdwatching, and different events that they host throughout the year like a 5K and May Breakfast. My mom and I visited a few weeks ago when we were out on errands and we followed one of the easier trails given that we weren’t dressed for hiking in the woods. The trails were pretty, but it was oppressively hot and buggy the day we visited, so I think we counted more flies than birds at first, although towards the end of the trail we saw a bunch of birds flocking in a field. Should you go, be prepared with the proper attire and be ready to spend a while sitting quietly to wait for birds to fly by. I’ve had more luck spotting red wing blackbirds and other interesting ones along the Bristol Bike Path in all honesty.

Beer tasting at Foolproof
Beer tasting at Foolproof

For my dad’s birthday, I brought him to a Paw Sox game in Pawtucket. We stopped beforehand, though, at Foolproof Brewing Company for a beer tasting. Driving up the road, I thought we must’ve taken a wrong turn, but don’t be alarmed. The brewery is in a sort of desolate, quiet, industrial part of Pawtucket. The tasting is $12 for the pint glass or $15 for the tulip, which you get to keep at the end. The tasting room is small and only fits about six or eight seats, and it’s one of those spaces where you don’t feel you can be too loud unless everyone else is talking. In any case, the tasting at Foolproof was my favorite to date. I really liked all the beers we tried, my favorites being their stout, Backyahd IPA, and the Raincloud Porter. Service is friendly, casual, and knowledgeable.

IMG_1039Afterwards, we headed to the game. The advantage of the Paw Sox is that you can get much cheaper and better tickets than you could at a Red Sox game. McCoy is a fairly small ballpark, but it still exudes the comforting, American summertime feel of a baseball game. The Paw Sox played pretty poorly the day we went, so we didn’t stay through the end of the game, but it’s still a fun thing to do if you’re in the Providence area.

IMG_1124My dad and I also made a day trip to Battleship Cove in Fall River one day after work. Driving over the Braga Bridge between Fall River and Somerset, I’d passed by so many times but never made the stop to visit. There are a bunch of ships in the cove, the biggest being the U.S.S. Massachusetts. We spent a long time going through the cabins and tight spaces of the ships, but I was getting burnt out after a while as I’d worked the morning shift starting at 6 AM that day. If you go, be prepared to be on your feet for a while and go prepared to learn. It’s a wonderful and historic area to visit, and you can get your money’s worth for sure. Also, drive across the bridge after and get homemade ice cream at Somerset Creamery. Everywhere says they serve homemade ice cream, but at Somerset they make it in their kitchen. Alongside the Daily Scoop in Bristol, this place serves the best I’ve had in the area.  IMG_1096

IMG_0976Finally, after visiting Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard in Little Compton, I decided to also check out Newport Vineyards in Middletown. The tour here was a lot more crowded, probably drawing from weekenders in Newport, but there are some unique things that set this winery apart, like how they produce enough solar energy to sell back to the grid after providing for their own needs. The tasting here is good–you can choose from a wider selection of wines than that at the Sakonnet Vineyard, but I think I preferred the wines at Sakonnet overall.

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