We’re still in Connecticut! Just in case you forgot.
I decided last night as I was scrolling through hundreds of photos and slipping into anxiety, “What do I show them? These are too many photos! How will I do this?! It will take five thousand years! I’ll be an old lady with sagging jowls by the end of the post! Will medicare even accept me?!” – that I’ll just start with week one.
So we’re starting with week one.
That very first week.
First of all, life here has been out-of-this-world surreal. SOMEHOW, without knowing anything about this area (besides Mystic Pizza, duh), we were booking a cottage in one of the most magical strips of east coast there is.
OKAY, WE HAVEN’T BEEN to the Cape yet. Or Block Island (tomorrow!), but this little string of towns we’re smack dab in the middle of, has overwhelmingly changed us. (<–my mom is having a panic attack, “don’t move! don’t move! omg DO NOT MOVE.”)
Let’s look at some photos of week one!
So on that first Sunday, we ventured into Stonington Borough, and brunched at Noah’s (where Great Hope Springs was filmed!), but I TOTALLY DID NOT GET A PHOTO. We’ll go back though. It was amazing.
I know we’ve already talked about Mystic Aquarium, which we conquered that first (very drizzly) Monday. So now we’re settled into the week a little more, starting with these photos.
We went to Watch Hill, Rhode Island (which is less than half an hour away, and a STUNNING drive), to stalk Taylor Swift and check out the local beach scene. Thing is, school was still in session, so it was hauntingly quiet. Which worked out for us not having to pay $40 (FORTY DOLLARS) for a parking spot.
We popped into the quaint and comfy St. Clair Annex, right there on the strip, for lunch (Tuna roll!^^ UNREAL. I was saving lobster for later.), then grabbed some ice cream before we began our T-Swift hunt.
You know, fuel.
So behind them down in the corner is the famous Carousel in Watch Hill, which also acts as the main entryway into the public beach which was GORGEOUS. (We went back for Father’s Day. More on that later.)
This is the gremlins strategizing what we’re going to say to Taylor when we see her at her house up the hill. “Sorry I spilled my ice cream on your lawn, Swift. Hopefully you can just shake it off.”
OKAY, we didn’t see Tay Tay. But there’s her crib!
(can’t decide how I feel about Tay Tay.)
(okay, I decided.)
(IT STAY STAY.)
(don’t delete me from your life.)
Will decided to get a tiny pebble stuck in his sandal on Swift’s side beach entry, so Nurse Natalie went to the rescue to tweeze it out with her teeth.
You think I’m kidding.
YES WE WENT TO MYSTIC PIZZA IMMEDIATELY.
And I know it technically wasn’t filmed in this exact location (because at the time in the late ’80s this restaurant was half its size and too small to shut down for production, so they filmed on Water Street in Stonington which I scouted out like a psycho, but there are a ton of scenes shot right in this area! Just love me.)
It is SO FUN in there because there are framed photos on every single wall, the movie plays on repeat on the back wall, and the pizza…..
You’re going to hate me but I LOVED IT. Old school, the right amount of chew-to-crisp ratio, doesn’t sag over like a dead fish when you pick it up, and geeeeenerous toppings.
AND GUESS WHAT GUESS WHAT GUESS WHAT.
When cheeseless Aaron was ordering his pizza, the waitress goes, “There’s some parmesan in the sauce, is that okay?”
I THINK THAT’S WHAT’S INNNNN THE SAUCE. Because I overly-enthusiastically yipped at her, “Wait! Is that it? Cheese? It’s in the sauce? Is that the secret magical ingredient IN THE SAUCE?” And her eyes bugged out as if she’d just accidentally confessed to a triple murder.
It was fabulous.
Cheese and garlic, we think. The sauce was garlicky. I think. Maybe it’s just cheese.
Next we strolled Mystic, crossing the bridge and reenacting the scene where Jojo yells at at Billy for changing the name of his boat.
It was fabulous.
Look at that boat! I want to get on it.
Next we found a winery. Hashtag IT’S OKAY MOM.
Our goal this trip is to experience one vineyard per week. We went to Saltwater week one (and back on Father’s Day), Stonington Vineyard week two (which was beautiful and I’ll post on that later this week!). This week we’re headed up to Jonathan Edward’s vineyard. Which I heaaar will be my fave (not fav). We’re headed there Thursday, so stay tuned. *hiccup*
Will enjoyed the winery a liiiiiiittle too much IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN I’m kidding don’t throw me in jail.
We discovered the cutest tiiiiiny one-man Farmer’s market (farmer market?) open on Tuesday afternoons, so we’ve been dropping by each week for pesto, fresh bread and cookies. Basically want to stick it in my purse and bra.
The very first weekend we drove up to Attleboro, MA, making a quick pit stop in Providence to grab an iced coffee and stroll down a hipster street for a wee bit of shopping.
What’s in Attleboro? Aaron’s aunt and uncle! So Aaron’s dad’s brother and wife. Right, you get how the family tree works.
They own this STUNNING historical home that Aunt Marcia grew up in as a little girl. Thirty years in the Army and all around the world with their three kids, and back home they landed after retirement.
And it is one beautiful home, I tell you.
Here’s me and Nat, down at their giant pool in our matching gingham. YES DAD I’m having that mole checked out as soon as we’re back.
On Saturday we ate through one shiny apple – wait, that’s not it.
On Saturday we took them to a historical park with canoes and a playground and THE FASTEST CAROUSEL ON THIS PLANET. And I am serious, that mother was fast. Made in 1895 and still zips around like a toddler hummingbird on adderall.
I want to be like that when I’m that old.
For lunch we dipped into the cutest little diner that I’m not sure how 28 movies haven’t already been shot there. This TRAIN choo choos around the top of the restaurant, the booths are a deep retro green, and the chowder. . .
We’ve had five chowders so far and this award-winning creamy New England chowder hovers the number one spot, rivaling one other that changed our mouths’ lives. But I’ll tell you more Thursday.
Like, this is the type of booth where a breakup is being diagnosed, or a murder is being planned.
We cooked both nights at Uncle Glenn and Aunt Marcia’s, and it simply couldn’t have been a more magical experience.
I mean . . .
Nat wanted to eat those antennaes. Literally gnawing on them in her mouth asking where the meat was and, “Can they feel this?”
We also made clams! THAT AARON DUG UP OUT OF THE SOGGY EARTH.
How is this life?
After lobster we cozied up by an outdoor fire and made s’mores! THIS IS AMERICA, GUYS.
And ice cream the night before. Sorry to get out of order with our summertime desserts. I can only do so much in this world.
On the way home we stopped by the much-suggested Federal Hill street in Providence. Nothing but a loooong row of Italian restaurants and shops. I loved it! Wish we’d had more time to explore that area.
SO, the pizza at Caffe Dolce Vita was probably among the very best I’ve ever had. The mushrooms could have been prepared at little differently (they looked like drown slugs), but the SAUCE? I’ve never had better sauce. The bright acidity of the tomatoes shone through and made this pizza simply outstanding.
THAT ^^ IS NEW ENGLAND.
Aside from the mini travels, we’ve really been soaking up coastal life, while maintaining this unexpected peaceful rhythm. I’m running in the mornings, Aaron bikes around town, digs for clams at low tide, the kids start the day down by the beach collecting shells, we tidy the cottage, stay on top of laundry and relax on the back porch. It’s still LIFE, you know?
Except with more crabs.
Week two is coming Thursday!
(Also, in case you missed the whole WHY WE’RE HERE thing.)