Saturday, June 22, 2013

Another Friday afternoon early release

One of the benefits of working for Johnson & Wales university is that in the summer most of the staff are given an "early release" on Fridays. This usually means that by 1pm most staff are on the road heading to the beach or the hills or the links or just hanging out, enjoying the sun and fresh air.

All too often we tend to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of following one errand with another and then another and before long those special moments when we get a bit more free time get lost in the shuffle. But this time, at least this one time, I was determined not to let such a foolish thing happen. And since Susie's schedule in her shop is pretty flexible in the summer we planned to rendezvous at home and make an afternoon of it.

I had two objectives last Friday afternoon: mini golf and something else (Susie provided the something else suggestion as you'll soon see).

From Westminster street it was a short hop onto Route 10 and then I-95 south, two exits and off on Route 37 west. We were in search of Mulligan's Island Mini Golf and two minutes later we found it -- although in typical New England fashion it was easy to see but hard to get to.

After parking we headed off to the ticket booth, paid our fees and then to the "caddy shack" to get our club and balls (pink for susie and blue for me).

They have two courses: the blue one reportedly a tad harder than the red. We opted for the blue since there was a large party already on the red. 

We pretty much had the course to ourself and enjoyed just being out of doors soaking up the sun and the cool breezes. There was plenty of shade along the course so we could pop in and out of the sun as we chose.

The course itself was lots of fun and was indeed a bit challenging. It's very well maintained as well. The staff (all teenage girls) were friendly and helpful. Cost was $10 per person (no discounts for seniors) with a $5 replay (if you wanted to play both courses in other words).




catching the breezes!




From Warwick we got back on to I-95, this time heading north and then off at Route 10 and Elmwood Avenue but this time east, not west toward Westminster street.

Susie suggested we check out Roger Williams Park, 427 wonderful acres of green space and water donated by Betsy Williams, the last descendant of the man who reportedly founded the state of Rhode Island as a direct consequence of being exiled from Massachusetts.

Several minutes later we were pulling through the gates of the main entrance to Roger Williams Park and Zoo. (Notice it's always just "a few minutes" here and a "few minutes" there. Nothing is very far here in the Land that Time Forgot.)

As soon as I saw the Swan paddle boats I started looking for a place to park -- and quickly found one by a shuttered boathouse. After paying $15 to the young man overseeing the swans susie and I were pedaling our way around one of the tiny lakes.


cruising the lake by pedal power


and under the bridge


strolling through the Japanese garden, but with no flowers


General Casimir Pulaski, father of the United States Cavalry

the Museum of Natural History, which appeared closed

one of so many pathways streaming off hither and yon

Dalrymple boathouse (closed)
Overall, the park was very nice and quite a few folk were out with their chairs scattered here and there at random, soaking up the shade and cool breeze wafting through the trees. But the more we strolled around it became apparent that parts of the park are in a quiet state of neglect: near the "Carrousel Village" was a building along a bit of water whose roof was half off, covered by tarp with no signs of reconstruction. The Dalrymple Boathouse was closed for no reason, the Japanese Garden not only lacked flowers but was in sore need of weeding -- and this was Friday afternoon. Where were the workers?

The lakes are nice to be sure and the Swan paddle boats were fun ($15 for 20 minutes). The paths for walking are enjoyable and seem to meander everywhere -- no maps available that we could see, though.

But it's a fine place to get away from the noise and grit of the inner city -- which is, of course, where the park is located, And the sculptures scattered around the park made me think of those in Central Park. I mean, who would've expected a statue of General Casimir Pulaski, father of the American Cavalry a stone's throw from the Swan boats!

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