Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Last weekend out and about in Rhode Island

This past weekend was, in a word, gorgeous here in the Land that Time Forgot. The weather was nearly perfect and it was nice having early release on Friday -- of course that ends when school ramps up in two weeks. But for the moment we savor the freedom.

Friday afternoon we headed down to Narragansett to have dinner with Andie, her mother Barbara and their friend Marlene. We sat outside sipping sparkling wine before going inside for a scrumptious dinner of codcakes (made with fresh cod from Point Judith), sauteed zucchini and a fresh green salad. Dessert was a flan with poached peaches, compliments of the Fresh Tarte.

Marlene and Barbara

On Saturday we drove the 5 minutes or so from our house  to the East Bay Bike Path, crossing the Seekonk River and down Veterans Memorial Boulevard.

After parking Susie headed out for her regular hour ten minute walk and I sat on a bench in the shade of a tree wisely planted just off the path next to the parking lot. I had brought a good read along, a story of war in Sicily and Italy, of lives whose end days were spent in unpleasantries of the most profound kind, underscoring how much I enjoyed being outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

On Sunday we continued to enjoy splendid weather and so drove down to Bristol for lunch at Agave right on the water, near the terminus of the East Bay Bike Path. The food is so-so but the location is perfect for this weather.

Turkey Club that was really more like a turkey "stick"

Tasteless fish matched by Sysco fries
From Bristol we drive back north just a mile or so to Colt State Park, one of the real treasures in this part of Rhode Island and a favorite outdoor haunt for both of us (and about a jillion other like-minded folks)

Rumor has it we'll be back here again next weekend for some petanque (AKA boules). stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Family visits, Portland, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire

When I look back on this last weekend from the middle of the week, I get the distinct impression it was quiet for the two of us here in Rubetown -- and yet when I start scratching beneath the surface, I am soon disabused of that notion and realize we actually did quite a lot in s 48-hour period of time.

Our nephew Jonathan and his wife Naomi drove down from Maine late Friday to spend the night here; they had a wedding to attend in West Kingstown on Saturday and needed a place to park until then.

After a leisurely morning sampling Susie's pastries on Saturday morning they followed me to Susie's shop to get the full experience of the French Tarte. And afterwards the Tarte herself joined us for a quick drive to nearby Lippitt Park where the summer Farmers' Market is in full swing through the fall -- before they move indoors to Hope Artiste Village.

center: Susie, Naomi and Jonathan

We bid adieu to Jon and Naomi; they were off south to the Rhode Island coast. Susie returned to the shop to get ready for her afternoon class and I headed back home to do whatever I do when I'm actually doing something. 

At a little after 8 a.m. Sunday morning we packed ourselves into the Mini and pulled out of our driveway, making our way to I-95 north for a rendezvous with Dick, Dorothy and Susie's sister Joyce at  a Panera's just outside of Portland. The weather was grand and the traffic light as we cruised through Boston on I-93 before returning once again to the dreaded I-95 for the final run through New Hampshire and on into Maine.

my BBQ chicken salad -- a bit too sweet I htought
We had a pleasant visit, sitting outside eating some tasty food -- one must hand the folks at Panera for knowing how to do "fast food" right.

We eventually had to say goodbye, a bit bittersweet for the siblings to be sure. We don't know when we'll get back up to Maine next or when the group will be together again. After getting back on the highway and retracing our morning ride up north we soon found ourselves caught in the stop-and-start traffic of half of New England heading home after a weekend in Maine.

But for us as soon as we crossed the Piscataqua River into New Hampshire we pulled off to explore "historic" Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We strolled through the historic downtown, along with several thousand other like-minded folks; traffic was pretty much jammed up but we had wisely chosen to park on the periphery of the city after pulling off the highway. Anyway, it was a grand day for a walk and to explore a place we had so often driven by but never stopped to see. Lots of shops selling bric-a-brac, clothes, jewelry and just about everything else.

We did stop into "Popovers" and bought one of their eclairs, which, stuffed with some sort of odd-tasting filling, was not very good. Nor was the choux puff up to French Tarte standards, either.

downtown Portsmuth

waterfront dining, of course

a gorgeous private garden open to the public right new the waterfront

After a pleasant hour or so of casual strolling we headed back to the car and found our way onto the highway where we once again rejoined all those other folks returning home after a weekend up north. Not wanting to return through Boston at this particular time of day we decided to take Dorothy up on her offer of fresh-picked green beans from their garden and so swung off onto I-495 to I-290 and through Worcester picking up Route 146 south.

After a pleasant chat with dick and dorothy over a glass of sparkling cava rose we grabbed our bag of beans, joined with fresh cucumbers and tiny tomatoes and headed home.

That night we enjoyed fresh corn (from Saturday's farmer's market) along with beans and leftover pork.

Not a bad weekend at all, I'd say.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A stroll through the woods -- Lime Rock Preserve in Lincoln

This past weekend was gorgeous here in Rubeworld -- and after so much heat and humidity we were certainly ready for it. Susie taught class on saturday and I strolled the outdoor farmer's market at Lippitt Park, picking up some sweet corn for dinner.

But the high point -- pathetic as it may sound -- was a simple 45-minute stroll along an old electric train (possibly Lionel?) rail-bed that once connected Providence with Worcester and vice versa.

We drove north out of Providence about 10 minutes or so and somewhere after turning on Wilbur Road off of Route 246 (Old Louisqueisset Road) we found an unmarked parking area at the trailhead. Although we weren't sure at first but our college educations finally kicked in and we figured it out.

Owned and maintained by the Nature Conservancy the walk showed us just about every shade of green and brown imaginable with nary another color in sight. The comfortable walk took us around a small pond, across a manmade dam and eventually back to our car. So much for the high point of the weekend.

But hey, the corn was delicious.

part of the rail bed was a dramatic cut in the rock

Thursday, August 08, 2013

VandenBergs and Joan Dekorne at Overview, September 1970?

During the Van Halsema family reunion at Clear Bottom Lake this past weekend, Aunt Fran brought lots of photos she had accumulated hoping someone would be interested in at least a few of them. Well, I certainly was curious, at least in a couple that included the VandenBerg side of the family out at the original Overview cottage circa 1970.

Stamped September 1970 on the back I thought someone out there might have more information than we can glean just from the photo itself:

OK so that's the old cottage in the back -- and this is Joan Delorne!

Tunis VandenBerg on the far left, son Dick (?) next and then. . . ?

Susie VandenBerg and her dad Tunis

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Celebrating 30 years at Hemenway's

Our 30th anniversary meal was spent quietly at Hemenway's in Providence.

Part of the Newport Restaurant Group (which includes Waterman Grille and The Boat House in Tiverton), and specializing in seafood, Hemenway's overlooks the Providence River as it drifts down to the hurricane barrier and Narragansett Bay. Sort of how we felt that evening, adrift amidst the ebb and flow of life. . . Thirty years together all in the blink of an eye.

The evening was quiet but just right for us at that moment: the food was very good, service attentive and the ambience fine. I suppose you couldn't have asked for more. Here's to the next 30.
view of the river looking south

calamari, Rhode Island style with Banana peppers

house salad


Seafood casserole with fingerling potatoes

Van Halsema family reunion at Clear Bottom Lake, the photos

A time for renewal and remembrance as the Van Halsema family gathered at Clear Bottom Lake near Rockford, Michigan.

It had been more than 12 years since the descendants of Emo Van Halsema and Nellie Lucas broke bread together, back in 2001. So much has happened since and all in the blink of an eye.

This past Saturday, August 3, was a gorgeous day to be in Michigan on a lake, sharing fond memories of absent loved ones, joining hearts and hands in fellowship for just the briefest of moments.

Thanks to Jen Galloway, Ruth Quackenbush and Donna Kallemyn for orchestrating the event!

Oh, and don't look for any systematic organization to how the photos are posted here -- there isn't one. I prefer letting your eyes float over each image savoring the moment. The reunion was centered on a time for sharing stories to be sure but for me it was all about just being together. Of course, let's not overlook the possibility that I'm simply too lazy to arrange them in some semblance of order.

And since I'm so sketchy on matching names with some of the faces, I let that one alone as well.

l-r: Donna Kallemyn Lynne Vandepolder Laurie Ten Have -Chapman Frank Van Halsem

left: Ruth Quackenbush

l-r: Melissa Loaney Claire Galloway

Scott Galloway

l-r: Marian Ten HaveBrenda Friedman Jennifer Galloway (front) Donna Kallemyn

Barb Dekorne holding. . . ?

Clark Van Halsema and Mieke Van Halsema

Clark Van Halsema

Melissa Loaney Frank Van Halsema Bernice VandenBerg

Mieke Van Halsema

Jennifer Galloway

Scott Galloway and dick VanHalsema Jr.

Robert Loaney

sisters: Melissa Loaney and Jennifer Galloway

Dave Dekorne

Laurie TenHave-Chapman

Dale Dekorne

Fran Van Halsema

sisters: Marian Ten Have and Helen Vandepolder (right)

Garrett Ten Have-Chapman and Clark Van Halsema (right)


Jack Dekorne Jr.

Wilma and Jack Dekorne


Susie and Sharon