Traveling home for summer vacation or winter holiday always reassures me that the simpler time in life, that I can only vaguely remember, still exists and is right back where I left it. A place where much less time is spent hustling, budgeting, and accommodating the fast paced customs of the city. It reminds me of a time when being a poor young gentleman wasn't a lifestyle choice, or a brand for that matter, but just an unwritten daily practice.
Driving right past my parent's house, I head straight to Monahans in Narragansett. The hugs and kisses can wait, I’ve been on a plane all day and I only have one thing on my mind, good Seafood. There is nothing quite like a fresh lobster roll and a cup of chowder to make me feel right where I belong. Sitting at the weathered wooden picnic table and inhaling my indigenous fare, I gaze upon surfer silhouettes floating in the late afternoon swells until I rush home to say hi to my Mamma.
It’s easy for me to forget that the small communities of my rural Rhode Island dwellings sell local food not because it is in vogue but just because. They don’t need a reason, the food is there and they’re hungry, so they eat it. You want oysters? We’ve got about 14 species to choose from in Rhode Island alone, and then another billion going up and down the coast. You want lobster and scallops? We’ve got them and guess what, they’re still breathing. Looking for some quahogs or snails? Tell me how much time you’ve got and I’ll tell you where to go pluck them from the mud yourself. The briny inventory never ends. The small farms provide locals with corn, apples, eggs, blueberries, squash and whatever seasonal yield our little state can muster. What is truly inspiring is how easy it is to continue a healthy lifestyle without being a prick. It doesn’t take a stitch of pretentious effort to afford a lifestyle that benefits the environment, economy, and health of the community.
From Rhode Island to the Cape, antique stores and flea markets riddle the seashores offering novelties, folklore, and wampum not as over-appraised fossils but as affordable artifacts preserving our seaside heritage. Nothing is more fun than picking up some old nautical tools and native souvenirs along my travels to clutter my living space and remind me of home. New England and its aesthetics have been inspiring my jeu de vivre before I realized I had one.
Driving down ocean road, the Atlantic on my left and miles of sod on my right, it's hard to remember why I ever left in the first place. But it’s not long before I faintly hear a familiar voice. It’s my old friend City Streets calling to remind me that a bourbon and some trouble are waiting for me at my favorite bar.
Lobster Roll ($16)
Cup of Chowder ($3)
3 Clam Cakes ($2)
Del's Lemonade ($2)
Allie’s Donuts Half Dozen ($4.50)
Oyster Shooter ($7)
Yarmouth Scallop (Fished)
Ocean Catch Seafood Stuffies ($1.50 a piece)