Saturday, December 22, 2012

Finding Christmas Spirit in Rhode Island

A couple of weeks ago, my great gardening friends, Monique and Les and I drove to Rhode Island to visit a few of our favorite places.  Usually we make this trip during the warmer months.  However, it was so much fun I suspect a Rhode Island Christmas play day will become an annual event.

Our first stop was The Farmer's Daughter in South Kingstown, my absolute favorite nursery for unusual annuals.  Back in May I wrote about our spring trip to Farmer's Daughter HERE.  Naturally the plant offerings are now non existent but the enchanting and tasteful Christmas displays and items for sale did not disappoint.  As an added bonus for late shoppers, I just saw a Facebook post from Farmer's Daughter last night advertising 30% off all Christmas decor and gifts.

A greenhouse decked out for Christmas at The Farmer's Daughter

Next year I'm coming here for my Christmas wreaths and swags.  The creative use of various evergreen texture and color is unlike anything I've seen at my local haunts.

Somehow Les managed to perfectly match the pointsettias

Holiday wreaths sporting a coastal flair

Unusual evergreens and strategically placed art help keep the display gardens interesting throughout the seasons.  During the growing months, these gardens are accented with unusual annuals and tropical plants and are spectacular.

Display gardens at The Farmer's Daughter

Of course no trip to Farmer's Daughter would be complete without lunch at Matunuck Oyster Bar.  While we were swooning over the food we came to the conclusion that this probably one of our favorite restaurants.  Location, ambience and fantastic food-you just don't find too many places that offer all three.  Back in May I also posted about MOB HERE.  It appears they've disabled their website but they do have a Facebook page.

When we arrived (five minutes after it opened for lunch), the parking lot was already at least two thirds filled.  Fortunately for us it was a private party large enough to need the bigger dining room.  We were offered our choice of tables in the small dining room overlooking the pond.  Naturally we opted for the table with the best view.

View from our table at Matunuck Oyster Bar

Looking through the small dining room towards the raw bar at Matunuck Oyster Bar

Salad with candied walnuts, beets and goat cheese, fried calamari, and oysters Rockefeller

Seared scallops with toasted pecan brown butter, butternut squash risotto and roasted locally grown root vegetables

I wish I could remember what this was.  Obviously a medley of shellfish perhaps with risotto.

Rounding out the meal with flourless chocolate torte and pumpkin creme brulee.

Another stop we always make when in the area is Matunuck Beach.  Last year Monique and Les rented a cottage on the beach and we wanted to see if it had sustained any damage from Hurricane Sandy at the end of October.  Although that cottage appeared to have weathered the storm, a few places looked like they took a hit but nowhere did I see any of the catastrophic damage suffered by some of the CT shoreline towns.

Most surprising were the legions of surfers riding the waves at Matunuck Beach.  Are these people nuts?  Granted it was fairly warm for December, but it's DECEMBER!

Matunuck Beach

I couldn't resist showing off the Christmas red toes in the swirling ocean water.  Once my foot became numb the rest was easy.

From the beach we headed to our real excuse for trekking to Rhode Island, Simple Pleasures, a gift shop located in Charlestown.  Trust me when I tell you that with the exception of nurseries I am not much of a shopper but I could easily browse through Simple Pleasures a few times a year.  Yes, it's alot of chachki, but if you need a unique gift for someone who likes beach inspired decor, or if you enjoy buying yourself gifts this is the place to go.

Outdoors they have a selection of garden pottery, statuary and ornaments.  Inside they were completely decked out for Christmas.  What a way to get into the holiday spirit.

Sorry for the visual overload but it was such a fabulous day I couldn't resist capturing every minute.  Beginning with Thanksgiving it seems like the holidays spin by so fast.  Here in CT, it's been difficult to find joy after the horrible school shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown last week but I feel the best thing you can do is to keep trying.



  1. Wow! I can taste that flourles chocolate torte & hot coffee! I want to party with you! Numb feet in the ocean, (with festive nails) the fun shopping, and amazing lunch sounds like fun to me! Love that coral tree. Thanks for a fun post! Happy holidays Sue!

    1. We have a rule that all road trips (especially to nurseries)require a lunch/dinner stop. If unfamiliar with the area, Monique researches and comes up with something through YELP! or Urban Spoon. So far we've never been disappointed.

      Happy Holidays back at you Peter!

  2. Good post, Sue. You showed a bunch of appealing things. Maybe my favorites are the garden center and the scallops! I can see that a trip to Rhode Island next spring might be in my future . . .

    1. Both are definitely worth the trip. The next time we'll go for the nursery will be early to mid May but I suspect there will be at least one trip to Matunuck Oyster Bar between now and then.

  3. That lunch! OMG!!!!
    And all the rest too. You guys live so far away...

    1. C'mon down Marie! We'll show you a good time.

  4. WOW! Now I love the Farmer's Daughter! Looks like it's worth the trip just for the inspiration. And you're right...mixing up the different textures of greens really is beautiful!