Not only was it a very cool version of a freakishly catchy song, but the setting of the video was spectacular! I remember thinking, “What the heck is that?! I need to go there today.” What it was isIce Castles, a temporary attraction built by creator Brent Christensen and a team of ice artists each winter in different locations all over the country for visitors to explore and experience. While I was disappointed to find out that the Ice Castle featured in the video was located in Utah (and I wasn’t getting there anytime soon!), I was ecstatic to learn that there was an Ice Castles location in nearby Lincoln, NH.
I think many of you will identify with the overwhelming feelings of apprehension and anxiety that washed over me in waves in the wake of November’s election. Our beloved country seemed to be taking a very dark turn. An agenda of intolerance, division and disregard for the environment was being put forward that in no way represented where I stood on a multitude of issues.
As soon as I heard the idea of aWomen’s Marchbeing floated, I knew I had to be a part of it. I have been a political junkie for years; reading articles, watching the pundits, signing online petitions and occasionally contributing to campaigns and causes. I had been dipping my toe in the activist “pool” for quite some time, now here was an opportunity to really participate, to stand up for what I so strongly believe in and be counted.
Is there anything that says summer more than a sunflower field? Growing up in Westerly, as soon as the weather started warming up everyone was talking about Buttonwood Farms and their famous ice cream. As it got on towards July however, you would start to hear excited chatter about going to visit their sunflower fields. My mother every year would say that this was the year we were going to get out to Griswold, CT to see them and take pictures and every year it…..wouldn’t happen. You know how it is. Life gets away from you, during the summer especially! Finally, though we did get the chance to visit and it was just as amazing as we’d heard it was.
It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…
One of my favorite things about summer is going outside on a balmy summer evening to watch fireworks. So many of my most magical childhood memories involve streaks of colorful light exploding across dark skies, illuminating the awed faces of spectators as sparkles rain down. Its a stunning and exhilarating experience and this year, I was determined that we were going to see some 4th of July fireworks.
There is really nothing I like better than grilled food. With summer weather still a few weeks off, and cooler weather dragging on this spring, I decided to buy a large cast iron grill pan and get my summer food fix on….
For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to all things foreign and exotic. This fascination started when I was a kid, when our Episcopal church in New Jersey had a retired Bishop from India come to take over our parish. I remember being completely taken with the Bishop and his family, especially his lovely wife, Shala. A professor at a nearby university, her sari’s, beautiful smile and pretty accent made a huge impact on me at an impressionable age. Combine this with the Beatles traveling to Rishikesh to study with the Maharishi, and Sajid Khan starring in the TV series Maya – (does anyone else remember that show???) – and I was completely captivated by India. Ever since, I have had a very strong desire to travel and intense curiosity about other cultures that has continued right up to this day.
In this modern era of movie viewing, when you can watch almost anything you want anytime you want, it’s kind of amazing that people still go to movie theaters at all! But there is something about the shared experience of seeing a movie, especially in the beautiful, vintage theaters that now house many of our art house cinemas, that keeps people coming back for more.
I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that, strangely, no one had ever thought of bottling.
CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON
If I had to credit one thing for my obsessive love of bookstores, I think I’d have to trace it back to watching Beauty and the Beast when I was little. There is definitely video footage (which I will NOT be sharing here) of me stomping around the living room in my bright yellow Belle gown, a basket containing a book swinging wildly on my arm, singing at the top of my lungs about how there must be more than this provincial life. I remember being just as swept away with wonder as Belle was when the Beast revealed his extravagant library. Couple that with years of reading Harry Potter, idolizing Hermione Granger, and dreaming about the magnificence that is the Hogwarts Library and you’ve got a bonafide bookworm, but more than that, a beautiful bookstore and library fanatic.
So, considering all that, you can imagine that when An Unlikely Story opened in Plainville, MA, I was determined to visit as soon as possible and dragged the family along with me.
Each year, as October draws near I get a thrill of anticipation thinking about Roger Williams Park Zoo’s annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Our family has attended this amazing event many, many times over the years often bringing visiting family and friends who have been equally dazzled by the sight of the 5000+ illuminated jack-o-lanterns lining the winding path of the zoo.
This year, we went on Halloween night with my sister in law Monica and her fiancé Jim – “newbies” to this event. It was really wonderful to come on the actual holiday, not only was it generally less crowded but, as a group of adults, it was nice to have a Halloween event to go to, now that my kids are no longer of a trick or treating age. Arriving at the park, we slowly followed the line of cars around to the zoo entrance. We got lucky and found parking fairly quickly, though depending on the time and evening you attend, parking can be a bit of a challenge. We got in line and after about a 20 minute wait, purchased our tickets and entered the park.
The event has grown significantly over the years and now has nice amenities for all ages. Once inside the gates, alcoholic beverages are available as well as seasonal favorites for all ages like cider, kettle corn and sweet roasted cashews. You can pick up all kinds of novelties and toys for the kids or stop and have a souvenir picture taken in front of a green screen (they insert a jack-o-lantern scene in the background) that can be picked up at the end of the trail.
The trail itself runs straight through the zoo so expect that you might be treated to the sight of an elephant or 2, in addition to the most extraordinary array of colorful, illuminated pumpkins you have ever seen.
Each year an overarching theme is chosen that is broken into smaller motifs as you progress along the trail. The theme of this years event is “The Peoples Choice”, focusing on the subjects most loved by the public since the event began.
First up: The Golden Age of Hollywood….
Crossing into each new section (marked by signs made out of pumpkins!), the accompanying musical sound track changes to reflect the new theme. *Cue Beatles Music* as we enter the Octopus’ Garden….
Lit up with LED lights, the most beautiful and intricately carved pumpkins illustrate each sub-theme perfectly. Special effects are sometimes added to enhance the scene. A bubble machine sent bubbles floating over the Octopus’ Garden, while a fog machine infused the atmosphere at Sleepy Hollow with an eerie mist.
Next came a salute to Classic Fairy Tales.
and a trip through Asia.
We took a moment to visit the Fortune Tellers booth!
One of my favorite themes: The Sound of Music’s 50 Year Anniversary – 5 0 y e a r s!
Julie Andrews always makes me think of my mom. <3
We loved the way the Jack-O-Lanterns reflected in the pond along the way.
The display of Mother Goose themed pumpkins was spectacular.
Love how the mouse looks like he is inside the pumpkin!
There was even a proposal pumpkin!
The dazzling finale to the event is the Laughing Tree. The tree itself is surrounded by hundreds of pumpkins of all sizes carved in traditional fashion.
Tiny jack-o-lanterns blaze along the branches all the way to the top to stunning effect.
Truly amazing! This quintessential Rhode Island event is not to be missed! The “Spectacular” runs from early October through early November. We will be updating admission information each year. Please see current information below:
2017 Season: October 5th – November 5th Rain or Shine
Value Nights (Monday – Thursday): 6:00pm- 10:30pm
Prime Nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) : 6:00pm – 11:00pm
Please note that Prime Night tickets are available for purchase ONLINE ONLY and are timed ticket entry.
2017 Season Ticket Price:
VALUE NIGHTS (Monday – Thursday)
Adult $15, child $12 (ages 2-12) | Current RWP Zoo members save $2 off adult and $1 off child tickets.
PRIME NIGHTS (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
$18 Adult, $15 Child | Current RWP Zoo members save $2 off adult and $1 off child tickets.
I always get very excited when the leaves start changing. It means I can pull out my autumn wardrobe and start wearing my cozy sweaters and my embarrassingly large collection of boots. It means hot cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and hot chocolate with nutmeg and cinnamon. It means Halloween and Thanksgiving (and that Christmas is quickly approaching). It means it’s the season for my all-time favorite smell: chimney smoke on crisp, cold air. And, of course, it also means gorgeous, colorful trees.