A view of the Atlantic from Narragansett Beach from Ocean Road.
My father was raised in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Or Peacedale depending on which side of Allen Avenue he happened to be standing. His parents, and most of his immediate and extended family, lived in or near New England when we were kids, and most still do. I always wished our family would move to Rhode Island because I loved the idea of being close to the whole family, especially getting to see Grandma and Grandpa Voyer all the time. We moved to South Carolina when I was very young so it was quite a distance to travel. We visited Wakefield every four to five years and making the trip was a big deal. Since then, the cousins (usually spearheaded by my cousin Sharon) have tried to get together for New England family reunions, including a pilgrimage to Wakefield. Sometimes, the reunions have occurred in conjunction with a wedding but the biggest treat is spending them in Wakefield. Very often, one of us can't make it due to school, work or money, and not being able to go comes with sadness and regret because you know you're going to miss something memorable and too rare - along with clam chowder and clam cakes. This year, all my sisters and I were able to go.
Awaiting our table (and chowder and clam cakes!) at Aunt Carrie's: mes cousines Rachel, Angie, and Alison.
This would be the Planner Guy's first Voyer family reunion so I was especially excited.
The Planner Guy, Valerie, George and my cousin Andy (a new daddy!).
My youngest sister Alison made the house arrangements, booking a large beach house off Ocean Road at Narragansett Beach. My middle sister Valerie and her husband George rented bikes for the week for pedaling around the Narragansett Bay area and Point Judith so Bob and I decided to do the same. Narragansett Bikes on Ocean Road outfitted us all with hybrid bikes that they delivered to our beach house, complete with locks and helmets (which neither of us wore). Bob and I rented rather last minute so a rental in my size wasn't available when we walked in the bike shop. The staff just pulled a brand new Trek Verve straight off the sales floor and rented it to me for the week. I loved it - a black step through with a comfy saddle and very, very upright seating position. They set Bob up with a smart Gary Fisher city bike. Very sweet, and obviously styled with a planner guy in mind.
Bob, Val and George at a brief stop near Narragansett Beach.
Mid-week, Val, George, Bob and I decided to take a ride together down Ocean Road toward Narragansett Beach. The weather was cool and damp, with dark skies that threatened rain any minute but we all love being on bikes and were curious a grouping of artfully stacked rocks we had seen along the ocean wall the day before.
A landmark from my childhood - the old Coast Guard House.
I also wanted to stop for a closer look at the old Coast Guard House, a landmark in my childhood memories of Rhode Island. As a kid, I assumed it to be a castle, home to the King and Queen of Rhode Island but today, I know that it houses a seafood restaurant. I was tempted to push for stopping for clam chowder but given how nasty the sky looked I opted not to - plus my family is fairly obsessed with chowder and clam cakes at Aunt Carrie's Restaurant in Point Judith and I had a feeling the whole family would end up there anyway.
Bob dressed for cool and damp New England weather.
Me, wishing we were here for the entire summer.
We pedaled down further toward Narragansett Beach until we found the spot with the rocks stacked on the other side of the sea wall.
My sister, Valerie.
Unfortunately, I could never seem to get a photo that captured them well, but trust me, they were worth the trip, and I did get some nice, and all too infrequent shots of my sister and I making memories together.
Narragansett Beach - watch out for that under tow.
I'm sure that she would agree neither of us would have ever dreamed that, as adults, we would want to intentionally travel hundreds of miles to spent time together. Or that we would share a common love of bicycles.