Not So Great Gatsby

cold_summer_1920x1200Dear Nick,

Last weekend, summer finally arrived after a couple of false starts and foot faults. They say that summer is a season for the young, but I would like to make a case for the young at heart. Summertime makes this aging playboy feel like the living is easy. Maybe it’s the short pants on me or the sundresses on Daisy, but the sun makes the snowbound suffering seem somewhat sufferable.

Though Friday was a washout, Saturday was lovely and the weather was perfect for the Gatsby Ball at the Dorrance. Kristen Minsky was the mastermind behind a night of dancing, drinking and debauchery, and a portion of the proceeds went to Room to Read, which promotes global girl power. The attendees dove head first into the theme, dressing in their best Jazz Age duds, and dancing to songs of the era. I may be slightly biased, but I hope it becomes an annual event.

You are well aware of my comings and goings, old sport, but many of the gentle readers of this column have inquired about the goings on in the Ocean State. While there is too much fun in the sun this summer to squeeze into a brief note such as this, I did want to make you and them aware of some of the highlights. There are always cookouts and beachy fun to be had in the biggest little, as my Sunday Funday consisted of Matunuck Oyster Bar cocktails before hitting South Kingston town beach and Bonnet Shores. Forget bar hopping, summer in Rhody is for beach bouncing. You should plan ahead to attend these special events.

On June 29, the West Side has a party. They call it a block party, but it’s spilled over beyond Luongo Square the last couple of years. The West Side is the best side at “come as you are” all-inclusive fun times, and this event is usually the best example. Bands, beers, food and fun are the designs of the day, and the people watching isn’t too shabby either.

At least once a year I like to make it down to Newport to watch the polo players perched on the ponies.  I know you are probably thinking, “Wait, wait, Gatsby, you may be a fancy pants son of a gun, but polo ain’t my bag, baby!” You’re wrong. You like cook-outs and cocktails, right? Well, these polo matches are like international picnics. This family-friendly event costs only $12, but you don’t have to tell your friends who will think that you stumbled into the jet set lifestyle, even though the horses are probably pampered more than you or me.

Another event that I attend every year is the Farm Fresh Fundraiser at Castle Hill, which takes place on August 6 this year. The people behind our local farms that make our restaurants world class bring a culinary cornucopia to arguably the most scenic spot in the state. There is a raffle and music as well as local beer and wine.  The main attraction, though, is the local farms that team up with some of the state’s best chefs to make a signature dish. Attendees go from booth to booth and are treated to bite-sized delights. I never go home hungry, and it’s a fun and affordable way to support a great organization and dine al fresco at Castle Hill.

Summers seem to fly by in the Ocean State, and it’s probably because there is so much fun to be had here. From the Newport International Tennis Hall of Fame to the CVS Charity Classic golf tourney, Thursday night Movies on the Block outside Tazza to the BRU Free Friday Concert Series at Waterplace Park, there is something for everyone’s taste and budget. Make this a summer of no regrets and many memories.

Be safe, be kind, and be happy, because whether you are 8 or 80 you will never be this young again.

Very truly yours,

Gatsby

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