Summer Date Hikes

There is not much I’d rather be doing this summer than spending the day running around in the woods, followed by some afternoon cocktails with friends and family. The hike gets the blood pumping, and the libations keep it moving. I find that the simple things are the best things.

On Monday afternoons, my wife Julie and I have been going on hikes at various spots in Rhode Island while our kids are in school. We both have the afternoon off, and we started to take advantage of our newly claimed free time. For each outing, we seek out a new trail, usually somewhere in Kent or Washington Counties.

After our hike, we go to various restaurants for lunch and a few drinks. We like to sit at the bar and hobnob with the staff and the daytime regulars. We just have to be at the bus stop by 3:20pm, so proximity is an important consideration. We’ve learned not to underestimate Route 4 traffic on our way home.

Recently, a friend of ours recommended hiking Duval Trail in Wakefield, and we gave it a go. Parking was easy, and the terrain was unique. There were some hills and slopes that were easy to hike, but steep and long enough to get my heartbeat moving. The trails were clearly marked, and there were maps at various intersections, making it hard to get lost. We took the shorter loop that day due to time constraints.

We ate at The Mews Tavern afterward, which is not exactly close to our house. I had a gift card, though, so the hike was planned around eating there. After lunch and a couple “Titos and soda with a splash of tonic,” my go-to drink, we made it back home with time to spare.

Not too long ago, we gave Goddard Memorial State Park in East Greenwich a try. It is an easy set of hiking trails that the whole family can safely explore. I grew up nearby and spent much of my childhood mountain biking through the horsetrails. I figured it would be fun to run around in some familiar territory.

The trails are wide and well-groomed. Some parts border the coastline, offering nice ocean views. There are wide open fields, a pond and a tall rock I used to climb as a kid. Parking is easy and available all throughout the park.

After the hike, we went to a place called The Trap for lunch and a few daytime cocktails. It was only about two miles up the road, and less than a 10-minute drive to our house, so time was not too much of a concern.

The Trap has become one of our regular Monday spots due mostly to the food, atmosphere and proximity to our house. It is the perfect place to unwind after a hike through Goddard Park.

We tried Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve in Exeter, which is a 2.4 mile loop and rated as having moderate difficulty. The terrain was groomed, but less so than the other spots I’ve mentioned. A few parts of the trail were flooded, which required some careful stepping to get through, and was more fun because of it.

We concluded our trip with another visit to The Trap.

This past Easter, Julie, the boys and I went hiking at Rome Point in Saunderstown. Since it was a holiday, and beautiful outside, the trail was heavily trafficked. There was ample parking, and the trails were well-groomed. It spills out onto a beach with a great view of the bay.

After the hike, the four of us went to El Tapatio in North Kingstown for a late lunch, or maybe you’d call it an early dinner. I am always in the mood for Mexican food, and it was one of the only places in the vicinity of the trail that was open on Easter. The food was great, and it was a window into what our Monday trips will be like in the near future.

Our kids will be on summer break soon, which means they will be joining us on our Monday hikes. This will change a few things. We will have to make sure they don’t wander too far and get lost or injured. We will also not be sitting with them at the bar during lunch. I will, however, get to watch them hide on each other, throw sticks and climb rocks. Again, it’s the simple things.

I have barely scratched the surface. There are so many more trails to hike and countless bars to explore. You can download the All Trails app for information on great hiking spots in Rhode Island.

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