Home Is Where Your Flip Flops Are

Recipe for good skin:  a fantastic hat, saltwater ocean spray, and relaxing by a good campfire to make you look & feel a few years younger.

Last weekend, my friends and I planned to do our Annual Girls Weekend Camping Trip but at the last minute, there was a little glitch and one of our key members was unable to attend.

Since the deposit was already paid and we were pretty much packed and ready to go, my friend Mila and I decided to forge on by ourselves.  Not to be out-smarted by disappointment, I discovered a way to bring our friend with us to camp!

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She was pretty quiet on the ride in to Newport, RI but once we arrived at the campsite, she perked right up! Melville Pond Campground was the perfect size and our site looked like a magical glen where fairies would come out at night to dance.  It was very peaceful – unlike our nightmare neighbors with screaming demon children during our last trip when we went to NH.

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After oooh-ing and aaaah-ing over what a great choice we made in picking campgrounds, it was time to get to work.  Our dear friend Robyn was in charge of supervising, while Mila and I were set to the task of putting up the tent.

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Putting up the tent was fairly easy, except that once it was all done, one of the tent poles that was questionable to begin with due to a crack in it, decided to snap like a twig.  After an hour of splinting and duct-taping the ‘broken wing’ (as we called it), our home away from home was up …and a drink was definitely in order!

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Next we unpacked the rest of the truck to set up camp.

Robyn tested out the chairs to ensure they were fung shui around the campfire while Mila and I went up to the pavilion to use their electrical outlet to blow up the mattress.  I had a converter from my truck, but the pump for Mila’s bed was over 100 watts and kept shutting off the power, so we schlepped it up around the corner.

Getting the mattress BACK to the campsite, however, was a different story.

While I personally don’t have any pictures of the events that followed, many campers came out to see this spectacle, with their cell phone cameras in hand, laughing, as they snapped picture after picture of the purple-headed pack mule.  I’m sure a brief search for ‘Camper With Air Mattress’ will bring one up.

You see, the air mattress didn’t fit in the truck all blown up (duh) and our rope wasn’t long enough to tie it down to the roof (cuz that would have been simple), so I told Mila to drive the truck back to the site, and I would walk it down by myself.  How hard could it be? I carefully hoisted it up onto my head and upper shoulders, held onto the sides with my hands and set off to walk the tenth of a mile back to camp.

Little did I realize, the triple-layered inflatable would bounce so fiercely with each step, that I wouldn’t be able to contain it.  After 1000 or so steps, I gave up and just walked it along, rolling it end to end until Mila could park the truck and come running over to help.

An icy cold beverage was definitely in order…

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Because no camping trip is complete with just two incidents during set up, a third (albeit, minor) situation came upon us.

While making our beds, Mila discovered that her husband sent the WRONG sleeping bags with her.  She had planned to bring sheets and a blanket, as we have always done.  He said, “No No No, all you need is this sleeping bag and you’ll be plenty warm.”  Needless to say, a mummy-style sleeping bag doesn’t cut it on a queen-sized air mattress.

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As they say, things come in three’s, so with that, the debacles were done and over with for the weekend and it was only good things from there on out, but dinner and drinks were definitely in order.

Getting ready, we were pleasantly surprised to find private shower rooms at the campground that didn’t need quarters!  Here’s a snapshot of Robyn getting ready to go.  We said she didn’t even need to change, she looked so good already!

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Into town we went, to a fantastic little restaurant called Asterisk.  It was a special little place on Lower Thames St. in Newport down by The Bodhi Spa (a new hydrotherapy spa coming soon!)  The restaurant has a delicious menu full of variety, as well as an entire sushi menu.  Robyn was intrigued by that most of all.

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To celebrate our girls weekend, champagne flowed, as we enjoyed the perfect breeze flowing through the open doors, dining semi al fresco.

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Our table was nestled in the side with a very comfortable banquette and adorable pillows.  This is where Robyn decided to park it for the remainder of dinner.  The champagne made her feel all warm & cozy, so she snuggled with the pillows until it was time for dessert.

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We discovered that Asterisk actually used classy garage doors on the front of their building, so in good weather, they roll them up to provide many people with desirable seating.

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Of course, no dinner is complete without cheesecake!  This was the tallest, fluffiest cheesecake I have tasted since eating Lorraine’s Cheesecake in Hansport, Nova Scotia.

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After dinner it was time to head back to camp.  Robyn got in the spirit of things, using a headlamp to show us where everything was in the dark, again, supervising as we built the fire.

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As always, her supervision pays off – our campfire was amazing!

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After a few hours relaxing around the fire, it was time to head to bed.  Robyn and I have been roommates many times in the past, and tonight was no different.

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Sleeping fitfully through the night as my air mattress deflated around me, I awoke early.  I admit, it was difficult to stay grumpy when I had this peaceful sight.  I gave thanks for the sunshine and the stillness around me as I listened to nature wake up around me.  It sounded just like a spa CD that plays during appointments.

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Robyn & Mila started to wake up and get hydrated.  We discussed plans for breakfast, and what we we would do that day.

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We love a good diner for breakfast, and right across from Melville Pond was this gem – Cindy’s Country Cafe.  Hands down, the best breakfast food I have ever tasted in my life. (And I’m not just saying that because  I’d been awake since 5:30 am waiting for coffee!)

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Like a hobbit, Robyn loves breakfast, so we took a look through the Daily Specials and decided what to get.

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Little did we realize how much food we actually ordered.  That is STUFFED FRENCH TOAST and an OMELET WITH TOAST.  What you don’t see pictured is that I also ordered Portuguese French Toast.  Biggest, fluffiest, bestest breakfast ever!

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After a little shopping in town, it was time to head to the beach (to sleep off the breakfast).  Robyn preferred to stay in the shade to protect her glossy skin. Luckily she had her sunglasses on the whole time, but just in case, we added a hat and some refreshments.

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Diligent about skin-safe practices, Mila and I both slathered on sunscreen after a dip in the ocean, then settled in for a long-summer’s nap.

[Insert Public Service Announcement here: Friends don’t let friends go without sunscreen!  Not only do you want to protect yourself from skin cancer, but you don’t want to speed up the aging process either!]

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On our way back to camp to prepare for dinner (yes, pretty much all we do is eat, sleep, drink, and go to the beach on these weekend trips) we saw a car ‘pulled over’ by the maintenance crew.  They politely asked him to slow down because he was flying through the campsite.

I overheard his response: “Oh sorry, I didn’t know. This is my first time here to this campsite.”

This confused me because

1) What campsite IS it ok to drive fast?

2) It was also my first time at this campsite and they told me at check-in what the speed limit was

3) The map of the campground to find your site also stated the speed limit

4) This sign is posted multiple times along the camp road.

DUDE – HERE’S YOUR SIGN. (a la comedian Bill Engvall)

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Dinner was spent at a local pub called Coddington Brewing Company.  They actually make their own beer there, which was pretty cool.  We kept it simple this night, having a few fresh seafood apps before heading back to camp.  I think we were all just focused on what our dessert would be – S’MORES!

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Our last evening, we made the most of it.  We played Rummy by the fire, relaxed with cold bevvies, and snacked to our hearts content.  My heart was full and so was my belly.  It’s moments like these that give me the best memories to take me through the stressful days of building a business.  It was good to just let go and unwind, to cater to my spirit.

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Good night Melville!  We hope to come again soon.

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Home is where your flip flops are.