A Day at the Spa

Whether you spend your summer days in the backyard, beach, or in the office, everyone deserves a little pampering this time of year. So when you discover this sophisticated day spa amidst the gorgeous seaside landscape of FarmCoast, you’ll know you’ve found the ultimate summertime indulgence. Although FarmCoast is dotted with elegance –from whispering natural habitats to upscale art galleries— Karyne and Company’s unique charm lies in the offering to relax both muscles and mind with expertise and glamour, a tempting luxury that’s hard to pass up.

Opened only in November of 2011 at 368 Elm Street, Karyne and Company Day Spa is a relatively new member of historic Padanaram Village and the FarmCoast. Once a South Dartmouth ship port, Padanaram can be traced back to it’s original purchase from the Wampanoag Indian tribe  in 1652 and now exists as a small-scale modern marketplace. The waterfront village is home to eateries, galleries, boutique shopping, and a bustling summer population. And it was Karyne who realized the village needed somewhere to put their feet up.

“I wanted to create a peaceful, zen place, but also one that was modern and comfortable,” she says. Karyne Hubert is owner and operator of the beautifully located spa and a Dartmouth resident herself who admittedly takes the back roads to work just for the views. If you ask her the secret to why clients always return she will tell you, “it’s the customer service.” A hand-picked, expertly-trained staff pride themselves on high standards, deep body awareness, and a keen ability to read their clients needs.  Not just anyone can work here, but everyone is welcome to reap the benefits of this bright and sunny village spa.

Karyne and Company’s services include nail care, sports and body massage, facials, spray tanning, skincare consultation and application, and full body waxing. Karyne chooses results-proven products for skincare and she and her staff always recommend SPF. Your summer self will love this place.

Karyne and Company is open Tuesday through Saturday year round; appointments are recommended and walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information about Karyne and Company and for special deals and last minute spa availability please visit them on Facebook.

Wide Open Spaces on the FarmCoast

Spring has sprung! And if this warmer weather has got you searching for a trip to the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. Our four coastal villages are filled with open spaces and gorgeous natural habitats just waiting for your visit. We invite you to bask in the warm sun and all the glory of being in the fresh outdoors. From open parks to nature trails, here are some stops you might want to explore this spring

In Tiverton 
Tiverton is known for it’s hidden treasures and certainly Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge is one of these. Situated just minutes north of historic Tiverton Four Corners on Sepowet Ave, this preserve features 50 acres of accessible tree-lined trails welcoming to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and encouraging to hopeful bird watchers; Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Glossy Ibis are just some of the birds you might encounter on your peaceful walk through the trails. What to bring: your binoculars and sketch pad; this refuge will delight you with stunning views of salt marshes and the sparkling Sakonnet River.
Weetamoo Woods, part of Pardon Gray Reserve, is another option for hiking in Tiverton. While you can travel through Pardon Gray to get to the forest trails, many prefer the entrance on East Rd. which gives direct access to over 5 miles of mapped trails. This healthy trek is a paradise for budding botanists and historians alike. Here you’ll find a showcase of nature’s most resilient mosses, mushrooms, and wild plants, and remnence of Weetamoo’s original Wampanoag ownership with historic stone walls, cellar holes and even a village sawmill. What to bring: Your pup and a few dollars for ice cream. Wetamoo is right across from iconic Tiverton ice cream parlor, Gray’s!

In Little Compton
Although the entrance may be easy to pass by, don’t drive by Simmon’s Mill Pond in Little Compton, especially if you’ve brought your fishing gear. Over 400 acres of land sit under forest cover with wide hiking trails and at the pond, we hear, an abundance of trout in the spring. Hike about a 1/2 mile from the entrance on Colebrook Rd. and find a beautiful place to spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy the sounds of nature. What to bring: sturdy shoes and your fishing pole.

In Westport
If you find yourself in this summer beach town make your way over to Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary and explore the coastal wetlands. Two entrances give access to over 7 hiking routes, boasting 6 miles of trails and “first-class bird watching,” each with their own unique display of this rich New England habitat. Parking on Horseneck Rd. brings you to the Quansett Trail System including a breathtaking Beach Loop filled with gorgeous views of Buzzard’s Bay. Just up the street, parking on Allen’s Neck Road brings you to the Allen’s Neck Trail System through old pastures and grasslands to giant boulders and vernal pools.What to bring: a wind jacket and a bird dictionary; Over 300 species of birds have been spotted here!

In Dartmouth
Located on Barney’s Joy Rd., Demarest Lloyd State Park is rightfully called one of the best-kept secrets in southern Massachusetts. In a harmonious blending of farm and sea, hiking trails open onto a beautiful accessible beach. Visitors say traveling here feels like being a kid again, uncovering a secret treasure you’ll want to visit again and again. What to bring: sand shovels and buckets for collecting rocks and shells. Also in Dartmouth, managed jointly by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and Trustees of Reservations, Slocum River Reserve is a beautiful hike for those who appreciate a peek at the water featuring 2 miles of walking trails along the stunning Slocum River. To add to it’s appeal, over the passed year an art exhibit, The River Project, was installed inviting visitors to view large scale sculptures by local artists amidst the trails through May 18th 2013. What to Bring: your artistic side and a bit of bug spray.

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust manages over ten popular trails in the area including the popular Daffodil fields in Parson’s Preserve, a springtime delight for all ages. The organization hosts events and guided walks throughout the year.Visit their website for specific trail information. Another great destination in Dartmouth is the Lloyd Center for the Environment with five family friendly trails over 55 acres of lush forest and wetlands. Colorful trail maps available at the education center guide you through the reserve but don’t forget to spend some time in the indoor aquaria room! The Lloyd Center is also a great spot for canoeing and kayaking. What to Bring: all your friends!

Happy Trails! 

Hayrides and Superheros are Autumn’s Best Friends at Patchet Brook Farm

It’s true, fall has arrived, vibrant foliage and all. But here on the FarmCoast nothing says autumn like an old fashioned, slow and jostled hayride through the open fields. And if you like just a tad more excitement on your hayride definitely find Pachet Brook Farm where a hidden cast of characters await you in a surprising assembly along the 30 minute ride through the Pachet Brook forest.

It’s not quite haunted but surely a crowd and kid pleaser. Everyone from Spider-man to Shriek can be spotted if you keep your eyes open. Jean Bento is in charge of the operation and the farm, which has been in her family for some 107 years. That’s almost as impressive as the collection of costumed characters she’s amassed since her inheritance, not to mention the fact that she hides them single handedly along the 20-acre farm trail.

Traveling to Pachet Brook Farm is a small treasure in itself. After journeying the scenic Route 77 you will come to a small sign welcoming you to Pachet Brook. Turn into the drive and find a family of ducks frolicking in the autumn sun and a long dirt road ahead. When you finally make it to the top, rest assured, their are cookies– as well as pumpkins galore and some friendly farming faces waiting to greet you.

After the hayrides, kids are invited to pick a pumpkin from the scarecrow-lined field and play to their hearts content in the adjacent play yard complete with a slide, sandbox, and more spooky decor.

Even though the hayrides will only last through October, there’s no need to dismay. Next up will be tagging one of Pachet Brook’s 7 varieties of Christmas trees which are already filling the open space on the farm making for a charming addition to autumn hayrides and a welcome abundance of clean air. As we’ve been told, the smaller the Christmas tree the more oxygen they give off, so skip the small ones and head right for the big guys! Tagging starts in November.

We think Pachet Brook Farm is the perfect family outing for the autumn season. What’s your favorite fall tradition?

For more information on hayrides, the tree farm, and birthday parties visit www.pachetbrook.com

Set in Stone

On the breezy front porch of the Stone House, Stefanie May took a break from reservations for some afternoon sun and a chat about the place many vacationers, and even locals, are just now discovering for the first time. “This is our year,” Stefanie said of the Stone House, a sultry and secluded estate surrounded by a glimmering seascape and outstretched gardens. This once-exclusive 1854 residence has been through the hands of many proprietors throughout the years and is now in its 6th year of operation as an The Stone House…an inn, tavern, day spa, and special events venue. This summer, the Stone House is celebrating the sweetness of their most fruitful season yet.

Despite it’s size, this rural destination in Little Compton, RI is anything but overwhelming. Park in their private lot and wander over the expansive lawn in front of the house to gaze at the sea before checking in. Step through the lobby, modest and stylishly minimalistic, mirroring the calmness of the summer town and humbling visitors with its serenity. Subtle historic details–like a winding spiral staircase– honor the original architecture and provide just enough New England charm.

Choose from 13 artfully simplistic rooms in either the main house or the Wood Barn with the same mix of modern design and historic preservation. Each guest room is equipped with custom-made linens, i-pod docks, and a “gourmet corner,” but if you want a little more luxury,  upgrade to a room with features like their Japanese style soaking tub, heated flooring, fireplace, or stunning water views. Keeping with the Italian style in which it was built, the Lantern room invites its guests to enjoy the cupola, a 360° outlook tower offering arguably one of the most beautiful views in Little Compton.

Among new amenities to the property is this year’s new in-house chef, Steve Osman, already getting “rave reviews,” says Stefanie, with an impressively native Tap Room menu, served the inn’s downstairs speakeasy, and tempting tapas selection that can be enjoyed on their outdoor patio. Other perks of staying at the Stone House include a panoramic view of the water from the front porch, and of course, the beach, just a short walk from the main doors of the property. Don’t forget to make an appointment at the spa which boasts a seductive selection of treatments from aromatherapy to deep tissue massage.

This year the Stone House hosted 13 weddings and hopes to expand its wedding community in the years to come. They hold many other special events throughout the year, most recently a 15-year anniversary party for their friendly neighbor and  jewelry designer Tiffany Peay. Personalizing each event among the Stone House staff’s top priorities; ”We pride ourselves on service,” says Stefanie. Another Stone House employee, and special event floral designer Marc Vaughn, revealed a garden cove on the front lawn that he and the staff would be transforming into an intimate ceremony location for an upcoming wedding. “We’re really here for outside guests as well as locals. We’re moving upwards.”

Come for the service, the style, the beach, the spa, or the cuisine. But whatever you come for, may it be as rejuvenating and romantic as the view from the porch of the Stone House.

Learn more about the Stone House at stonehouse1854.com

ANNOUNCING “QUARTET” at GALLERY4

Solo exhibitions can unearth the unbound essence of an artist –their process, foundation, nourishment, and growth– with intensity and valor. While this earnest presentation of art is often liberating, a selective group exhibition can likewise illuminate new waves of understanding. So is the case with a new foursome exhibition at Gallery4 on Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners where Turkish slippers, fine jewelry, and wall-sized canvases flourish together side-by-side. Here four prominent south coast-area women have been chosen to exhibit their work in a showing titled, “Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance,” which will run through August 12th, exposing not only the depth of each female artist, but the “harmony and dissonance” between them.

The works of Jane Tuckerman, Gayle Wells Mandle, Susan Strauss, and Sarah Benham adorn eager white walls filling the gallery with familiar excitement and a new sense of importance. The four women who live as neighbors along the south coast have now come together in a poignant display of their experiences apart, in separate corners of the world.

“It’s a clever name,” says Sarah Benham reflecting on the title amidst a backdrop of opening-night attendees and her bold, figurative oil paintings. Showing are both early and late works by Benham who likens her process to a lucid puzzle, “it’s about finding a solution” she says. Inspired by the simple pleasures of life, Benham has spiraled through style and medium during her honored career as an artist, always considering the wise words of a friend: “to always be astonished by what you do. And I am astonished” she says. There are many ways to be astonished by Benham’s paintings. First it’s the figures that grab you, then the density and depth of the scene. They are faceless jolts of color and mood awakening the senses and mesmerizing in their perfection.

The exhibit, orchestrated by gallery owners Bob Smith, Elaine Hill, and Alix Cambell struck a chord of enthusiasm in the community with over 150 people gathering last Sunday for the opening reception. The works handpicked and juxtaposed in the four-room gallery gave enough space for each artist to breathe while infusing one another with vibrancy and contrast.

Tucked away in one nook of the gallery last Sunday was Susan Strauss whose landscapes and floral masterpieces float effortlessly on the walls as if growing there on their own. A master of decorative arts, Strauss is a fresh face in the gallery, yet her plein air paintings are exuberantly lived in. Their immediate transparency morphs into luminous and muddled movement the longer you let them in, drawing forth intellect, grace, and wonder. Strauss describes a satisfying fluidity to her path of “pushing back and painting over, pushing back and painting over,” and eventually pulling forward her work into a new dimension. That is when she knows her work is complete.

Neighboring Strauss was artist Gayle Wells Mandle present at the opening with husband Roger Mandle, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. The couple spent time in Qatar, inspiring Gayle’s striking selection of collaged fragments from this land of wealth and discord, elegantly blended with color, texture, and cultural artifacts in a rousing display of gender clash and blunt symbolism. Fascinating is how she recreates a history of travel, human rights, and cultural tribulation while still speculating on the future of this oil-saturated part of our world. Gayle’s work is piercing as she pieces together parts of humanity we might choose to ignore, extracting for the viewer something imperative to consider.

Lastly, former chairman of photography at Harvard University, Jane Tuckerman, took the right wing of the gallery with chilling mixed-media photographs of her lifelong study in the mystical world of death rituals. Since 1984 she’s been returning to Benares, India, the last existing site of cremation ceremonies and one of the world’s most sacred spiritual hubs. Here she began capturing religious rituals, rights of passage, and celebrations with vigor through film and photograph. With an anthropological twist, her layered photographs peer with sharp eyes into a world frightfully unknown. Astounding is the way she shapes darkness into something primitive and eloquent. Her work puts forth a magnetic pull of emotion into the descending layers of each photograph.

Even still, Tuckerman emphasizes, with deep understanding, connections within humanity; “We’re all so displaced and haunted by memories—memories become our own special ghosts.” Growing up in rural Westport spawned an obsession with the energy and history of a land; “Westport has this extraordinary connection to this history, Indians, colonists, pre-historic people…It’s about connection to the land, something our culture is loosing,” says Tuckerman. “There’s something very primal about art. Artists connect with each other and with a greater world. I’m appreciative and in awe of Gallery4 for their foresight and sensitivity to this exhibit and the world of art.” she says.

A fondness for the quest, the solution, and the layers of aesthetic, social, and spiritual life give harmony to these four women. But the beauty is in the dissonance.

Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance is open for viewing Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5 at 3848 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI. For more information about this exhibit visit www.gallery4tiverton.com

The River Project Invites You to Stop and Stare

On an early summer morning dozens gathered quietly crunching grass under their boots in a guided hike through the Slocum’s River Reserve as part of The 2012 River Project’s opening day festivities. Six stops along the hike posed questions and answers to extrodinary sculpture works designed and installed by local artists, many of whom were present on the walk sharing their work and vision with friends and visitors alike.

The much anticipated 2012 Slocum River Project is a local area collaborative weaving together art and nature in a friendly and thought-provoking series of events. A commendable partnership between the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, the trustees of reservations, U-Mass Datmouth College of Visual Arts, the Gustin Gallery, and the Dartmouth Cultural Council created the platform for this year’s River Project. According to the program’s curator, Stacy Latt Savage, the River Project is “about connections explored between art and nature; connections between organizations and communities; and connections between individuals walking at the Slocum’s River Reserve and individual artists who created inspired artwork about their experience of the same place.

After exploring the reserve, each of the six artists had a year to conceptualize and construct their sculpture in a self-selected location along the trails fitting to their individual vision. This exhibit encourages visitors to awaken their appreciation for the delicate, expansive, and often mysterious natural world.

Elizabeth Dooher, Mary Frank, Lasse Antonsen, Danielle Krcmar, Ron Rudnicki, and Steve Whittlesey are the six local contributing artists. “I kept finding forms and putting them together; after it was done I knew it was done because I was chuckling inside,” said Lasse Antonsen reflecting on his “Garden Spirits.” Antonsen found all the materials for his sculptures in the reserve using trunks and branches to “create creatures in a vocabulary that we all know.”

If you missed the walk on June 16th there will be more chances to soak up the sculptures. October 20th is the next guided hike, and on September 22 the Slocum’s River Reserve will host a Family Day with hiking, music, and activities for kids. A wonderful way to experience the process and connection between the artists and their work,is at the Gustin Gallery, 231 Horsenek Rd, just up the road from the reserve, where you’ll find “Thoughts and Processes,” a cumulative display of drawings, sketches, and models from each artist.


An easy day trip to Dartmouth can be spent romping through Slocum’s River Reserve and Gustin’s Gallery, and is a perfect way to show your support for our land and all the different ways we see it. The sculptures will remain intact through May 2013, and Gustin’s Gallery will be open with sculpture materials through November 2nd. For more information on the River Project visit slocumsriverproject.com.

 

Kelly Milukas Color Craving

Those who are drawn to artist Kelly Milukas’ paintings might describe their attraction more like a craving. A craving for color…for velocity, vibrancy, and voluptuousness. Her pastel-layered watercolor paintings offer just this, a very tempting and vivid description of country life most can only find in their dreams– or on a Kelly Milukas canvas if they happen to stop by her Tiverton, Rhode Island studio.

Inspired by  the multi-dimentionality of life, she describes the work of being an artist as “soul-touching…it’s hard to get away from the vibrancy.” Her popular paintings are composed of under-layers of watercolor blanketed by rich pastels creating candy coated, highly coveted masterpieces.

After studying sculpture in Portland, Maine, Kelly met her now husband and settled into their Tiverton home. It wasn’t long before the old shed was converted into a contemporary art studio and sanctuary for her growing passion for painting. Now Kelly is a celebrity around town, best known for her charismatic cow paintings and kaleidoscopic collection of scenery from her various travels. “My imagery is a visually charged interpretation of the experience,” says Kelly. And their presence is electric.

While making art started has always been a passion, it recently unfolded into an unexpected adventure for Kelly. When a friend confronted her with the challenge of capturing regenerative medicine through photographs, Kelly’s natural curiosity was hooked. She took a break from painting to explore this uncharted artistic territory and –as it turns out– the highly symbolic world of stem cells. “Her works incorporate the broad symbolism and subject of key, locks, and mysteries to visually communicate the body’s ability to heal itself,” according to a statement by the Regenerative Medicine Foundation. Moving from cows and brushes to keys and locks proved satisfying and invigorating for Kelly; the inspiring results of her photographic journey are on display at the Bow House Studio.

Along with this recent partnership, Kelly is also the proud president of the South Coast Artists, a cooperative non-profit organization comprised of roughly 100 members dedicated to celebrating the rich arts community of the south coast. For two weekends every summer, the members of the SCA open their doors to visitors from all over New England as part of the South Coast Artist Tour, showcasing a rich display of talented work. This year the tour will take place July 21st and 22nd as well as August 18th and 19th. Each year the organization expands to include more artists and visitors from the area; according to Kelly, part of the SCA’s vision is bringing the arts to children of all ages, for free, with hands on demonstrations and interactive family tours. Kelly herself welcomes a whopping 400+ visitors to the Bow House Studio each weekend, a testament to her fascinating and energetic accomplishments and enthusiastic following.

As the 2012 South Coast Artists Tour approaches, Kelly is now busy preparing for the rush, shifting mediums once again. “Getting back to painting has changed my vision,” says Kelly. “Dealing with layers and textures and pushing contrast…” These elements of photography, she says, have transformed her paintings and understanding of the artistic process.

The beautiful Tiverton studio is a must-stop if you plan to do the SCA Tour this year; you can expect custom framing by Kelly at the studio, and a healthy glimpse of the life of a very multi-dimensional artist. Despite the hustle and bustle of meetings and gallery events Kelly always has time to paint; perhaps it’s her energetic personality, or love for colors, or maybe a craving she just can’t ignore. Either way her work is in a fantastical world all its own.

For more information on the work of Kelly Milukas visit www.kellymilukas.com 

At Home in The Cottage

Customers that walk in to the sunlit Cottage are usually greeted by the small and friendly Pesos, a champagne-colored terrier rescued from Mexico who has made a comfortable home in the only fine home furnishings boutique around. And it’s no wonder he likes it here. The Cottage in Tiverton Four Corners is a modern lifestyle haven featuring two floors of soft, classic, and bold colors and fabrics, lovely floral scents, fresh wood accents and elegent music for inspirational browsing. While Pesos spends his time lounging amidst the tasteful décor, store owner Nancy Heminway and her partners Ivy and Linda are busy prettying the shop to perfection.

Nancy, Ivy, and Linda have been working together for over 15 years, and The Cottage has been a local staple for even longer, but even if you’re a regular customer here you will never see the same display twice. These three women make daily styling changes to the windowsills, table-tops, and furniture sets in store in order to keep up with a high demand for their goods, and provide customers with a fresh perspective each time they visit.  “We take care of the merchandise.”

Personal attention to the pristine details make shopping at this home furnishings boutique feel something like a guilty pleasure, but it can be a treat for your wallet too; we’re competitive in prices, says Nancy. The store mostly carries high-end and luxury products, but their quality and value are assuredly the best you will find, not to mention the sale room. Names like Mitchell Gold and Lee Industries, Simon Pierce, and Bella Notte line the shelves, and most everything they carry is American-made. The Cottage also specializes in exclusive imports, like the Florence-made fragrance line Officina Profumo. One of the most unique traits of this store can be found behind the well-placed scenes: Everything, including furniture, is stocked, which means whatever you see in- store can be taken home with that same day. A wonderfully gratifying perk for shoppers.

Customer satisfaction and innovative design are part of Nancy’s roots. Before opening The Cottage she worked for Design Research, the Boston-based lifestyle retailer known most noteably as the first home for modern American design. DR introduced lifestyle stores to the world of retail with popular brands like Merimekko and Alvar Aalto. Trading in the big name for the small boutique life has proven rewarding for Nancy and her team. They gracefully weave together an intelligent eye for design, expertise in elegant home fashion, and the gentle pace of the Tiverton countryside. The Cottage carries everything for the home from cookbooks to dish soap, rugs, to popular local art work. They also offer in-home design services as well as merchandise loans to ensure every product is the right fit.

Award winning and stunning the The Cottage blissfully remains the closest thing to home as you will find while out shopping….for person and pooch alike.

Our Springtime Secret

A well-kept springtime secret is being uncovered by local visitors in search of a fresh dose of spring. Growing in the backyard of FarmCoast, just south of Russells Mills Village, you will find a vibrant field of daffodils…but only if you know where to look! 3 acres of glorious yellow daffodils have bloomed and, because New Englanders like to keep their treasures hidden, there are no signs on how to find the field. It remains tucked inside the paths of Parson’s Preserve –part of Dartmouth’s Natural Resourses Trust– creating an exciting springtime scavenger hunt for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. If you’re looking for a seasonal family outing follow our directions to this wonderful spring display!

Park at the Russells Mills Landing.
Cross the street and walk to your right along the road until you see a metal farm gate between two posts.
Follow the path to the left of the gate and up the hill.
At the top of the hill you will be greeted by a DNRT sign welcoming you to the preserve.
From that point you must follow the yellow squares tacked to the trees, they will lead you all the way to the daffodils…

“A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees. Fluttering and dancing in the breeze,” says William Wordsworth’s poem just as you enter the field. “I gazed –and gazed –but little thought what wealth to me this show had brought…” You might want tell your friends about this dancing garden, or just keep it as your own secret treasure.

Either way, families will enjoy a delightful gallivant through the fields. You can make a day of it by contining your hike through the DNRT woods (maps are provided at the first yellow marker), exploring the animals at nearby Alderbrook Farm, and stopping lunch in Padanaram Village. Going on a hunt for daffodils has never been more fun.

Spring has sprung on FarmCoast! Visit our Spring Ramble page for more day-trip ideas on a refreshing retreat to the country.

Worth the Journey

A fresh cup of coffee and hot breakfast, like most other things in New Enlgand, come with a long history, especially if your griddle-compainion of choice are jonnycakes. These sweet little cakes are made from ground corn meal, a tradition that dates back to colonial New England when travelers would fill small knapsacks with the ground meal as food for a long journey. Some think a variation of spelling over time is what started the name jonnycakes, but others remain skeptical. Even Gray’s can’t say for sure where the namecomes from, but what they do know is that Rhode Island is (or should be) the only place to get the goods. Started over 300 years ago, Gray’s Grist Mill is still grinding this Rhode Island breakfast staple, celebrating a tradition that intrigues and delights rhody locals and neighbors alike.

Thorton Simmons and wife Mary now operate this historic mill/museum located on the thin line between Westport, MA and Adamsville, RI. Recently mentioned on the Today Show, the famous mill has gone through several owners since it’s first documented ownership in 1717, and each has been devoted to the outstanding preservation of this once-mainstream occupation. Long ago, (centuries really) grist mills were the thing. Each town had it’s own, and each mill provided livelihood to the growing populations. Today grist mills are as rare as people like Thorton and Mary who devote their time to the history and labor. However, with the help of a few modern accessories like an electric motor (mills were once powered by water), the work is little lighter. Despite some advances, the mill stands true to its roots; it makes good use of two 1 ½ ton stones to crush corn kernels for one thing.

Narragansett Indian Flint corn, is the corn of choice. This hard-to-grow variation of corn is best nurtured in Rhode Island soil; its uniquely sweet flavor makes for a sweet breakfast, and a proud crop of Rhode Islanders. Rhode Islanders are not the only ones who know a good thing when they see it; chefs and local cafes across the region stock Gray’s jonnycake mix for hungry customers.The best part: the mix ground fresh, is preservative-free making it one of the most all-natural, all-local foods you can get your hands on. The modern miller recommends keeping your mix in the fridge.

Whether your going to get some fresh breafast or to tour the history of the mill, a stop at Gray’s is worth the journey. Thorton even says there’s talk of a coffee shop in the Mill’s future, a chance to make this stop on the FarmCoast a little sweeter.

To get an insider’s perspective on the workings of the oldest New England Grist Mill, and a few delicious recipes, visit www.graysgristmill.com.