Rhode Island at Summer’s End


I grew up on Long Island Sound, a body of water sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the peninsula of Long Island, and associate summer with salty breezes, sailboats and long luxurious days in the sunshine. Even though my life is vastly different than that now, I  long for a good dose of the summers of my youth, before plunging into the challenges that a new season will surely bring.

When JJ heard that the stripers were beginning to make their yearly run south through Rhode Island waters, we decided to drive up to The Weekapaug Inn, in Westerly, RI,  and soak up the last days of summer and hope a striped bass, or two, crossed our bow.

Weekapaug Inn

The Weekapaug Inn is the demure, yet beguiling, sister property to the renowned Ocean House in Watch Hill. It is a deliciously quiet, private inn, a short distance from the ocean. The original inn was located on the beach until the notorious hurricane of 1938 packing winds up to 120 knots and treacherous surf,  destroyed the building. The owners rebuilt the inn on its new location…this beautiful salt pond, well out of harm’s way. In 2010 it was purchased by Ocean House and updated, achieving a Relais and Chateau classification.

Shore GrassesThe salt pond sets the tempo for this serene, meditative hideaway. The breeze gently ruffles the shore grasses like a metronome, setting the tempo of the day, as clam diggers wade shallow waters in the distance, foraging for what nature freely provides. Life here revolves around the water.

The first evening we trekked nearly two miles down the beach to the break, (here called a ‘Breach’), where the ocean rushes through to the pond. Thousands of silversides, a baitfish, were swimming up the quieter channel close to the shore, headed into the pond.Baitfish

It was a swiftly moving motorcade of silversides, roiling the water with their urgency of heading en masse from the sea to the pond. Look closely and you can see them.

On the Break

JJ was looking for the fish a bit higher on the food chain.Sunset

But, as often happens, the fisherman has to hope his luck is better tomorrow.


The following morning, with the water like the glass in a mirror slicked with oil,
we motored out with our friend Sandy, searching for stripers.  Sandy was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, later a chief of his local fire house, and now a fishing guide. His wife is one of the most acclaimed fly fisher women in the country. Needless to say, we were in capable hands. We lucked into a couple schools, and JJ caught Stripped Bass, one after another, until he felt he had more than his share. They all were released with a wish for a long life.

A Striped BassWe arrived home to find our beloved summer horses have already been moved from their pasture across the street, and our hummingbird family, with offspring in tow, will be leaving soon.

Life is a circle. It goes round and round. It hurts to let go of now, but only because we forget it’s all coming around again. Carly Simon sang, “don’t mind if I fall apart, there’s more room in a broken heart”. Fall is a time of dying and broken hearts. Winter is a time of thought and introspection. Then…spring. And all that empty space in our broken hearts is filled again.

And we will be forever changed again by the sight of a hummingbird, or a striped bass.


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