Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 05-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 40 of 71

VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION | MAY 9-15, 2019 ENTERTAINMENT 9 endangering the dwindling bee balm I have been strug- gling to re-establish on its other side. Wild violets, even more invasive than the marauding mint, are everywhere, tempt- ing me to just rent a flame- thrower and be done with it once and for all. And although I swore I was done with planting tomatoes after the heart- break of last year's fiasco, I am giving serious thought ... no, let's be honest here ... I have decided to give it one more go once I rid the bed and surrounding lawn of a nasty low-growing scourge whose name I don't know but whose existence I have cursed for years. And so, with growing season once again upon us, I have girded my loins and steeled myself to try again. Cheered on by the achingly beautiful bleeding hearts (a gift from my friend Marion's garden) now in full bloom out back and the prolific purple lilacs bursting into flower out front, I will pull on my work clothes and be out there later this morning, in the miserable cold and and the unpleasant damp, planting the eight pots of new flowers purchased on a whim just yesterday. Yes, gardening can break your heart, but in spite of the odds, the heart keeps trying. Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland. RHEA From Page 3 The rail bikes, which are are custom-made in South Korea, have four steel wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, pedals for each seat, and are easy to ride, accord- ing to the company. With no age or weight restrictions, they're acces- sible to people of all ages and abilities, Lu said. Parents can bring newborns and the bikes are dog-friendly. While the Quad Explorer, which is 10-feet long and weighs more than 750 pounds, has four seats and four sets of pedals, only two people have to peddle, she said. The tracks are flat, and people are encouraged to ride at 6 to 7 mph, Lu said. "It's not a super athletic sport," she said. Pedal-powered rail vehicles date back to at least the 1850s when maintenance workers used handcars and rail bikes to travel along railroad tracks to transport workers and materials, according to Rail Explorers' website. Lu said she's heard from people who have visited dif- ferent locations that Rhode Island is the most beautiful ride. The tracks, once part of the Old Colony Railroad that opened in 1862, go by many historic sites, such as where the Battle of Rhode Island took place in 1778. Riders receive a history booklet showing different locations along the tracks, Lu said. Two tours, the Northern Ramble and the Southern Circuit, both traverse the west side of Aquidneck Island and take approxi- mately two hours. On the 6-mile Northern Ramble, riders will pedal by private waterfront estates, two golf courses, the Newport Preservation Society Topiary Gardens and the Audubon Society Nature Preserve, as well as under the Mount Hope Bridge. "It's gorgeous," Stenning said of the one-way ride. A shuttle bus will bring riders back to the start. The Southern Circuit is a six-mile round trip that starts at Portsmouth Grove Station and heads south to Bayside Station, Rail Explorers' exclusive waterfront picnic area. Stenning said most of the state's islands are visible from this ride. During sunset tours, Stenning said riders will see "the most amazing sunset you've ever seen." Fireside Fridays take place at 7:30 p.m. and feature a lantern-lit round trip to Bayside Station where riders can enjoy a bonfire, s'mores, and hot apple cider. Sunday Brunch rides take place at 9 a.m. and sell out fast, Stenning said. The Southern Circuit ride includes mimosas, bloody Marys, muffins, fruit, and Death Wish Coffee at Bayside Station. What's the best season to go? Any season, Stenning said. "There's tremendous foli- age in the fall and tremen- dous views in the summer- time," he said. Lu created Rail Explorers with her husband Alex Catchpoole, inspired after watching a Korean soap opera in 2012 and seeing two characters riding a rail bike. In 2015, the couple, who had been working in New York City and wanting a "life change," opened the first location in New York's Adirondacks. While attending a train convention – "we basically have become train buffs," Lu said – they met the owner of the Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad who told them he had six miles of usable track. In January 2017, they went to Portsmouth to clear overgrown brush to build a station and parking lot and have been offering adven- tures ever since. "It's really fun," Lu said. "The locals have really embraced us." All tours begin at 1 Alexander Road in Portsmouth. Free park- ing is available at the Rail Explorers depot. A Tandem Explorer (for two riders) costs $80, a Quad Explorer (up to four riders) costs $135, a single VIP seat next to a tour guide is $45, and there is a 10 percent discount for groups of 10 or more. Rides are available on weekdays and weekends. For tickets and more infor- mation, visit www.railexplor- or call 877-833-8588. Husband and wife ALEX CATCHPOOLE and MARY JOY LU, of Middletown, the founders of Rail Explorers, on a rail bike in 2016 in their former Adirondacks location in New York. The Rhode Island division of Rail Explorers is presented by the Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad and kicks off its sea- son on Saturday, May 11. EXPLORERS From Page One Photography on display at Gallery 175 PAWTUCKET – Gallery 175, 175 Main St., will pres- ent the exhibit "Focused & Composed: Photographers with an Eye for the Abstract," from Sunday, May 12 to Friday, July 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On display will be the work of three photographers, Dan Borden of Pawtucket, Brooke Hammerle of Providence, and Dan Santoro of New Bedford, Mass., whose interesting and imagi- native images of patterns, shapes, lines, tones and color are discovered through the viewfinder of their cameras. The public is invited to meet and chat with the artists at a reception from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, in the gallery. The event is free of charge and wheelchair assessible. For information, visit www. . PAC members show opens Thursday PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Arts Collaborative 2019 Members Only Summer Gallery Show will open Thursday, May 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at 560 Mineral Spring Ave. The event will showcase works from a variety of PAC members, old and new. Cash prizes will be given away for viewers choice awards. Prizes are awarded based on gallery attendees' votes. There will be a raffle prize for the vot- ers as well. Prizes and viewers choice awards will be announced at 6:45 p.m. For more information, visit www.pawtucketartscol- . IN BRIEF

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