Tuesday, September 18, 2012

24 hours at Grace Note Farm in Pascoag, Rhode Island


         The Grace Note.  In music it’s a small addition or embellishment, connected to greater things.  In Rhode Island it’s Grace Note Farm—a Bed and Breakfast Inn in Pascoag connected to state forest land and enhancing guest’s experiences in pastoral living.

I visited Grace Note Farm in October of 2011.  Owner Virginia Sindelar met me at the door, then showed me to my room at one end of the sprawling farmhouse while relaying this story:  18 years ago Virginia quit her job as a musician and moved from an oceanfront house in Massachusetts to northwestern Rhode Island in order to “get away from the uncertainty of hurricanes” and start a new hobby: horses.  This 1730 farmhouse and its 94 acres seemed the perfect place to pursue her dreams. Virginia lives here with her mother “Nan”, her dog, several horses, chickens, “Eyeore” the donkey and “Peanut” the pony.  

The bucolic setting of Grace Note Farm in northwestern Rhode Island.

Guests may choose to relax or to indulge in a variety of activities on the farm.  After moving into my suite I met Edna Kent, the local historian who led me on a tour through farm and forest.  We walked the wooded trails in filtered sunlight with American Chestnut trees and Red and White Pines towering overhead.  Edna picked a sprig of soapwood, a plant that always blooms during blueberry season.  After gathering blueberries a person would rub the blooms of sapwood in their hands; the friction caused the blooms to lather, cleansing blueberry stains from the skin.  Nature, in all its elegance.  We continued our tour past an old cranberry bog, hints of fall color appearing in the landscape. 

Old Cranberry Bog on the property.  Autumn's brilliance arrived late
to Rhode Island last year.

Edna and I returned to the farmhouse where Virginia had dinner waiting.  The three of us sat down to a candlelight home-cooked meal of baked chicken with stuffing, garden vegetables, and for dessert—almond cake.  After dinner, while Edna built a fire to warm the great room I met Nan, a delightful lady with a sharp wit.  Nan retired to her room and Edna pulled me aside to tell me that Nan has a birthday coming up on October 23rd.  What’s so special about that?  Well, Nan will be 101 years old!  This is a woman who was buying groceries when I arrived at the farm today.  She helped with dinner and with the dishes.  Tomorrow morning she’ll be feeding the horses and cooking breakfast.  Nan, what’s your secret?

Nan poses after finishing the breakfast dishes.
Her secret to living past 100?  Keep busy and don't think
about aging!

                                                          ****

A stay at Grace Note Farm is a 24 hour affair and Virginia had plenty of activities to fill my second morning and afternoon at the B&B.  In the morning I met horse trainer Leslie Lucas who gave me a 90 minute lesson with “Charlie” a small Morgan.  I’m a novice on horseback but Charlie was a sweetheart; after my lesson I was tempted to make Virginia an offer to buy him.  But I didn’t.

Rita and Charlie.  You can tell he's a great horse just by
looking at him.

Horse barn at Grace Note Farm.  Charlie is peering out
from the far door.
         Nan put lunch on the table—butternut squash soup and apple-walnut salad.  After the nourishing repast I met Virginia’s friend Polly who brought her pony “Popcorn” to the farm to be shoed.  Traveling with Polly was a macaw named “Barkley”, who likes to ride on Popcorn’s back.  Polly demonstrated Barkley’s riding abilities while her little terrier watched from the sidelines.  I asked Polly:  “What’s your little dog’s name?”  “Toto”.  Of course.  Polly is a regular one-woman dog and pony show.

Toto and Barkley wait patiently while Popcorn
is with the farrier.

Barkley mounts his custom saddle and he's
ready to ride.

         My stay at Grace Note Farm ended with a massage given by therapist Lisa Ivens, a perfect end to this incomparable 24 hour get-away.  Interested in experiencing Grace Note Farm for yourself?  Visit this site:  http://gracenotefarmweb.com/

5 comments:

  1. Indeed, this was an "incomparable 24 hour get-away"! You have a knack for finding such interesting places to visit not only in your home State, but in States all across the country! There was a very good reason for you to have selected "One Day in America" as the name for your Blog.

    What a charming combination of people, animals and dining experiences at Grace Note Farm! And to top it all off, it was an Autumn visit . . . my absolute favorite time of year!

    Thanks for sharing this delightful experience!

    John

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    Replies
    1. I've found that each state has its share of fascinating places, if you take the time to search for them.

      You're right, John, that Grace Note farm offers a delightful combination of experiences to its guests. And Autumn is the perfect time for a visit.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Hi Rita,

    Loved all the puns in this post! Even the unintentional ones - a horse named Charlie?!! Gotta love it! :-)

    I went to high school in Rhode Island, but it sure looked nothing like this! I agree with John in that you manage to find the most unique, intriguing and lovely getaways wherever you travel!

    Now, time for dinner. That mention of baked chicken and almond cake made me hungry!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Vickie!

      In addition to Grace Note Farm, the north central and northwestern parts of Rhode Island are full of small U-pick pumpkin and apple farms, many with bakeries on site. It sure is fun to discover intriguing and unique places on my travels around the states.

      Hope your dinner was delicious!

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