Do you know what a Quahog is? I can say without a doubt my family did not. Well, not until we traveled to Rhode Island.
Don’t worry. I will reveal this little fun fact with you soon.
So, Rhode Island. It’s small, but mighty. We found plenty to do and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Would we go back? Absolutely.
Burlingame State Park
We parked our home here and it was absolutely delightful. Burlingame is a huge state park with more campsites than I think I have ever seen before. But, Covid-19 had them limiting campers and as usual (in our experience) the campground was much quieter during the week.
We spent time at the tiny beach near our campsite, played outside in the delightful fall weather, went geocaching, and Doug and the kids even hid a cache too!
If you didn’t already Google the term, quahogs are a type of clam common along the Atlantic. They’ve played an important role in the Rhode Island area for as long as people have been around. They have an interesting history. I won’t bore you here, but if you are intrigued (as I was) this article is short and gets to the point.
And when in Rhode Island, you do as the Rhode Islanders do…right? Well, we did! We went quahogging and man, is it tough work. We spent literal hours digging in the muck and we found two. Of course, we had no idea what we were doing or even if the place we chose was a good quahogging spot. We also had two easily distracted quahoggers, who delighted in the easy-to-find crabs and warm shallow water far more than clam digging.
It was a blast. I can easily say it was one of my favorite afternoon adventures in quite some time. I highly recommend digging them out with your toes. That is how I found mine.
We were surrounded by beautiful nature areas. It was amazing.
I love randomly choosing nearby trails and having them be amazing experiences. Now, this particular trail lured me in with the promise of a historical cemetery. We saw it and it was amazing to see the resting place of a revolutionary war soldier, but it was not the thing that I loved most about this place. I loved that there were so many trails, and we could change course and find another adventure. We could search along the water for critters, then walk through a beautifully forested and well-maintained trail. There were bridges and beautiful fall colors. I mean, really, it was just delightful.
Ninigret State Conservation Area
This was a short adventure, but still fun. We went on a rainbow hike. We set out to find all the colors of the rainbow and the six-year-old was determined to find them all. We came close and very much enjoyed wandering around the trails here.
Oh, and this is the place where I stepped on a tiny snake hiding under the leaves. I handled the moment with a bit more grace than I would have a year ago, so I am benefiting from all these hikes and roadschooling adventures.
Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
This was the hike I was most excited about and was a bit more disappointed with it than the rest. For one, it was quite busy. You can’t see it from the pictures (because we try to avoid all the people right now), but we were never alone for long. I of course did not bring our masks and really we were easily able to maintain that 6 foot social distancing gap from everyone too.
That pond behind the railing was full of frogs and turtles. The kids were over the moon to sit and watch them.
I am asked often how we translate our adventures into learning. I could write a thesis on the topic, so maybe I should just write a blog post to share it all. But here are the highlights from our week in Rhode Island:
- We discussed what a quahog is and they learned where they live. This is biology.
- We found a ton of different types of crabs and saw a few birds too. Again this is biology.
- I mentioned how indigenous cultures used the quahog shells as jewelry and as a sort of money and how they have pretty much always been an important food source for people in the area. This is social studies.
- We also talked about how people who live in the area today love to eat clams in all sorts of different ways. This is social studies too.
- Nature Adventures
- Hiking is easily PE.
- But hiking also teaches patience and resilience (falling and getting back up, waiting to be done when you wanted to be finished a long time ago, dealing with the frustration of not seeing enough critters, waiting for a snack break, pushing yourself to go a bit further, etc.). This is teaching emotional intelligence.
- We also see all sorts of wildlife, which again is biology.
- We did a rainbow hike, so we reinforced color identification and rainbow color order.
- Doug took the kids on quite the adventure to find one geocache. They had to wade through the pond to get to it. They even failed the first time and had to try again the next day. They learned navigation skills by working with Doug to find the best way to reach it and perseverance to achieve a goal.
- I also happened to finish the Rhode Island Wanderland Travel Guide so I had a few state artists in my head. So I worked with the kids to harness our inner Umberto Crenca and used different materials to create an abstract work of art.
Children are always learning. The above doesn’t show the less organic learning we did too. The six-year-old surely wrote some letters/words, we read a ton of books, we had very informal and quick Spanish lessons, and I am pretty sure we also baked cookies that week and nature journaled. But it was so long ago now, I could not possibly remember everything…
Next time you hear from me, I’ll be sharing our adventures in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware.
CURRENT ADVENTURE STATS:
On the road: 16 months
Miles towing our home: 11,070
Campgrounds visited: 71
Breweries visited: 36
National Parks visited: 16/62
National Monuments/Seashores/Historic Sites/etc.: 6
State Parks visited: 18