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Rhode Island

One of my best gals, Amanda Cheney, and I went to Rhode Island to celebrate a little we've known for 16 years. Amanda and I have babysat for Katherine up until she went off to boarding school 3 years ago. Middlebridge School was the perfect fit for her and she grew into such a independent woman who learned to work through her struggles and how to cope with a learning disability.

This fall "KK" will be attending Adelphi University. After touring several schools it was determined this was the best fit for her. They have a strong LD program and more importantly they offered a degree in what Katherine wants to study - speech therapy. Katherine wants to be a speech therapist with a focus in Spanish.

We were all set to leave RDU at 6pm, fly to Baltimore then on to Providence and take the 45 min uber. When I went to check us in, Baltimore to Providence had been cancelled. We texted Jeff and Kelly and told them if there was another flight option, great, if not, we were fine to skip out and not cause any more stress. Jeff was persistent we come, so he found us a flight on a different airline. We decide we need airplane bottles for evening cocktails. I head to the ABC store and a very helpful man helps me select the right bottles: no glass, no metal = Sky minis.
Delta flies us from RDU to Boston and we arrive in Boston at 9:45. There is a car service waiting for us to drive us the 2 hours to Narragansett . Chuck has a black fancy sedan with epic leg room, a hat and a sign that says CHENEY.
We arrive at our hotel Aqua Blue around midnight and crashed instantly.

We awake early and grab coffee from Cool Beans Cafe then spend the next hour or so exploring the town along the stone wall, darling neighborhoods and admiring the thick fog. We were amazed by the rock art/ rock stacks all along the rocky beach. Turns out a local artist starting this and it caught on.

Jeff picked us up at 10:15am and we headed down the road to KK's school for graduation. WOW. This campus. It's housed in an old castle, dating back to mid 1800s. It was built by a man, Joseph Hazard. Mr. Hazard saw the future of Narragansett as a resort location. Hazard Castle sits on 38 acres along Ocean Road behind a stone knee wall.
I really didn't know what to expect with this graduation, seeing as how only 14 seniors were graduation (KK being the only female), however, I was blown away with how well done the service was.

A few years ago there was an Hawaiian mother who had a graduate. She brought a traditional floral lei for each graduate and mother of the graduate. This still continues today. Graduates wear orange and mothers get white!

There was a short opening and thanks from the head of the school, followed by "Student Reflections".  Public Speaking is horrifying for most of us, but especially those with learning differences, knowing this and not wanting to add any extra pressure on their big day, but wanting the student's voice to be heard, they have come up with a moving way to do that. Each graduate was to ask a staff member of their choice to read aloud their experience at Middlebridge. After the staff member read the student's reflection, they then stated two things the staff has learned from the student followed by two things the staff wishes for the student moving forward. They end with a quote the staff selected for the student. I was literally crying for kids I've never met. The waterworks began with it was KK's turn.

The commencement speaker was Pamela Metzger. Her son is an alum of Middlebridge. This lady has had an incredible role in changing people's lives. She's an attorney and legal advocate. Her speech was so well put together and relative in the sense- we can't sit on the sidelines and watch. We have to start. It doesn't have to big start, but we have to start somewhere. If we don't, who will?

Jeff, Kelly, Jeff's parents, Jeff's sister and her fiance along with Amanda and I all joined in on the celebratory weekend. We thought we had a crew, until we sat around another graduate's family. 30 plus of them. They were so fun and excited. All 10 kids had graffiti rockets to blow after they called his name.
From here we head to The Break for lunch. Post lunch, Amanda and I ride with Julie and Kim to Newport to walk around a bit before the party. Newport is charming, all of RI is Charming! We shopped around, admired the sailboats, ate a snack, sipped a drink at Clark's Cook House and wandered around Bowen and Banister WharfsAnchor Toffee makes toffee that legit melts in your mouth. They even had nut free options for those with a nut allergy (insert Amanda!)
The graduation party is at the oceanfront Galilee Beach Club. It's small but just what was needed for 30ish people. The food was a spread of deliciousness - clam chowder, salmon, chicken, rice, fruit, ribs, dessert! By far the best part was the fire pit outside and the S'mores kits!
We have a night cab at The Break and are snuggled up by midnight.

KK needed her cart to get back to NC so Amanda and I drove it back, with Katherine. We had planned to make a bunch of cute pit stops along the way, however, after Mystic the rain set in and I had two sleepy heads on my hands. I drove us 9.5 hours from Narragansett to DC.  We stopped and walked around in Mystic, but from then on out, pee and gas stops only.

We saw Mystic Pizza, I got a Christmas ornament and we walked on the draw bridge. We love Mystic!
After driving alongside of NYC, the terror that is the Jersey Turnpike, we finally arrive in DC. We check into our Hyatt House room, freshen up and head to dinner at Lincoln. We failed to realize that the CAPS (GO CAPS!) were playing that evening in hopes of winning and putting them another game closer to the Stanley Cup. This meant a lot of places were booked up solid! Lincoln was walking distance to the hotel, had wide variety of grub and could take us! They made KK a festive mocktail and kept the food coming!
pennies all over the floor!
From dinner we take KK back to the hotel. While walking up to the hotel we realize that there is a Gentleman's Club next door. We joke with KK and tell her not to sneak over!

We get her settled and we go meet my step brother Christopher and our old pal, Amy Littleton at Graffiato. This place is packed full of fans and it's right across from the arena! The Caps won, so the celebrating continued to Calico. Not a lover of cats, but a big lover of this bar. They have mini Miller High Life, wine in capri sun packets, cool decor, local art and it's hidden in an alley- what's not to love?! Someone in our 8 decided we needed to go dancing, so off we went, to.. Flash. The first floor of Flash is chill, not overwhelming but it leaves you feeling that something better has to be going on somewhere else in the building.. trusting that feeling, we get cash out the ATM and meander to the second floor. This floor is pitch black except for a disco ball and a light show to follow the DJ's beats. We finally found ourselves on the top floor, with an open rooftop area, huge dance floor, a DJ and a shit ton of people. We found our people and our place on the dance floor.
In the South when it rains in the summer, it can be pleasant, but it can also be miserable, because: Humidity. We were all soaking wet when we left this place. Pizza was to be had before bed. Three stops later, we find a line that isn't around the block, eat it in the uber, get the uber drive a slice and tip toe back into the room, as to not wake KK.

We meet my friend, Maggie Snipes, for brunch at Farmers and Distillers.  It's pouring rain and we are hungover and I can't think a better brunch spot. People walking around serving you wood oven fired pizza, eggs benedict, samples of all kinds of other goodness then the buffet. Usually I'm not a fan of a buffet, but this is one I can get behind. Fresh olmets, pancakes, french toast, fried chicken, pimento cheese, spinach artichoke dip, hummus, veggie platter, fruit platter, scrambled eggs, fried rice, shrimp and grits, biscuits, toast and it's even complete with a donut bar!

After a leisure lunch we begin our trek to Raleigh. It should, in theory, take 4 hours... it took 6.5. Since I did the 9 hours the day before, Amanda took this leg. Katherine drops us off and we gather back at her house for pizza and wine. All are in bed by 9.
Along the way we were helping prepare KK for the "real world" and wanted to fill her in on some valuable lessons.

1. It could always be worse.
2. When 6 police cars have a man pulled over in one concentrated area, you can go just a little faster.
3. Old school hip hop will never die.
4. You don't always have to go (drive) the way you know.
5. Always check for your phone (and other belongings) before we get 15 miles down the road.
6. On a veggie sub, you don't need 8 slices of provolone to substitute not having meat.
7. A slightly hungover 34 yr old and a new highschool graduate will sleep 7 of the 9 hours of the drive
8. Just because there is a Gentleman's club next door to the hotel, you don't have to go in.
9. True love. If this road trip didn't prove to the Roberts how much we love their daughter, nothing will.
10. Do not stay out drinking until 3 am before having to make a hellish drive home the next morning.
11. Sometimes it's better to pay for people to do things for you that you don't want to do - driving a total 17 hours in 33 hours
12. If you don't see the gas station from the road, do not stop.


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