Thames River Greenery unites the fineries of several artisans in the New London community to festoon patrons' lines of vision with an intricate blend of floral arrangements and gifts. Brighten rooms and nourish pet honeybees with floral bouquets such as the spring oasis ($50+), which brings together tulips, hot-pink spray roses, purple mokara orchids, and seafoam statice in a glass cylinder vase. Boxed chocolates ($9.99+) and stuffed animals($9.99+) can be added to arrangements to provide flowers with comfort and sustenance during car rides to their new homes. In addition to plush and prismatic gifts, Thames River carries its own line of wine and spirits ($10+) as well as an array of imported cheeses ($8+). To complement meals with new and interesting flavors, customers can take home a tote of Stonewall Kitchen specialty sauces ($29.95+), including wasabi-ginger sauce, coffee-caramel sauce, and sun-dried tomato-and-olive relish.
You might say the pastries at Trixie?s Bakery & Cafe are even better than homemade since you can enjoy them without turning on an oven or scouring local windowsills for pies. Each treat from Trixie's kitchen is prepared from scratch using organic ingredients and sustainable products. So you can feel even better about biting into an apple turnover, bear claw, or peanut butter cupcake, knowing it was made with the utmost care with the well-being of the local community and environment in mind. To offset all that sweetness, Trixie's also serves a number of savory items such as rosemary onion focaccia or roasted veggie quiche, all of which pair well with an espresso drink or fruit smoothie.
When childhood friends Ronald Liu, Jessica Chiep, and Thomas Wang decided to veer off the traditional corporate path, they set out to open their own cafe. Combining their American upbringing with Asian culture heritage, they wanted to create a unique and Asian-American fusion concept to put the power of culinary creation into the hands of their guests. The result was The H.A. Cafe, a casual dining spot where guests can choose everything from fresh fish and veggies to sauces and starches to create their own sushi rolls, dons, or okonomiyakis?a Japanese version of American pizza. The menu relies on plenty of startling ingredients; wakame seaweed, greens, and cucumbers flavor many of the dishes, from the tuna sashimi salad dressed in wasabi ranch, to the grilled chicken teriyaki bowl. At the bubble tea and smoothie bar, baristas trained in mixology hand-craft fresh brewed tea infused with fruit juices and a large variety of boba.
The land surrounding the Narrow River is a prime example of Rhode Island's varied natural splendor, which includes sandy beaches, lush forests, green fields, marshland, and sand banks. Narrow River Kayaks puts it all within reach, equipping locals and visitors with a variety of vessels, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.
Once boated up, you can paddle your way across the Pettaquamscutt Watershed area for a relaxed day of fishing, picnicking, spotting wildlife, or making kissy faces at your own reflection in the river. With outdoor showers, changing tents, and portable restrooms onsite, Narrow River Kayaks assures aquatic adventurers a comfortable time in the great outdoors. The shop also sells new and used kayaks, and can set up all boaters with items such as dry bags, waterproof containers, and personal flotation devices for jaunts past the John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge and the Kettle Ponds.
Featured by Paul Stern on Mansfield-StorrsPatch in 2011—just months after its opening—Coriander Cafe & Country Store has hatched quite the name for itself in Eastwood. According to Stern, brothers Scott and Brett Laffert run the show with Brett, a former chef and self-proclaimed “country person at heart,” transforming local ingredients into gourmet sandwiches, burgers, and straw hats. The shop makes all their breads—from ciabatta to whole wheat—in-house before stacking them with fresh-carved turkey and cranberry sauce or homemade black-bean patties. Yet the cooks don’t stop at handheld fare; the menu changes daily and can include anything from pan-seared haddock over corn-and-chive griddlecakes to braised pork belly with a side of chipotle grits.
Coriander Cafe also welcomes early risers into its country confines for a cup of fair-trade and organic coffee from Red Barn Coffee Roasters, a homemade bagel, or a decadent pastry such as a raspberry scone or cinnamon-sugar donut muffin, which guests can enjoy inside or amid fresh-picked oxygen molecules on the backyard deck. A fully stocked country store outfits fleeting customers with all the necessities, from homemade cookies and Red Barn coffee to gourmet jams and hot sauces.
Founded by cousins Ruth and Cindy, Water Mill Cupcake Company greets customers with friendly smiles and a menu full of handmade treats. Each day, fresh eggs leap out of their shells into bowls brimming with organic sugar, unbleached flour, and butter straight from cows made of rainbows. Cylinder connoisseurs can acquire a quartet of cupcakes ($3 each), or experiment with more flavors by devouring the mini variety ($2 each). The devil’s food cupcake cuts a fiendish figure, dressed to the nines in gourmet chocolate and a cap of Madagascar–vanilla icing. Red velvet cupcakes laden with cocoa buttermilk give tasters the red carpet treatment, and a host of handmade frostings await spellbound taste buds, ranging from seasonal strawberry to vanilla maple syrup.