When traveling talk to locals and go off the beaten path whenever possible!
Charlestown, Rhode Island is the second town, just next to Westerly, over the Connecticut border. This quiet town has often been described as Rhode Island's best kept secret with miles of unspoiled, secluded sandy beaches. Like many other coastal towns in this state, people come here to relax, sail, and fish. Even though the town is on my way to Newport, it's a bit of a drive from I-95 and I've never had a reason to stop by - until one morning couple of weeks ago. A friend of mine was at his home in Quonnie, a section of Charlestown, and we decided to meet up for a cup of coffee on my way back home to Connecticut. It was then that I was introduced to Dave's Coffee, a wonderful certified organic coffee roaster located and a member of Fresh Farm RI, on the Post Road... slightly off my beaten path.
I programmed the address into my car's navigation system and was led to a line of parked cars that led up a hill to a small driveway and parking lot to a small and charming pink house. Dave's is not initially visible from the road. But once you know it's there, there's no missing it.
I parked down below and climbed up the stone steps that led me to the old truck with Dave's coffee on it. I walked past the pink house, had to snap a quick photo and then made my way inside where I met up with my friend.
Inside the small house a line formed out the door, eager adults and blond children with sun-kissed skin still donning their dinosaur clad pajamas and pink frilly nightgowns waited eagerly and patiently. I was busy looking around the whimsical store and paid no attention to the long line that moved quite quickly. The smell of the fresh coffee was intoxicating. I sized up the wonderful looking muffins and treats and willed myself to stay so no.... Finally it was my turn to order. I opted for a cappuccino and decided to pick up a couple of bags of whole beans to enjoy at home. I am one of those people who totally judges a book by it's cover. I selected my coffees for their names!
My cappuccino was perfect. I'm quite fussy, truth be told. I like a strong, bold cup of coffee. I want my coffee to taste like coffee, not like water, not like the milk I mix into it. I do not want my coffee to be too bitter or acidic either, but a perfectly balanced, perfectly fruity cup. My cappuccino was all that I had hoped it would be with a beautiful motif crafted on top with the foam to boot. Alas, I had to cover up the delectable artwork. We were taking our cups on the road.
We brought our coffees back to my friend's house and set ourselves up out on the deck in back of the house. I was then coerced into trying some of the blueberry muffin. Not wanting to be rude to my host, I accepted. It was delicious! Big tender blueberries, buttery yet light these muffins were sublimely decadent, but not small, and best shared with a friend. Half a muffin is plenty for one person. Now I wish I'd tried some of the other baked goods!
Dave's also makes Coffee Syrup that's so wildly popular you don't have to live in Rhode Island to get it. You can find it at Whole Foods as well as Crate & Barrel. Rhode Island also happens to be famous for its coffee milk which is a lot like chocolate milk but made with coffee-flavored syrup instead. Rhode Island is the only place in the world where you can get this drink. No one is exactly sure where this treat originated but it quite possibly could have come from Italian immigrants. This sweet milk was first introduced to the Ocean State sometime in the early 1930’s. Legend has it that it came about when a restaurant owner sweetened leftover coffee grounds with milk and sugar thus creating a sweet molasses-like extract. This syrup became instantly popular and was soon a favorite among Rhode Islanders.
So next time you feel like venturing off the beaten path, or if you're nearly Charlestown or Westerly, do stop by, It's well worth the trip. If you're not nearby, the beans, coffee syrup and other goodies can be ordered from their website. (I'm not so sure you can order the blueberry muffins though!)
Dave's Coffee actually has two locations, one in Charlestown and the other right in Providence. New Haven friends can find David's Coffee at Brick and Brooklyn friends can find it at The Brooklyn Kitchen. The rest of you can go their website to see if there's a location near you, or you can always order online.
5193 Old Post Rd
Charlestown, RI 02813
341 S Main St
Providence, RI 02903