My RI Life, Summer Favs With Tracey Keough Park of Trace Alchemy Skincare
I am the creator/maker of Trace Alchemy, handcrafted skincare with the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Trace Alchemy is three luxuriously pure and effective products created using the bountiful gifts of the earth. Each micro-batch is blended, bottled, and labeled by my own hands, with love. I believe in transforming the under appreciated routine of maintaining healthy skin into a meditative ritual. A chance to spend a few moments each morning and evening immersed in a simple act of self care to pamper the skin and rest the mind.
I am a Rhode Island native and have lived most of my life here. For most of us in the Ocean State, summer means "the beach". Whether heading to the East Bay, the Newport area or South County, natives and tourists alike flock to our beautiful coastline by the millions each summer. There's certainly no shortage of activities, attractions, restaurants/bars, and shops for rainy days, pre or post beach hours or for when you're too fried to spend more time in the sun. My husband and I keep our boat in Snug Harbor (part of Wakefield, near East Matunuck Beach), so we spend a lot of our free time in that area of South County. We have many favorite spots for shopping and eating, but there are a few I feel deserve special mention. Two have recently re-opened after a hiatus and the third is a long time favorite.
If you live in the Wakefield area, you're sure to know about La Strada Cafe & PIzzeria. This long time favorite re-opened just last month after a two year hiatus and the pizza is still addictive, the vibe is still laid back and fun, the music is still on point, and the outdoor tables with a view of the wood fired oven are still the best place to sit. It's super casual and cool, so it's a perfect place to head after the beach. There's even a new bocce court and they're now serving cocktails as well as beer and wine. Co-Owners Jenny Olbrich and Nick Schneider are incredibly genuine, hard working and enthusiastic, the kind of people you're happy to know and that you want to see succeed. There are many delicious and creative pizzas on the menu and you can't go wrong with any of them. The dough is excellent and all the ingredients are the highest quality and thoughtfully combined. My husband likes a plain old pepperoni (which is wonderful), but my favorite is the Notorious F I G, with soppressata, figs and ricotta...it is perfection. Another favorite is the Bunky (named for Jenny's and Nick's adorable dog) with spinach, feta, prosciutto, and lemon. We (and everyone who has ever eaten there) are so happy to have them back. You owe it to your taste buds to go there.
Also recently re-opened after a break/relocation is Nonchalant Mom in Wakefield. Owner Carina Schott originally developed Nonchalant Mom as an online boutique in 2004, before they were a normal part of retailing, and began by mainly selling collections created by friends. Fast forward 12 years to the the new shop where you'll find an expertly curated selection of clothing for women and children, a sprinkling of eclectic items for the home, beautiful jewelry, and a small selection of apothecary. When you enter the bright cheerful shop, you're immediately drawn in by the splashes of brilliant color, racks of simple yet elegant clothing, lovely scarves and bags, and selections of beautiful and unique jewelry throughout. Add to that Carina's warm and welcoming smile and you'll be hooked. Nonchalant Mom is the perfect antidote to a rainy beach day, but visit once and I guarantee it'll become a favorite all year round.
If you are heading to Narragansett or Galilee on a Sunday morning between 9am and 1pm, you should be stopping by the Farmer's Market at Fisherman's Memorial State Park. I visit there a lot of Sundays and I'm always surprised that it isn't jammed with folks headed to the nearby beaches. It's super easy to find, the park staff direct parking to keep it organized, and it's filled with a great bunch of local farmers, food sellers, and craftspeople. As should be expected, the bounty of vegetables and fruits is a feast for the eyes as well as the body and the farmers are warm, friendly, and eager to chat. You'll always find tremendous variety of produce, pasture raised meats and poultry, incredibly beautiful flowers, farm fresh eggs, and baked goods. There's even a solar powered crepe cart (and they look fantastic)! Want to make your day at the beach, on your boat, or on Block Island even better? Take a few moments to stop by the Fisherman's Memorial Farmer's Market and stock up on gorgeous vegetables and fruits, grown right here in Rhode Island (often just down the road), and sold to you by one of the folks whose hands loving tended them.
For more from Tracey and her Trace Alchemy skincare, follow @trace_alchemy on Instagram. For questions or orders, find her at email@example.com.
Photo Credits: All Farmers' Market and Trace Alchemy pics are courtesy of Tracey. Additional photos of La Strada and Nonchalant Mom courtesy of Tracey and their respective FB pages/business owners.