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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Sept. 16-23

You’ll have the best times! This week: A boat show, an end-of-summer barbeque, and a special show with Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal performs onstage at AMERICANAFEST 2022 on Sept. 14 in Nashville, Tenn.Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Americana Music Association

It’s a week of change, Rhody. Summer ends Sept. 21, fall begins Sept. 22, and this week’s fun is a seasonal big mixed bag — from beach walks and end-of-summer barbecues, to hay rides, corn mazes and Oktoberfests. Plus year-round legend Taj Mahal. Let’s rock and roll.


A sound you need to see. The Suitcase Junket is one guy, Matt Lorenz, who sounds like a full five-piece folk-rock-blues band, by playing various handmade instruments he built, literally, of junk and found objects — a drum he built from a gas can and his own baby shoe, a found guitar, a box of bones and silverware. Catch him at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, via Newport Live, Sept. 16. $35, 583 3rd Beach Road, Middletown. 7 p.m. Learn more here and here.



There’s still time to catch “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” at PPAC. The musical about the 12-time Grammy winner, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall, runs through Sept. 18. PPAC bills it as “An uplifting comeback story… and inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll.” Tickets from $20. 220 Weybosset St. Providence. 401-421-2787. Details here.


Ahoy! Sailors and boat-lovers will want to scope out the Newport International Boat Show, now through Sept. 18. Billed as “one of the largest and most prestigious boat shows in the country,” it spans some 13 acres of downtown Newport. According to the website, you’ll stroll docks to “view a spectacular display of shiny new sailboats and powerboats, some making their first-ever debut in the United States. On the land side, you’ll find hundreds of marine products, services and accessories to enhance the boating lifestyle.” Plus seminars, in-water boating courses and giveaways. #SailOn. Digital tickets recommended $28. Parking: 175 Memorial Blvd. Shuttle service available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Details here.



Seminar tickets are sold out, but fear not, foodies: you can still snag a ticket to Newport Wine and Food Fest’s Restaurant Program. According to the Newport Mansions website, that includes “a diverse schedule of multi-course lunches and dinners paired with unique and interesting wines and cocktails to inspire your festival weekend.” Participating spots include The Dining Room at The Vanderbilt; Beech Restaurant in Jamestown; the Hotel Viking’s Garden Room; The Coast Guard House in Narragansett; Midtown Oyster Bar; and 22 Bowen’s. Details vary; individual info here.

Or you might just enjoy the after-party: After the fest, the fun continues at the Newport After-Dark Party at Dive Bar Newport. Tickets to the DJ-ed event include beer, wine, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, according to the event info. Bring your dancing shoes. Sept. 17, 9 p.m. $75. 337 Thames St. Details here.


Kiss summer goodbye with fiddles and burgers. Cloverbud Ranch in Portsmouth hosts an “End of Summer Bluegrass BBQ” catered by Newport’s Wharf Southern Kitchen + Whiskey Bar, beers from Rejects Brewery via cash bar, and bluegrass from New England band Rock Hearts. Take ranch tours from noon to 3 p.m., and learn about rotational grazing and regenerative management. The party starts at 3 p.m. Your $50 ticket will go toward supporting the Rhode Island farm to “help us continue to raise our happy, healthy beef cattle to the highest humane and culinary standards,” according to their event info. Sept. 17, noon-6 p.m. 430 Jepson Lane. Details here. Learn more about the musicians here.



After kissing summer goodbye, embrace fall. Head to Richmond for Spring Hill Sugar House’s annual Farm Festival, Sept. 17 and 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Think antique tractors, blacksmith and spinning demos, live music, food trucks, pick-your-own pumpkin patch, and, yes, a corn maze. Plus pressed cider and cider donuts. #AllTheFallVibes. 522 Gardiner Road. Details here and here.


As fall begins, Rhode Island’s corn mazes open up. A few options:

Escobar’s Farm in Portsmouth is throwing down fall vibes with an 8-acre corn maze, hay rides, pumpkin-picking, concessions and more. GPS: 255 Middle Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-1444. Details, rates and hours here.

Clark Farms in Matunuck opens their corn maze Sept. 17, plus petting zoo, hayrides, pumpkin patch and more. 2984 Commodore Perry Highway. 401-783-8844. Details, rates and hours here.

Adams Farm in Cumberland offers a weekend corn maze, farm food truck and hayrides, plus pumpkin patch, farm animals, cornhole, “tire playground” and “hay mountain” for kids and more. 495 Sumner Brown Road. 401-714-4425. Details, rates and hours here.

Johnston’s Salisbury Farms offers pumpkins, popcorns, candy apples a giant corn maze and more. 11 Peck Hill Road. 401-942-9741. Details, rates and hours here.


The farm-coast gem that is Little Compton is worth exploring any time, but history buffs may want to stop in Sept.17 for the Historic Homes Tour. Explore nine homes, from the “Spite Tower,” to the Wilbor House (where the earliest rooms date to circa 1691) to the Manton Archaeological Site. According to the Little Compton Historical Society, “This well-preserved cellar hole is the site of the lost Manton homestead and is now protected by The Nature Conservancy. The Mantons were one of Little Compton’s few Afro-Indigenous families in the late-nineteenth century… During your visit talk with the archaeologists responsible for studying the site and help with a new test pit.” #DigRhodeIslandHistory. $50 advance, $60 day of. Sept. 17, noon to 5 p.m. Self-paced tours. Details here. Read about the properties here.



If you take one last beach walk of summer, make it a stunner. Watch Hill Conservancy hosts a free family beach exploration Sept. 18 in the picturesque Napatree Point Conservation Area. Take a 1-mile or so walk with naturalists “to learn about the different organisms found along the shores of Napatree” and “assist with seine net sampling to discover the species found in Little Narragansett Bay.” Note: you will want to Instagram this beach. Free. Fort Road, Westerly. Limited space; register online. Details here.


Get out your lederhosen: September means Oktoberfests, and we’ve got a few options:

Newport Oktoberfest, Sept. 18 at Fort Adams, looks epic. Billed as “Bavaria meets the Ocean State,” the Fort Adams Trust and Ragged Island Brewing Co. host authentic German beer, wine, food, and live music at a 21+ event they say will become an annual tradition. You’ll receive a glass beer stein to use for the afternoon’s pours from local breweries. You might buy “authentic Bavarian food” from bratwurst to roast chickens, and dance to German tunes from the Schwarze Schafe Band. 2-5:30 p.m. Advance tickets $65, designated driver $20. Doors: $70, $25. Details here. Learn about band here.


Prost! Mulligan’s Island hosts a free-admission “OctoberFest” Sept. 18, with German music and beer, cocktails and German food for purchase, from bratwurst to weisswurst, spaetzle to strudel. Free admission. 3-8 p.m. 1000 New London Ave., Cranston. Details here.

Providence Brewing Company hosts “Astroberfest.” Compete in a stein-holding contest, try German-inspired dishes, and yes, drink beer. According to event info, a $30 VIP ticket gets you a glass stein, T-shirt, pins and three beer tokens. Noon-4 p.m., 5-9 p.m. 10 Sims Ave., Unit 110, Providence. Details here.


So you’ve tried goat yoga, you say. How about kitten yoga? It’s real, people. BYO mat to Johnston’s Community Cat Center for a 60-minute yoga and pilates classes with cats and kittens. Classes support Rhode Island’s PawsWatch, according to event info. $17.31, Sept. 18. Classes at 9:30, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. 39 Putnam Pike, Johnston. Details here.


Legend alert! If you missed him at the sold-out Newport Folk Fest this year, good news: blues icon Taj Mahal is back in Rhode Island. The Taj Mahal Quartet plays the Greenwich Odeum Sept. 23.

While he was born Henry St. Claire Fredericks Jr. in Harlem in 1942, there’s a New England connection: Mahal studied agriculture and animal husbandry at UMass Amherst. Today, the 80-year-old is a living connection to Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Sleepy John Estes. #Icon. Tickets from $83. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. 59 Main St., East Greenwich. 401-885-4000. Details here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

Lauren Daley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.

Lauren Daley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.