Life on the lake: For many, summer in Burrillville is all about the water


BURRILLVILLE – Mother and daughter, Denise Ellis and Courtney Dietz of Burrillville, on this hot and humid August day, are getting ready to put their boat in the water at Wilson’s Reservoir, a man-made lake in the sprawling town.

Preparing the boat – sleek and colorful like a race car – takes time and work. But boating is a family tradition, says Dietz.

She remembers happy memories of previous summers of, “campfires and parties on the lake.”

Dietz is expecting, and contends she’s comfortable boating, kayaking, swimming, especially knowing that the body of water is clear not murky.

Boating is in demand across America, boats a hot commodity. “A rising tide of sales is lifting manufacturers of boats of all kinds – motor boats, canoes, kayaks and yachts – and equipment such as paddles,” reports the Hartford Courant.

Elsewhere in Burrilville, at Spring Lake, about a hundred beach-goers are lying in the sun- spaciously distanced from other parties – or cooling off in the water.

Hidden in the northwest corner of Rhode Island like Wilson’s Reservoir, Spring Lake attracts visitors even in a state in where it’s joked that if a place requires more than fifteen minutes of travel time, it’s too far, or it’s a day trip. Some adventurous beach-goers come from Providence, while others are locals.

“We call it the hidden gem,” says Spring Lake beach manager Judy Lopez.

And sunbathers aren’t sprawled out on just any soil.

“It’s recreational sand” the town of Burrillville brings in, explained Lopez.

On that sandy beach, in the hot sun, teen-aged lifeguard Daniel Grenier carefully watches the swimmers.

Other beach-goers taking breaks from the sun wear masks while playing arcade games, or ping pong. They have the option of engaging in outdoor sports such as volleyball and bean bag toss and other recreation activities at Spring Lake. Lopez notes facilities are also available for weddings, family outings, and even baptisms. A store and picnic area are other assets available to beach-goers.

While seaside beaches in the Ocean State are jammed and with extremely limited parking in the time of Covid restrictions, Spring Lake beach has room to spare.

People are afraid of the virus, notes Lopez, but one place people seem to be safe is on the water. Beach-goers can take to the water in small craft. And getting on a boat, whatever the size, is a solution for some seeking serenity or solace.

“The outdoors has never been a better place for Americans to find respite during these uncertain times…,” said Frank Hugelmeyer president of National Marine Retailers Association of America in a press release.

Ellis, the mom of the mother-daughter Burrillville boating pair, enjoys boating and swimming off the boat.

For her, and many others who either live in or visit the town on a hot summer day, it’s relaxing, “while still feeling like you’re doing something,” she says.

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