Category Archives: Providence

My Rhode Island Hit Parade

Here is, in no particular order, a list of my favorite spaces and places in this beautiful state.

1.  The Spring House on Block Island.  An old Victorian grand hotel, the front porch of the Spring House is the perfect place to while away an afternoon or evening.

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2.  Napatree Point, Westerly.  Now a wildlife preserve, this spit of land was swept bare in the Hurricane of 1938, killing 15 people.   Today it’s a peaceful beach free from the crowds that swarm other local beaches.

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3.  The view of Providence from Prospect Terrace Park.   I love this statue of Roger Williams gazing out over the city he founded.  I recently found out that H.P. Lovecraft frequently visited this park.

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4.   The Ocean Mist.  The O’Mist is a legendary beach bar, hard by the shores of Matunuck Beach.  People once played volleyball in front of the deck, but severe erosion has claimed most of this space…..pro:  you feel like you’re on a poor man’s cruise ship….con:  the future of the Ocean Mist is iffy.   Come for live music, excellent fish tacos, and a great beer selection.

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5.  Diamond Hill Vineyards.  Yes, a winery in Cumberland is one of my favorite spots!  It’s really come a long way over the last few years, a great spot to hang out and sip wine.  This picture was taken on a beautiful December day, when it warmed up to over 60 degrees!

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6.  The Towers, Narragansett.  The entire town qualifies for my Best Of list, but the Towers are an iconic and beautiful landmark.  Built as part of the Narragansett Pier Casino in the 1880s, they’re now a venue for private events.

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7.  Wickford Village.   Shopping and dining with views like this:

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8.   THIS BARN.   I am on a quest to get a picture of it in all seasons.  Come on spring!!

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9.   The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmer’s Market.  I can’t believe this place doesn’t get more press.  It’s bigger and better than the summertime markets.   I counted four vendors selling grass-fed meat.  FOUR.  There are fresh winter veggies, seafood & poultry, products such as herbals, honey, pickles, chocolates.  My routine is to grab an insanely delicious crepe (my fave is brie, spinach & craisins), a coffee from New Harvest, and stroll around for an overview before I buy anything.

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10.  The Clarke Cooke House, Newport.   Four stories of fun in a beautiful Colonial-era building, from the basement nightclub to fine dining on the top floor “Porch”….and five bars that I can think of.

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Well, there you have it!  Do you agree with my choices?  Am I missing anything obvious?  Be in touch and let me know!

 

 

FINALLY!!

I was beginning to think winter would never end.  Not that you’d know it from these pictures but we are well and truly into spring now.  My most recent pics aren’t very springlike because I lost the download cord to my camera, keep forgetting to order a new one, and have had to resort to my phone.  The first two are from Providence.  You know how I feel about this city.  They don’t call it the Paris of New England for nothing.

They actually don’t.  I just made that up.  But look at these scenes of Westminster Street and tell me I’m really that far off the mark.  Lots of small local businesses have sprung up, clothing, housewares, and a pair of little restaurant/bars.   Flan y Ajo and Bodega Malasana are owned by a husband/wife team.  Flan is an honest-to-goodness tapas bar that can accommodate about 14 people (that includes standing at the bar) and Bodega is an equally teeny wine bar, with both house wines and a small but interesting selection of tapas going for $5.  Yup, you read that right.

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An interesting trend is the rise of nano breweries (like a microbrewery but smaller).  I guess they’ve always been around, what’s different now if they actually distribute to local bars and restaurants, and they do weekend tastings like wineries.   In the past month or so I’ve been able to try brews from three different Rhode Island nanobreweries, and visit two of them.  Coffee Milk Stout is a riff on coffee milk (a kid’s beverage made from coffee syrup).  Most Rhode Islanders grow up on this stuff, a gateway drug to Dunkin Donuts coffee in adulthood.  Coffee Milk Stout bubbles up from an industrial park in Woonsocket, courtesy of Ravenous Brewing.  I’ve yet to visit them, I usually get my fill of their product at Ciro’s Tavern, right off Main Street in Woonsocket.   This is an English-style pub w/great food, cool brews, trivia nights, live music….it’s basically the Cheer’s of northern RI.

Bucket Brewery is my new favorite place.  Located in an old mill in Pawtucket, on the Providence line, its name comes from the disparaging nickname for Pawtucket, “the bucket”.  I love when someone takes a supposed negative, owns it and runs with it.  I think we tried six different beers the night we were there?  And – no kidding – each was better than the last.  Here is a snap of me playing barmaid.  Besides the great beers, the guys who own this place couldn’t be nicer….so far this has been one of my favorite nights of 2014 (the entire group concurred).

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I wanted to bring some fresh tap beer to a friend’s one evening, so I swung by Bucket Brewery.   Je suis désolée!  A hand-lettered sign on the door informed me they were closed to attend a beer fest.  I immediately got on my Yelp app as I recalled there was yet another nanobrewery nearby, also open on weekends.   Foolproof Brewing to the rescue!  I fell hard for their Raincloud Porter and got a growler home safely.

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Winter 1 – Jane 0

This winter is kinda kicking my butt.  I find myself wondering how people in Canada or Siberia survive.  But I guess it’s all relative….there are probably people in Trinidad wondering how people in Rhode Island manage to get by.  My last post made me remember how nice it is to spend a few hours breathing in fresh plant air at the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park in Providence.  There’s an old saying about the city:  “If you don’t like Providence it’s only because you’ve never been to Providence”.  OK, that isn’t really an old saying, I just made it up.  But I stand by that statement.  PVD rocks.   The first two snaps below were taken at Roger Williams Park….it’s been a brutal winter but an undeniably pretty one.   The last two pics are inside the botanical center.  It’s like walking into paradise, the warm humid air hits you in the face and its instantly summer.   Take a book and hang out on a bench for an hour or two.  The last pic looks pretty bare because they’re exhibiting at the flower show and had moved some stuff out to the convention center.

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