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Hygge…wha?

I just heard about hygge today and have fallen in love with the idea.  It’s a Danish cultural concept that if summed up in one word would be cozy….but it’s so much more.   To the Danes, hygge (pronounced sort of like ‘hoogah’) is a feeling, a concept that has elements of family & friends, camaraderie, hominess, food & drink shared with those you love, some would add safety & contentedness, and CANDLES.  Apparently those short winter days close to the Arctic Circle have bred in them a deep love of candles and all manner of twinkling lights.   In early January spring seems so far away but the reality is the first day of spring is only about 75 days away (even if true springlike weather won’t show its face in New England quite so soon).  I’m going to fight the urge to wish winter away and will use the idea of hygge to embrace it instead.  My perfect hygge day would be hanging out with a small group of my closest friends, a pot roast in the oven, sipping red wine in front of a fire.  Extra points for nasty weather outside.

Another lovely Scandinavian idea is friluftsliv which translates directly from Norwegian as “free air life”.   It means spending time outdoors, in all seasons, hiking, camping, or even just going for a walk or taking pictures.  Since hygge comes easily to me, I will have to work at friluftsliv this winter.

If you’re looking for some motivation to get out of the house on a Saturday morning, look no further than Pawtucket, RI.  Truly.  Hope Artiste Village is probably my favorite repurposed mill in the area.  Chock-full of artists, designers, cafes and even a coffee roaster, it hosts (every Saturday November-May, 9AM-1PM) a kick-ass wintertime farmer’s market.  To give you an idea of the scope of this market, I counted four vendors selling grass-fed beef alone.  There are stalls loaded with winter vegetables like kale, winter squash & potatoes….herbalists selling skincare and natural remedies, soup, freshly made cheeses, knitted alpaca mittens, local oysters….you name it.  Get a coffee from New Harvest Roasters, a stuffed crepe from La Creperie, then walk around and plan out your dinner from what’s available that day.   If you’re still hungry, The Bread Lab is right in the complex, interior doors open to the action, and offers brunch & live music on market days.  If you want something quicker, the mill courtyard is full of food trucks.   You’re having so much fun, why stop now?  About a block away is Bucket Brewery, run by a great bunch of guys putting out some shockingly good beers.   Walk over from the market for a tasting, they’re open 11:00AM-5:00PM on Saturdays, as well as Thursdays 1:00PM-7:30PM.   After that, hop in your car for a 3 minute drive to Foolproof Brewing.  According to their website Saturdays are for tours, so call ahead for a reservation (although they will accommodate walk-ins).  It seems they do a ‘tasting only’ option on Thursday nights.

This first picture is McCarten Violins, one of the tenants of Hope Artiste.  Aren’t they beautiful?  I suspect I’m drawn to violins after my failed attempt to become a musician in 4th grade.  It wasn’t bad enough my glasses made me look like Benjamin Franklin, I decided to play the violin…and failed.

violins

I know I should just let Pawtucket bask in its glory by itself today but I have two pics of Providence I feel like throwing in here.  The beautiful skyline from the Point Street Bridge:

PVD

The building in the picture below is one that I was mildly obsessed with as a child.  Even driving by it scared me, I felt that you could get a shock just looking at it.  Back then, it was actually producing electricity and you could somehow tell that by looking at it.  It glowed brightly and just looked….electrified.  According to Wikipedia:

“The South Street Station (also known as The Narragansett Electric Company Power Station or Narragansett Electric Lighting Company Power Station) is an historic electrical power generation station at 360 Eddy Street in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a massive brick and stone structure, built in stages between 1912 and 1952. Despite three major phases of construction, the 58,000 square foot building has fairly consistent Classical Revival styling. The building, an excellent example of early 20th-century power plant design, burned coal to provide electrical power to the city. It was gradually taken over by the more modern Manchester Street Station, and was decommissioned in 1995.[2]

Narragansett Electric Company is a subsidiary of National Grid USA. The Rhode Island Historical Society was planning to build a “Heritage Harbor Museum” within the building. Construction ceased and the project was canceled in 2009 due to lack of financing.

In 2013 Brown University along with the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College announced that the vacant South Street Power Station would be a redeveloped with student housing, retail, a URI/RIC nursing school, administrative offices, a new parking structure, and additions to the adjacent riverwalk. The project is slated to also include student housing built on a parking lot along Point Street.”

electric

That’s all for now.  Happy New Year!

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