That’s right folks the time is finally upon us. I have actually managed to put together my first post about my road trip. If you’re new to the blog or are coming because you really just want to know why you should travel to Providence, welcome!
I went on a road trip in July across the Northeastern US and all the way down to the beginning of the south. Now I’m ready to share some of the details with you.
We were only in Providence for a couple of hours admittedly but we got a lot out of those hours and now whenever someone says “what is there even to do there?” we roll ours eyes. So much! I need to go back.
The State House
This has to be a bucket list item for you. I knew we were going to see a big beautiful state house, the biggest in the US, but when we drove up I actually gasped. It is so large and so beautiful you can’t even imagine. It’s 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia Marble. It also has the fourth largest freestanding dome. Right behind the Taj Mahal, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Minnesota State Capitol.
Unfortunately the timing worked out that we were there on a Sunday when there weren’t any tours but I’m dying to go inside so definitely do if you get the chance to be there during the week. When we went on the Sunday though we had the whole place to ourselves, no one else was around and we could walk around, take photos and enjoy the magical grounds.
This was like taking a trip to Venice but without all of the money. It was such a beautiful experience, but a bit pricey so beware. For 45 minutes it cost us US$96.12 all in. However it was so worth the splurge. Our gondolier knew everything about Providence and Rhode Island and spent most of the time answering our questions and giving us a good overview of the city. Then he would row us under a secluded bridge and sing a romantic Italian song. It was beautiful.
Providence is essentially two hills with a big river in the middle. So all the way up a very steep hill is Brown University, an Ivy League school. Out of breath a bit from the climb we toured the grounds and viewed the gates.
The front gates at Brown only open once a year – at graduation for all of the grads to walk through. Otherwise everyone else has to go around. It’s a beautiful campus that looks very similar to Harvard if you don’t want to make the trek to Cambridge.
Several times a summer, the canal comes to life. Companies sponsor a fire festival and then people come out on little row boats and light bonfires all the way through the stretch into the ocean. They keep the fire burning from sunset up until midnight and hold these festivals from May to November.
You can rent a gondola during them as well if you want to get an upfront seat.
I have a confession. We are Canadian and don’t have a lot of American chain restaurants. So when my partner saw a Cheesecake factory, which he’d never been to before, at the edge of the State House park he begged me to go in. Instead of going to one of my carefully researched local joints I caved and enjoyed a classic American experience.
But I did do a lot of research and I will be going to these places when I go back to Providence. So check them out when you’re in town!
Red Fin + Crudo – run by a Top Chef alum, tapas and seafood
Nick’s on Broadway – foodie bistro
New York System – specialty hot dogs
Bonus: Crimetown in real life
So I love the podcast Crimetown, and as this was a road trip it was the perfect chance to finish out the season as we were driving into Providence. This season of the podcast covers the crimes of Providence, how it use to be a huge mob city and the famous but corrupt mayor. The crimes and politics play such a heavy role in what the city looks like – if you listen to the podcast it will have a major effect on how you see everything around you.
I highly recommend it for some history that no tour guide will give you.
If you’re headed into the city feel free to use my little travel map to explore around.
That’s it for this travel blog – follow me on bloglovin’ so you don’t miss the rest of the series and I’ll see you again soon.