Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weekend in Rhode Island: Providence

Rarely have I received such bank for my buck as I did this past weekend in Rhode Island.

I'm not talking money, although everything was pretty cheap. From our $60/night hotel room (thanks, Priceline!) to our $4.75 22-ounce beers, I could never complain. But really I'm talking about how little effort I put into the getaway compared to how much I got in return.

We decided to take advantage of the three-day weekend only last Tuesday, hurriedly booked a room and spent two nights "planning" the vacation. And by planning, I mean that I chose a couple of brunch spots, and Paul picked out where to have a few evening drinks.

That's it.

Our base was Providence, the capitol. The city has fewer than 200,000 residents, and I was happily surprised that the downtown area was so lively and active. The Providence River cuts the city in two, with downtown proper on one side and Brown University on the other. Riverside restaurants were full after the sun went down, and we certainly weren't the only ones taking an evening stroll along the water.

Providence wasn't impressive so much for its tall buildings, but for the way it mingled modern architecture with historic structures. The city had an excellent designer: It seemed that down every street you could see an old-timey steeple, monument or building. There was a surprise at every turn, like:

The Statehouse




We spent all day Saturday and then Sunday evening exploring Providence by foot, even catching the fireworks from afar, on one of the city's several bridges.

We spent Saturday and Sunday evening at two microbreweries within walking distance of our hotel. We were quite amused at the chalkboard at Union Station Brewery. If the beer would've been holding another beer instead of a drink with an umbrella, would it have been cannibalism?

The location of our hotel couldn't have been more convenient, but the view certainly could have been better-- we couldn't see much more than another wall of the same building. All was forgiven, however, when I saw that we had been assigned to a handicapped room. I think the bathroom was bigger than our entire apartment.

Providence was pleasant, but I feel like I saw all that I wanted to in about 10 hours. Next stop: Newport. But first, more of Providence ...

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