Bucket List Update!

It’s been almost two weeks since I moved to Anchorage, and today I (very briefly) stopped back in Providence for my last visit in the known future.

With my limited time, I swooped into Vanuatu Coffee Roasters to use the wifi, thus completing the coffee section of my Rhode Island Bucket List!  In other categories, though, I am admittedly leaving things undone.  Moving my departure date up four days to catch Dev’s all-residency campout meant giving up some of my most anticipated goals, such as finishing the RI brewery trail (conspicuously missing from my first list: Mohegan Cafe and Brewery on Block Island) and circumnavigating the state in one day with a symbolic terminus at Bucket Brewery.

RI Map

I had a good plan, though!

Here is an update on what I managed to accomplish in my last few weeks in RI.

Eat and Drink

I am proud to say I made it to every restaurant I posted on my list!  One place that I forget to put on the list, though, and which I didn’t get to visit, is Crazy Burger in Narragansett.  I hear if you gather a big enough posse for your birthday (and give the restaurant advance warning), they will give you a free cake! This is just a rumor, though.  You should call and ask.  They have vegan burgers too!

Here’s where I did go for the first time since I first posted my list:

  • Pizza J Yummy pizza!  More of a sit-down place than I realized, so don’t expect to grab a slice and go.
  • Kitchen The best the best the best.  All the hype is true.  And it really is just one guy and his kitchen.  Expect to get there massively early and wait.  I recommend the bacon hash if you can get it.
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    We were waiting in line before it was cool.

  • Nick-A-Nee’s It probably would have been more fun if I had caught a show here.  But friendly service, fun space, and a fireplace!
  • Allie’s Donuts I didn’t actually go there.  But I had a donut.  I’m counting it.
  • Harry’s Bar and Burgers Yummy little sliders.  And BOOZY MILKSHAKES!
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    You go, Tiffany!  You’re a DOCTOR now!  You deserve it.

  • I capped off my restaurants at Ten Rocks Tapas Bar  .  The food was pretty good and they have Groupons all the time!  There is also a good set-up for live music inside, and a swanky back patio.
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    As a mildly irrelevant sidenote, this is literally (he claims) the first selfie Josh has ever been a part of.

Caffeinate

  • New Harvest Coffee and Spirits It’s really more of a fancy cocktail bar.  And I LOVE it.  Both the cold drinks and the hot tea-and coffee-inspired ones were, well, inspired.  This place and Kitchen get my highest recommendation as places that I wish I had discovered earlier.  Go there, indulge, and think of me.

Play!

Here’s where the big adventures were had.

  • Paw Sox game  Major thanks to my friends Katherine, Ashley, and Cam (alias Puppy Dog) for taking me to my first (and only) Paw Sox game!  These three are seasoned pros; when we caught a foul ball Cam actually had a sizable collection to add it to. We were lucky enough to catch a double header between the Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, the same match-up that played pro ball’s longest game ever in 1981.
  • Providence Gallery Night!  Tiffany and I explored Gallery Night on foot on her last Thursday in town.  Our favorite place was really more of a jewelry and curiosity shop, Copacetic Rudely Elegant Jewelry.  I liked the name.  And all the clocks.
  • PVD Fest I had no idea how epic this would be.  On my walk home on Saturday night, I counted no fewer than nine separate performances going on, including at least four big stages all over the downtown area.  This was totally free and totally rad.  I hope it continues to be funded and become a staple of Providence culture in years to come!
  • One last thing I forgot to put on my list (but which was seriously awesome) was a visit to the Stuck-Up Bridge between Providence and East Prov, more officially called the Seekonk River Drawbridge or the Crook Point Bascule Bridge, and which I’ve also heard called the Ghost Bridge.  This iconic railroad bridge has been out of commission (and “stuck up”) since 1976, and is scarily accessible to urban explorers.I was definitely not dressed appropriately, but wandering around here in between visits to the Athenaeum and the Arcade truly was the ultimate Adventure Sunday.  If you want to check the bridge out from closer than the shore, be careful!  You can find it behind the little park on Gano Street over by the Dunkin Donuts.

And with that most Rhode Island of all prepositional phrases, I bid farewell to the littlest state and head off to make my home in the biggest.  Little Rhody, I love you.  I don’t know when, but I’ll be back.

Rhode Island Bucket List

It has begun.  My last hundred days in the greatest little state.  I’ve been throwing around the phrase “Rhode Island Bucket List” whenever I go someplace new (thanks, Tiffany!), and people have been asking me what’s actually on my list.  Wiser folks than I have have been making recommendations, and a few newcomers have asked me what should be on their RIBLs.

This list has two purposes: To collect in one place all the circa-Rhode Island experiences I still want to have (leave your suggestions in the comments!) and to compile some of my favorite things I’ve done as recommendations to others.

Most of these things I’ve already experienced (✓).  Some are goals for the next three months (), and I’ll update them as I go (checkmarks on things I did after I first published this post are in red).  Some I’ve pretty much missed my chance for.  Maybe I’ll tackle them when I come back to visit? If I’ve resigned myself to not checking something off this time around, you’ll see it marked with a BLNT, or Better Luck Next Time.

I’m surprised to find that I ended up listing a lot more favorites than goals—I think I’m a bit hesitant to commit to doing new things here, and eager to just enjoy my old standbys before I’m gone.  But if I’ve missed out on anything life-changing, I still have time!  So tell me, friends: what are your top Rhode Island recommendations?

What do you think of my picks?  What’s missing?  What do I absolutely have to get done before I leave Rhode Island in July?

Eat and Drink

Providence really does have a good food scene, and this list could be twice as long.  Here are some of my favorites, as I can think of them right now, and a few other places that people just won’t shut up about.

  • Loie Fuller’s ✓ $5.00 Monday mussels are the worst-kept best secret in the Providence food scene.  Expect to see many uncloaked bosoms rendered in the Art Nouveau décor.
  • New Rivers ✓ Dollar oysters on Tuesdays, yummy fancy meals every day.
  • Los Andes  ✓ Peruvian food.  Pisco sours.  Ceviche I would do unspeakable things for.  They just opened a new and beautiful outdoor space.  Can’t wait to come back in the summer for some of my last Providence goodbyes!
  • Chez Pascal ✓ The best wurst kitchen.
  • Mi Ranchito ✓ Guatemalan food, so good and so affordable.
  • La Lupita ✓ Tacos!
  • Chilangos ✓ Mexican fusion and huge margarita pitchers
  • Abyssinia (RIP) ✓ Its reign was short lived.  Can someone else start a new Ethiopian place in the next three months?
  • The East-Side Indian Food Circuit  ✓ Kabob and Curry, Taste of India, India, Not Just Snacks, Rasoi.  One time I accidentally called in a pick-up order from Taste of India in Malden, Mass, instead.  Don’t do that.  But do support them if you’re in the area; they were super nice about it.
  • Spike’s Junkyard Dogs
  • Making it into the “Kennel Club” wall of fame by eating enough Spike’s Junkyard Dogs.  ☐ 
  • Rogue Island ✓ I’m still kind of mad they beat me to my dream brewery name, but though they’re not a brewery, they do have a lot of great beer.  Also tons of locally-sourced food, and the best veggie burger around.  And they are in the Arcade, which makes it extra fun.
  • What Cheer Tavern ✓ Looks like a dive but it’s not.  Fancy beer, fancy fusion food, but you can totally wear your sweatpants.
  • E&O Tap ✓ Another neighborhood favorite not-too-divey dive.  Sit outside in the summer, or watch weird old scifi movies inside from the bar.
  • Haven Brothers Diner ✓ It’s a special experience.  But I’m still mad about the time they charged me $17 for a burger and a shake.
  • Ogie’s Trailer Park  ✓ New spot.  Super campy aesthetic and frothy sixties cocktails.  It was unchecked and urgent on the list until recently.  I’ll be back.
  • The Avery ✓ Only drinks here, not food, but it’s got a cool Art Nouveau vibe and rivals Loie Fuller’s for wall nipples.
  • Julian’s ✓ My neighborhood love.  Great food, great beer, many vegan option.  Super awesome brunch.
  • Pizza J  Julian’s new pizza spinoff.  More vegan options!
  • Olga’s Cup + Saucer  ✓ More good brunch!
  • Kitchen  for breakfast
  • Amy’s Place ✓ Haven’t seen it since the renovation (and I want to go visit my friend Ari).
  • The Village ✓ Lesbian(ish) restaurant and nightclub.  Also, brunch!
  • Nick-A-Nee’s 
  • Garden Grille  ✓ Vegetarian!
  • The Grange  ✓ Also vegetarian and has INDOOR PORCH SWINGS and live music on Wednesdays.
  • North SUCH GOOD FOOD OMG.   And while you wait for a table you can go to the Avery!
  • Crazy Burger in Narragansett.  Sign up for the birthday club and bring enough friends and your entree (and a whole cake!) is free.  Too late for me though.
  • Ten Rocks Tapas Bar   Cape Verdean cuisine in Providence, woo-hoo!  Anyway, I need to go here because I have a Groupon.
  • Iggy’s Doughboys ✓ Rhode Island classic
  • Allie’s Donuts  
  • Harry’s Bar and Burgers  People keep telling me to go there.
  • Al Forno ✓ but I hear I should go back for grilled pizza and an apple tart. ☐ 

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Not to brag, but the historic Providence Athenaeum is kind of a big deal.

Read

Caffeinate

  • Tealuxe ✓ A good coffee shop was the first thing I asked my WPC about when I got to Brown.  But she only knew about Starbucks.  So Tealuxe because my café home until I learned about Coffee Exchange.  I recommend Yalta Estate Ceylon (or whatever is on as the daily pour).
  • Coffee Exchange ✓ East-Side hipster watching.  If I still lived in Fox Point I’d be hitting up Malachi’s ✓ and The Shop ✓ as well.
  • I still miss Reflections ✓.  As I’ve gotten older and out of the College Hill bubble, I would have really loved having this kind of hub for LGBTQ folks.
  • Tea in Sahara ✓ Baklava, mint tea, and hookah, oh my!  This is a good place to have a meeting with your Trotskyist reading group.
  • Seven Stars Bakery ✓ Great bread, pastries, and coffee—my ultimate café-type getaway.  They have two locations in Providence and another in Rumford.  But beware—there is no wifi here.
  • Wildflour ✓ Vegan goodness!
  • White Electric ✓
  • Small Point Café 
  • New Harvest Coffee and Spirits
  • Vanuatu Coffee Roasters 

 

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Me in Newport approximately ten million years ago.

Play

  • Paw Sox game! How have I not done this?
  • Seekonk Speedway (Massachusetts, I know)  Is this worth it?  Who can advise?
  • Providence Gallery Night!   I’ve been meaning to do this one since forever.
  • RISD Museum ✓ Not to be missed!  Full disclosure, I’m on their education committee, but this is seriously a GEM and it’s free to visit on Sundays and on Tuesday afternoons.
  • Providence Children’s Museum ✓ Don’t miss it if you have kids or kid-aged friends.  You can probably miss it if you don’t.
  • Swan Point Cemetery ✓  This was on the list for a long time before a friend brought me there.  Not for play exactly, but lots of great benches for a respectful picnic.
  • Roger Williams Park ✓ (no, Brown students, it’s not the same as Prospect Park or the National Memorial down the hill).
  • Waterfire ✓ Kind of kitschy, kind of silly, but it’s fun to bring visitors kere.  And I might still decide to be the ultimate cheeseball and spring for a gondola ride .
  • PVD Fest  This is a new one, June 2-5 this year, started last year as the Providence International Arts Festival.  Did anybody go?  What was it like? I’m still really bummed that I missed out on the reign of the now-defunct but apparently awesome Sound Session.  Planning to check it out.
  • AS220 ✓✓✓✓ is a Providence treasure of a restaurant and gallery space that could also be under the Food category.  I’ve satisfied my bucket list there with poetry readings, gallery shows, a meal or two, and even a letterpress printing class. (Watch this cool video of my letterpress teacher showing how it works!)  Unfortunately, I never made it to Foo Fest.  Better Luck Next Time. 
  • Newport Folk Festival.  Pro tip: go while you are a student.  It’s so much cheaper. I’m not really a pro, though.  I never made it, but it’s staying on my bucket list for life.  BLNT.
  • The Dominican Festival is in August.  BLNT.
  • Duckpin Bowling ✓ This was on my list for a long time, and I finally made it to Breaktime Bowl and Bar last week!  Way better that regular bowling, with authentic old-timey flair.
  • Candlepin Bowling I’ve heard about this, but a little bit of research reveals that Candle-pins are the provenance of northern New England, with Massachussets being candle-duck agnostic.  There are some lanes in the Boston area, but I don’t think I’ll make it a priority.  BLNT.
  • Newport Cliff Walk ✓
  • Bristol Fourth of July Parade  Too late for me.  BLNT.
  • Providence Walking Tours (better than the boring one I went on) ☐ Anybody have a favorite?
  • Take a Class at the Steelyard Doubt I’ll get to this one.  But I’m not ruling it out.
  • Theaters and Concert Venues
  • Special Movie Theater Experiences:
  • Indoor and Outdoor Farmer’s Markets ✓ 
  • Purgatory Chasm ✓ (Though it’s technically in Mass.).
  • Go to the beach  ✓ 
  • Swim in a pond ✓ 
  • Swim, specifically, in “Blueberry Pond” ☐ Once I heard about a pond with an island you can swim out to to pick blueberries.  Does anybody know about this?
  • Rhode Island (and Boston) Pride parades ✓ 
  • Campus Dance at Brown ✓ One more to go!
  • Rhode Island Four Corners Road Trip  Thanks Kam for the inspiration!

 

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Bruno recommends Ravenous.

Imbibe

Hell yes, Rhode Island breweries get their own category on my list!  And I’m putting on every. Single. One.  Is it ambitious?  Yes.  But so am I.

  • Foolproof 
  • Bucket ☐ 
  • Crooked Current ☐ Woman-owned brewery right over by Foolproof.  Top of my list to check out.
  • Ravenous ✓ Used to go here all the time when I lived in Woonsocket.  Shoutout to Dorian and Chris and all the other hospitable guys there.  And Bruno likes it too!
  • Whaler’sDying to head down to South County and get my money’s worth on that expired groupon.
  • Proclamation ☐ makes my all-time favorite Rhode Island beers, with lots of yummy IPAs.  Definitely making the trip down before I leave.
  • Grey Sail ✓ Went here for the Ocean State Brew Fest.  I’m counting it.
  • Newport Storm  ☐ 
  • Trinity 
  • Brutopia Revival ✓
  • Tilted Barn  ☐ 
  • Coddington Brewing Co. ☐ 
  • Union Station ✓ is sneakily part of a franchise called John Harvard’s.  But they do brew beer there, so.
  • Long Live Beerworks

And the distilleries, why not!

 

county

Why is Bristol County its own county?

Cities and Towns

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!   I definitely want to visit every town and city in Rhode Island before I move away.  This is the easiest state to make that happen in, after all!  I’m not counting villages or “census designated places,” only proper municipalities with mayors.  Please give me suggestions of what to do in my unchecked towns!  I hear there is a good ice cream place in Little Compton.  Can anyone confirm?

Providence County

Bristol County

Washington County

Newport County

Kent County

Rhode Island Intangibles

Unesco’s World Heritage Sites are mostly places, but also include traditional cultural gems like Mongolia’s coaxing ritual for camels and Portugal’s manufacture of cowbells.  Similarly, the following Rhode Island cultural and culinary experiences are not location-specific, but are definitely treasures worth experiencing and preserving.

  • Pizza Strips  ✓ My favorite are from Tomato City.  Theirs are greasy, crispy, and sweet.
  • Coffee Milk 
  • Wieners, all the way  ✓ (mostly found at New York System)
  • Rhode Island Accent ✓ Have thoroughly enjoyed.  Have not developed my own.
  • Clam Cakes 
  • Stuffies 
  • Del’s Frozen Lemonade 

New England Destinations

Broader Northeast

For a kid from the Pacific Northwest, going to Brown and sticking around Providence for a while kind of needed to provide not just my New England experience, but my whole East Coast experience.  And it has!  But there are a few to-dos that have become didn’t-dos.

  • New York City I did manage this one several times.  Most recently saw Fun Home on Broadway and stocked up on books and counterculture sticker business at Bluestockings.  But another NYC bookstore, the Strand , remains on my bucket list for early July.
  • Cherry Blossoms in D.C.  Technically not the Northeast . . . but I’ve driven there from Provience, which I definitely will NOT be doing from Anchorage.  Caught the tail end of the cherry blossoms one year, but would have liked to see them in full bloom.  BLNT.  (Incidentally, the festival seems to be happening right now.  NPR graciously reminds us all that it is a NO DRONE ZONE!)
  • The Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim & Auction  This is kind of a weird one, I know. And Virginia is definitely not in the North, but again, driving distance.  Like, for a long weekend, you know?  I did kind of think I would see this before I went back West.  I read Misty of Chincoteague as a kid, and even though I don’t remember much of it, the whole notion that Chincoteague is actually a real place, and that I live relatively near there now (by Oregon standards) is just too flipping cool.  It happens at the end of July, though.  Too late for me.  BLNT.

 

So, there it is.  What did I forget?  What did I get wrong?  What do I have to do right this minute?

Late Patrick’s Day in Mystic

With approximately twelve Sundays left in New England, I spend this one in the Nutmeg State with Alex, Boofer, and Miriam cheering on the very earnest Mystic Irish Parade on the Mystic Drawbridge and trying hard to  pretend I didn’t know that St. Patrick’s Day already happened.

In other news, Snow Day tomorrow! Looks like the last one I’ll be getting for a while!

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GQ-Ready

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OMG the ocean is so funny

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Shriners = Alex’s life goals

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Thanks for hosting, Boof!

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SNICKERS!

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WHAT IS WITH THIS DUMMY IN THE BOAT THO

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What really matters on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Major props to the derby girls for making it across this bridge.

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A giant anchor! I can pose on this!

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Irish! (Not actually Irish.)

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Obligatory dock pic.

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You. Shall not. Pass!

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Rebel status.