Rhode Island. The only knowledge I had about Rhode Island prior to visiting is, well, actually nothing. I only knew about the state because of Miss Rhode Island in the Miss Congeniality movie (can you believe it’s been 17 years since the release of the movie?)
Visiting a place without much prior research can be a gamble, but it can also pay off in a big way. Not having expectations means there is nothing to disappoint you! And disappoint it did not.
Lodging in Providence in pricey. My usual goal for lodging is typically $100/night give or take. Even though we were staying Sunday night, the prices for decent hotels were $150+, but I found this cool airbnb room in a historic Victorian house for just under that price.
Our host was out in California for an airbnb conference and wasn’t coming back until later that night, so we had the whole house to ourselves. But what’s the fun of staying indoors (even when it’s below freezing outside)? So we went to explore. It was dusk, around 4 pm, and although a bit gloomy, the town looked really cool!
Somehow we ended up on the Hope Street, 7-minute drive from the Rhode Island State House in the picture above. It was a fun street with lots of little shops and restaurants. We needed to warm up, but didn’t want to sit down for a full dinner (I just realized that when we travel, food for us is often simply fuel, not the main attraction), so we opted to get some baked goods and chai latte at the Seven Stars Bakery. We also bought some bread-to-go thinking we would feed some birds later on, but ended up eating the whole bread, toasted with butter, by ourselves later that evening at the house.
It was only around 6pm, although it seemed like it was much later, but it was too early to go home. One thing that we did not know before visiting, and were pleasantly surprised to find out, is that Brown University is located in Providence! And with Brown, our Ivy League adventure continued. It was a bit too dark (too cold, really) to photograph, but we just walked around the campus.
The following morning (Monday), we were awakened by the sounds of cars and bikes outside. Turns out, although seemingly quiet on the weekend, the house was located on a busy street, which led to Brown and everyone was rushing to school/work even during the Thanksgiving week.
Finding parking on campus also proved a bit of a challenge, so we parked in the Northern end of campus and walked around. Parking (even paid) is typically limited to about 2 hrs, so make sure you’re back to reclaim or re-park your vehicle before a tow truck does it for you.
This University has awesome vibes. It has a very different atmosphere from Yale. Everything about Yale seemed more business focused for us; it’s like Wall Street is in the DNA of yalies. In contrast, Brown was more airy, more scholastic, and perhaps artistic. Turns out Brown didn’t even have an MBA program until 2014.
Even their book store had energy that made us want to sit down and study.
Albeit short, I really enjoyed our visit to Providence. It had a similar feel to Hartford: not too big, not too small, historic, small streets, no crazy traffic, beautiful nature…
Have you ever been? What was your favorite thing to do there?