Sunday, July 09, 2017

A proper checklist of Rhode Island experiences for new arrivals

So for Monica and Kevin, these are things it will behoove you to see, do, visit, eat, etc. while you live in Rhode Island. There's a lot in Providence, naturally, but there's far more Rhode Island outside of Providence. Here's 20 things I came up with:

  1. Go to the beach. And try to go to a town beach instead of a state beach. Yeah, you'll have to get up early, and pay more to park than you would at a state beach. Trust me, it's worth it. I personally recommend Blue Shutters beach in Charlestown, South Shore beach in Little Compton or ...
  2. Go to Block Island. You would be astounded at how many lifelong Rhode Islanders have never gone to Block Island. Try to go during a weekday, and again, getting early is a good bet for the best time and beating the crowds.
  3. Have a Del's frozen lemonade. Look for the sign of the lemon! ... or at any the hundreds of mobile carts, trucks, or actual store locations (which are all seasonal - get it while it's hot out). Del's was almost the state drink but lost out to ...
  4. ... coffee milk. I like Autocrat's coffee syrup, but any of them will do, and almost every real food market in RI will have it in stock 24x7. You can also buy a single in most convenience stores here, and most diners have it on the menu as well. So good, even vegans should be drinking it.
  5. Hike around the lake at Lincoln Woods. It's 2.5 miles from start to finish, and goes through some very attractive woods and lakeside beachfront.
  6. America's most prestigious and expensive art school has a pretty good museum.
  7. The Ivy League's safety school for kids who can't get into Yale or Harvard has a pretty good museum too.
  8. Get out to the east bay  - not just Newport, but Bristol, Tiverton and Little Compton especially.
  9. While in Little Compton, see the monument to the chicken that made Rhode Island famous.
  10. Hike out to the lighthouse at Beavertail state park in Jamestown - spectacular ocean views await that will remind you guys of home.
  11. Drive through the heart of the Narragansett Indian reservation on route 2.
  12. Overlook Providence with Roger Williams
  13. Go to "the Woon" to see the Museum of Work and Culture. While it can feel like you're being bludgeoned with Marxist economics at times, it's genuinely interesting enough to explore the history of the massive immigration of Quebeckers to New England.
  14. Pick apples in Scituate come fall. I like Barden's orchard, but really, there are dozens of places to go get 'em. And enjoy a cider donut (or six) while you're out getting your fruit on.
  15. See if you can get a selfie with Mr. Potato Head
  16. Visit the tallest tree in the state!
  17. Go see the July 4th fireworks at India Point Park in Providence ... next year, of course.
  18. Go celebrate Columbus Day on Atwells Ave, as a nostalgia trip of what Federal Hill was like when it was still a real Little Italy (that is, before all the Italians moved to Johnston and Cranston). Do not boycott this for PC reasons! You will thank me later.
  19. Stuff your faces in Providence. My recommendations are ...
    1. For Mexican, El Rancho Grande in Silver Lake
    2. For pizza, Caserta's (thick and greasy) or Timmy's grilled pizza (which is a thing, native to RI)
    3. For cheap Chinese (and I mean cheap, but still good!): Gourmet House on Hope St.
    4. For Middle Eastern, East Side Pockets on Thayer Street, or Oasis in the Armory district(ish)
    5. For Japanese, Ebisu in Reservoir. It's almost in Cranston, but it's not, so there!
    6. For breakfast or brunch ... c'mon, we know the answer to that. Not just the best in Providence, or Rhode Island, but all New England.
    7. For stuff you won't eat, but should if you ever wake up one day and want to eat meat, the best friend a carnivore can have, Los Andes on Chalkstone Avenue
    8. Seems like you already discovered pizza strips ...
  20. Go outside of Providence and stuff your face!
    1. For ice cream, Gray's in Tiverton. It's pretty much the best ever. If the Eskimo King were just an inch over the Swansea/Warren line, they would get a nod, but they're in Massachusetts, not Rhode Island, so ...
    2. For a sprawling menu in a place that looks like a wood paneled playroom nightmare from the 1970's, but doesn't suck ... Jack's Family Restaurant in Warren.
    3. The best frigging donuts ever. No, not that stupid hipster place in Providence. Allie's Donuts in North Kingstown is the place to be. I've frequently made the long trip (well, by RI standards) because of a donut jones that only this place can scratch.
    4. Pick up a case of Yacht Club soda at their factory store in North Providence. It's crack in a bottle.
    5. For pizza and Italian, go see my homies Frank and John from Italy in East Greenwich.

Back from the dead

I haven't updated my old blog in nearly ten years? Man, what is wrong with me?

Well, you know. Stuff happened. New jobs. Breakups. But I haven't left Rhode Island! On the contrary, I put a "ring on it" and bought a house in fabulous Scituate which, in 15 years, will belong to me! And not the bank.

So why am I updating now? Because my sister and her boyfriend are new residents, and coming as they did from Essex County, MA, they are unaware of the many cultural and natural treasures awaiting them here in the Ocean State. So I was going to post a list on Facebook, and said, "hey, wait, Facebook is an absolutely terrible platform for posting lists, and Twitter is even worse. Therefore, I will simply go back to my comatose blog, and use the actual list format feature to create a readable list, and just share the link with them on Facebook.

I know, right? Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards. If my Statcounter statistics are correct, I get more 'bot traffic than human eyes, but if anyone still reads this or gets updates, I may be tempted for more real updates.

We will see.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer in Rhode Island

Has it really been a month? More than a month? If I've been remiss in updating The Rhode Islander, it's because it's summer. And what better place to spend those hot summer months than in the Ocean State? Summer in Rhode Island means heading to the shore for some sun and surf. Why go all the way to Cape Cod when the Biggest Little State in the Union has miles and miles of the finest beaches in New England?

If you're thinking of visiting, be sure to check out the Providence Journal's Summer Guide for a list of beaches in the Ocean State, including the all important table of parking fees. Hey, sometimes you have to pay for the good things in life, but I assure you - it's worth it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My street was on fire - again.

Urban living is full of challenges people out in the sticks and suburbs don't have to deal with. On Federal Hill, I have to put up with all of them. I generally do so with good humor. Rats? I can ignore them. Crime? Hasn't affected me. But today was the second triple decker fire on my street in a year (here was the first). If this keeps up, I'm definitely moving to Warwick.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Armed junkie on the prowl in North Providence

A man armed with a gun robbed a Brooks Pharmacy on Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence on Saturday morning. Did he take the cash? Nope. He took the OxyContin, of course. For quite a while, opiate addicts have been turning to the legal painkiller OxyContin to get their fix. Rhode Island pharmacies have been held up before, but this robbery has a twist. Apparently, the hold up man attempted a bank robbery in Cranston the day before.

Sounds like a job for The Man to me.

New photos: Warwick

I admit - I haven't been updating The Rhode Islander as often as I have been Dictators of the World. However! This weekend brings new, yes new!, photos of the lovely Ocean State. This time, I've got the goods on Oakland Beach in Rhode Island's second largest city: lovely, crime-free Warwick.

Satisfy your curiosity by seeing the entire photo set over at Flickr.

Monday, June 04, 2007

New photos: Cranston

Well, let me clear this up. I haven't exactly gone on a picture taking safari around the lovely city of Cranston itself so much as I took a whole bunch of pictures of an older lady's Buick going up in flames at a strip mall on Route 5.

Still! The photos are dramatic ... well, maybe "dramatic" is too strong a word, but I've got the photoset right here on Flickr for your enjoyment.