Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pre-Cruise Day 2 in Providence

Thursday, September 18, 2008: Pre-Cruise Day 2 in Downtown Providence

It’s become a routine: Route 20 Bus to Kennedy Plaza; walk to attractions. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous, not too hot and humid, much like we typically enjoy in southern California.

Our principal attraction today was the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art (RISD). Even though we planned to see the opening of the new Chace Center with the Dale Chihuly glass installation after the cruise, we knew it would be crowded then (it was!), so we decided to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the multi-level exhibit halls today. For its relatively small size, its collection is truly impressive. Do peruse their Web site; it’s obvious that their Web master put in a considerable effort in constructing the Web page for depth of information and ease of navigation.

It was lunchtime, so we decided to stick with a winner, Andrea’s Greek Restaurant, just up the hill past Brown University. After another delicious round of gyros, we walked through more historic neighborhoods of College Hill to the 1865 Governor Henry Lippitt House. This magnificent Victorian mansion is an example of the Renaissance Revival style. It was a spur of the moment decision to visit here, so we had not researched opening times. Unfortunately, it was closed today (its visiting hours are limited to Fridays and advance appointments). However, we were free to wander about the grounds and glimpse inside the mansion.

We had read about the Wickenden shopping district in the Providence Journal newspaper, so we decided to walk along Hope Street toward Providence Harbor. We strolled among the Bohemian shops and boutiques along Wickenden Street. We stopped in at Friends Market, 126 Brook Street, a small European-style grocery and dry goods store specializing in Portuguese products. It was fun chatting with the Portuguese immigrant owner and his son. Some of the items looked as if they dated from the middle of the last century!

We came to Benefit Street and turned north through College Hill, to see a couple of sights before heading back to Kennedy Plaza. First was The Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street. This stately building houses an independent subscription library, founded in 1753. The librarian gave us a little guide to some of the rare items on display.
Our final stop was the First Baptist Church in America, 75 N. Main Street. This church was undergoing renovation, but we still were able to see the interior. The 1792 Waterford crystal chandelier in the sanctuary was an outstanding artifact that has been preserved to this day.

This turned out to be another outstanding day of sightseeing in Providence.

Friday, September 19, 2008, we ventured into the countryside using the RIPTA bus system. See the following link for our posting about Bristol.

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