You will see wonderful tudor style business buildings...as well as grand Greek Revival mansions, old brick churches ( one with a carillon) and some terrific little shops and eateries. Spend time walking. You could drive through so fast that you miss it. Nothing could be better than a sunny day wandering up and down all the streets and absorbing that special air around Bristol.
When you walk down the cross streets from Main Street, you head right down toward the Bay. There is a public boat ramp at the bottom of the little hill...and all the quohaugers keep their boats there. This street happens to have the best little shop for pet accoutraments. Want a leapord collar for the dog? Following the pet shop is a terrific little English Tea Room owned by a British lady who makes the best scones.... and has some antiques for sale in the shop as well.
There is a little shop that has marvelous linens, mirrors, soaps and pottery from Italy, France and England. Perhaps elsewhere too. Everything is beautifully displayed and it's very hard to leave the shop without bringing something with you, even if it is only a beautifully wrapped bar of lavender soap.
Sorry I don't remember the name of the shop, but you could find it just up the street from the wharf....where the quogaugers' boats are tied up.
Roger Williams University, located on the bay in Bristol, was planning a music festival at their Performing Arts Center. They would be in conflict with the Super Bowl Sunday when so many people attend parties to watch the game. Undaunted by that competition, Marilynn Mair, Music Professor at the University, decided to launch a major advertising campaign to fill the arts center and lure concert goers away from the ball game. Her efforts included billing the workshops and performances as the MANDOLIN WORLD SUMMIT. It worked. The performance ctr. was packed to overflowing with a very appreciative audience. Paulo Sa visited the Roger Williams University campus for the Mandolin World Summit on Feb. 5, 2006. His performance was masterful. I have not seen anything to equal his speed and dexterity with the mandolin. The mandolin is such a beautiful instrument in sight as well as sound. I always enjoy hearing our local mandolin orchestra, but hearing Paulo was an exceptional treat. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he has devoted himself to mandolin performance and research, specializing in "Choro", one of the earliest Brazilian music styles. He's worked with many important names in Brazilian music, including Hermeto Pascoal, Paulo Moura, Carlos Malta, Rildo Hora, and Wagner Tisa. He's toured Europe and North and South America, and his recording have been released in Europe and the United States. Paulo has a Doctorate from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Uni-Rio), and teaches at the Villa-Lobos School of Music and the Brazilian Conservatory of Music.
I cannot say BRAVO loudly enough!
Any time you have an opportunity to go to an Historic House Tour...do it. I've never been to one yet that I didn't really enjoy. Everyone loves looking at other peoples' houses...and on the tour, there are always wonderful decorating ideas as well as interesting architectural details. I have always found the tour goers as well as the guides and owners of the homes to be pleasant and friendly people...so it's something you could do by yourself and not feel lonesome cause everybody will talk to you along the way. In Bristol about a week ago I went with friends to the Linden Place Holiday House Tour which they do annually as a fundraiser. Linden Place is enough of a treat in itself, but some of the other houses were just as fascinating whether large or small. The variety is a good thing, I think. You get to see how everyone lives...whether in a small cottage or a massive mansion. Hope you will have an opportunity to do a tour in Bristol one day ... or take advantage of a tour in another town.
(My village of Pawtuxet is planning its first historic house tour in September of 2007!)
Mount Hope Farm is the quintesential saltwater farm with over 200 acres of open fields, meadows, pastures, woodlands, ponds, streams and a medley of historic buildings. The Farm, which dates to the 1680's offers the visitor an array of breathtaking scenes. Country walkways and trails wind around the property to Cove Cabin, an Adirondack style log cabin that overlooks Mount Hope and Narragansett Bays.
We visited during the historic house tour at Christmas time when the house was beautifully decorated and a pianist entertained in the parlor. Tea was served in the barn, which is used for wedding receptions and other special events.
The old house itself is available as a Bed & Breakfast...apppointed with period furniture...a joy.
Roger Williams University is located on Narragansett Bay at the edge of Bristol, and just before going over the Mt. Hope Bridge into Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Our state is a series of peninsulas, islands, bridges and inlets. Our motto is "The Ocean State". The Performance Center has an interesting story of its own. It is a c.1890's barn moved from western Rhode Island by the architectural preservation division of the university with the assistance of my dear friend, preservation architect, Lombard John Pozzi. The barn is outfitted with rustic performance space and moveable seating so the space can be altered to suit the occasion. There is a balcony where I have been invited to explore and watch a performance on another visit. The lower level is designed as rehearsal space for students and performers, with offices, reception hall, and other necessities fitting nicely into the old 10,000 square foot barn ... now busy with it's second life and useage. It's a wonderful addition to the very contemporary looking campus. Performances are very intimate and informal in this wonderful space. They schedule a variety of performing arts throughout the school year. All are free and open to the general public. Such a delight!
Radim Zenkl was born in Czechslovakia and discovered Blue Grass music in college. He defected to the United States in 1989. He joked that without knowing our geography and customs, he landed in San Francisco. (not exactly the lap or Blue Grass music). He said he found a lot of "grass", but it "ain't blue!!". The crowd loved his wit. Since his arrival, he has achieved phenomenal success in his adopted countrym winning the U.S,. National Mandolin Championship, and performing and recording with David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Bela Fleck, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dan Hicks, and others. Radim has released five solo CDs and was recently featured on David Grisman's "Tone Poets" CD. Radim is known for inventing new styles of playing in his quest to expand the mandolin's sonic possibilities.
He played an unusual "tin whistle" from his homelands, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Seems like he could pick up anything and make beautiful music. My friends who are bluegrass enthusiasts loved his playful solo combining the bluegrass sound into traditional mandolin sounds.
So glad to have him with us.
AMERICA'S CUP HALL OF FAME ..... THE HERRESHOFF MARINE MUSEUM is along the waterfront just at the outer limits of the business district. Housed in the building where so many wonderful craft were designed and built. There is a "Model Room", a "Hall of Boats", and the America's Cup Hall of Fame. The nation's finest collection of yachts, all Herreshoff and many more than 100 years old.
You will find a Museum gift shop with a selection of nautical gifts and clothing.
The Museum is a 25 minute drive from Providence, Newport or Fall River. Docking space is available at the Museum's pier. Reservations are advised through the Herreshoff Dock Master (VHF Channel 68).