On a sultry summer day, there is nothing quite like the ride on the Looff Carousel at Crescent Park, East Providence. First of all, it is FAST -- you are going at such a clip that, even when you're leaning off your plunging horse, it isn't always easy to grasp the brass rings and pitch them into the gaping mouth of a painted clown who is the recipient of everything but the cherished golds (they merit a free ride). It has that marvelous calliope music (theoretically played on the extravagant organ situated on the side of the central mechanism), and with sixty-two horses and four chariots, there is almost never a long wait to ride. The gentlemen who operate the carousel always use their bell to kind of play along with the calliope, as well as alerting you to the impending end of the ride. But let me tell you, after a couple of dizzy trips, you'll be cooler and happier and much more childlike than you were only moments before. For seventy-five cents, I can't think of a better deal!
In the summer of 2009, Blount (a famous seafood purveyor and boat-maker) opened a new version of the Clam Shack right next to the Carousel. This is definitely worth a visit. I had to gulp at paying $20 for a lobster roll but trust me, it was LOADED with lobster meat and absolutely delicious.
This is a favorite family spot. When my boys were young, we "adopted" the eagle on top of the carousel -- meaning that we paid for the restoration, but the boys always thought it meant it was OURS and every visit required us to crane our necks to see the proud bird presiding over all the fun.
1000 Warren Avenue, East Providence, Rhode Island, 02914, United States
Good for: Couples
Horton's will never win a prize for ambiance, but it definitely has the best fried clams in Rhode Island -- not to mention excellent chowders, lobster rolls, fish & chips. The line is out the door on Fridays. It is literally ten minutes from downtown Providence, but across a bridge, which means many of the "locals" won't bother (there being both a bridge phobia and a sense that anything not in walking distance isn't a good bet). But if you're from somewhere else, what's ten minutes? Unless it is summer and you're enjoying the clams on Aquidneck Island or at at Quito's in Bristol, this is the place. Give yourself a treat.
Favorite Dish: Make mine the broiled scallops...mmmm.