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Miko sells sex. More precisely, it sells exotic clothing (it's a lot of fun to go shop just before Hallowe'en or Valentine's Day) and accessories, some of which should not be described on this website.
Oddly enough, it now resides only blocks from a Providence elementary school, having begun life as a downtown fixture and then moving to an unused fire station on the East Side. Our local newspaper describes the shop as "combining a fun take on all things sexy with a responsible and even wholesomely education approach." I think you owe it to yourself to see if they're correct -- and Wickenden Street has a lot of other interesting shopping and dining options.
Open M-Sat 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sunday noon to 6:00 PM.
What to buy: This is my favorite place for fishnets.
Updated Jun 12, 2011
Address: 268 Wickenden Street, Providence, RI
Phone: (401) 421-9787
With a motto like that one -- emblazoned on a fine banner across Heir's coat of arms, so to speak -- you just know you're going to love the contents of the store. I fell for it when Heir won the Downtown Merchants' Christmas Window contest, hands down, creating a hearth straight out of a Victorian Christmas. I wanted to climb into the window and play with the train! But that was in Heir's original, tiny space on Eddy Street. It has grown, and now has a much larger emporium on Westminster Street with the rest of the fashionable and funky shops of the Downcity Renaissance.
Officially, Heir carries antique furniture and home accessories, RISD works (art and jewelry), and "odd curiousities". But the owner has such a discerning eye and a flair for putting things together so that you WANT it all.
Because I am in the stage of life when I'm trying hard to pare down my worldly goods, I've limited my purchases to Heir's wildly entertaining cards for all occasions. These often have a classical or old-fashioned "front" and a thoroughly modern message inside, adding to the fun.
Free parking is available in the lot across from Tazza.
Update, 5/2011: Heir disappeared while I was on vacation. The flag is up but there's nobody home. I'll update you if there is a new address, but for the time being I think we'd better assume the worst.
Updated May 27, 2011
Address: 231 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 331-5680
For several years, I wondered who did the magnificent flowers which appeared each Sunday at the Cathedral. Then I became Senior Warden, and I learned that they came from Jephry. I am very fortunate to have been sent a number of their arrangements over the years, so I can personally vouch for the fact that they are creative, tasteful, and gorgeous. One bouquet was so fragrant that I would go out of the room just for the pleasure of returning and getting another hit of the scent!
Monday-Friday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
What to buy: Flowers, of course. But they also carry such lovely extras as Japanese floral shears, imported brass frogs, and K. Hall Moss liquid soap.
What to pay: More expensive than average. Worth it.
Updated Sep 26, 2010
Address: 432 Broadway, Providence, RI
Phone: (401) 351-3510
In a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop, two teenagers from Providence's East Side have embarked on what turns out to be an excellent business: creating delectable, pretty cup cakes and donating the proceeds to hunger charities. So patronize away, Providence visitors and residents alike. It's all for a good cause!
There are the usual flavors, plus lavendar, lemon, red velvet and carrot cake, all beautifully decorated. Incidentally, there are NO NUTS for those who have allergy concerns.
The shop is only open Wednesday-Friday 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
What to pay: Single cupcakes are $2.75. Mini-cupcakes are $1.75.
Updated Sep 18, 2010
Address: 99 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 580-1271
Eno is a really classy addition to Westminster Street's corridor of fun and useful places to spend your money or while away a little time. It's pretty small, but the store designer hasn't wasted a single inch of space; the place is floor-to-ceiling wine (and some nice beers as well). Free wine tastings are held on Fridays from 4:30-6:30 and on Saturday from 3:00-5:00.
There really isn't another place so convenient to downtown (certainly for those without a car, who are staying in any of the downcity hotels) where someone knowledgeable can help you select a good wine.
Open Monday-Saturday 11:00-10:00 and Sunday from noon-5:00. Free parking (for two hours) is available in the lot just across from Tazza.
What to buy: Wine, wine, wine!
Updated Sep 14, 2010
Address: 225 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 521-2000
Rhode Island's biggest used bookshop, Cellar Stories is definitely worth a visit. I found an old "Nancy Drew" mystery to start my grand-daughter off on the right foot.
Their website says it best: "Cellar Stories has been buying and selling all types of books for over twenty-eight years. We're the largest used and rare bookstore in the smallest state in the US. While we specialize in Rhode Island History, New England History, Art & Architecture, Modern First Editions, Poetry, and Mathematics, we have a stock of approximately 60,000 volumes covering all categories from vintage paperbacks, pulps and collectible ephemera to antiquarian volumes on many subjects. "
What to pay: The well-preserved Carolyn Keene from 1935 set me back $35.00.
Written Sep 13, 2010
Address: 111 Mathewson Street, Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 521-2665
Craftland is just what it advertises: a place devoid of mass production. They claim to specialize in "sparkly hand-made objects" including jewelry, T-shirts (my favorite is the one with the huge outline of Texas, encompassing a tiny outline of Rhode Island, with the legend, "Don't mess with Rhode Island, either!"), prints, journals and home accessories -- and in season, wild holiday greeting cards -- all created by talented folks, most of whom are local. I believe they also offer classes but since I haven't taken any of them, I'm not even sure in what.
Open Monday - Saturday 11am - 6pm, Sunday 12pm - 5pm. Free parking.
What to buy: I'm still chuckling over the tote bag, silk-screened with "Rhode Island: 3% bigger at low tide" but I've found many gifts for house-warmings, birthdays, and holidays here.
What to pay: The cards are a little more expensive than average, which you'd anticipate for hand-made goods. Otherwise, I'd say prices are standard.
Written Sep 13, 2010
Address: 235 Westminster Street, Providence
Phone: (401) 272-4285
More than twenty years ago, Gibb Brownlie and Michael Lamar were new RISD graduates interested in finely crafted lighting. Now, they and their staff combine "handcast elements in ceramics, resin, and metal to create precise and artiful lamp stems. All of the shades are then meticulously painted by hand with rich detail" and trust me, they aren't kidding! Very unusual patterns -- sand dollars, spring buds, blossoms and wild grain -- are on display in the Altamira Lighting showroom in Warren, which is only a twenty minute drive from downtown Providence.
Showroom open Tuesday-Saturday 11 AM-4 PM. Summer hours, Tuesday-Friday 11-4, but between August 15-September 5, the showroom is open "by chance or appointment only".
What to buy: Unique artisanal floor and table lamps.
What to pay: These are hand-crafted items. Expect to pay $200-$600 per lamp.
Written Feb 11, 2010
Address: 79 Joyce Street, Warren, RI 02885
Phone: (401) 245-7676
Here you will find Nordstrom's, J.Jill, Gap, Borders Books, Cheesecake Factory, Renovators Supply, Pottery Barn, jewelers, nail salons, gigantic movie theater, food court, game room, shoe stores, and the list goes on.
Be sure to go to the 2nd floor for the views out of the wall of glass. You can see the Waterfires from there...and the train & river running under the mall. . . 18th century architecture on the far hillside of the East Side.
Updated Oct 24, 2008
It's an Italian market on Federal Hill, but well worth visiting. You might find a pottery gift or some exquisite olive oil in a wonderful bottle to give as a gift to your favorite cook. You should pick up something for a snack later....or to make some sandwiches with great cold cuts and cheese. The story goes that they used to butcher their chickens out in the back of the store. Lots of stories like that around Federal HIll. Probably all true.
Just down the street is Venda Ravioli (details in another tip) and a wonderful little plaza with a restored fountain. It's called DePasquale Plaza. It's a busy spot in the warmer weather when the restaurants have tables outside.
What to buy: cheese, oils, breads, cold cuts....marvelous southern Italian food
Updated Oct 23, 2008
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