This event started the day after July 4th holiday and kicked off with a Cape Verde Island parade. There are different venues across the city that participates in the festival. Some places are in clubs and you will have to pay but some are on outdoor stages that are free. On the final night there is a carnival parade and block party that does not end until 5am the next day. There are different types of music.
The literature tell us that Blithewold, a 45-room Bayside mansion built in the early 1900's in the style of a 17th-century English manor house, is decorated and furnished to give visitors a notion of the gracious summer lifestyle of a bygone era. But the true treasures aren't the beautiful tea sets and period furnishings -- they are the specimen trees, shrubs, and flower gardens which fill the surrounding 35 acres. The Great Lawn alone is ten acres, stretching from the marble terraces to Narragansett Bay. Roughly a mile of paths wind through the various formal planting areas, the "bosquet" with its fountains, the water garden, the rose garden, the bamboo grove, and the Enclosed Garden.
In each season of the year, Blithewold has something special to offer the visitor (especially the visitor interested in the more than 500 species of woody plants and hundreds of perennials and annuals). However, for true spectacle, it's hard to beat Daffodil Days, when literally thousands of daffodils bloom in profusion. The photos below were taken on an overcast day...just imagine them in bright sunlight!
Mansion and Gardens open mid-April through mid-October, Wed-Sun 10:00 to 4:00, and most Monday holidays. Grounds and Gardens open daily 10:00 to 5:00. A unique cell phone "tour" allows the visitor to get additional information of various garden elements.
Admission $10; seniors and students $8, under 17 and Blithewold members, free
This house is extraordinary. The LIppitts have a long history in the state and the Governor's mansion is now a house museum which is open to the public for tours. The wood work and craftsmanship in this house is drop dead gorgeous. East Lake carved walnut in original furniture pieces....parquet floors, original woodwork in fireplace mantles... you just shouldn't miss it. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Let me quote from them..
"The Governor Henry Lippitt House is the finest nineteenth-century house open to the public in Providence and was termed by the New York Times to be "one of the most complete, authentic and intact Victorian houses in the country". Located on the corner of Hope and Angell Streets on Providence's historic East Side, this Renaissance Revival mansion was built during the Civil War and completed in 1865.
The house is a blend of traditional architectural forms and has an interior decorative scheme that is quintessentially high-style Victorian. Interior craftsmanship includes richly carved woodwork, colorful stenciling, faux marble painted walls, and dazzling stained glass windows. Not only is the house worthy of accolades for its impressive architecture and period decoration, it is also a living history museum to a Rhode Island family whose members over the years have included State governors, US Senators, and a myriad of distinguished public servants and businessmen."
Although not open to the public, many other wonderful examples abound throughout the East Side. The beige house pictured was designed by Stone, Carpenter & Willson, Architects in the Wayland Historic District...it dates to 1895. The leaded glass, staircase, inlaid floors and original cherry butler's pantry are just a few of the original features still in tact.
Providence College offers a music series that includes lots of great free entertainment. Recently a friend insisted I go to hear the music of the Bohemian Quartet because they play Polish music. Of course I couldn't resist. They were fabulous....and the entire audience agreed as they gave them a standing ovation and insisted on an encore.
The group consists of a four-piece string band composed of a violin, cello, guitar and an upright bass. The quartet was founded by the violinist, Stan Renard, who is a master. Their repertoire revolves around traditional "gypsy" or "Romany" music as well as traditional Eastern European folk music.
Stan, the violinist and leader of the group is Polish and French, having grown up in Eastern Europe and listening to this music all his life. He has assembled a very talented group here, which is balanced nicely by the amusing narrator who tells various silly folk tales in between the musical pieces. All a delight!
Yes, we are very proud of WATERFIRES and you're going to hear a lot about it if you come to Providence. Between that and the fact that so many movies are being made around Providence nowadays....you get to listen to a lot of crowing. When we aren't bragging about these things, we are discussing all the great restaurants around town. Every nationality is represented and there is another great restaurant on almost every corner. More on that later.
I've borrowed the pics from the Waterfires web site. Google "Waterfires.com" and learn more.
The Casino is not for gambling...but rather a victorian style dance hall used for weddings and large celebrations. The ballroom is on the 2nd floor...with a beautifully painted ceiling with cherubs,flowers,and such..all done in soft pastels . Porches surround the entire building...bar and fireplace on the 1st floor. Ideal for weddings...used often for photographs. Many Rhode Islanders speak of meeting their spouse at the dances in the Casino. It's a well loved tradition. Restoration of the entire building was done in the 80's, and the ballroom has been described as "A CONFECTION" !!
The original Bandstand was built at the beginning of the 1900's. The acoustics are wonderful. It was used for all the big band sounds as well as all sorts of other music. Eventually it deteriorated and was rebuilt in the 1980's. A friend of mine was the architect, Lombard Pozzi, and his genius was to build these columns out of fiberglass so they wouldn't rot again. You'd never know it to look at them, but what a terrific idea in a public park that is always under seige and fighting budget problems.
I'm so glad to see it still standing...and standing proudly!
Not far from the Casino and the Zoo is the little red cottage known as the Betsy Williams Cottage. Betsy Williams granted a large parcel of land to the City of Providence for the expansion of Roger Williams Park. Her cottage (c.1773)was restored and is a little historic treasure. Betsy was a descendant of Roger Williams, (founder of R.I.) who was deeded the land by the Narragansett sachems Miantonomi and Canonicus. Yes, that's correct. He did not steal the land from the indians. Our founder was the native's friend.
The Museum of Natural HIstory stands on a hill overlooking the lakes of the park. It houses a planatarium as well as an extensive collection of birds, shells, indian artifacts, rocks, etc. The building is a handsome yellow brick structure...open daily.
Three rivers converge in the city of Providence. I won't give you the names because they are Indian names with lots of vowels and "q's" which non of us ever remember. Much of the rivers were covered by roadways for many years until a renassaince in the city took place. A genius designer determined that you could move the train station, train tracks, uncover the rivers and move them a little....and then create a wonderful linear park right through the middle of the city. He managed to finally link the state house to the business district and beautify an area of the city that had deteriorated so much that people were afraid to walk through it. Now it is beautiful and we're very proud. Walk the full length of it...go up into the mall and look down into it...the river runs under the building along with the trains! BTW...train service can connect you to Boston, NY, DC, and beyond.
Lighthouse fans -- here's your big chance! In the summer of 2008, a new catamaran tour has begun, taking 400 lucky folks several times a day (Memorial Day through Columbus Day) on a ninety-minute tour of the various lighthouses and islands which dot Narragansett Bay. During the tour, narrated by a funny fellow named Arethur Strauss, you'll see the old lighthouses at Poplar Point, Plum Beach, Dutch Island, Whale Rock, Beavertail, Castle Hill, Lime Rock, Goat Island, Rose Island, and Conanicut Island, plus you get a very different perspective on the Jamestown and Newport Bridges, a chance to see some of Newport's stunning mansions from the water, and a swing past the Bay's many islands (some of which deserve a second visit all on their own). It's generally pleasant and cool on the water, but the big cat is also air conditioned and includes a snack bar.
Tickets are $25 per adults, $22 for seniors +60, $14 for children 2-12. Parking is free. Reservations are recommended.
During the course of the summer, DePasquale Square -- located just off Atwells Avenue in the heart of Federal Hill, Providence's Italian section -- often features selections from opera (as well as big band and other music) performed just adjacent to the fountains. Several restaurants located on the Square have sidewalk tables available for music-lovers. If you order a Prosecco and an antipasto and close your eyes, you'd believe you're in Italy! A lovely evening out. Free, other than the cost of food. In the summer of 2008, most of the performances were moved to St. Ann's Park, at Charles and Branch Avenues. It isn't quite as romantic a setting (a number of arias were interrupted at one concert when a phalanx of fire trucks drove past), but it is still a lovely way to pass a pleasant summer evening.
At the heart of Providence, you will find Burnside Park -- girdled by the business center on one side, City Hall and the Biltmore Hotel on another, the former train station on the third, and the Federal court house and post office on the fourth. During the winter months, people will be skating at the Bank of America Rink. During the warmer months, however, the action moves to the middle and further end of the park, where a Farmer's Market is held on Fridays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM (don't miss Cutie-Pies, a booth with a wonderful assortment of tasty homebaked goods) and where arts programming keeps the place bustling during many noon hours and on weekends. For example, Jump! (a local youth dance company) has been performing during the summer of 2008, using both the steps of City Hall and the magnificent Bagnotti Fountain as their stages. Buskers set up in various corners of the park, and thanks to the combined generosity of RIPTA and the Downtown Improvement District, there are now very comfortable bistro tables and chairs which can be repositioned so you can dine al fresco while watching a performance. Stop by and while away a pleasant hour.
Waterplace Park, with its adjoining cobblestone and brick river walks, is the jewel in the crown of refurbished downtown Providence. This 4-acre park is just a short walk to major hotels and restaurants, the train station and right across the street from the Providence Place Mall. It boasts a spouting fountain, located in the middle of a one-acre pond where everything from concerts, rallies and waterfire events are held. Accessible by boat or car, gondola or on foot this is a place to see if you are sightseeing in Providence.
Brown was founded in 1764, is member of the Ivy League and is renowned for the quality of its teaching, research, and unique curriculum. The Brown "New Curriculum," instituted in 1969, eliminates distribution requirements and mandatory A/B/C grades (allowing any course to be taken on a "satisfactory/no credit" basis). Moreover, there are no pluses (+), minuses (-), or grades of D in the grading system.
Brown is the largest institutional landowner in Providence,with properties in the East Side and the Jewelry District. Unlike some other schools, there are also no clear physical landmarks to determine where Brown's campus begins or ends. Brown's main campus is located atop College Hill, in the East Side, across the Providence River from downtown Providence. This is the original site where the University was founded in the 1700s. The main campus consists of 235 buildings and covers 143 acres.
Since 2001, Brown's current and 18th president has been Ruth J. Simmons, the first African American president and second female president of an Ivy League institution, as well as the first permanent female president of Brown.
We toured the Rhode Island State Capital building designed by the New York firm of McKim, Mead & White. The State House is sculpted from white Georgia marble and sits atop Smith Hill in downtown Providence. Construction took nine years to complete, beginning in 1895 and finishing in 1904.
Fun filled, action packed summertime fun! Watch us practice Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights or come to one of our bouts, generally 2nd to last Friday each month April - September. For more information go to www.providencerollerderby.com.
Although there's no reason why a visitor couldn't do this, I wrote this tip for my fellow Rhode Islanders -- some of whom still consider that a trip from Providence County to Washington County requires an overnight stay! Every year, a consortium of tourism groups puts together a tour of the state on the first Saturday in May. "Tour Rhode Island: There's No Place Like Home" is so popular that it generally sells out weeks in advance. However, last minute bookers may be able to snag a seat. All tours begin at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick. The cost for the full day is $30 for adults, $20 for children twelve and younger, and includes a bus tour of scenic attractions as well as lunch. If you've missed it for 2007, put a sticky note on your calendar to make reservations in 2008!