Showing posts from February, 2010

Milestones ~ 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Speech in Providence

Federal Courthouse now stands where the Railroad Hall once was.

150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln, fresh from his speech at the Cooper Institute, spoke in Providence at the Railroad Hall (a second-floor auditorium in the Union Passenger Depot). Lincoln spoke for 2-1/2 hours, in what was probably a recap of his Cooper Union speech. There's no record of his speech, though it was reviewed in the local papers at the time.

This and more information on Lincoln's connections to Rhode Island are available at the site, a site dedicated to celebrating the anniversary of Mr. Lincoln's birth.

When I heard about the anniversary of Lincoln's speech, I took a disinterested Bear downtown to check out the commemorative plaque on the side of the Federal Courthouse. She didn't believe me when I assured her that she'd remember and appreciate these adventures when she was dragging her own reluctant teen to stare at a plaque on an obscure historical annivers…

Dining ~ Jigger's Diner, East Greenwich

145 Main St.
East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Bear and I decided to try Jigger's Diner today. I've read about them in several Rhode Island books and wanted to check them out. Since all the sources talked about their johnnycakes, that's what I ordered.

Bear is less adventurous and knows what she likes. She got a Monte Cristo, which she really liked. Our waitress also told us it was her own menu favorite.

But on to the johnnycakes... I haven't had them before, so I don't have a comparison. They look a lot like latkes, a smallish pancake based on potatoes, but these are made of white cornmeal. I liked them, although they probably would have been better with a side dish, perhaps applesauce or some sausage. Just a touch of syrup also helps add some flavor. I can't say whether Jigger's makes especially good johnnycake or not (compared to others), but I thought they were pretty good. Next time, I want to try the gingerbread cranberry pancakes.

The buildin…

Rhody Bloggers ~ Savor the Thyme

Savor the Thyme

Jen is a Rhode Island food, lifestyle and family blogger who encourages healthy eating. I had the good fortune and pleasure to meet her at the Night in Newport Tweet-Up, and I wish we'd had more time to talk. She's very knowledgeable about food, parenting and blogging, very positive and energetic.

She's participating in the National Food Blogger's Bake Sale to benefit Share Our Strength, and hosts giveaways (currently for beef - yum!). Very busy lady!

Pop over to her blog and/or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You'll learn a lot!

Dining ~ Red Ginger ~ Johnston

Red Ginger
560 Killingly St.
Johnston, Rhode Island

image: Red Ginger
Lazy day today, even too lazy to cook, so Bear and I decided to try Red Ginger Chinese Restaurant takeout.

We ordered the PuPu platter for two and went in to pick it up. The inside is nice, clean, intimate. It wasn't overcrowded at 7 on a Saturday night, but there was a line of three or four waiting for takeout. Our food was waiting for us and I added bubble tea to our order.

The coconut bubble tea was amazing. Fresh and creamy, slightly sweet but not thick or cloying. Bear and I both loved it.

The PuPu platter had a good variety for a reasonable price: Egg Rolls, Chicken Fingers, Crab Rangoons, Beef Teriyaki, Boneless Spareribs, Chicken Wings and Fried Shrimp. The egg rolls, beef teriyaki and spare ribs are all really good. The spare ribs are awesome. Bear loves the rangoons, although I'm not a fan. They're heavy on onion and the center isn't very creamy. The fried food is decent, much like you would…

Accomodations ~ Hotel Viking, Newport

Hotel Viking
1 Bellevue Ave.
Newport, Rhode Island

I arrived nearly half an hour before the Night in Newport Tweet-up. It was my own fault... the bad weather had me worried that I'd be late, so I left much earlier than I needed to. Bonus! The extra time gave me the opportunity to look around the hotel a little.

Hotel Viking opened in 1926 as a way to house the guests of Newport's famous "cottages." The mansions are big, but they really don't have a lot of bedrooms. The brick exterior is architecturally interesting, without some of the Victorian flounce of the mansions. It's...stately.

Once through the big, heavy brass door, you can see some of the building's history in both the decor and the photographs of events that adorn the walls. There are lots of brass fittings and appointments, a big make-an-entrance staircase, elegant sitting area and lovely glass-walled reading room. There are ten Mansion Suites, designed to "capture the ess…

Events ~ A Night in Newport Tweet-Up

Hotel Viking
1 Bellevue Ave.
Newport, Rhode Island

Last night I attended my first Tweet-Up, a meeting of people active in social media. It was hosted by the Hotel Viking in Newport (they get a separate post). The event was coordinated by Jim and Stacy Reck, and attended by about twenty social networkers from Rhode Island and Southern New England.
Everyone had a great time, and circulated very well. It's important to note that, while some of the attendees already knew each other and/or had met before, I never felt like an outsider, and it didn't seem like anyone else did, either.
Here are a couple of shots of the attendees - a great mix of people from all walks.

The Hotel Viking's staff was great, the food was good and the atmosphere was high-energy and good-natured. I learned a lot and met some people who are more than good contacts, people I enjoyed spending my time with and would love to see again. It was more than worth the drive in the rain.

Retread ~ Sights ~ RISD Halloween Pumpkins in Downcity, Providence

Originally published 11/1/09
Downcity Shopping District

Cage pumpkin and friends
Originally uploaded by boliyou.

Yesterday afternoon we took a walk through Downcity Providence to check out the displays of pumpkins decorated by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) students. It was a fun excuse to wander downtown, where the weather was warm and breezy.

Events ~ The RI Flower Show, Providence

Rhode Island Flower Show
RI Convention Center
Providence, Rhode Island

C was out for a visit this weekend, which is why the blog has been rather silent. However, we weren't silent. We were busy exploring the Rhode Island Flower Show.

The Flower Show is an annual event held at the Rhode Island Convention Center, and has been around for nearly 20 years. The focus this year was on organic gardening, and they had demonstrations, lectures and activities for all ages.

The show featured a theme garden competition called "Timeless Gardens." The entries were very impressive. Below are some of my favorites.

Tranquil Reflections: Kevin Fox, Ray Thayer Chris Seger, Jan Irwin

Harmony: Samantha & Neil Best by boliyou

Metamorphosis: Michelle Sousa

There were some extraordinary floral arrangements as well:

Including one of vegetables

This is one of a set of tiny (note the needle and thimble for scale) arrangements:

There was live jazz...

Also fun, but very confusing to me, was a gro…

Retread ~ Sights ~ Providence Athenaeum

Providence Athenaeum
251 Benefit St.
Providence, Rhode Island

The Athanaeum, founded in 1753, is the oldest library in Rhode Island, fourth oldest in the country, and one of the few remaining subscription libraries in the United States.

It's a cool Greek Revival building near RISD, just a block from the RISD museum (more on that later). The current building was designed by William Strickland and built in 1838.

Bear and I spent a happy hour there on Sunday afternoon, and we've brought friends from out of town to enjoy it as well. It's a great old library, crammed full of books and history. But it's not just gathering dust. The Athenaeum recently went wireless. They have new books and materials as well as special collections.

Shop local ~ Food ~ Wintertime Farmer's Market, Pawtucket

Wintertime Farmer's Market
Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main St.

image via
Bear and I make it a point to get to the Wintertime Farmer's Market at least once per month, sometimes more often. It's located in the Hope Artiste Village, a refurbished mill of some kind that has been converted to sales and live/work space for artists (more on Hope Artiste Village itself in another post).

There's a great selection of locally grown and produced foods at the Market. Many are organic and/or, in the case of animal products, free-range. There are also breads, cheeses, spreads, pestos, cut flowers, live plants, cupcakes, pies and prepared foods. I'll focus on some of our favorite vendors in other posts. If you want to know who's at the Market on a particular week, you can check out their information on farmfreshri.

Bear, as usual, makes a beeline for The Cupcakerie's table.

The market is popular, often crowded, but the crowd tends to be very good-na…

Rhody Artists ~ Christopher Garrison photography

I stumbled on Garrison's work during my browsings. He's based in Woonsocket and does both fine art and commercial photography. I like the ghostly quality of his floral series.

photo: Christopher

Events ~ I heart Providence

I Heart Providence
City Hall
25 Dorrance St.
Providence, Rhode Island

February 11 was the second annual "I Heart Providence" event at City Hall. Bear and I went to check it out. It was pretty cool, but crowded when we got there. Of course, this is a good thing.
First up we saw a table for the Providence Public Library, and the U.S. Census was there as well, recruiting. Census table
The first floor also held a cash bar, chocolate fondu by Whole Foods University Heights, Providence-themed postcards by artist Carolina Arentsen and the United Way's information booth for their 2-1-1 service (February 11 = 211): 

Four different Miss Rhode Islands were there. This young lady saw me lining up the shot and struck a pose for me:

On the second floor we found our friend Iris of Cutie Pies. She let us try a mint concoction that was just wonderful! I have to get in touch with her again to find out what it was called. **Update** Iris tells me the chocolate/raspberry/mint flavor is called &…

Nightlife ~ LOST premiere party at McFadden's, Providence

52 Pine St.
Providence, Rhode Island

I met the Newcomers to the Providence Area Meetup Group at McFadden's for a LOST premiere party last week. McFadden's is a sports bar/saloon/restaurant, with plenty of televisions around the bar, a couple of video games in the back and lots of interesting memorabilia on the walls. It also has lots of dark wood and glass. There were a couple of families with small children having dinner when I arrived. Later in the evening, they hosted live music. Unfortunately, I once again forgot to bring my camera. Before the party started, I stopped at the main bar and tried their Bailey's Mintini, which was good, and very sweet. Note to self: this is a dessert drink.

photo: McFadden's
There's a back room for special parties, which is where our party was located. The back room has a small bar (not in use for us), and wait staff were in and out regularly. They were very friendly and welcoming. We were able to watch and enjoy the …

Food ~ The Cupcakerie

The Cupcakerie Providence, Rhode Island
photo: The Cupcakerie's Facebook page
The Bear and I discovered The Cupcakerie at the RIC Farmer's Market last summer. She's been addicted to their cupcakes ever since. Each time  we go to the Wintertime Farmer's Market, I can be sure a portion of Bear's allowance will go to a Velvet Elvis (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and sparkles). I'm almost as bad. The Cupcakerie's coconut cupcake is heaven, and their Lavender Vanilla is amazing. They have plenty of other flavors as well, and we've tried most of them (I made a lunch out of their Carrot Cake one Saturday). They're made with fresh local ingredients, and reasonably priced.
Today The Cupcakerie and its sister business, Jack's Snacks, were on the front page of the Providence Journal's Food section. Congratulations on the well-deserved attention!

Museums ~ Marble House, Newport

Marble House
596 Bellevue Ave.
Newport, Rhode Island

One of the summer "cottages" in Newport, owned now by the Preservation Society of Newport and formerly by a Vanderbilt (as a gift, for Mrs. William Vanderbilt - Alva - who divorced her husband shortly after its completion). It's the second of two Vanderbilt mansions in Newport, and Alva worked closely with the architect in its design.

photo: WikiMedia Commons
For whatever reason, my camera jammed as I tried to photograph the front of the building, so I'm using an image from Wikimedia Commons. It's very imposing, with beautiful iron grillwork on the doors. Tours are guided, and I have mixed feelings about that. I like having an actual human being that I can ask questions of, but I prefer to wander and explore at my own pace.

rear view
Our guide was very knowledgeable, and showed some enthusiasm for the property, which was nice. Also, we finally learned about all those blue and white "votes for women" p…