Rhody bloggers ~ Michelle Meek ~ Providence

Blogger’s name: Michele Meek
Blog name: The Rhode Less Traveled
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michelemeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelemeek/

1. Tell us about your blog.
The Rhode Less Traveled is a blog about great things from the small state of Rhode Island. We write about food, culture, and other activities for those living or visiting the state, and we offer some advice for those considering moving to the state.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your blog?
After having lived in New York and Boston and having spent extended time in Europe, our decision to move to Providence felt a bit like taking the “road less traveled.” And, well, it’s hard to resist a pun. So, The Rhode Less Traveled just fit. And I still believe that Rhode Island has been largely undiscovered—which may be part of what makes it great.

3. How did you get started?
I’ve always been a writer. In fact, the most consistent thing I could say about myself would be that I write. I started to write a book when I was eight-years-old, and I’ve been writing ever since in a variety of forms. In college, I was the editor of the school newspaper, and over the years, I’ve written everything from books, to magazine articles, to blog posts, to (most recently) a dissertation!

As for blogging specifically, I started when we traveled through Europe in 2005, and I received so much great feedback from friends and family that I decided to start doing it more publicly.

When we moved to Rhode Island, I launched the blog and simply started posting on things that I liked. Over the years it has grown to hundreds of posts on food, activities, and culture throughout the state.

4. Who is your target audience?
When I write, I typically feel as if I’m talking to fellow Rhode Islanders who share my love of the state and want to discover new things. But, in fact, the blog continues to reach many people who are considering moving to the state.

Although I’ve tried to solicit some guest blog posts over the years to mix it up, I have to say that largely the blog would be considered ‘family friendly’ in that many of the activities and restaurants would be suitable for families. I’m not really out clubbing these days, so I can’t really write posts on the local singles, bar and club scene! (If anyone out there wants to chime in though, I’m open to it!)

5. What do you love about what you do?
Writing is work, but it’s work that I love. It’s honestly a joy for me to see people learn about something new from the blog, or for someone to think more seriously about moving to Providence after reading my posts. I love where I live, and the blog is my way of sharing that. For that reason, I have made the conscious decision to write only about things I enjoy. If I go to a restaurant and hate it, you won’t find a post about it on my site.

6. What’s your most popular type of post?
By far, my most popular post has been “Three Years in Providence, and Counting (Or the Pros and Cons of Moving to Providence, RI)” (http://therhodelesstraveled.com/2013/01/03/three-years-in-providence/ ) which is often discovered by people considering a move here. I’m working on an update to that post since, at this point, I am coming upon my 7th year here. People often email me questions about moving here, which I’ve responded to via email privately. But I think it would be great to add in a longer perspective, especially after my spending a semester in Berlin (in 2014) and returning to Providence.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
Actually, I was born in Providence! But my mom and I moved to New York when I was a baby, and I didn’t move back here until the late-2000s. My husband and I spent a year living in Newport, which was lovely, but just not convenient enough of a commute to Boston. We lived in New York City and Boston, but ultimately we decided on Providence in 2009.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I love the ocean, so I’m proud to live in the Ocean State, home to so many beautiful and accessible beaches. But I also love the vibe of Rhode Island. Boston may be only 45 minutes away on the train, but it feels much farther in spirit. People are more relaxed and friendly here, and the pace feels just a bit slower. It’s a mostly liberal state (which was important to me, at least), and you’ll find amazing culture and food, which I would not want to live without.

9. Any advice for people wanting to get started blogging?
It’s always the same old advice—like Edison said, it’s one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Just start doing it—and keep it going. Some people feel it’s important to blog every day, and if you can, that’s great. But for me, I just don’t have time to post that often, so I aim for quality over quantity!

For me, writing requires phases. As one of my professors once advised me, first you let in the madman, then the artist, and then the editor. To be creative and come up with ideas (even if it’s as simple as a pithy opening), you need to allow in crazy ideas. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, which is why you need the artist to come in and craft it, and the editor to cut or change as necessary.

10. Favorite place to take out of towners?
Well, for first-time visitors to Providence, I often like to take them to the RISD Museum, or to explore some of the boutique shops in Downcity or on Wickenden. If there’s a WaterFire, then we always go with visitors.

In the winter, we take people to the Pawtucket Winters Farmers’ Market, which always impresses visitors with the amount of produce all year round, as well as local honeys, fresh juices, jams, artisan breads, maple syrup, cheeses, fish, meats, mushrooms, etc.

In the summer, we usually head over to the Hope Street Farmers’ Market in Lippitt Park. And, of course, we might also take guests to one of the great beaches in RI.

I also always want to introduce visitors to our local food culture. I like to take friends to Nick's on Broadway or the Grange—or if we’re going without the kids, maybe New Rivers or Gracie’s.


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