Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sights ~ Roger Williams Park Rose Garden, Providence

Roger Williams Park
1000 Elmwood Ave.
Providence, Rhode Island

Rose season has begun, and Bearand I took a trip back to Roger Williams Park to check out the Rose Garden.

We've visited a couple of times since we moved here, and I've been impressed with how long the roses stay in bloom. We've seen them flowering in November! There are dozens of different colors and varieties of roses, and I'm not familiar enough with the flowers to say which is which, but I can tell you they're beautiful, and the Rose Garden is a lovely place for a picnic or stroll.

bright in the sun

The garden is laid out in a rectangle, with roses planted along the border, a grassy area inside that, with brickwork paths and an Asian-inspired gazebo in the center. You enter from all four sides through Asian-styled arbors.


The park was formed in 1873 and by 1877 there were 300 varieties of roses in the garden. Apparently the garden fell into some disrepair, because it was restored and replanted in 1999 by the Rhode Island Rose Society. According to their site, there is a section of the garden called the "Brownell bed" that is named for Rhode Island hybridizers. I didn't notice a sign, and wouldn't recognize Brownell hybrid roses if I saw them. We'll have to check for them the next time we visit.

In the meantime, here are a few of the roses we saw:
Sunlight Fraternal twins Ruffles Christmas bow Orange

Cheers to the Rhode Island Rose Society for a phenomenal job! This is a spot Bear and I will go back to time and again.

For information about growing your own roses, check out Growing Roses Organically: Your Guide to Creating an Easy-Care Garden Full of Fragrance and Beauty (Rodale Organic Gardening Book) at Amazon.

Events ~ Movies on the Block 2010 Schedule

Movies on the Block
Providence, Rhode Island

Bear, Bunny (formerly "Eldest" - turns out she hates that) and I will be at a few of these, including, the premiere event!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Events ~ YART Sale, Cranston, June 13

Monday, May 24, 2010

Museums ~ News ~ Blue Star Museums in Rhode Island

The Washington Post reports that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has joined with Blue Star Families, a non-profit for military families to create Blue Star Museums, a summer-long program that offers free admission to participating museums for military personnel and their families.

More than 600 museums nationwide are participating. Participating museums in Rhode Island are:

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
Museum of Natural History and Planetarium: Roger Williams Park, Providence
South County Museum: Narragansett

According to the Post, "The free admission, also available to active duty reservists and active duty National Guard, will be offered from Memorial Day through Labor Day" and is available for active members of the military and their families, including active duty National Guard and Reservists.

I hope to see even more Rhody museums on this list before the summer ends!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shop local ~ Wickenden Street, Providence

Wickenden Street
Providence, RI

Wickenden Street used to have its name on the exit signs off 195, but no longer. For those who want to find it, the merchants put together this video.

If you've never heard of Wickenden Street, there are video blurbs from some of the merchants.

found at Providence Daily Dose

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Libraries ~ Adams Memorial Library, Central Falls

Adams Memorial Library
205 Central St.
Central Falls, Rhode Island

Adams Memorial Library

The Central Falls Adams Memorial Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The library itself was organized in 1874, but the current building, a Greek Revival structure, was built in 1910.

It's apparent that a lot of care has gone into restoration of the main interior. There's a stunning dome just inside the door, that looks like it may have been recently painted. It literally stopped me in my tracks when I went inside the building. Columns and woodwork look freshly stained.

Adams Memorial Library Dome Interior

Adams Memorial Library interior

The back room (an extension?) is well-stocked, but in definite need of some refurbishing. You can definitely tell where the restoration stopped.

Going downstairs, there's a brightly colored mural indicating that the children's room is ahead.

Adams Memorial Library mural

The Children's Room has not received the restoration that the rest main floor has, but you can see it's thoughtfully arranged. There's a tiny stage that now houses reading chairs and stuffed animals along with the books.

Adams Memorial Library Children's stage

There are several fireplaces in the library, and one in the children's room has a plaque, dedicating the area to Sullivan Ballou. Members of his regiment met there as veterans.

Adams Memorial Library Sullivan Ballou Post dedication
Click on the photo to view a larger version and read the plaque.

Those familiar with the Civil War may recognize Ballou as the soldier who wrote a heartbreaking, eloquent letter to his wife shortly before being killed in action. This is our second run-in with Ballou in a few short months. I'll have to write a post about him and his wife Sara.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhody Artists ~ Pia Peterson, Jamestown

Pia Peterson
Jamestown, Rhode Island

Another of the artists we saw at the RISD Alumni Art Sale, Pia Peterson is a painter, focusing on landscapes, still life, abstracts and sheep. Since I think sheep are adorable, it was those paintings that first got my attention.

Pia Peterson

I also like her autumn landscapes, "red trees" is just to the right of the big painting of three sheep.

Pia was very friendly, and it was nice talking with her, but she's camera shy. If you'd like to see her, you'll have to make an appointment to check out her studio, or perhaps you'll see her at the fall RISD Alumni Art Sale.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dining ~ Tavern on Main, Chepachet

Tavern on Main
1157 Putnam Pike
Chepachet, Rhode Island

Tavern on Main

Tavern on Main is one of our favorite RI restaurants, especially to take out-of-staters. It's got the old-time ambiance that we love, the wide-planked uneven hardwood floors, mismatched tables and chairs, lots of colonial tschotschkes and decor.

Tavern on Main

Tavern on Main

But of course the best part of all is the food and the service. We've been to the Tavern on at least five or six occasions and not had a bad server. They're friendly, cheerful and knowledgeable.

Bear loves the seafood pasta, and my favorite is their pecan-crusted chicken with butternut squash ravioli. The Sunday Colonial Cuisine dinners are also tasty.

Like many old buildings , the Tavern also has a ghost, and Bear likes sitting at the "big table" (upper right of the first interior photo) to read the notes that other patrons have left for it. There used to be information about the ghost on the Tavern's Web Site, but now there's just a link to a video of the ghost.

Although we try to check out new restaurants as often as we can, we also keep coming back to the Tavern on Main as a favorite.

Uptake also has a review of Tavern on Main.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rhody Artists ~ Calf Pasture Woodworks

Calf Pasture Woodworks
Wakefield, Rhode Island

Calf Pasture Woodworks
Toymaker Eric Swanson with his wares at the RISD Alumni Art Sale.

Calf Pasture Woodworks was one of the first booths we saw when we went to the art sale. We were instantly delighted with the sweet, simple wooden toys. Eric Swanson works with native local hardwoods and non-toxic stains. The toys are durable and beautiful. I especially love the sheep. The wool is soft and fluffy...they'd just so cute!

Swanson's web site is divided by seasons: Planting, Harvest and Winter, with different accessories for the work that would happen during those times of year.

A set is costly, but it's also an investment. These are heirloom pieces that your great-grandchildren could play with.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Events ~ Washington Park Library's 1st Birthday Party, Providence

Washington Park Library
1316 Broad St.
Providence, Rhode Island

Washington Park Library

The Washington Park Library celebrated their first anniversary after re-opening last Spring. The library had been shut down for three years due to budget constraints (and lost 10,000 books to damage while in storage), and was reopened as part of the Providence Community Library's takeover of library branches from the Providence Public Library.

The party had a good turnout, and showed a diverse neighborhood across age, gender and ethnicity. It was easy to see that many of the people who attended were regulars at the library. I saw the librarians call many of the children by name.


PCL President Marcus Mitchell was on hand to congratulate the library. As Division Officer for the Rhode Island Coast Guard Auxiliary, he also presented copies of the Coast Guard's water pollution education book to the branch librarian Lanham Bundy.

Marcus Mitchell, PCL President

As with any proper birthday party, there were cupcakes, juice, coffee, party hats, signs and a general happy vibe.

cupcakes     Birthday sign

Bear and I took some time to explore the library's stacks. She came away with nearly a dozen books to borrow, and I discovered their very respectable Rhode Island reference collection.

Congratulations to Washington Park Library, and here's to many more years in the community!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Museums ~ Gov. Stephen Hopkins House, Providence

Gov. Stephen Hopkins House
15 Hopkins Street
Providence, Rhode Island

We've seen the Hopkins House on our trips down Benefit Street, several times before, but never saw it open. It was sheer luck to find it open during the RISD Spring Art Sale, and a docent on-site to give us a tour. A three dollar tour.

The house belonged to (obviously) Governor Stephen Hopkins, 10-time governor of Rhode Island, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house had originally been situated near the Providence River, but was moved twice, finally ending up on Hopkins Street.

portrait of Gov. Hopkins with Brown University in background via Wikipedia

photo via

The house was built in about 1708 and purchased by Hopkins in 1741. He added a two-story addition to the original building.

Keeping room fireplace

This is part of the "Keeping room" or main part of the original building, with cradle and canvas rug.

The first floor of the addition includes a study/living area with Hopkins' desk and a very unique fireplace surround. The docent told us that it is very rare to find such cabinetry work, especially in concert with a fireplace, and gives us an idea of the Hopkins' wealth.

Fireplace surround       Desk

The second floor contains bedrooms, the most notable of which is the one Gen. George Washington slept in during his 1776 visit.

Master Bedroom      Master bedroom

Across the hall is a smaller bedroom, that would have belonged to the Hopkins daughters. Today it contains the family cradle. Both Stephen and his younger brother Esek (who became the first Commander in Chief of the Colonial Navy) slept in that cradle, as did the Hopkins children. Stephen and his first wife, Sarah Scott, had seven. I wonder how many babies slept in that cradle before it ended up in the museum.

Gov. Hopkins cradle

Other bedrooms are used now for display and storage, so that ended the tour of the house. Outside, though, the pretty terraced garden was available for a stroll.

Gov. Stephen Hopkins house garden      Gov. Stephen Hopkins House garden

Gov. Hopkins House is a nice historic museum, worth the visit. The tour itself is only about 20 minutes, although you could spend longer in the gardens.

Amazon has a biography of Gov. Hopkins here: Stephen Hopkins: A Rhode Island Statesman

Check out other reviews of the Hopkins house at UpTake.

RI Food Bank rolls out ""

We found this to be a pretty effective message.

Taste Test:

Learn more at

Friday, May 7, 2010

Events ~ RISD Alumni Spring Art Sale, Providence

RISD Alumni Spring Art Sale
Benefit St.
Providence, Rhode Island

2010 RISD Art Sale

The weather was perfect for an outdoor fair, festival or show of any kind, and Bear and I spent a happy and fascinated couple of hours at the RISD alumni art sale.

Every kind of visual art was represented. There was sculpture, lithographs, fashion, paintings in all sorts of imaginable media. Vendors came from all over, with one thing in common: they were all RISD alumni.It's a great representation not only of the diversity of artistic education at RISD, but the wide swath of talent that comes to our state.

And many RISD grads stay. Rhode Island has an incredible amount of artistic talent -- something for every taste and budget.

The 2010 Fall art sale will be on October 9. If you missed the May sale, be sure to check out the one in October!

Rhody Non-Profits ~ Boy Scouts of America Narragansett Council

Narragansett Council
Boy Scouts of America
Rhode Island

The Boy Scouts have been a presence in Rhode Island since 1910, and the Narragansett Council was founded in 1929 by the merger of several local councils in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. That's 81 years of service. The Council now covers Rhode Island and parts of southern Massachusetts.

Boy Scouts include Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Ventures, based on age group, and teach their members skills and to be " trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent" (from the BSA site).

Narragansett Council has scout troops all over the state, and runs camps and other programs. Find out more by contacting the Administrative Office at 401.351.8700, or visit

Make a Donation

Read more about the Boy Scouts of America in Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Events ~ Read Across Rhode Island's Annual May Breakfast

Reading Across Rhode Island
Annual May Breakfast
Rhodes on the Pawtuxet
Cranston, Rhode Island


There's a funny story to how I came to meet Robin Kall of Reading With Robin, but that's for another time. Suffice to say, she very kindly invited me to join her table of Honored Guests at Reading Across Rhode Island's Annual May Breakfast. Robin has been part of Reading Across Rhode Island since its inception in 2002, and was Honorary Co-Chair this year.

Honored Guests table

The May Breakfast was held at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, a facility that looks like it has a bit of history to it. I must learn more. The food was served family-style, cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage and bacon.

The book for this year was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I recently finished. I just loved it.

There were remarks by Robin, Lt. Gov. Roberts, Rhode Island Center for the Book and Providence Public Library.

Robin Kall and Annie Burrows

The keynote speaker was the co-author of the book, Annie Barrows. Her aunt, co-author Mary Ann Shaffer, passed away before the book was completed, and Annie finished the book by adding more detail to what was already there.

She spoke of her aunt Mary Ann's fondness for drama and storytelling, and how the family encouraged, and finally insisted, that Mary Ann sit down and write a book. Her talk was funny in places, and poignant in others, giving us a quick look at her Aunt, and Guernsey that we might not have seen otherwise. Annie is an excellent speaker.

The breakfast was a great success. The ladies whose table I shared were friendly and welcoming. I had a great time and look forward to next year's event.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 

Rhody artists ~ Amy Ro Photography

Amy Ro Photography
Cranston, Rhode Island

Amy and I met at the Tweet-Up back in February, and I've been following her work since. She does wonderful, creative maternity and newborn shots, families, children and babies. I especially love her newborn and maternity photos. They're very evocative.

These kinds of photos weren't around as much when the Bear was born, but they've taken off, and I can see why. Those baby days are so short...and what a great way to capture them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Events ~ Tweet'n Meet, April 28, 2010

Tweet'n Meet
Joe's American Bar & Grill
Providence Place Mall
Providence, Rhode Island

"@carloverkat" and I have been tweeting back and forth for a couple of months now, and we decided that we should meet in person, and put a face to the handle. She suggested a Tweet-up, and since I'd had such fun at the one back in February, I jumped right on it.

All together, we had half a dozen Tweeters (Twitterers?) gather at Joe's American Bar & Grill to talk Twitter and Facebook marketing strategy, tools, tricks and tips. There was also a lively debate on the merits of various smart phone brands, and talk about family and other interests outside of the 'net. We met @woolley_anne, @mylocalprocom, @twospoons1 (a new Twitter convert), and of course @carloverkat as well as me and the Bear (@iheartrhody)

Lots of laughing, great information, good food, and impressive sangria. It was a lot of fun, and we're sure to do it again.

(The pictures are awful, which is entirely my fault.)

Tweet 'n Meet

Tweet 'n Meet