Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rhode Island's fattiest food...New York System Weiners?

Twitterer @LadyMissie shared a link with me today:'s 50 fattiest foods in the states. One representative food from each state. Rhode Island's culprit?

New York System weiners

While I find it hard to believe that New York System weiners are the fattiest food in Rhode Island (clam cakes, anyone?), they're one of the foods Little Rhody is known for. And they don't skimp on the fat:
Fat content: 13 grams of fat for the hot dog and 15 grams of fat in a serving of ground beef. Plus, the ground-beef sauce is usually made with ultra-fatty shortening. ~from 
Bear and I really need to try some New York System dogs. Maybe for July 4 weekend.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sights ~ John Carter House, Providence

John Carter House
21 Meeting St.
Providence, Rhode Island

An historic (former) home on College Hill, the John Carter House was originally the home and business of John Carter.

John Carter house

Carter moved from Philadelphia, where he had apprenticed with Ben Franklin, to Providence in 1767. He published the Providence Gazette; and Country Journal from then until his death in 1814 - the first year in partnership with Mrs. Sarah Goddard. He built the house in 1772 and called it "Shakespeare's Head" after the bust of Shakespeare he had mounted on a pole in front of the house.

Carter housed his printing press, bookshop and post office in the building along with his family. His brother in law, John Updike, owned the house next door and rented it to a rival printer, sparking repartee and competition that reportedly amused the neighbors (per rootsweb). Carter was the first postmaster of Providence, a position given to him by his former apprenticeship master, Ben Franklin.

He and his wife Amey (nee Crawford) had seven sons and five daughters. They lost two children in infancy and another at age three due to burns from a candle.

Today, Shakespeare's Head houses the offices of the Providence Preservation Society, whose volunteers have planted an authentic Colonial Garden in the back. It's a sight to see, and worth a post in its own right.

To my surprise, Amazon has a book about Carter titled, John Carter of Providence, Rhode Island: July 21, 1745-August 19, 1814.

Sights ~ Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly

isquamicut State Beach
Westerly, Rhode Island

We took our first trip to Misquamicut State Beach on a hot Saturday afternoon. We left fairly early (about 9:30 am), thinking the beach wouldn't get really crowded until closer to noon.

Traffic was unremarkable on the highways, and stayed mainly smooth until about three miles from the beach, where it screeched to a standstill. We clocked along at between three and ten miles per hour until we got to the beach parking lot, not unusual during beach season, but frustrating nonetheless.

There was plenty of parking available once we got into the lot, which made me wonder about the signs along the route offering parking for $20.

Flag over parking lot

The beach was crowded, as you'd expect on a hot summer day. We staked our SPF tent on the sand near the dunes and checked out the water.

Beach scene

The first thing I noticed was a ship in the distance. Probably some sort of commercial tanker, heading off to Quonset, we later learned.

ship in the mist

Bear hardly noticed the ship. Once the tent was up, she was full-speed ahead for the water. And that water was cold! I went in a few times, but Bear toughed it out and stayed in the water most of the afternoon.

While she and her sister enjoyed the water, I took a walk to see the amenities.

I found a small boardwalk with a bath house and snack bar. Beside it was a playground. It looked like the kids were enjoying it.

Queue for snack bar        Playground

We stayed to watch the tide come in, and agreed that the surf is a little tame for us. It's a very family-friendly beach, especially for younger children, and we enjoyed seeing lots of toddlers have their ocean experience. But we like bigger waves and will check out some other beaches to find the right ones for us.

Friday, June 25, 2010

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

These shots of Rhode Island were submitted to the I {heart} Rhody group on Flickr.

Number 11
"Number 11" by SteelToad

"Newport Bridge" by timomcd

"DCP_1657" by timomcd

Splash 2
"Splash 2" by SteelToad

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island
"Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island" by dhfore

Sakonnet Lighthouse, Rhode Island - aerial
"Sakonnet Lighthouse, Rhode Island - aerial" by nelights

Block Island North Lighthouse, Rhode Island
"Sakonnet Lighthouse, Rhode Island - aerial" by nelights

Rhode Island State House
"Rhode Island State House" by BlueisCoool

Everyone is welcome! You can join our Flickr group here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Events ~ Gaspee Days, Pawtuxet Village

Gaspee Days
Pawtuxet Village, Rhode Island

From "In June of 1772 brave colonists from Rhode Island burned the British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, in what has become recognized as the first overt action leading to the American Revolutionary War."

Each year, Pawtuxet Village and the Gaspee Days Committee host a series of activities to commemorate the event. There was a colonial encampment, art show, tours of the historic district and a lot more. It was a hectic weekend for us, but Bear and I were determined to see the final event: the ceremonial and symbolic burning of the Gaspee.

We arrived just in time. As we walked down toward the water we heard the last few lines of the remarks, then the explosion of cannon fire.

You wouldn't think that such a small cannon would make so much noise, but it did, and gave us both a good startle. The crowd cheered.

We hustled the rest of the way down to the water's edge to see the mock Gaspee aflame.

Burning of the Gaspee

It was allowed to burn for a few minutes before the fire department put it out, which was just as interesting to see.

Putting out the Gaspee

Afterward, we took a quick walk through the encampment and stopped to listen to a fife and drum corp.

Encampment Tents Fife and Drums

We were very taken by the Tory Dogs that accompanied the British fifers.
Tory dogs!

Next year we'll spend some more time at the events and really dig in for more detail, but it was fun just to see the ceremony.

Event Announcement ~ Pints for Paws, Providence

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Museums ~ Hearthside House, Lincoln

 Hearthside House
757 Great Rd.
Lincoln, Rhode Island

Hearthside House is a beautiful old home in Lincoln with an interesting and sad story.

Hearthside exterior

From Hearthside's website: " the early 1800’s, Stephen Hopkins Smith, a fellow in his 20’s, began to court a young lady from a “prominent Providence family”...She was a little cautious about their future together though and told him that while he was an attractive man, she was looking for a gentleman suitor “of substantial wealth who could provide a lifestyle she was used to”. The Smith family was far from wealthy. But one day, in answer to his prayers, Smith won a lottery, netting him a jackpot of $40,000----an equivalent of $8.6 million by today’s standards.

"Smith kept his winnings a secret, and schemed to build a breathtaking home to sweep “Miss Prominent” off her feet. Construction on Hearthside got underway in 1810 and was completed in 1814. Meanwhile the courtship continued. When the house was done, Smith took a horse and buggy and went to Providence and asked the girl to come with him for a ride. As they approached the bend of Great Road, the girl clapped her hands and said, “What a beautiful house, but who would ever want to live way out in the wilderness.” Smith was heartbroken. He drove her back to Providence and never called on her again. In fact, he never married."

Smith never lived in the house, but his brother did. It passed through twelve families and was occupied until 1996, when it was sold to the Town of Lincoln. The Mowbray family, who gave the house to the Town, still visit on occasion, and many decorative items in the house come from the family.

music room    
music room


upstairs bedroom

other bedroom

The house is beautiful, and very big for its time. It's been added to and modernized over the years. One of the things I found most interesting was the accidental discovery of a baking oven in the dining room - which was originally the kitchen - that had been walled over at some point.

Dining room
here it is in context

dining room fireplace excavation
and here in detail

Bear adored the house and signed up to volunteer there this summer. We're looking forward to one of the candlelight tours at Christmas, when every room is decorated with a tree.

Monday, June 21, 2010

News ~ RI scores a mention on the Today Show

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Museums ~ Providence Children's Museum

Providence Children's Museum
100 South St.
Providence, Rhode Island

Bear and I were invited to the opening of two new outdoor play spaces at the Providence Children's Museum earlier this month. Up to now, we hadn't checked out the museum because we both figured Bear (at 14) is too old for the exhibits. We were mistaken.

This dragon met us as we arrived at the building. Not scary, but not friendly, he seemed as curious about us as museum visitors would be about him.
side of building

Our first stop was at the two new play spaces, since that was the main focus of our visit. First up was the Climber, designed by father and son architects and builders Tom and Spencer Luckey, who have built similar climbers around the country, but this is their first major outdoor structure.

The Climber

PCM's climber is 24 feet tall, with lots of levels to scramble over and climb on. Bear was delighted and dove right in.

Bear in the climber

The other new attraction is the Underland exhibit. Bear did feel that this one was a little too young for her, but it's still a fun and interesting adventure into the underground world.

entrance to Underland

We got the chance to meet Megan, the Marketing and PR Director, and Janice, the Director of the museum. We learned a lot about the history of the museum (it started in a Victorian mansion in Pawtucket in the mid 1970s and moved to its present location, an old jewelry factory in 1997). It was a nice ego boost to hear that they follow our blog!

As we went inside, it was cool to see how the exterior of the original building had been incorporated into the design.

expansion from original building

Bear just loved the Coming to Rhode Island exhibit, and checked out every stop along the way.

Coming to Rhode Island

Another favorite spot was Strings Attached. Bear does love her puppets.
marionette display

So, with all said and done, Providence Children's Museum was a great experience. They've got activities for the smallest (including an area for infants), and activities that even teens and adults can get into and enjoy. Thanks very much for Megan for the invitation, or we might have waited much longer to check it out.

Museum entrance
The end.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Event Announcement ~ Blood Drive at Providence Children's Museum

Photos ~ Rhode Island State House at Pride Weekend, Providence

This weekend's pride event sees the State House dome lit with a pastel rainbow.

State House from Smith St.
from Smith Street around 8 pm

State House from Prospect Terrace Park
from Prospect Terrace Park around 8:30 pm

State House from Prospect Terrace Park
with the last bit of sunset behind it

From the I {heart} Rhody Flickr group

These shots of Rhode Island were submitted to the I {heart} Rhody group on Flickr.

"Fence" (Coggeshall Farm) by SteelToad

At the edge
"At the Edge" by by SteelToad

Everyone is welcome! You can join our Flickr group here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Activities ~ Strawberry Picking at Salisbury Farm, Johnston

Salisbury Farm
11 Peck Hill Rd.
Johnston, Rhode Island

Salisbury Farm

In search of some outdoor activity, I took Bear to Salisbury Farm in Johnston. Salisbury Farm has been in the Salisbury family for five generations, when it started out as a hay farm. After some years as a dairy farm and a return to hay farming, they now have Pick Your Own strawberries, peas, pumpkins and raspberries, and they grow hay, corn, mums and other fruits and veggies, too.

There were plenty of ripe strawberries and peas in the fields, and we quickly filled up a three quart containers of berries and a good-sized bag of peas. The price was reasonable, and there was no charge to enter the farm.


The farm also has a llama and a donkey for the kids to see.

We had a lot of fun, and I can recommend berry and pea picking as an entertaining way to spend an hour on a sunny summer day. We're also looking forward to apple picking this autumn.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rhody on the web ~ Providence represented on CitID

I found this on Greater City: Providence and had to share.

CitID is a collaborative site where designers world-wide represent their cities in typeface. In many cases, there are whole logos built for them. Providence (by AJ Paglia) is the only RI city represented so far, but they're still accepting ideas. How about some of Rhode Island's amazing design community tackle Newport? Block Island? Pawtucket? We'll feature their work here.

I like Paglia's design. It has an industrial vibe to it and somehow makes me think of the roller derby (even though I've never been).

Outside of Rhode Island, Some of my favorites so far: Jerusalem, Bordeau, Temiptay, Sao Paolo, Curitiba, Cadiz,

Event Announcement ~ Indie Art By the Sea, Newport

Indie Art by the Sea
Ft. Adams State Park
Newport, Rhode Island

Rhody Artists ~ Felt Like It

Felt Like It
Providence, Rhode Island

Felt Like It
Felt Like It at Providence Art Fest

I first met Amber of Felt Like It at Craftopia, and saw her again at the Providence Art Fest. She makes the most adorable pillows and accessories! I just love her food-based products:

And did you see the little cloud pillow in her display? These are perfect for children's rooms and anywhere you want a little whimsy. The little felted mushrooms are free-standing and would look so cute on a kitchen windowsill. Amber also takes custom orders and is very friendly and easy to work with.