Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Providence, so close

Providence, Rhode Island is only an hour from Boston and I recently made a one night jaunt there with my son Matt. Home of Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Johnson and Wales Cooking School Providence has beautiful old houses, great restaurants and a colorful history.

We stayed in the pleasantly quirky, tastefully minimal Dean Hotel,
which I am only mentioning here because I found it interesting--
there was fresh creativity and thoughtfulness in the design, such as
bunk beds in some of the rooms, nice not only for children, but young adults (or old adults) can share a room dubbed "the classmates" with two sets of bunk beds for $120 a night.

As the mother of three young adults, that kind of thinking impresses me, 
and as someone on the costly Boston---New York axis, the prices delight me.

John White Alexander, The Blue Bowl 1898

We had lunch at the charming Duck and Bunny,
across the street from a restaurant that advertised 
Ethiopean and Eritrean Comfort Food,
and I couldn't stop thinking about the phrase
Eritrean Comfort Food,
wondering who are the souls in need of it.

We spent a lot of time in the RISD Museum,
 a large, rambling place
with an encyclopedic collection. 
It was a little haphazard and a lot of fun.

Mary Elizabeth Furber (11 yrs) and Matha Nelson Furber (3yrs)
painted by self-taught traveling artist Joseph H. Davis, 1830's.

A room of classical art bumped up 
against one of contemporary minimalism,
and then suddenly you were in Egypt!
Or Provence! Or surrounded by 1950's design icons!

Striding Lion, Babylon 604-562 BCE

Foreground: Joan Mitchell Mooring 1971
Background: Grace Hartigan Homage to Matsse 1955

Andy Warhol,  Race Riot Birmingham, 1963

Buddha, Japan circa 1150-1200

It was a pleasant evening for wandering. Galleries were open,
we found a good dinner and a river walk.

Breakfast was at a cafe where little two-seater tables
had charming flower arrangements .

I love it when people care so much about flowers.



  1. I've been to Providence, but didn't get a chance to see much of it. We were photographing carousels. I think there is one in Providence - or was in the 1980s. Would love to tour New England again sometime, before that sometime runs out.

    1. Photographing carousels? Tell me more.

  2. It's nice to see it from someone else's perspective. I lived there for a year and never went to the RISD museum. But I did work at a flower shop near Wayland Square where I got the antiques bug and learned a thing or two about design. Thanks for the tour!

    1. I lived in NYC for 7 years and never went to the Statue of Liberty! I expected the museum to be all design oriented, and was surprised at the breadth of their collection.

  3. Yes, thanks for the tour! I used to travel to Providence for work (a long time ago). It made me want to go back home, back up and move there! I was in love with the charm and that people rode horses along the brick streets. I do wish I would have gone to the museum.

    1. You and Shelley! We need to start telling our "long ago" stories.

  4. Hello Jennifer, There is so much in Providence, and you never even got to the architecture! You have shown us the breadth and quality of RISD's collection (I would pick the Babylonian lion to take home with me), but if you also want to see their fabulous keyboard instruments, you will have to travel to New Haven, because RISD's harpsichords and so forth were deposited in Yale's Collection of Musical Instruments.

    1. I know, Jim--I didn't do it justice at all! The lion is spectacular.

  5. What a lovely mini-break! I've never been. Now I know a few things. Thanks!

  6. It would be great to visit !!

  7. Lovely day trip! Thanks for all the pretty pictures but what I'm in awe of is the hotel price, after all this is Providence, nice find!

    1. I feel the same way, and it's a really nice hotel!

  8. Time spent with son... The best! Add in the museum and good food...makes for a great trip! Thanks for the mini glimpse of Providence.

    1. I really enjoy traveling with my kids--we always have a good time.

  9. Sounds like a good day Jen!

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

    1. Thanks, Madelief. You too--I look forward to your garden pictures.

  10. sounds and looks great. I start to really appreciate the smaller, in-between places. big cities are great too, but it seems one can find more creativity and authenticity elsewhere.