I moved to Providence four years ago this week, choosing this city as my adopted home specifically for its eclectic culture, thriving arts scene, and bountiful culinary offerings.
A former journalist, today I work as an account supervisor/editorial for Havas PR, the agency of record for the state’s rebranding campaign, in an exciting opportunity to help others fall in love with Rhode Island.
I’m also the author of “100 Things to Do in Providence Before You Die,” a guide to the city’s hot spots that releases today!
On Federal Hill, I’ve always been partial to Trattoria Zooma and its southern Italian cuisine. It’s also got an outstanding wine list, an elegant but unpretentious ambiance, and a killer, three-course executive lunch Monday through Friday that lets you have a lunch meeting and a meal in under an hour - somehow without losing any of its quality.
When I go to Newport, the history buff in me always gravitates toward White Horse Tavern, the oldest continually operating tavern in the country. It might just be me, but I can almost feel the revolutionists around me when I dine there. And during the winter, there’s no cozier spot in Rhode Island than at a table near the bar’s fireplace.
I’m also in love with Crazy Burger in Narragansett. As someone who needs to be gluten free, their range of options for those of us on this diet is so appreciated and so delicious.
Circe, in Downcity Providence, is my first choice for an after-work cocktail. They have this Manhattan with a fig twist that is out of this world. The wine list at Bocado Tapas Wine Bar on the West Side has an unbelievable offering of Spanish wines. When I’m looking to totally unwind with friends, I head over to Wickenden Pub where the lively atmosphere is contagious and they make my dirty martini just right.
What I love most about living in Rhode Island, and specifically Providence, is being so close to such great theatre - live musicals and performances are my absolute favorite thing. I haven’t made my way to every venue just yet, but I am consistently awed by PPAC’s luxurious atmosphere and the fact that Trinity Rep and the GAMM offer such intimate viewing experiences.
A close second favorite thing is living within a short drive to some truly great wineries. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I definitely know my way around the grapes! My new favorite is the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery in Chepatchet. It’s so laid back and they have a stunning merlot. But nothing beats having a picnic lunch while listening to live jazz after a tasting at Greenvale Vineyards in Portsmouth. It’s peaceful, breathtaking, and my ultimate favorite way to spend a Saturday in Rhode Island.
Out and About
I’m fortunate to live near the Hope Street Farmers Market, so you’ll find me there most Saturday mornings in the summer. I love finding what looks most delectable and planning my weekly menu around it. There’s so much more besides food, and I often have to restrain myself when it comes to shopping for jewelry and art work from the talented Rhode Island artists there.
Of course, as an author and writer, I’m an avid reader and spending an hour - or a few - finding my next treasure at an actual bookstore is as pleasurable for me as diving into a great book. My favorite shop is Books on the Square. It really has something for everyone and the staff is so pleasant and helpful. They really encourage you to take your time discovering the magic of books.
I’m so excited to be holding a reading and signing for my new book, “100 Things to Do in Providence Before You Die,” there on Saturday, April 2, from 4-6 p.m., with local wine and cheese. A few years ago, I saw one of my favorite New York Times columnists, Eric Asimov, give a reading there and I cannot believe I’ll get to stand where he once did!
My hope with this book is that everyone from a first-time visitor to a die-hard local will find something they didn’t know that they didn’t know about Providence, whether it’s a historical site, restaurant, festival or an idea for a family fun day.
If you can’t wait until then to get your copy of the book, it’s available now in several local bookstores, including Books on the Square, Barnes and Noble in Warwick and Smithfield and Wakefield Books, and online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and squareup.com/store/100thingspvd.
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Rebecca Keister, except for White Horse Tavern, Zooma, and Circe pictures, which were taken from their respective Instagram accounts. Additional photos of Bacado, Crazy Burger, PVD at night, PPAC, and Trinity are courtesy of the PattyJDotCom Instagram.