This RI-based writer is back and she's blogging about a few of the secrets in her new book...
If every place has a story, then Rhode Island is way above average. “Secret Providence: A Guide to The Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure" is chock full of stories you didn’t know you haven’t been told - it’s a scavenger-hunt-type guide to our state’s odds and ends from the kooky to the cagey and much more. Discovering “Secret Providence” isn’t always about uncovering something entirely unknown. It’s also about finding the offbeat within the celebrated.
We’re all familiar with the historic village of Chepatchet and most likely with Brown & Hopkins Country Store, but did you know you were shopping in the country’s oldest continually operating country store? Or that a few blocks away, hidden behind town hall, is a (now very weathered looking) giant Mr. Potato Head fashioned after Little Bet, a traveling circus elephant killed in Chepatchet in 1826? (The statue was also part of a failed tourism campaign from 2000.)
A beautiful spot not often talked about is Rhode Island’s own Sistine Chapel of sorts. Right in Woonsocket, St. Anne’s Cultural Center houses North America’s largest collection of fresco paintings - a mural technique that creates the illusion the painting is part of its surface - that were created using former parish members as models.
And, if you’re looking to get in a little exercise, enjoy one of Providence’s best views, and knock an item off your Rhody experience bucket list, Neutaconkanut Hill is a largely hidden oasis. Hiking up to its highest point - an achievement for fans of highpointing who seek to reach the highest point in any geographic area - you’ll feel far removed from city life except that you’ll get an absolutely stunning look at the skyline.
“Secret Providence” is available at Books on The Square, Barrington Books, Symposium Books and local Barnes & Nobles stores. Rebecca Keister is also chronicling the adventure of unearthing #SecretPVD along with exploring “100 Things to Do in Providence Before You Die” on www.100ThingsPVD.com and on Instagram @100ThingsPVD.