My RI Life: Pawtuxet Villager & Photographer Kathleen Morgan
How I Became A Permanent Villager
How did a kid who grew up in Silver Lake get here? The quaint neighborhood of Pawtuxet Village/Gaspee has always part of my life, more so now as an adult. Growing up I lived in Providence and went to catholic school, like all good Irish girls had to - that's where I met Miss Patty J some 10+ years ago (I'm fudging the actual timeline, so we're both still able to deny how old we really are.).
I’m a true Rhode Island girl: I love the coastline aka beach, my coffee milk and gagahs down in Olneyville. I have great childhood memories of growing up in the “city” where I learned my “street smarts” and spending summers at my grandparents in Narragansett, which will always be my first love, but I was also fortunate to have spent a lot of my weekends with my Aunt & Uncle in Pawtuxet/Gaspee, which offered my parents a weekend pass from six children. It was back then that my love of this great little area on the west side of the bay began.
Pawtuxet Village, nestled between Cranston and Warwick, has great restaurants, funky little shops, and amazing scenery of the cove nestled with boats. The best part about it though is the sense of community you encounter as either a resident or someone just passing through.
There are several places I recommend for breakfast, lunch, dinner or if you just want to stop and have an adult beverage with friends. I know Miss Patty J likes the Elephant Tea Room, but sorry, (it) didn’t make my list, granted it’s a nice place to go. If you’re looking to have a good time, enjoy some great food and live entertainment, experience the neighborhood, and meet some cool people along the way, here’s what I, as a local, suggest.
Restaurants & Food
Little Falls Bakery & Café is a quirky little place with local artists' works displayed throughout (Speaking of which, I need to talk to Jeff.). You can get something simple to eat and if lucky (It tends to get crowded.) sit out front at one of their bistro tables, where you can absorb the sense of community and have great conversations with old friends while making new ones. Just watch out for the baby strollers, single or double wide; this is a family friendly neighborhood and the strollers are out in full force at times.
You can grab a great coffee at Little Falls or a short distance away, at the Waters Edge Café (Their snickerdoodle is a favorite.). BUT, being a RI gal, I am faithful to D&D. It’s my go-to for my AM work days and no matter what the temperature is, this villager “always runs on D&D Ice Coffee”. Caramel Swirl with cream is really all you need to get the day moving along. And what’s great about having a D&D express is that the girls already have my coffee ready when I walk in the door, one of the perks of being a regular!
Revolution American Bistro (To locals, it will always be L'atitudes.) - This place never disappoints. Dean Scanlon, proprietor, has recreated his establishment with neighborhood flare, along with a great menu and friendly staff. You’ll always find him greeting patrons and making sure everyone is taken care of and most importantly, happy with their meal. I highly recommend Billy’s Kick’n Shrimp appetizer and if at the bar, try either the Berube Burger, wings or any one of the grilled pizzas - Delish! Revolution has trivia on Tuesday nights and you’ll see a lot of the neighborhood folks (as well as a few new faces) there, enjoying a fun night out and sometimes feeling a little less confident in their trivia knowledge towards the end (myself included). Wednesday nights feature live entertainment with Travis Colby, whose piano skills and blues/jazz swag always make it worth the trip. They also have a small bistro seating area outside to better enjoy the neighborhood.
O’Rourke’s Bar & Grill is another local favorite where you will feel like you’re in an episode of Cheers, “where everybody knows your name”. (I know you’re singing the theme song in your head right about now…) You can sit outside on their patio and take in what Pawtuxet Village/Gaspee is all about in the warmer months. If you want a great drink, see John MacAndrew (known to the local as “Johnny Mac”) who is one of the best bartenders around. If you're undecided about what to order, he can create a concoction just for you, all the while making you feel like you’re one of his regulars. And I can’t forget one of the must-orders when you visit this great Irish pub - their “Irish Nachos”. You won’t be disappointed, but be warned, a stroll is needed after. I suggest going to Pawtuxet Park/Aspray Boat house or sitting along the Pawtuxet Bridge to absorb the amazing scenery and get a sense of history in this historic town which we're all proud to be part of. You might even have a local give you an American history lesson about what occurred here in 1772, events which a lot of Rhody folks aren't aware of.
Shopping In The Village
Twice Told Tales is a hidden gem. You can get lost in this gift shop that's been part of the neighborhood for 30 years with its abundance of estate items, unique jewelry pieces, books, books and did I mention books? If you’re a bookworm, or if you have a style that stands out, this is a place to check out.
Photography Or How I Turned A Hobby Into Something More
Photography started out as just a hobby, to capture what I saw while heading to work or wherever my jeep was taking me at that moment. I tend to drive on autopilot at times (I know most of you are probably saying typical woman driver, but I’m actually a great driver.), but whenever I'd see something of interest that caught my eye, I'd grab my phone, snap and then, go about my day.
Friends would comment on Facebook about how much they liked the pictures I posted and that I actually had a talent/eye for capturing something special. Now, I've always enjoyed photography, but it was only a hobby. I was known as 'the photographer' at family or work (Hasbro Children's Hospital) functions. I might even do some photos for our department for presentations, never thinking it would develop into anything more. With the support of friends/family (not to mention their overwhelming “ego boosts”...thanks guys!), I finally decided to believe in myself as much as they all believed in me and make it into something more than daily tidbits/posts on my social media.
A recent highlight was winning a photography contest - WPRI 12's Pic Of The Week (July 20-23rd) - which I had no clue I'd actually won until my Galaxy phone - Yes, the same Galaxy phone (Sorry I-Phone lovers, sticking with the Android!) that had provided the award winning shot - went on “blast mode” with texts from people saying they just saw I won and loved the picture. Granted it was a small local win, but big enough to get me noticed. From there, I started getting requests for prints of my pictures and for bookings.
I couldn’t believe the interest I was receiving and thought hey, this could actually turn into a side business for me. Then I realized I would look like a total spaz (because) who takes professional photos with a phone? At first, I thought Hmm, I could be on to something here, but (ultimately) not wanting to receive puzzled looks from clients as I bust out the galaxy phone and say 'cheez', the executive decision was made and I purchased a suitable camera and began to turn my hobby into much more...Now, it’s still new and a total learning process, but I truly enjoy what I'm doing and look forward to creating more amazing photos. I’m in the process of establishing my web-site kmphotographyri.com (currently under construction), but can be found right now on my new Facebook (Business) Page Kathleen Morgan Photography.
More Photos By Kathleen
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of Kathleen Morgan