19 August 2016

On the Rhode to Providence

Providence was the first stop on our 8-day and 4-state road trip around New England. Situated in Rhode Island, the main reason for our visit will be revealed towards the end of the post...   Nonetheless, from the start Providence was topped the google search list A word of advice: New England and web searches are like Starbucks and New York... everywhere. So if you ever want to visit, give yourself a good month or six.

After deciding on the Rhode Island capital as destination uno, we landed in Boston Airport and immediately picked up our car, which turned out to be a red Jeep. We requested a car with "room for 3 suitcases", but one case still ended up in the back seat with me! So then we drove... and drove... and drove. In hindsight, coinciding our arrival time with Boston rush hour wasn't the best idea we've ever had! Picking Providence, however? Genius. First off, we arrived at our hotel to be greeted by this...
At first, I genuinely thought the Sat Nav had taken us to DC, as the Providence State Building bares an uncanny resemblance to Capitol Hill. Thanks to a few wrong turns, Little Miss Map had already earned the nickname Kim (I think I've mentioned Dad's hatred of the Kardashians before, but just to reiterate... he really hates the Kardashians). Personally, I wanted to call her "Hilliary", but no one else seemed to find this as hilarious as me. Tough crowd.

Besides the incredible location, the Renaissance Providence ticked all the boxes; the waiter recommended some fab coffee shops and, 5 hotels later, we agreed it had both the comfiest bed and the best coffee supply; I do love my Starbucks sachets! This came in handy for our first night, where we set ourselves a stay-awake target of Andy Murray and the Team GB Flag; we travelled on the Opening Night of the Olympics. Let's just say I watched it on iplayer the next morning, before we checked out of Rio and back into Rhode Island...
We found a Panera for breakfast, which serves about a dozen different teas, and fresh strawberries; it's clear that I can't quite abandon my English heritage, but I got a cultural helping of Oatmeal and local news too. When in the US, Hilliary and Chump are like wasps at a BBQ. Thankfully the food was more palatable; I used to think that water-cooked oats were a crime against breakfast, but steamed oatmeal is good! 
Later in the morning we visited 'historic' Federal Hill - google gave us visions of cobbled streets and beautiful architecture. Well google lied; he's got the perfect CV for campaign Clinton... Nonetheless, there was one saving grace in Pastiche bakery, where we stopped for a morning coffee. Or lemonade, if you're mum and dad. Now we know why I recovered the quickest from jet-lag... 

It had the most incredible range of cakes and biscotti and teas, so we were a bit regretful we hadn't gone in the afternoon! They also had teacups on display (top left) that reminded me of Chip from Beauty and the Beast - I liked to imagine that Emma Watson - the next Belle - visited as a student. Oh, then a bit further up the hill was this cake. Cobbled streets  may have been out, but cake was in. Dory had it covered... 
Frill-neck shirt, £15, ASOS,    Scallop-hem skirt, £20, ASOS     Push-lock bag, £100, CSC   Lace espadrilles, £16, ASOS

Like me, your knowledge of Brown University may stem from a slight Girl Crush on Emma Watson/ general Harry Potter obsession. It's also the Ivy League school that attracted Serena Van Der Woodson, but Emma claims the prize for most magical Alumni! At the time, I remember quietly wondering why she chose Brown over Harvard, Yale, or Oxbridge.

Walking around the campus, I finally saw why. It's just so relaxed; different to any other British and American University I have been to. All the gorgeous ones can feel quite intimidating, while others look like they were designed by Blind Nuns. Looking at you Warwick. At Brown, the streets were like a postcard, but it felt so chilled. The University's history echoes this. 

Brown was the first college to accept all students, regardless of religious affiliation, and became a co-ed school over twenty years before Harvard! Liberalism runs throughout the entire state of Rhode Island, which was a refuge for religious dissenters in 17th Century Massachusetts. I would have loved spending more time in RI, to learn more of the origins of the state, as that sense of freedom is still so present today. Then you have the New England trees... oh the trees! I'll shut up now and leave the photos to talk.
Frill-neck shirt, £15, ASOS,    Scallop-hem skirt, £20, ASOS     Push-lock bag, £100, CSC   Lace espadrilles, £16, ASOS

Isn't Polly gorgeous? Polly the periwinkle push-lock bag, that is. If brands were spirit animals, The Cambridge Satchel Company would very possibly be mine. Polly was an early Birthday present and, if you read my latest Fortnightly Finds, you'll know it took me quite a while to choose! Well, I have no regrets. If CSC are looking for a new market, they need to head to the Ivy League! Or Hogwarts...  i'm certain Hermione would approve. 
If that wasnt enough, the mascot is *shock horror* a Brown Bear. It would have been even cooler if it was an Otter - for the uneducated, this is Hermione's Patronus. However, my love Grizzly Bears goes back to my Zoo Tycoon days, so I'm sold! I'm a bit gutted we didn't buy Millie a "brown" dog coat or mini bear as a souvenir, but thankfully Newport provided its own canine treasure cove...  lookout for my next post! There is a statue of the bear in the central courtyard and I named him Albus... any resemblance to HP is entirely coincidental. He definitely looks like an Albus. 
I will always be a bit wistful that Exeter wasn't really a biking University. It rivals New England for trees, but the Hills would have destroyed me and speedy - the name of my childhood bike. I admit have a slight obsession with naming everything I own! Oh Brown you were so lovely, from your bikes to your obligatory bookstore. I picked up copies of the New Yorker... and US Weekly. Life is all about balance, which includes the IQ of your magazines.  

*Disclaimer: Brown didn't sponsor this post - I just really like bicycles,  books and bears. Nonetheless, I would happily accept a place in exchange for free promotion... 

I see fire, inside Rhode Island

On the first night, we listened to the gods at Trip Advisor and booked Hemenway's, which was completely scrumdiddlyumptious. New England is basically the home of seafood, so this holiday featured a lot of my new favourite dish, bouillabaisse! 
Everytime I hear this word, like Katy on her Instagram the other week, I picture Fleur Delacour saying "can you pass ze bouillabaisse?" and flash a smile only HP can bring. Sadly we didn't get this on camera, as this is the "oh god mum please don't break my beloved Penny" face... 
8 days on, I'm pleased  to report that Penny was still alive! Phew. Moreover, Mum turned out to be quite a good Olympus Penner, when I managed to tear her away from her selfie stick.... Looking back, I wish we'd gotten more 'people' photos of our holiday, but ultimately the best memories are taken by your mind  #cheesyboardalert. 

After dinner and a delicious bowl of bouillabaisse + bubbles, we  went outside to witness one of Providence's long-standing traditions. The reason we began our holiday in Providence, to coincide with 6th August....
The Providence Water Fire! I think our attraction to this event says a lot about our Disney Routes, because it's basically Tangled meets Fantastmic on steroids (perhaps the Russian athletics team were volunteering...) I swear they were playing the Pocahontas music, while the market offerings were fit for a princess. Im like an excitable child when I see a market; I adore London's Portobello and genuinely ran across the street when I saw this one in Providence.  

There were Pupcakes, yarn bowls, mugs - basically a Sophie wonder-list - yet my inner Blair Waldorf gravitated towards these gorgeous hair clips. After much deliberation, I went for a tricoloured leaf design and subsequently wore for the rest of the holiday. Money well spent? I think so, so money-spending anxiety can be quiet! 

Coming soon: a View from Newport! Until then, shop my Providence wardrobe here... 

No comments

Post a comment

Blogger templates by pipdig