We finally visited the littlest, coolest, hottest city in the USA
On my and Lia's last weekend in Boston, we decided to spend part of it somewhere else.
We'd been wanting to go to Providence, Rhode Island for a couple of years, but despite the easy commuter rail that ran straight down there, we'd never gotten around to going. So when Jake and Katie suggested driving down, we had no excuse, and some friends to go and share the experience with!
Rhode Island was also the last state in New England that I had to visit. I'd ticked every other one off, and I'd only heard good things about Providence in recent years — including that it's the coolest city in the USA. So I was pretty excited.
It was another day that's temperature can only accurately be described as "effing hot," so once we made the short air conditioned drive down, we began by refueling at a French cafe that the internet said was cool, before heading to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.
Thinking it would be a small museum comprised mainly of student work attached to a school, we rocked up unprepared for the masses of art and collections on display at an institution that was like the Tardis. We barely even found the student work, and instead wandered around looking at Monet, Pollock, and Rothcoe paintings and Ancient Greek artifacts that were spread over the confusingly-connected buildings.
We lost each other at one point, but regrouped after coincidentally all visiting the same cute courtyard in the middle.
We must've spent the best part of a few hours in the museum — certainly long enough for the parking meter to expire — so we were pretty overwhelmed given our expectations. But for $5 student entry, it was a hell of a lot of art on display.
Despite the oppressive heat, we agreed to tackle the zoo in Roger Williams Park — another place that was way bigger than you'd imagine. We were concerned that due to the temperature, the animals would all be sheltering and panting, and that we'd just get sunburnt to hell looking at them while inhaling the scent of hot beast.
Thankfully, not so! Not only did the treelined walkways provide a decent amount of shade from the canopy they formed, but we practically had the run of the place as it was so dead (most likely partly due to being Friday, partly due to being so hot). And for some weird reason, the animals were all superbly social.
We were treated to a proud eagle, two snow leopards playing together, and even the cheetah that was hiding as we walked past it the first time came out for a strut before flopping down.
Like most other things during our time in Providence, the zoo was also deceptively large. So by the time we finished walking all over it, it was dinnertime. Sticking with the animal theme, we went to a cat-themed trailer park restaurant, Ogie's, that Katie's tattoo artist from Providence recommended. Having not eaten anything all afternoon, the strong drinks we got were incredibly effective, and made the drunk food meal (loaded hot dogs, tater tots, etc) all the more satisfying.
We wandered around downtown Providence after dinner, while we sobered up and digested, and the dusky light was very pretty. It was a very cool little city indeed. They had a great setup for an outdoor concert, with stadium style seating and a backdrop of the city and a river that ran through it.
But the best part of day trip travel is that you still get to sleep in your own bed.