July 11, 2017

Road Trip to Rhode Island

exploring Cellar Stories Bookstore
Rachel & I went on a road trip to Providence, Rhode Island last weekend for this year's summer adventure! (Last year, we went on a road trip as well, only to Cape Cod to meet up with Kelly.) Here's the lowdown on our weekend getaway:

STAY • We stayed at the Omni Providence Hotel, which is located in downtown Providence. Not only was it directly connected to the Providence Place Mall, it was also walking distance from the art and financial districts of Providence. The beds were extremely comfortable (as most hotel beds tend to be), the room was quite spacious and the entire aesthetic of the hotel was beautiful. (It also appeared to be a popular spot for weddings!) The only minor quibble I would mention is that we thought the pool and hot tub area would be a little bit bigger, but it was still enjoyable to relax there for an hour or two.

DO • We managed to squeeze in more things than we expected despite our very short time in the area! It was a mix of relaxing things like going to the beach, playing tourist and visiting landmarks and catching things that were personally interesting to us. Here are the places we managed to visit:

Buttonwoods Beach / Warwick City Park - It's about a twenty minute drive from downtown Providence, but it's so worth it. This smaller stretch of beach is located next to a private community, involves driving down twisty one-way roads where it feels like you're going into a magical forest, and happens to be one of the most peaceful places - even on a weekend. We were able to relax and enjoy the sun, surf and sand without too many interruptions. The area also has a playground and picnic spots to boast of.

Cellar Stories Bookstore - I fell head over heels in love with this secondhand bookstore! It was larger than I'd expected, with rows and rows of used books in a variety of genres and categories spread all throughout. I loved that it had the 'contained clutter' vibe, which is basically a combination of shelves stuffed with books and a couple of stacks and chairs here and there. They had a pretty impressive SFF selection, but what won me over was finding new editions of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden to add to my collection and finding a very 80s edition of Lioness Rampant. (And you really can't beat the prices - I got everything for $12!)

Symposium Books - This book (and record) store has an entirely different vibe. It struck me as more modern, with a very limited selection of reads in general though they did have a mix of used books and new books to sell. (Their non-fiction was certainly larger than their fiction section!) I thought everything was very neatly arranged, which was lovely and it was nice to wander around and look at things. (We didn't end up buying any books though!) 

Rhode Island State House - While we were wandering, Rachel spotted the top of this building in the distance and we decided we were up for walking to it. It was lovely to actually get a chance to inadvertently visit the state capitol, and see it up close and personal. I always personally find historical and political sites like this one quite impressive.

Waterfire - We weren't early enough to snag seats with the best view, but the Waterfire show was still very impressive! A little after sunset on Saturdays, there is a show that involves fire dancers, boats and the lighting of an art installation by Barnaby Evans. There is incredible music, lots of food and a whole walkway to explore, should you be up for that.

Rhode Island School of Design - The true reason we went to visit RISD, apart from just wanting to see the campus, was because of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (though we later discovered the actual site of filming was not on campus!). It was fun just to take an hour or two to walk around exploring the buildings and park areas, and it convinced us both that we would have loved to go to school there because it was so charming and beautiful.

EAT • Whenever I'm on a trip with Rachel, I just know that we'll be eating at the most excellent spots. She really has a knack for picking out places that we'll both enjoy and this trip was no different. Every single food place we visited (and we hit all of the ones we wanted to) was delicious.

Kitchen - While it is an extremely small place, this restaurant has a family-run feel to it since the staff is tiny (just one server and one cook). We arrived a little after it opened, which was perfect since we managed to snag the last open table. Service is a touch slow, but the food is so worth waiting for. We both had the bacon hash with english muffins and scrambled eggs, and decided to share the croissant French toast, and everything was yummy! The only thing you've got to know is that you might have to wait a while (due to the size of the place) and that it's cash only. But definitely glad we went!

Los Andes - We also decided to have an early dinner, which it turns out was a really good idea since this Peruvian/Bolivian restaurant gets crazy busy really fast. We started off with the cunapes (traditional Bolivian yucca flavor and cheese pastry) for an appetizer, and they were delicious and light. For our main courses, I ordered pollo a los andes (chicken breast sautéed with chorizo and vegetables in a garlic-wine broth with steak fries topped with mozzarella cheese; it's mildly spicy and it's a lot of stuff) and Rachel had the ceviche mixto (a seafood medley that also was a lot on the plate). But, of course, we still managed to leave a little room for dessert; we had the tres leches cake and lucuma cake, which were also both amazing. All in all, we loved the food and the dinner experience and would totally visit again!

White Electric Coffee - We both loved this place! We went for breakfast on Sunday. I had a cappuccino, cinnamon bun and a cinnamon raisin bagel with avocado and cream cheese; Rachel had the white lightning coffee, a vanilla glazed donut and a spinach bagel with avocado and cream cheese. We both agreed that it was worth driving over to the place to snag breakfast because the food was so good and the coffee was excellent. It's also a cute little spot, and I could see it becoming my local coffee shop if I were a Providence native.

Three Sisters - We ended our trip with a visit to this place that's known for its homemade ice cream! They actually have an extensive menu, but we both grabbed some iced coffee and got our ice cream flavors of choice. Rachel went with cake batter, while I did cookies & mint. It was really refreshing ice cream, creamy and sweet but not overly so, and we both really enjoyed it!

All in all, Rachel & I had a blast visiting Rhode Island last weekend! It was a really productive trip (considering we managed to squeeze so much in) though it still managed to be relaxing for us both overall. Plus, we both generally enjoy going on road trips together, because we love hanging out for hours on end, listening to our collaborative playlist and adding to it and end up brainstorming about blogging while we're on the road. Looking forward to our next adventure together!

And now, for the bonus portion of our trip! We stopped to grab gas, use the restroom and get some snacks and we realized that we were only ten minutes away from Book Barn. We made the split-second executive decision to go for a little while, and it was so much fun! I ended up picking up a ton of romance novels (all ones I've read) to add to my collection, and a present for one of my friends. It was a good day to go - and I always love visiting Book Barn.


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