Rhode Island Whirlwind

The past few days have been full of exploring Rhode Island, and I’ve found quite an “interesting” selection of places.

My sister and I spent an afternoon in Providence the other day visiting the Providence Athenaeum and the RISD Museum. I’d heard of the RISD Museum in the book 1000 Places to See in the U.S. and Canada Before You Die, so I was excited to finally check this one out. The museum is massive and there’s a lot to see. It was a little bit difficult to navigate in a short amount of time, and it would be a great place to spend an entire afternoon. Bring your student ID for cheaper admission, too.

The RISD Museum
The RISD Museum
Inside the Athenaeum
Inside the Athenaeum

We also went to the Athenaeum, which I’d never heard of before, and it’s definitely worth the visit. The fourth oldest library in the country, the Athenaeum is full of old books and notable artifacts, like a portrait of George Washington and an Egyptian cabinet. The library is open to the public free of charge, though a $5 donation is recommended, and membership, for those who choose to join and take out books, can be a bit steep. Edgar Allen Poe frequented the library, and signs with his ravens on them lead guests through a self-guided tour of the building, which is quick and informative.

Both places are located in the College Hill area, which is a beautiful part of Providence near both Brown and RISD. The buildings are really pretty, and it was nice, quiet place to walk around in the evening. Before we left, we also checked out Cafe Zog on Wickenden Street for cheap coffee and cookies.

College Hill
College Hill

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I’ve been looking for a good bookstore ever since I moved to Rhode Island and found Barrington Books yesterday. This small store is located in a shopping plaza and has a great selection of books and was fairly busy.

The Lizzie Borden House
The Lizzie Borden House
Inside the house
Inside the house

Later on, my family and I made more of a macabre day trip to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and Museum in Fall River, MA. You can visit the house with a tour, which leaves every hour on the hour, and tickets are $15. The tour tells the story of Lizzie Borden and the murder of her father Andrew J. Borden and stepmother Abby D. Borden. The house had some Christmas decorations up, which seemed odd considering what the house is all about. The museum is also a functional bed and breakfast, and people who are interested can spend the night in this haunted hotel, which even has ghost cameras set up in some rooms. From the gift shop you can find directions to the house Lizzie and her sister later moved to, the cemetery where her family is buried, and the Fall River Historical Society which has further information and artifacts concerning the Borden case. I wouldn’t recommend this to people who don’t do well with scary movies and the like, but it’s an interesting and historically informative way to spend your day.

Though we couldn’t stop talking about Lizzie Borden for the rest of the day, we topped off the day with dinner at Mamma Luisa Ristorante in Newport. The food here was incredible and probably the best traditional Italian food I’ve had in Rhode Island.

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