city guide: pawtucket to providence, day to night

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Sorry I’ve been MIA these past few weeks, friends.  It’s just because I’ve been so busy enjoying all that a New England summer has to offer!  From throwing a (rather huge) housewarming party in our new home, to celebrating Independence Day in Bristol and Maine, and even stealing away to investigate some of my favorite local joints here in PVD, the end of June/beginning of July have been jam-packed.  But what fun would summer be without an overflowing schedule of social events, relaxing weekends and perhaps a few more photoshoots?  I swear this is the summer of amateur modeling…

With my love of travel and exploration at an all time high, I thought it might be nice to write up a little series of city guides for anyone looking to experience some of Providence and Pawtucket’s best locations.

This first guide comes to you completely spontaneously.  None of this weekend was planned, but it all sort of just fell into place, the way adventures in artsy cities tend to do.  With that in mind, note that I did not have my real camera in tow, so bear with me on this little collection of low resolution iPhone photography. ;)

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The day began with a tour of The Bucket Brewery in, where else?, little ol’ Pawtucket, RI.  Our new neighbor works at The Bucket and recommended we take a tour.  Never known to pass up a good excuse to day drink, K and I got in the car and headed over toward the Hope Artist Village…

The Bucket Brewery finds its home in a gorgeous old mill building, just like much of Pawtucket so casually does.  It can be easy to take these historic structures for granted when you’ve grown up next door to them your entire life, so taking the time to actually step inside one and see how its insides have changed since its birth in the Industrial Revolution is a great way to rediscover that appreciation.

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The Bucket is small and quaint, and friendly, in a way that makes you feel like parking down in a stool and sipping beer with the brewers for more than a few hours while big tanks silently churn away at the barley and hops.  Sidenote: At one point the tour guide lets you taste the partially roasted barley seeds, and I swear they tasted exactly like Cheez-its.  K tastes one of the hops (against the strong suggestion of our tour guide), and reported through a thin lipped grimace, “it’s not that bitter.”  I think in the end he actually liked the taste?  I wasn’t as brave.

At the end of the tour, everyone sits down at one of the long wooden tables, commissioned just for The Bucket, and tastes 4 different beers.  We sampled everything from light to dark- The Rhode Scholar, The Pail Ale (our favorite), the Park Loop Porter (also very good), and the Thirteenth Original Maple Stout.  Each beer had such a unique flavor, and you could really tell just how much care went into crafting the recipes.  We came home with a growler of the Pail Ale for just $15, $4 of which we’ll get back when we return the growler next Friday.  Speaking of Friday nights at The Bucket!  They host “Sound Check” nights every first and third Friday of the month, opening up the doors to the public for a live concert with a local band, free pizza and beer.  Sign! Me! Up!

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Our wandering took us next to a favorite little pub, The Red Fez.  Easily one of the most hipster bars in Providence, The Red Fez boasts an incredibly fresh and exciting menu, with specials that never cease to entice my tastebuds.  K noshed on a special brisket burger which he’s still talking about, while I munched on one of the best hummus/pita combos I’ve ever experienced, and we shared some veggie dumplings and Old Bay fries.  We took turns writing lines about our day at the brewhouse in my little moleskin journal, then moved on to descriptions of our current surroundings, from the familiar retro bulb string lights to the black and white photographs that hung on the walls.  If When you check out The Red Fez, you MUST order the house pickles.  It’s pickle heaven, 3

After our final sips, we moved on to the outside world.  Our intentions of walking to the bridge for sunset were cut short by a construction sight that must have reminded us both of younger days tangled up in a jungle gym.  We climbed the big, industrial work sculptures, dipping in and out of concrete barrels, letting the low sun paint us with its warm gold 5

It wasn’t long before the last corner of orange light tucked away behind the buildings and we began moseying back to our car.  But of course, we passed by the river on our way and- how could we forget- it was a Waterfire night!  So we decided to play tourist and stroll along the river discussing how exactly does one reserve a dinner at a private table, on a gondola, in the river?  And consequently, how silly does one feel dining on said romantic dinner with hundreds of envious eyes burning through your plate? photo 4

The atmosphere at Waterfire is quite beautiful, though.  Soothing music hums behind the voices of couples, families, and artists taking in the scene.  Blue stars fill the space between trees and origami cranes flutter in the wind around your ankles.  The air smells of candied nuts and kettle corn, and silent performers steal your gaze from a monument above the 1

When our feet began to ache, we followed the impressive moon back to our parking spot, retreated to our new home, and settled in for a viewing of one of my favorite films (K had yet to see it), Amelie.  That soundtrack never gets old.

And there you have it!  A lovely Saturday spent wandering around our teeny little state. Hope you’ve enjoyed following us!

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