What’s with the dreary weather for fall mystery trips? Once again, we braved the elements in the process of enjoying the city of Providence. There were 90 of us again this year, with myself and Steve in coach #1500 and with Susan and Harry in coach #1600. Everybody was on time, and we departed around 7:45 am. We took a rest stop at the Branch Road exit just before arriving in the city, and the McDonald’s there took good care of us. They processed all of us within about 35 minutes.
We used step-on guides this time. I worked with Deena. She took us on a two-hour tour of Providence, and covered it’s social and manufacturing history, its fame for jewelry and silver, its founder Roger Williams, its immigrant communities, and looked at some of its fine architecture. Some of the streets up on Federal Hill are lined with fine eighteenth century homes in magnificent condition; we particularly liked the famed Nightingale Brown House and the Old Stone Bank (now a private residence). Our guide originally planned to have our group step off the coach for photo stops, but light rain kept us all inside.
One of the things I didn’t know is that Providence is at the convergence of three rivers. We learned that the Providence River is tidal and has both high and low tides. The other two rivers are the Woonasquatucket and the Moshassuck. We also saw the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, which is designed to protect the city from damaging tidal flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms. We said our goodbyes at the Roger Williams Memorial, the former site of his home on the river, and headed for our lunch in the restaurant in the Biltmore Hotel.
McCormick & Schmick’s is in the Biltmore in the heart of the city’s downtown. The stylish hotel has been serving Providence since 1928. Our group of 90 occupied the main dining room and were promptly served drinks. Lunch was served at 12:15. The menu appears below. The dining room was comfortable and stylish, and easily accommodated all of us. Service was friendly, and the food was good. Our menu appears below.
At 1:50, we boarded our coaches and departed for the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. This was my first visit to the museum, and I was impressed with the fine collection of design elements spanning thousands of years. The exhibits included paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume, and more. Incorporated into the museum is the Charles Pendleton House filled with American furnishings, paintings, ceramics, glass, silver, and other decorative arts. Seeing these objects in the context of this magnificent house brings to life the era of the China Trade as it relates to Providence. I loved this part of the museum. I think most of our visitors enjoyed their look at the RISD Museum.
Soon, our time was up, and we headed home…a bit tired, but invigorated by our day’s experience.