This is the fourth post about our family's travels to New England. I suggest beginning with the first, second, and third posts from our trip. Because I blog about educational travel, I received admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited during our trip. Some attractions are free for everyone, while we paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I recommend without hesitation. If you see a gap in my narrative, it is because I didn't love that particular attraction, restaurant, or hotel enough to recommend it to you, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.
Providence, Rhode Island
I loved everything about Providence, but there was a clear favorite activity for me: the Providence River Narrated Boat Tour.
The 50-minute tour took us up the Providence River to Waterplace Park, then down the river to the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier and the Providence Industrial Harbor. The tour was really interesting and gave us a unique perspective on Providence. Literally!
During our cruise, we passed beneath the many bridges over the river.
Our cruise was during low tide, which meant our captain had plenty of headroom as we passed beneath. He said he needs to duck during high tide.
Every bridge we passed under had a giant pile of firewood. The reason? WaterFire.
We weren't in Providence the right day for WaterFire, but we did get an up-close view of the 80+ braziers where the fires are lit.
We also saw this record of the historic high water marks.
As you can see, Providence had devastating floods in 1813 and 1954, with the worst-ever flooding happening in 1938. Fortunately, it is extremely unlikely that Providence will ever experience that level of storm surge. In 1966, work was completed on the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier.
This masterpiece of engineering has protected Providence from many storms that might have otherwise caused catastrophic flooding, including Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The Hurricane Barrier is 25 feet high along most of its length. There are three 40-foot wide moveable, curved gates that essentially function like garage doors.
With gravity assist, it takes 30 minutes to lower the gates. Without, it takes 2 hours to raise them.
Like I said, the boat tour was the highlight of our time in Providence. And considering that I loved everything about Providence, that's saying a lot.
Our final stop on our very busy day was at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was founded in 1877 and is one of the first (and most prestigious) art and design schools in the US. We visited the bookstore (art supply nirvana) and the RISD Museum.
We were there on a Thursday evening, when admission is free after 5:00 pm. Can't beat that!
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, although we were disappointed that we were between exhibits in the student galleries and couldn't see them.
After a very full day, we headed back to our hotel. There is it, across the river. We were on the top floor, far left. It was a GREAT room.
This was the scene in our room that evening (and most evenings on the trip). Trevor relaxed with his games while Steve worked. He put in a few hours each evening after our incredibly full days as tourists.
Every night when I got back to the hotel, I took notes on everything we did that day, checked email, and got everything ready that we would need the following day. Sometimes that took me right up until bedtime. That night in Providence, I flopped on the couch and watched the sun set out our window.
It was really hard to say goodbye to Rhode Island the following morning. But we had more adventures ahead! Tomorrow I'll tell you about our next state, #46 on our way to visiting all 50.