My Pretty Little City

I like to take a walk at lunchtime. It started as a way to get some air and exercise into the day but now I look forward to it because there is always something new to see. Providence is pretty, historic and visually stimulating. Now, I walk for the pleasure of finding new things in the city, like a small cafe tucked on a corner I’ve never passed by or a crooked, narrow little street running between wooden, clapboard homes from a different century.

I usually start walking along the river, which is close to my building.



My building is in this picture. Can you see it? This is the river where the popular WaterFire installation is set up on scheduled nights. If you haven’t heard of it, it is just what it sounds like…fire on the water. Picture a summer night, with pyres burning down the middle of the river, with gondolas moving up and down and men dressed in striped shirts stoking the fires and adding more wood. Imagine the smell of wood smoke filling the air and strains of heady music rising all around you. It is worth planning a trip around. (Hint hint)


Continuing down the river walk, I pretend I don’t know where I’m going, that I’m wandering, but that’s not necessarily true. I usually end up walking up hill, past the Rhode Island School of Design and towards Brown University.


Typically, that involves passing the First Baptist Church of America which, literally, was the First Baptist Church in America, founded in 1638 by Roger Williams. She doesn’t look that old, does she?


Here’s an interesting statue I passed on the RISD campus.


And this is a little hidden gem of a garden I passed one day, on my way up the hill. It’s called “Shakespeare’s Head”. I never knew it was there. I can’t wait to see it in the spring.


This is the view looking back down the street from near the top of the hill. Can you see the top of the steeple of the Baptist Church?

And this is usually where I end up.


This is the monument to Roger Williams, our founder. He was a believer in religious freedom, an ideology that lured him south of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I like to think of him up there keeping an eye on all of us and all that he began. I wonder what he would think of it?

It’s usually about this time, after I’ve caught my breath from the climb and admired the view, that I look at my watch and realize I’ve lost track of time. Again! So I begin speed walking down the hill, seeing how fast I can make it back to my office. Today I did it in about 11 minutes. I’m sure I’ll beat that time one day soon.

Thanks for going on my walk today. If you are ever in my city, look me up. Now you know where to find me!

Chicken out

  8 comments for “My Pretty Little City

  1. Doug in Oakland
    November 8, 2019 at 5:20 am

    I love Roger Williams! Check out Sarah Vowell describing him to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, it’s maybe my all time favorite thing he did there:

    Wow, I’ve been taking a morning walk now for more than a month, to the tennis court at Eagle Park a couple of blocks away from here and back, and 11 minutes is what it takes me to get there.
    Somehow it always takes a little longer on the return trip, but if I ever get the round trip down to 20 minutes I will add more distance.
    It’s a beautiful park with redwood trees, big lawns, benches, and a soccer field, and curving sidewalks onto the lawn that are perfect for practicing walking without using my cane.
    I used to walk laps around the back yard at our last place, but this is much better.

    The fire on the water thing sounds interesting, I can imagine the scent of it just thinking about it.
    Out here we’re sort of terrified of open fire of almost any sort, which is a little sad to me, as I have many wonderful memories of campfires and the like.

    Nice photos. Did you take them with your phone, or do you use a camera?


    • November 8, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Hi Doug,
      The fires in CA are an awful thing-I’ve been reading about them and also about the power outages, etc. I don’t remember this being an annual occurrence even 10 years ago. Was it? You’ll have to come here to check it out some day. I know you’d love it-it engages all of the senses. The only thing that’s kind of annoying is that it attracts so many people, it’s hard to move around and enjoy it as much as you would if say, only a few hundred people were there. But people want to see it and I don’t blame them. I’d like to see your park and on my bucket list, the informal one I keep in my head, is an entry for redwood trees. We don’t have them here and I want to sit in a forest full of them. Before they all burn down. Sad thought. I’m glad you are getting to the point where you can walk without the cane. That’s great! Thank you for the clip-I will check it out. I like Roger Williams, too, the more I read about him. He seemed very progressive and had a good relationship with the local tribes, the Wampanoag and the Narragansett. I took the photos with my old iPhone 6. I’m not a great photographer but I think it’s so pretty here even my poorly composed photos look pretty good!


  2. November 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the walking tour! Beautiful scenes, and I like having some kind of mental imagery of places. I work from home, and a few of the people I work for are in Providence. I also got back into genealogy recently and discovered an ancestor who was born in Rhode Island. Neat!


    • November 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      HI Paulette, no kidding? Now you can picture them walking the streets at lunch like I do. If they are the sort that do that kind of thing. My whole family is in Maine but there is a funeral home here with my maiden name on it so maybe a long lost cousin ended up here. My husbands whole family immigrated here from Ireland a couple generations back. Coincidentally, they also ran a funeral home.


  3. jenny_o
    November 8, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Oh, how I’d love to visit your city – it’s beautiful. Gorgeous buildings and a river running through it all. What a wonderful place to be able to take a lunchtime stroll. Or a lunchtime run, on your way back 🙂


    • November 11, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Jenny, I believe there are about seven rivers that converge. It really is pretty. I, personally, love the old buildings and the restaurants.


  4. Joanne Noragon
    November 9, 2019 at 12:21 am

    It’s been far too many years since I’ve visited your city.


    • November 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Joanne, it has changed a lot in the last 30 years, from what I’ve been told. At one time it was not a place you’d seek out on a Saturday night.


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