October 24, 2013

East coast bound

So (I can hear you asking) what could I possibly find to keep me busy after all my fun with my mother, visiting Galena and enjoying the play at my son's college?  Well, I'm happy to report I'm not one to sit around for long, so the day after the play we got my mother safely on her plane heading back to South Dakota and a short three hours later I was flying the friendly skies myself, heading to Providence, Rhode Island.  My workplace encourages staff development and I was delighted to attend the international stewardship conference hosted by the Association of Donor Relations Professionals.  A co-worker and I had a wonderful time in Providence, both professionally and personally.  We stayed at a fantastic hotel in the heart of downtown Providence, the Omni, and I can personally attest that once I tried the king size bed I never wanted to leave. Best comforter....ever!

I had never visited Rhode Island before, and was delighted to make its acquaintance.  I knew Providence was the state capitol and that the state had been founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  I didn't know, though, that Providence is the third largest city in the New England region, with Boston first and Worcester (MA) second in a very close tie with Providence.  I found the city absolutely charming. Its location makes it part of the Boston metropolitan area...it's an hour to Boston, forty minutes to Newport and beautiful beaches, and only seventy minutes to Cape Cod.

I love "real" downtowns and Providence delivered on all accounts.  The State House was lovely.

The downtown underwent a renaissance in the 1970's to showcase the city's strength in arts.  The city's natural rivers, which had been covered by paved bridges, were uncovered and a large section of the railroad was relocated underground.  River walks were cdesigned and a 1.4 million foot Providence Mall was built downtown.  Oh darn, the mall happened to connect to the Omni Hotel via a skyway, so of course I felt a true obligation to visit it so I could tell you all about it!  And yes, you read that right...1.4 million foot mall.  It was huge...five stories of shops, shops and more shops.  I'm pretty sure the phrase "shop til you drop" originated in Providence.

Sunday night after we checked in to the hotel we went in search of food (and perhaps a glass or two of wine). We asked for recommendations from the first person we saw outside our hotel...who turned out to be a transplant from Wisconsin!  Small world.  We had fun taking in some of the sights as we walked to a small Irish pub nearby where we could unwind and have a relaxing evening before the conference began on Monday morning.

I love
old buildings and all the beautiful detail work you can find on them, and Providence has a number of 19th century mercantile buildings in the Federal and Victorian architectural styles. It seemed like every few steps I had to stop and take "just one more picture"!

What's not to love about church doors and old lamp posts?

This row of gabled windows reminded me of Paris.  There are probably gargoyles in there somewhere!

And along with the ornate styles, a touch of window whimsy thrown in for fun!

And because after a busy two days with my mother, little sleep and a long day of travel I could barely keep my eyes open after dinner (it might be that the two glasses of wine had something to do with that as well), I was glad to climb into my heavenly bed for a good night's sleep.  I think Shakespeare must have experienced the same thing when he wrote the following sonnet, but unlike the traveler below no "journey in my head" kept me awake!
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travail tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired.
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see.
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.
  Lo thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,
  For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

1 comment:

  1. I stayed at the Omni when I was there on a coaching job. It's awfully nice and Providence is a lovely city.