Visiting Providence and Madison

This past holiday weekend, Jason, Noam and I traveled to Providence, Rhode Island and Madison, Connecticut on another family vacation. 

We first drove up to Providence, which was a fairly and easy drive, on Saturday. It was our first time in Providence, and we decided to stay at The Dean Hotel*. Honestly, the hotel's gorgeous decor was a major draw for me (not only to the hotel but to the city). And I've always been intrigued by New England, so I was excited to go explore such an historic city. We stayed in The Guardian Suite, a beautiful room with a king sized bed and sitting room for six (which was the perfect space for Noam to crawl around and stretch his almost-walking legs).

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*The Dean is an awesome hotel, but definitely not super family-friendly. It has a beautiful old 'lift' that's pretty tiny (read: not stroller-friendly) and the rooms are far from baby-proofable. That said, for a family with just one baby or child, I think it works out well. But for more than one, I couldn't recommend staying here. 

On our first day in Providence, we dropped our things off at the hotel and headed east, across the river, to browse Benefit Street and Brown University. It's such a beautiful area of Providence that offers 200-year-old homes and the rich history that comes with them, stunning colonial architecture and picturesque tree-lined streets and ivy-covered brick walls. And the quads of Brown made me feel like - if only for just a minute - that I was part of the classic collegiate experience known by Ivy Leaguers.

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We quickly walked up and back Thayer Street but passed on any of the delicious foods because we were headed to dinner soon. Before heading back to our hotel for the night, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at 121 Local and stir fry ice cream at Momo.

The next day, our first and last full day in Providence, we decided to take a boat tour along the river. We made our way over to the east side again and stopped for breakfast at Milk Money and coffee at Dave's. Providence might be small but it's got no shortage of beautifully-branded epicurean delights. Following breakfast and coffee, we ventured to Hot Club, the disembarkation point for our river cruise with Providence River Boat Company. For about an hour (a very hot, sunny hour), we cruised along the river and listened as the captain shared a few anecdotes and history lessons with us about Providence, New England and the river and waterways. 

After the boat tour, we walked along Wickenden Street for a bit - perusing the numerous antique shops - before cutting over to Benefit Street to finish walking the portion we hadn't gotten to the day before. (Here we had a celeb-sighting! Danny Amendola  and Olivia Culpo!)

After finishing up Benefit Street, we walked to the other end of town to Federal Hill, which is like a Little Italy of Providence. We grabbed some Chicago-style pizza (as one does in Providence, of course) and headed back to the hotel area where we ducked inside a mall for relief from the heat. 

That night, we enjoyed a (more appropriate for coastal New England) seafood dinner at Hemenways . 

On Monday, we grabbed some coffee at Bolt Coffee Company, conveniently located in The Dean Hotel, and made our way to our next stop, Madison, Connecticut. 

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We chose Madison because it provided a nice stopping point on our drive home from Rhode Island and complemented our time in the city well, since there wasn't much there aside from the beach and small town.  

On our way to Madison, we stopped at Wright's Dairy Farm, a 100-year-old working dairy farm (and bakery), where we visited with cows that are so much sweeter and more majestic than we give them credit for being and ate some incredible fresh pastries. and then Captain Scott's Lobster Dock for an obligatory Lobster Roll. 

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When we arrived in Madison, we checked into the Madison Beach Hotel and promptly grabbed a spot on the beach. Later that night, we ate dinner at the hotel's restaurant and called it a night (but not before a little Game of Thrones - which we're totally hooked on now - after Noam fell asleep on my leg). 

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The next morning, we grabbed breakfast at Cristy's (I had a savory pancake with cheese and potatoes and bacon and it was insane and incredible and I need to replicate it immediately) and headed home. 

Jason and I are habitually late to planning vacations during long weekends to the point that we usually don't take them, so I was really proud of us for 1. recognizing the opportunity, 2. planning a trip and 3. actually going and making it work.  

Vacations take on a whole new meaning now that we have Noam. For one, they feel much more necessary now, despite also feeling and sometimes being much more daunting. But more importantly, they're such a great opportunity to show Noam something new and offer him (and witness) another first. Traveling was always an important part of my life growing up, and I'm excited that it remains an important part of my life now as we raise Noam.