10 Super RI Things You Need to Know to Earn Some Street Cred

10.  A couple of “gaggahs all the way” sounds awful, but they may save your life late one night.  As you drive around Providence you may see signs touting “NY System Weiners.” This does not involve former NY Senator Anthony Wiener, or his, um, weiner, but they are hot dogs with mustard, celery salt and meat sauce sold at some of the longest running eateries in the state, and most of these, especially the one in Onleyville, is open late. Wash them down with a coffee milk (not made with coffee) and you’re well on your way to earning your stripes.

9. During beach season, Goosewing Beach in Little Compton is the RI beach equivalent of a speakeasy.  Drive into the parking lot of South Shore Beach and pay your fee. But once you park and step down onto the sand, take a sharp left and continue walking until the crowds subside. You are now at Goosewing Beach. Find a spot for your chair, stick your feet in the sand and revel in the pleasure of knowing you are in on one of the best kept secret beaches in the state.

8.  Have a dog? You don’t have to walk it on the Boulevard with all the squares! There’s a great dog park free of the maddening crowds. But it’s off the beaten path. If you drive into Haines Park in Barrington, go down the main road in the park and look to your left. You will see a baseball field. Behind that baseball field is a grassy dog park with bowls and benches and plenty of room for Fido to run and wrestle with some new friends. Just don’t tell the Stepford wives I sent you!

7. Tuesday are for Tacos, right? WRONG! Tuesdays are “buck a shuck” oyster night at New Rivers downtown. Order a glass of wine and some bivalves and then enjoy some of the other wonderful culinary delights from Beau Vestal. The oysters are cheap and the food is phenomenal, but the real draw for me is the eclectic group eating at the bar. I’ve had some of the best conversations I’ve experienced with perfect strangers slurping shellfish on Tuesdays. Definitely worth tossing the tortilla.

6. Mike’s Kitchen. Find it. It’s worth it!

5. Truly the Haley’s Comet of the RI experience happens only once every 10 years. It involves a billionaire hedge fund manager, Narragansett Town Beach and a rock legend. In 2006 Sting played for Joe Healey’s 40th birthday and the NY-based Warwick native opened the party to anyone who wanted to come to the beach. This year for his 50th birthday, Healey had Lenny Kravitz rock the beach. I was there and it increased my RI street cred exponentially. Talk about a birthday party!

4. Every Rhode Islander knows what a great theater community we have. But to really earn your RI street cred badge, you need to check out a show at by the Manton Avenue Project. The Manton Ave Project (MAP) is a non-profit that has grade school students expressing themselves through playwriting and acting, and then some of the area professional actors rehearse the script and the kids see their words come to life. It’s fun and poignant and inspiring (and the shows are actually really great!). So you can see Wicked at the PPAC again, or you can check out a local young Shakespeare getting his or her start.

3. Winter in RI provides you with all of the New England holiday options. But a wonderful experience that will exorcise any Scrooge-isms from you is to go Christmas caroling at the Blithewold Mansion in Bristol. You can stroll the grounds and check out the greenhouse, and then gather in the parlor to belt out all of your holiday favorites. It will remind you of how fun it is to sing “FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!”

2. If you ask me to help you find a Pokemon, you probably won’t like my reaction. But if you ask me for directions to Pechachuka, I’ll go to the event with you. Pechakucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights (PKNs). RI has the longest running consecutive monthly PKN event in the country. The speakers are usually very interesting and diverse, and each month it is in a different spot. It’s like a monthly pop-up shop of knowledge!

1. When is a library not a library? When its an Athenæum. This beautiful landmark is so cool and full of history that just hanging out here for a day will enrich your life and make you president of the cool kids club. Did you know that in 1848 Edgar Allan Poe was briefly engaged to Providence native Sarah Helen Whitman, and the two courted in the stacks of the Providence Athenæum? She was a well-respected poet herself and a hostess of literary salons in Providence. Poe blew Whitman off and blew out of town, but the two explored the literary collections together at the Athenæum while he haunted Benefit Street.

If you can complete this decathlon of RI cool, no one will be able to question your RI street cred. Good luck and godspeed.

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