1

Newport: Sunny Days and Sometimes Foggy Nights

If you’ve spent a day in Newport, you know Newport’s coastline trumps all 400 miles of beaches throughout Rhode Island. The Vanderbilts, Astors, Belmonts and Van Beuren’s also knew. Come celebrate summer with us.

Independence Day is quickly approaching, and we all question where we’ll watch the fireworks. This year, the City of Newport’s fireworks will commence at 9:15pm. They are shot over the Harbor from Fort Adams. A few solid viewing locations open to the public are Fort Adams (90 Fort Adams Dr), King Park (125 Wellington Ave), Newport Harbor facing West (if you’re sailing or walking limited paths), the causeway connecting Goat Island, Perrotti Park (near the ferry landing), Storer Park (near the Goat Island causeway), Grace Vanderbilt Rooftop (fee after 7pm, 41 Mary St), Top of Newport (Hotel Viking, 1 Bellevue Ave), Rose Island Lighthouse (ticket price includes transportation to and from island, BBQ feast, clam chowder, soft drinks and music), The Lawn at Castle Hill (enjoy the adirondack chairs at 590 Ocean Dr).

newportFILM is a year-round, non-profit documentary film series in Newport that features established and emerging filmmakers and their current documentary films, curated from film festivals around the world. Now that we’re into the summer season, the films are being taken outdoors! Experience award-winning documentaries, live music, interviews with filmmakers and subjects, fabulous food and loads of community spirit among Aquidneck Island’s beautiful outdoor spaces. Thriving nature preserves, sprawling ocean-front lawns, elegant mansion gardens, public parks and working farms are just a sampling of venues used for these outdoor cinemas. These epic film events take place every Thursday night, all summer long, and are free of charge. Bring your own picnic or buy from one of the few food vendors participating in the series. newportfilm.com 

The Black Ships Festival takes place July 13 – 15, and this summer, the event is expanding to Bristol. blackshipsfestival.com

The Association Tennis Professionals (or ATP) will be on World Tour in Newport to compete in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on July 15 – 22. These rare grass courts have hosted the best of the best of tennis since 1880. This is the only opportunity to see professional men’s tennis in the Northeast prior to the US Open. halloffameopen.com

Visit the URI Athletic Fields this summer for camping, a carnival, food vendors, music and hot air balloons at the South County Balloon Festival, taking place July 20 – 22. You’ll find Roomful of Blues, tethered balloon rides, rock climbing, food and craft vendors. southcountyballoonfest.com

The Newport Jazz Festival is a three-day event sprawling across Fort Adams on August 3 – 5. World class musicians perform across four stages while ticket-holders absorb the smooth sounds across the surrounding lawns. It’s truly amazing how sound travels here, and how one performance doesn’t bleed into another unless you waltz to an adjacent stage. There is no shortage of food vendors, beer tents, Del’s Lemonade or merchandise. Check out newportjazz.org to plan which day(s) you would like to attend. Each artist in the event’s line-up is linked with a video of their sound. Allow yourself time to arrive because there will be car traffic. A launch will be available to transport ticketholders; however, be prepared to wait your turn. Cycling may be the quickest form of transportation.

Hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport County, authentic 19th century coaches drawn by matched and highly trained teams of horses visit Newport every three years for a Weekend of Coaching on August 16 – 19. The public can enjoy free viewing of the colorful and historic coaches every day, as they strut through the streets of Newport and the grounds of the Newport Mansions, celebrating and preserving a century-old sporting tradition. newportmansions.org/events/a-weekend-of-coaching

The Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival takes place September 20 – 23, and events include the Wine & Rosecliff Gala, tastings with hundreds of wines, celebrity chef appearances and cooking demonstrations, bordeaux dinner, jazz brunch, and an after dark party. Need I say more? If you’re a wino or a foodie, be there. newportmansions.org/events/wine-and-food-festival

The Preservation Society of Newport County is dedicated to historic preservation. They invite you to explore their 11 Newport mansion properties, representing more than 250 years of social, architectural and landscape history in one of America’s most historically intact cities. While you’re at the Breakers Mansion, grab a soft drink, sandwich or snack in the new, breathtaking, garden-feel welcome center. newportmansions.org/plan-a-visit And

Don’t be fooled by their similar logo — it’s not Warner Brothers that everyone is sporting in this city by the sea, it’s Water Brothers. This authentic, local surf shop has been around since 1971 and nods to some serious local surfers and their growing community. One of the best point breaks was saved by these guys. For lessons and gear, visit originalwaterbrothers.com Another surf shop is Island Surf & Sport islandsurfandsport.com Unfortunately, Rhody Surf is no longer with us. They’ve “Gone Surfing” as of this spring.

According to Discover Newport, the first U.S. Open Championship was held in Newport in 1895, and golf has thrived in the area ever since. Enjoy Scottish links-style courses with panoramic vistas of the Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean throughout Newport and Bristol County. Check out Green Valley Country Club, Jamestown Golf Course (jamestowngolf.com), Montaup Country Club (montaupcc.com), Newport National Golf Club (newportnational.com), Wanumetonomy Golf & Country Club (wanumetonomy.com) and Windmill Hill Golf Course.

Go tandem skydiving at 211 Airport Access Road in Middletown over New England’s most scenic dropzone. It’s the thrill of your life! You’ll want to see the world this way. Tell Nick Sergi I sent you. skydivenewport.com

What would this sea-faring state be without sailing? Please visit sailnewport.org/calendar for all and any sailing events in and around Newport this season.

Generations of families and friends return to Newport Polo year after year as a summer ritual and testament to the global fraternity of this sport and its place in the community. Teams from every continent have visited the grounds as international challengers. nptpolo.com

Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina is going into their second season, and whether you’re from out of town or local, this New York-based company has brought a new, updated vibe to the classic Newport scene. This location has everything. With sprawling ocean and harbor views come fiery sunsets, and the cabanas are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. You can sip on a casual cocktail at Pineapples bar or poolside while listening to various musicians during the day and cozy up to a fire pit at the Regent deck when the sun goes down. However, for a truly fine dining culinary experience, Scarpetta is unsurpassed. From house-made pastas to clean cooking with experimental layers of flavor, this restaurant is taking Newport by storm. If you’re a wino, you’ll want to read their wine list like a romance novel. Save room for dessert, the chefs did not fall short when creating their dolci. Experience your meal indoors in their restaurant designed like a mega yacht, or enjoy the al fresco dining overlooking the harbor and historic Point Neighborhood. Make a reservation. With dinner at Scarpetta, valet is free. gurneysresorts.com/newport




Times of Change

While Max and I are motoring along Dixon Street on his Suzuki LS650, we notice the eye-catching canopy of trees towering above the long, weathered cement walls surrounding the historic homes near Bellevue Avenue. We are experiencing Newport’s peak summer season. We cruise along the coast and swim in the ocean by the surrounding cliffs. Rosehips, morning glories and English ivy have reclaimed stone walls. Bumblebees swarm around flower gardens. Secret ocean alcoves and the state beaches become our resting place. This is what Rhode Island’s landscape is currently offering us. We are fortunate to be part of this maritime community experiencing nautical traditions. With this natural endowment comes great responsibility to sustain the design of this legendary environment for years and generations to come.

While we admire the current effects of our climate, it is inevitable that the view will change as quickly as the seasons. Warm summer nights become the first cool evenings of fall. Soon, the leaves of the arboretum’s sugar maple, scarlet oak, birch, red maple, white oak, beech, elm or poplar trees will begin turning blazing shades of gold, naphthol red and cadmium orange. Our feet will pass over blankets of dry pine needles that are reminiscent of Rapunzel’s golden locks. The air will be crisp and ripe with the earthy smells of wood and fallen foliage. By November, sound will pierce the unobstructed air and we will be mesmerized by the starkness of this state’s natural beauty once again.

Rhode Island’s botanical heritage is no small part of its living history and visual prestige. People travel from all over the world to experience the changing foliage. Tours have become so popular, the trees can be viewed from cruise ships or kayaks, while driving the open road, walking trails within dense forest or under moonlit skies, flying overhead, or zip-lining by. There are maps and mobile applications offering guided tours and endless information to assist people trying to have an unforgettable foliage experience.

Newport is aiming to become the first city-wide arboretum in the world to reach Level III professional accreditation, but first it needs to map or plant 237 more species. The city is designing and implementing sustainable processes that may one day be modeled by communities across the globe. Learn more or get involved by visiting: newportarboretum.org

Max imagines Dixon Street without the lush of summer’s abundance, without the visual magic of these perfectly planted blooming trees and vines — some as old as 125 years. The faces of these private residences will dramatically change over the next three months, and if reforestation doesn’t happen, these private residences could change forever. Old age and disease are threatening these trees’ very existence.

In 1987, concerned citizens recognized that the once-legendary urban forest was clearly ailing, and took the initiative to develop formal planning and active regeneration efforts. Hence, the birth of the Newport Tree Society. Since the Gilded Age, collectors, scientists and amateur horticulturists planted the city with an incredible array of specimen trees, many of which were gathered by tree hunters from across the globe. Newport is returning to its roots so-to-speak. In response to the challenge of restoring an urban forest under the direct care of thousands of private citizens, the Newport Tree Society outlined a new citizen-centered model for citywide reforestation centered around The Newport Arboretum. By implementing reforestation within our own properties and replacing aging specimens, we are maintaining our community’s history and charm for future generations to enjoy.

There are also new ways to consider peeping these popular treescapes. Holden Arboretum of Cleveland Botanical Garden began a project last year, called the Emergent Tower, that takes peepers to the vertical level of their hobby (news-herald.com/general-news/20150428/holden-arboretum-cleveland-botanical-garden-alive-with-projects). I experienced a similar design at Kew Gardens Botanical Gardens in England. Imagine how a structure like this could benefit our state’s appeal. And why not consider building a botanical garden that improves the peeper’s experience?

I found a fantastic fall foliage drive through Rhode Island’s rural, uncrowded northern and western towns – communities with rolling meadows and dense forests interrupted by the occasional orchard, pumpkin patch or country store including points of interest like Cumberland, Greenville, Chepachet, Pulaski Memorial State Forest, Exeter, Schartner Farm, and Wickford (fodors.com/pdf/Rhode-Island-Fall-Foliage-Drive.pdf ). If you prefer hiking, you may want to visit Ocean View Loop Trail at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown; Tilinghast Pond in West Greenwich, which spans 2000 acres; the historic hike in Wolf Hill Forest Preserve in Smithfield where there is a WWII memorial; Long Pond Woods Trail, which is more challenging for the adventurous hiker; and Neutaconkanut Hill, which offers an urban hike.

Happy peeping, all!




Crossing Bridges to Find Public Art

 

It’s as though the highway between Providence and Rhode Island’s waterfront becomes a portal to a preserved time. Perhaps it is the preservation of our state’s landscape, native history and settlement that becomes the primary subjects for public art in these areas.

As I drive into Narrangansett, urban industry begins to fade away and the landscape becomes the force behind a thriving economy. I can smell the ocean. Seagrass grows along the roadside as bittersweet beautifully strangles trees. Horses graze in fields with skyline for miles. Crops are being grown, and there are signs for fresh pie. Marshes, sanctuaries, and ponds exist next to local businesses that mimic homes with exterior walls finished with weathered wooden shingles. There is an artistic homogeny within the architecture.

Passing the Block Island Ferry, I get out of my car to explore Rose Nulman Park, the Point Judith Lighthouse, dilapidated benches, dandelion turned to seed, rose hips, cyclists, sea breeze, and bluffs leading to the beach by the Atlantic Ocean.

I return to my car heading toward the South County Museum when I notice a massive wooden sculpture in Sprague Park re-establishing the over 30,000 year existence of the Narragansett People in this region. Outside 174-acre Canonchet Farm stands Enishkeetompauog Narragansett, a 23 feet tall Douglas fir sculpted into a portrait depicting the embodiment of the Narragansett natives according to Hungarian artist, Peter Wolf Toth. The title essentially translates to, “the people of the small, narrow point — a part of all humanity.” The artist honors local Native Americans’ input before beginning his work. The sculpture created is certainly a composite of the physical characteristics of the local tribes as well as their history. “My work chronicles the epic struggle of all people facing injustice,” said Toth. This work is a wonderful example of public art restoring the history and values of our ancestors.

On the contrary, when we think of Narragansett, The Towers near Narragansett Pier have become the center for social life and tourism since 1885. Surviving two massive fires in 1900 and 1965, the structure has held fast through the tests of time, acquiring an almost magical reputation for indestructibility — truly Narragansett’s good luck symbol.

Kate Vivian, Towers Coordinator, boasts, “In 2016, we have 128 private events booked (103 are weddings), and approximately 85 events are open to the public including weekly ballroom dance lessons and live music during the summer season. We generally present 10 chamber concerts each year, lectures on the history of the town, the architecture and so on. There are several projects for entertaining children each year. And we often celebrate the arts in the building.” Surely this cultural revival is beneficial for the economy.

I enjoyed the rest of my evening hiking along Bass Rock Road, one of my favorite places in all of Rhode Island. My fiery Australian cattle dog hopped along boulders and rocks by my side. Beautiful views framed the journey to the north, south and east. Naval helicopters flew overhead while waves crashed against the black algae coated rocks, and the shapes of stones disappeared beneath my leaping feet. It was an invigorating mile leading us to the sun setting over Scarborough State Beach.

Another slightly gray day with rain mist in the air, I drove along Route 77 along the Sakonnet River into Tiverton’s historic Four Corners near Fogland Beach. Metal works, antiques, galleries, fine cheese shops, boutiques, ice cream and cafes exist within a charming unhurried atmosphere of quaint 18th century buildings. This historic farming town continues to sustain its original beauty and lure.

Barbara Pelletier is head of the Tiverton Arts Council, which consists of volunteers from the community. She says, “We are trying to draw the community into the arts world.” The council hosts exhibitions featuring local artists’ work in their Town Hall. They are also planning to host a movie matinee. Barbara says, “I think the state sees arts, all phases, as an opportunity to grow the economy.” I agree.

The South Coast Artists, Inc. is an active non-profit corporation encouraging and fostering artistic growth and recognition among Tiverton and Little Compton Artists for about 13 years. This local group provides opportunities to view art made within the community; to interact with local artists; and to have access to artists’ creative working environments. southcoastartists.org

As I leave Tiverton, by way of Windmill Hill Road passing rows of rhododendrons, blooming lilacs, rose hips, branches covered in moss and lichen, private burial grounds, I again end my journey with a connection to stones. Row after row of stone walls leads me along West Main Road.

That’s when I realize I may have missed the most important feature of public art currently in this town. Did you know there once may have been 250,000 miles of stone walls in America’s Northeast, stretching farther than the distance to the moon? Robert Thorson, author of Stone by Stone, writes, “The stone wall is the key that links the natural history and human history of New England. Stone walls became a defining element of the Northeast’s landscape, and a symbol of the shift to an agricultural economy.” These same stone walls lead me through Portsmouth and Middletown into Newport where the arts community is alive and thriving.

Newport’s City Planner, Christine O’Grady shared this, “Newport has a wealth of publicly available art in a variety of forms, from traditional historic structures, statues, open spaces and streetscapes to the more modern public art forms on display throughout the city. Emphasis on the natural environment of the city is also something that cannot be overlooked when describing how pedestrians perceive Newport. The layout of public spaces developed by Landscape Architect, Fredrick Law Olmstead, more than a century ago are being reexamined as the city prepares for the future. These long established green space areas enhance every form of art within the city for the pedestrian. It is often said that ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’ and the way that I see it as the city planner is that there is some form of art here in Newport for everyone.”

I drive along Broadway and notice construction. O’Grady says, “In a broad sense public art is now being incorporated into innovative and sustainable streetscape designs (Broadway Streetscape Improvement Project) installed along some of the major pedestrian thoroughfares. These projects will not only help with storm water issues, but they will also enhance the look and feel of areas being traversed by residents and tourists alike through unique pavement designs and materials.” As written on the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) website, “The project is designed using Complete Streets principles; the state’s Complete Streets Law requires that all federal- and state-funded road construction projects equally consider motor vehicles, bicyclists, public transportation and pedestrians.”

It’s interesting to witness how the City of Newport, The Preservation Society of Newport County (Rhode Island’s largest cultural organization) and The Doris Duke’s Newport Restoration Foundation incorporate contemporary design into the county’s architectural heritage. I normally think of the mansions along Bellevue Avenue, The Cliff Walk, The Forty Steps, Washington Square Park, Eisenhower Park, Fort Adams, Breton Point, The Bird Sanctuary, Trinity Church, and Queen Anne’s Park as never-changing. Yet, it’s happening, and the improvements are maintaining the integrity of the original design while further educating the public and serving a utilitarian purpose.

The Reinvention of Queen Anne’s Square is one example of contemporary art meeting preservation in design. “Doris Duke thought out of the box a lot,” said Pieter Roos, foundation director. “That has allowed us to think out of the box.”

Maya Lin is an artist and architect focused on creating places for individuals within the landscape. She was hired to create “The Meeting Room” in Queen Anne Park. I can remember learning about the American earthworks movement while studying at Parsons, and hearing about Maya Lin for the first time. I was blown away by the way her architecture became one with the landscape as though it had always been there. Her forms were subtle, showing minimal juxtaposition to the natural environment.

The threshold to a foundation of an outdoor room created by Lin reads, “Rained all day. Made jelly & did various other Housekeeping matters which consumed the morning.” (Franny Clarke’s diary 1867) The surrounding walls become seats for the public and encourage rest, reflection and conversation. (Read more here: bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2013/05/25/doris-duke-foundation-reinvents-newport-queen-anne-square/TvFm9qwW6oFqh41ijNY8cP/story.html)

The Newport Art Museum is the only museum to focus on the art and artists of Rhode Island. The Pell Bridge is an icon designed by Alfred Hedefine. And the bronze wave with feet outside Perry Mill Market was designed by Kay Worden. Newport has so much to offer.

To learn more, visit newportrestoration.org or newporthistorytours.org




Let’s Make This Public

slide

Every American should have access to, and understanding of, the transformative power of the arts. Public art gives us the opportunity for both. When people work together, the possibilities are endless and rewarding. When projects begin in order to raise community morale, that nurturing can inspire trust, confidence and growth.
As documented on their site, “The Rhode Island State Council for the Arts [RISCA] administers the state’s 1% for Public Art Program. The legislative intent of the Percent for Art program, according to public law 42-75.2-, is as follows:
“The general assembly declares that the state of Rhode Island has a responsibility for expanding the public experience of art, and, it recognizes the necessity of fostering the arts and in developing artists and craftspersons. Art creates a more humane environment: one of distinction, enjoyment and pride for all citizens. The general assembly recognizes that public art also is a resource that stimulates the vitality and the economy of the state’s communities and which provides opportunities for artists and other skilled workers to practice their crafts. The general assembly declares … that a portion of each capital construction appropriation be allocated for the acquisition of works of art to be placed in public places constructed.”
To see how our state is doing with this, Jenn Degagne, a fellow artist, and I drove around the capital city in search of public art. We easily identified The Art Transformer Project’s painted electrical boxes in many neighborhoods. We noticed the natural effects of Mother Nature’s work growing along the sides of buildings like Blick Art Supplies on Wickenden Street and the overgrown vines decorating 29 Elbow Street. The Arcade, Burnside Park, Waterfire, RISD and Memorial Park near the Providence Greenway are all meccas for public art. Beautiful flower beds of daffodils and lilies decorate the industrial landscape this time of year throughout the city center.
The construction of the Iway has lightened traffic congestion and answered to safety needs while becoming an icon. Removal of the old I195 opened opportunity for further development along the Providence waterfront. Hence, Memorial Boulevard, Waterplace Park and the Riverwalk system and the Capital Center projects were born.
We noticed inviting strings of lights and hanging flower planters decorating Westminster Street in Downcity, adding a human touch to an urban environment. We also noticed the now out-of-date, not-so-attractive parking meters that could possibly be removed and replaced with “smart” networked machines. In San Francisco (sfmta.com/getting-around/parking/meters) this idea mimics what Mayor Elorza has in mind with his Uber-Surge type of parking proposal (variable rates depending on demand).
We noticed the INFLUX murals “Anchored” and “Razzle Dazzle” – INFLUX is a public art project curated by the INOPERAbLE Gallery of Vienna and the Avenue Concept (of Providence), and these murals, on the smoke stack near Classical High School, help create the “cultural corridor” between Classical and Central High School.
Roger Williams Park and Zoo offers endless forms of public art, from the Chinese Gardens to the Carousel to the Temple of Music. Walking through Blackstone Boulevard becomes a poetic experience if you read all of the plaques along its path inscribed with Latin names of trees, names of loved ones no longer with us and clever phrases on benches like “for you, from us.” Even the benches along River Road near the Narragansett Boat Club become public art. They symbolize a connection to community and a place to rest and appreciate the view. Another successful recent benches-as-public-art project rests along RIPTA’s R-line, a collaboration between the city, artists and the RI Department of Transportation.
Is all of this public art? What does it really mean to be public art? Generally speaking, public art is exhibited in public spaces. It is free and accessible to everyone, created with the intention to communicate a collective history, tradition, social or environmental issue of a particular community. Public art can take a wide range of forms, media and scales and can be temporary or permanent. It can include murals, sculpture and memorials, integrated architectural or landscape architectural work, community art, digital new media and even performances and festivals. However, it may also be found within private institutions like hospitals and corporate HQs. Public Art Works, for example, is one local group that has worked with and collaborated on several projects, murals and installations at Hasbro Children’s Hospital with Lifespan.
Stephanie Fortunato, Director of Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, explained to me that in April 2016, Mayor Elorza established the Art in City Life Commission. “It’s a new city endeavor dedicated to encouraging the development of high quality public art and commemorations throughout Providence both from publicly and privately owned platforms.” According to Stephanie, an ordinance was passed in 1980; however, the commission was never formed, making Elorza’s initiative the first of its kind.
“In the past, our department has dealt with public art proposals on a case by case basis – we are very excited about the future of this commission. It will enhance participation with our communities, and the new guidelines bring a new transparency and consistency to the process, improving the experience for the artists as well as the public,” says Fortunado. A public arts policy is being drafted to include provisions for artistic quality to complement existing policies set by the Downtown Design Review Committee, Providence Historic District Commission and the Board of Parks Commissioners. This working policy states, in part, “The public art policy will help satisfy the Transportation Corridors to Livable Communities Creative Community Development and Placemaking Strategies (2012) plan that recommended public art to enliven public places, help define communities, and provide welcoming gathering places.” The committee is composed of nine members from different Providence constituencies: independent working artists, art organizations and affiliations, universities and colleges, and the private sector.
Placemaking is a concept that embraces public art, but also extends beyond that to address the form and status of buildings, public and private spaces that touch public spaces, the overall use of spaces and issues like neglect or graffiti – anything that makes a place pleasant. It’s a collaborative undertaking that addresses the physical, social and cultural aspects of streets and neighborhoods.
There are still many communities that truly deserve more attention to meet the intentions of the mayor’s proposal to “build the New Providence.” As we drive between Broadway and Atwells, or Potters Avenue and Public Street, it is plain to see these areas are full of vibrant families. However, Jen and I could see the deteriorating tenements and multi-family homes. There are plenty of churches, synagogues, day-cares, florists, markets, liquor stores, nightclubs, small eateries and medical clinics; however, the parks, gardens and artwork are still few and far between. At abandoned buildings with boarded windows, weeds cry out to be pulled. Accidental trees need to be excavated from crevices in walls. Cultural representation seems clouded by the neglect of absentee landlords, low income households that can’t afford landscaping and fence removal. Why is there such a gap in city development? Previously mentioned organizations can only do so much. It truly takes a city with city-wide pride to communicate its identity.
For more information on public art visit
americansforthearts.org

 




Free Ways to Liven up Your Summer

There are a lot of options that won’t cost an arm and a leg if you’re looking to enjoy summer on a budget. Sunlight is free, and hopefully it will be plentiful. So are water and fire, and Waterfire, for that matter. Also check out our beaches and bike paths map. Here’s a completely random brainstorm of affordable ways to take this summer by storm….

Letterboxing – www.letterboxing.org – this is part treasure hunt, part hiking. Boxes are, at this moment, hidden in various public places around the state, waiting for you to follow clues to find them.

Geocacheing – www.geocaching.com – sort of the same thing, but instead of clues and a compass, you’re using GPS coordinates to find and leave trinkets of your choosing in secret hiding places around the state.

The Providence Zen Center  operates off of generous donations. However, most programs and classes are totally free. Here’s their site to see what’s happening and may spark your inner light. www.providencezen.org

Free museum tour at RISD – Every Sunday 10-5pm and the third Thursday of each month from 5-9pm. www.risdmuseum.org

Steel Yard Tours – the first Wednesday of every month @ noon. Experience the world of metal sculpture. www.thesteelyard.org/

Free Kite Flying @ Breton Point, Newport. Or really anyplace with wind (Colt State Park is good too)

Free Open mic and art night every Monday at the SPOT @ 7pm & Re-Creation Tuedays Open Mic and Open Jam, 8pm-1am. www.thespotunderground.com

Wine tastings – BIN 312 every Thursday 5-8, Bottles 3:30-7:30, The Savory Grape Friday 5-8 & Saturday 3-6, ENO Friday 4:30-6:30 & Saturday 4-6, Campus Fine Wine Friday 5-8, Nikki’s Liquors Friday 5-7 and Saturday 4-6.

Free concert series – Friday night concert series @ Waterplace Park  July 17th@ 7:15 until August 21 or @ Burnside Park beginning July 9th 4:30-7:30 (be on the lookout for the summer schedule which has not been posted yet) or @ Fort Adams Sundown Thursdays free concerts beginning June 19th

Zoo – First Saturday is free every month for residents of Providence. Wild, huh? www.rwpzoo.org

Picnics – These are just some of our favorite places to sling a pic-a-nic basket: Fort Adams, Newport/ Bird Sanctuary, Newport/ Newport Beaches/ Black Rock, Block Island/ Roger Williams Park, Temple of Music/ Prospect Park, Statue of Roger Williams/Blackstone Blvd, Providence/ India Point Park/ Carr Pond/ Carolina Reserves (see hikes and trails)/  Lincoln Woods/ State House lawn/Goddard Park/Beavertail/Snake Den

Glen Farm Polo Sunday @ 5pm. www.nptpolo.com

Hikes – www.everytrail.com/best/hiking-rhode-island. They start with a single step.

Camping  – riparks.com

 

Festivals and fairs – they happen, and some are free to enter – www.visitri.com/state/fairs-and-festivals

Outdoor Films – Movies on the Block Thursday nights starting @ dusk on June 6th Grant’s Block the corner of Westminster and Union St. / Tennis Hall of Fame lawn has free movies

 

Volunteering River Pick-Up –get exercise, socialize and do something good at Save the Bay www.savebay.org/volunteer

Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council activities – www.wrwc.org/events.php

Pick-up basketball game, softball at any local parks all year round.

by Debralee Iacobucci with additional reporting by Mike Ryan