It’s easy to take our small city – and state – for granted. We’ve been there, done that and are happy to settle into our regular PVD patterns. With the release of 100 Things To Do In Providence Before You Die, author Rebecca Keister has given us a practical guide to rediscovering what we love about the city – broken into five categories: food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, shopping and fashion – and things to do with out of town guests besides just going to the Hot Club (Thing To Do #11 “Sip a Summer Cocktail” and Thing To Do #37 “Make Your Own Movie Tour”.) Rebecca sat down with us at Seven Star Bakery (Thing To Do #37, & #82 “Pass the Bread”) to talk about her own PVD bucket list, her favorite Things To Do and the one thing she had to leave out.
How many of the 100 things had you done prior to publication?
I was positive that would be the first question anyone would ask and no one has asked me yet. I would say three quarters of them.
So the remaining quarter are your PVD bucket list?
They are my bucket list. For instance I’ve never had an New York System hot wiener. I was a vegan up until very recently.
Do you have a favorite thing to do from the list? Or from each of the five categories?
I wrote about the North Burial Ground tour. In the early 18th century a lot of cemetery grounds were repurposed for recreation areas, so that’s why Providence has so many beautiful cemeteries. A group of [Rhode Island College] professors started involving their students in a multi-disciplinary project to create an interactive walking tour of it that you can download, which is recreation and a history lesson all rolled into one.
My personal passion areas are musical theater, so I’ve included the PPAC, The Gamm and Trinity Rep. And wine. I have been to all of the vineyards in Rhode Island.
Is the list strictly restricted to Providence proper?
No. The guidelines were the five different categories and you try to [keep it to] activities that could take place within an hour’s drive. There are things like taking a beautiful day trip to Block Island or other places where you could spend a day like Narragansett, Newport and Bristol.
Asking a Rhode Islander to drive too far is asking a lot.
I know! I’ve lived in Providence for four years and I have to tell you, I’ve become one of those people.
Is there anything in here that a lifelong Providence resident might be surprised to find?
I don’t think there are too many things in the book that a lifelong resident will be surprised by, but the hope is that people will flip through it and be like ‘Oh yeah, I haven’t done that in forever!” The idea is that they can revisit something with a fresh perspective, fall back in love with it and get others to do them. Not just people from Providence, but hopefully from all around.
If you could pick a 101st thing to do in Providence before you die what would it be?
The PawSox! I had to leave them out because I had to make a decision and when they finally committed to staying here at least for the next several years it was already at the printer. But that’s one of my favorite ways to spend a day with my family. It’s so great.
Say someone’s coming down to Providence for a weekend. What would you tell them to do?
If the farmer’s market is open, that’s the easiest way to stroll all of the different rhode island made goods and artists. I’d say go to Federal Hill and have dinner outside. Definitely have brunch at the Duck and Bunny. Then you’ve got to go get a specialty cocktail at The Eddy and let them tell you what to have – don’t just get your standard drink. They need to go to Greenvale Vineyards for their jazz Saturdays, so you can do the tasting and tour if you wish, or get a bottle of your favorite, pack a picnic lunch and listen to jazz music.
100 Things To Do in Providence Before You Die is available online and at both Barrington Books locations, Books on the Square and Wakefield Books. Visit RebeccaKeister.com and follow her on twitter at @RebeccaKeister for more info about book signings at some of the locations mentioned throughout the book.