Providence, Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
JULY 11-15, 2012
by Glenna Blackwell and Peggy Loeffler
2012 International Conference Co-Chairs
Location! Location! Location!
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the union, but it’s a big destination! The Providence/Warwick area is the perfect launching pad for day trips throughout New England. Rhode Island’s 400 miles of breathtaking coastline, the elegant mansions of Newport, Mystic Seaport and Olde Mystic Village in Connecticut, and historic Boston are all within an hour’s drive away. A few hours ride will take you further to New York City, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, or Cape Cod and the popular islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island and Nantucket.
Travel + Leisure readers recently voted Providence one of America’s Favorite Cities. Big city sophistication, with a vibrant arts culture, seven colleges and universities, and historic landmarks, Providence retains the graceful charm of a small town. Its compact downtown makes Providence a walkable city with cobblestone streets leading to some of the finest restaurants and historical sites in the country, department stores and boutiques, an array of entertainment options, and a lively nightlife.
However you arrive, the Marriott staff will welcome you to newlyrenovated rooms, free wireless internet, a new fitness center, and an on-site spa/salon where they promise to pamper you.
AQUA an outdoor lounge at the Marriott, features an indoor/outdoor pool, fire-pits, intimate spaces and luxurious cabanas. It’s an oasis in the middle of the city, and the site of our Thursday evening reception.
Ready to explore? Begin at your doorstep—the hotel is within walking distance to downtown, or the hotel shuttle van will bring you to your destination. Hopefully, you’ve worked up an appetite. The state of Rhode Island is the gateway for the freshest seafood, claiming “out of the ocean that morning—on your plate that evening.” Providence is home to the world’s largest culinary educator, Johnson & Wales University, and has more degreed chefs per capita than any other city in the country. For a taste of Italy, Federal Hill is lined with Italian restaurants, cafes, bakeries and butcher shops. The Food Tour will give you an opportunity to enter the kitchens of Federal Hill and sample recipes, watch ravioli makers, and visit bakeries, guided behind the scenes by an expert chef.
Other universities and schools in the city include Ivy League Brown University, Providence College, and the renowned Rhode Island School of Design. One of the country’s top art and design colleges, the RISD Museum of Art is a few blocks from the hotel, and displays more than 80,000 works including Greek and Roman sculptures, and French Impressionist paintings.
You may choose to stroll down nearby Benefit Street where immaculately preserved homes and buildings reflect Rhode Island’s colonial history since its inception in 1636. In nearby Newport, a time capsule of American history, you’ll be impressed by some of the 200 homes that are more than 200 years old. History will surround you as you tour the elegant mansions along the majestic shoreline.
Ready for an offshore adventure? Join the 90-minute cruise on Narragansett Bay to view ten of Rhode Island’s most beautiful lighthouses. Or plan your longer excursion to one of the East Coast’s famed island resorts of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, or Block Island.
At Downcity, the heart of Providence’s downtown, you can enjoy the modern amenities afforded by the mall at Providence Place and the trendy boutiques on and around Westminster Street. The Rhode Island Convention Center complements the city’s historic architecture, and nearby Waterplace Park is surrounded by pedestrian walkways and parks that border the Providence River.
For a truly unique urban experience, we hope WaterFire will light up your Saturday night. The award-winning multisensory art installation created by artist Barnaby Evans is Providence’s signature event, and draws hundreds to the banks of the Providence River during the summer. A series of 100 bonfires lit by torch-bearing fire tenders create a string of fires that blaze above the surface of the water. Extraordinary music from all over the world and street performers add a rich accompaniment to the sounds and senses of the crackling fires and the sweet scent of pine and cedar logs burning. As the artist states, “WaterFire bonfires bring people and light and celebration to the dark streets and silent waterways of Providence, creating a magic of the magical evening and a spirit of community” .
The New England Section is confident you’ll discover your passion with us—whether it’s history, arts, music, dining, the sea, sand, stars, or sparkling nightlife. Rhode Island’s small size means you can take it all in—at the Ninety-Nines 2012 International Conference!