Providence is one of those beautiful places that lives somewhat in the shadows of so many larger cities in that part of the United States. That’s what I was always told. That’s also why I was excited when I found out that my work would be sending me there to meet with a new client. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I looked at my schedule and realized that there would be absolutely no time to explore the area. I had a dinner meeting and then a flight out early the next morning. Before I could even get out of bed for my flight, though, everything changed. I got an alert that my flight had been canceled and that I’d been booked on the same flight 24 hours later. I could spend a day in Providence if I wanted to do so, and I did. I just needed to get some things taken care of before confirming.
First, I had to extend my rental car agreement. No problem there – that only took a few minutes. Next, I had to find a hotel room in Providence. That can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to do so at the last minute. I pounded away on my phone until I found HotelTonight. I saw a wide range of choices for Providence hotels, and I narrowed it down to one that seemed to really fit what I prefer in accommodations. I was floored that within a couple of minutes, I had my room reserved and I was all set for a day in Providence. Off I went to be introduced to a new area.
I’ve been to a lot of downtown areas in my life, but I’m not sure I’d ever seen one as unique as downtown Providence. The area, referred to as “downcity” by some, sits among three rivers. This provides a lot of riverfront walking that guides you perfectly through the city. One thing that downtown Providence has in common with other cities is that it’s definitely abuzz with activity. Downtown is the hub for business, politics and culture here, and depending on what you want to do you’ll most likely find it in this part of town.
I ventured outside of Providence for my next stop, a smaller city known as Smithfield, which is home to approximately 20,000 residents. There is a lot of history and a lot of scenery here. There are a handful of historic villages in Smithfield, and the city itself has been home to at least some people for more than 400 years. There are a few gorgeous ponds in the area as well as a nature preserve. There is also a very nice place for coffee, which I was ready for after getting such an early start on my day and moving hotels. This was a nice break in the day.
Providence is also a college town, so when I got back into the city I decided to check out College Hill. This is where Brown University sits. This is a breathtaking school and campus. It’s old, it’s traditional and it’s a place that makes you think about all of the historic minds that have passed through on these streets over the years. It also means that, like any college campus, there was probably somewhere good to eat nearby. I hoped so, because it was time to quiet my stomach. I asked a few students where I should go, as they would know better than anyone. I got some recommendations and had one of the best deli sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. I was ready to continue my day.
You have to go see a place known as the Jewelry District, right? You can’t pass that up. I headed over there to see what this was all about, and not surprisingly considering where I was, it was all about history. A lot of jewelry manufacturers had factories in this part of town during the 19th and 20th centuries, and you can see how this was once a bustling area for manufacturing. These days, the buildings have been largely preserved, leaving a lovely vibe in the area and one that tells anybody who sees it that a lot used to happen here.
I decided to finish my day in Federal Hill. The theme of the day was complete, as this was yet another part of Providence with a lot of history. Federal Hill was settled by a lot of Italian immigrants many generations ago, and the Italian influence can still be felt here. Most notably, this influence is felt by way of the restaurants in the area. That’s a good thing, too, because it was dinnertime and I was ready to eat. There’s nothing like Italian food made by people who know what they’re doing to satisfy a ravenous appetite. I ate hungrily and happily, and I walked around in Federal Hill a bit afterward, enjoying the beauty of the area.
What a great day. I went to bed last night thinking I’d be getting up early and slogging to the airport. Instead, I got to spend a day in Providence. I owe a lot of this to HotelTonight. Without this service, finding a hotel room in Providence would have been much more difficult. Thanks to them, it took mere minutes and I got to see an historic place.