Vacation Guide: Providence & Newport, RI

August 31, 2016

Fact of the vacation: There is no island in Rhode Island named Rhode Island.


Our flight was at 7:10 am. Yes, you read that correctly. The caveat? We sat on the runway for over an hour waiting for our pilots to arrive. Because of that, we have to literally run to our next flight and I coincidentally learned that I can use my Apple Watch to scan my boarding pass!

The guy at AVIS literally told me, “I don’t know anything about rental cars,” so that’s great. (Sir, we could tell.)

A girl at the hotel helping us navigate the map told us, “It’s a bit far, like 15 minutes,” about a breakfast place because they’re so used to things being close on the island. How precious!


We stayed at the Marriott Providence Downtown, our first hotel in Rhode Island. It was in a good location and our room was right by the pool (which was a bit small but also both indoor and outdoor). It always took until about dinner time to have our room cleaned which was a bit weird, but overall there wasn’t much to complain about.


We went to this nice restaurant called Hemenway’s. And yes, if you’re wondering it’s Zagat rated (that’s very important to my father). I got the ceviche + parmesan/truffle fries and topped it off with raspberry sorbet. My dad got the chocolate gateau (that’s fancy people talk for cake) for dessert and said it was the best cake he’s ever had.


Driving here is hard, and I’m only the one navigating. I’m still confused as to their right-of-way laws…


We ate at Seven Stars Bakery in Federal Hill where I got coffee *surprise, surprise* and a ham/cheese quiche, much like my beloved souffle at Panera. It wasn’t great, wasn’t horrible. It seemed to be a hit with the locals, though, which was arguably the most interesting part. This was also my first encounter with the challenge that is attempting to recycle properly in Rhode Island.

The city is a wonderful mix of colonial meets industrial, with a nice undertone of graffiti (mostly good).

Little Italy smells like balsamic. That’s a definite selling point for me.


Dad and I went to Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen,. I got one of the lunch specials that consisted of minestrone soup and chicken Parmesan and penne and ice cream (while dad got, “the best jello he’s ever had.”) Our waiter brought Elvis room service when he stayed at the hotel we stayed at!

We visited Brown University and man, they’re rich in the fancy sculpture department.


We ate dinner by the slice at Nice Slice and chatted with guys who belonged at Coachella and I had some grape soda that was actually really good and not cough medicine-y (in addition to my actual pizza).

*I wrote this at like midnight that night* I’m grieving the homeless population, but also how I have not been treating them with dignity and worth. I haven’t looked them in the eye, I haven’t smiled. I’ve been so terrified thinking, ‘what if they’re different than in TX? I’ve heard that they’re not as nice here.’ What the heck am I doing?? I’m sitting here, unable to sleep, thinking about the man I passed tonight to and from dinner. I heard him ask, “what is your name?” and that really got me thinking and wishing I had at least told him mine and asked for his. I passed him on the way to get pizza and to get coffee and I got him neither. I hate to say that I thought of it the second I ordered my coffee but didn’t add any food to my order for him. I was too scared. I didn’t even give him the dignity that anyone/everyone deserves. I wish I could find him tomorrow, but I’m not sure of the odds of that. My stomach just won’t settle and I hate myself for it. Hopefully, my silent prayers will be answered someday, but I’ll never know. Hopefully, God will make something of this grievance and help me to make a change in my own life and if I’m lucky, the lives of others.




Did you really go to the northeast if you didn’t have Dunkin Donuts? Standard coffee and chocolate covered donuts for me. Simple, yet calorically intensive.

We were feeling intelligent and visited both MIT and Harvard in the same day while visiting Boston. MIT is super spread out and somehow more simple. We happened to visit Harvard on move-in day for the class of 2020 so I blended in quite well with my backpack.


We *again* had pizza at a place called Angelo’s Pizza in Cambridge, where we had the cheapest and arguably the best pizza of the trip. So much grease, so little time. It reminded me of the section of a roller rink that served pizza (old, vending machines, creaky chairs) back when I was younger.

We visited the Museum of Fine Arts while sporting a shirt from Kimbell Fest no less. It was large and overwhelming but dad and I got a selfie with a Van Gogh and there was a whole room of Monet. The tickets are expensive (think: $25 per adult) and come with two visits. Seeing as I was only in Boston for the day, I promptly gave those to Cassie at dinner for her use.


Speaking of Cassie, we went to dinner at the Boston Sail Loft for dinner and I had clam chowder and a turkey sandwich. I was thoroughly impressed, but I think mom was the winner with her giant lobster. For dessert, we visited Modern Pastry which is apparently a rival to the famous Mike’s (sorry Byron, we didn’t take your advice) and I got a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake that was incredible.




We ate at the buffet at our hotel. Nothing special.

We visited the RISD Museum and my favorite exhibit was of Tom Oldham’s runway collection because they’re so eccentric and bold and I wish I could wear all of them. I had expected the museum to be a bit more design based, not almost half colonial home furnishing and half Egyptian, but it was a pretty cool museum overall.

Mystic, CT

Since we were so close to Connecticut and had to check out of our hotel room, we drove to Mystic so that I could check off another state. We ate at Mystic Pizza, the inspiration for the movie that put Julia Roberts on the map. I had a milkshake and pepperoni pizza (can you tell that the Messimer’s are on the quest for the best pizza?). We tried to walk off our lunch around town and ended up at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream (oops?) where the employees were less than friendly but the ice cream was pretty darn good.

We then drove the 40 minutes or so to Newport (our destination for the next few nights of vacation).


We stayed at the Newport Marriott, right off the wharf for part two of vacation. There were only THREE elevators for a huge hotel with hundreds of people both staying and using their convention spaces. That was fun. And the pool was only indoors? And there was a huge empty space in the middle of the hotel with no chairs? Probably my favorite part was the great balcony off our room into the center of the hotel that, in combination with other balconies, looked like the sails for a big ship!


We ate at Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen where I had a sun potion which was basically drinking lemons and the mushroom tart.

The Tom Oldham exhibit at RISD

The Tom Oldham exhibit at RISD




We ate at Belle’s in the middle of the wharf and had pancakes and bacon. It gives off a diner vibe and is full of ship workers and locals.

We went on the Madeline sailboat where we had an incredible time. The crew was awesome and helpful and made the experience so great (spoiler alert, we even went back the next day). There was this little boy on the boat with special needs and he was having the best time which made me have even more of a great time because it’s hard to be sad when other people are infectiously grinning.


We had a super late lunch at a Mexican place called Diego’s where I had the nachos. Eh. I’ll stick to nachos in Texas from now on.


I had the lobster mac n cheese (mostly picking out the lobster pieces) and a kale salad from the hotel restaurant.




I had a muffin and coffee from a local coffee shop called Coffee Grinders at the end of the wharf. I felt bad that the woman was working alone to fill the huge demand (because of her coworker was away for the weekend) but the coffee is fair trade certified and my muffin was dang good.

As I alluded to earlier, we visited a boat again – this time, it’s partner the Rum Runner II. We did a “Mimosa Lighthouse Cruise” and this was such a great experience too! Our tour guide is from the area and has a huge stake in the stories of the lighthouses and that added tremendously to the experience (also, the mimosas helped).


At this point, I wanted familiar foods again. That took the form of a grilled cheese and french fries from the bar at our hotel. Man, it hit the spot.

We visited The Breakers (one of the Vanderbilt mansions) as part of our day trip and I really enjoyed it, other than the lack of air conditioning. I love seeing how “the other half lives,” if that makes sense. One of the daughters even founded the Whitney Museum in New York so that added to my #respect of her and her bada**ery (is that even a word?). Mom brought up a good point and something that has helped me see the house through a different lens – these people were Americans (and related to Anderson Cooper) while we’re so used to seeing British *fancy* people.


I had a chicken/spinach/cheesy/gluten free pasta that was too cheesy at The Red Parrot. I don’t think I’ve ever said those words before.


This whole day of vacation fell together to be fairly a mess. Get ready.

Panera was out of coffee and my favorite breakfast item.

A guy on the elevator mentioned to someone, “people in the north are nicer than those in the south.” I’ve come to find out that it seems that (at least the people I came in contact with) in the north put up with more crap than we do (as you will soon see).

Dunkin Donuts took us 20 minutes of standing in line to get to the front (though I will admit the guy working the register, Hank, was awesome). Thankfully, at Starbucks I got to use my free reward and the lady told me my eyes were pretty.

One of the pilots started walking around asking if this rolling luggage he had found was ours. He had found it unattended by restaurant counter and no one seemed worried (except for me) that it could be a bomb. To add to the situation, one of the guys at the bar saw the man who was by it look super anxious and in a hurry. Awesome.

The Wolfgang Pucks in the airport had one waitress that worked at a glacial pace. Yay.

We finally got to take off in Providence but had to circle around Charlotte (our destination) for a while waiting for the clear to land in the storm. We had to land in Wilmington, NC for a while to refuel and wait for the clear. When that finally came, we had missed our connecting flight (the last of the day).

Thus, we spent the night in Charlotte. I got to use a new app to book our hotel (Hotel Tonight, would recommend) and we had the best experience there! The people were incredible and I finally got to eat dinner – a mushroom soup and salad!!!



Our wake-up call was at 4:30. Awesome.

Security was smooth AND a couple let me pet their dog. The little things, right?



I love traveling, but I also love being home.

I learned that I’m messy and impatient and aren’t those fun lessons to learn? But I was also reminded that we worship a God who doesn’t want to keep me there.

I had an incredible time and learned a lot, but now I’m back on the job search grind. Yay.

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