For our two year anniversary, my boyfriend and I took a long weekend trip to Providence, RI. While the city isn’t my favorite, there were still a lot of exciting highlights that I’d like to share with you. We went to a distillery, visited a culinary museum, and took in the sights and sounds of an unfamiliar city!
Before we actually headed into the city, we stopped at the first and (as of yet) only whiskey distillery in the state. We were in for an unexpected treat. Located in South Kingstown, RI, Sons of Liberty is a small distillery where people who are passionate about whiskey put their hearts and souls into their craft. It’s a small two room operation, so our tour didn’t take very long, but we sure got a lot of information about the distilling process. Sons is unique in that they distill their whiskey from stouts (oftentimes whiskey is derived from light beers like lagers), so the flavor is distinct and bold. After the tour, we got to taste their products. To me, their signature single malt whiskey, Uprising, didn’t taste traditional, rather, it reminded me of tequila. It is an interesting twist to single malt whiskey. Another twist to Uprising is that it is extremely smooth (or maybe I’m used to drinking poor quality whiskey that scorches my insides), which makes drinking it neat particularly pleasant. Even better is a great vodka they have is the Loyal 9 Cucumber Mint. When we tried it, it was still in the testing phase because Sons was expanding their product line beyond whiskey. They had created such a fresh flavor in this product with mint, cucumber, and a hint of vanilla. It was absolutely delicious. In fact, I wouldn’t mind drinking some of that right now… Even though the delicious liquor could have made the trip wonderful in and of itself, the people that work there really made the trip extra special. As I said before, the tour was informative, but beyond that, employees took the time to speak with us about their products and the inception and future plans for the business. We spoke with founder Mike Reppucci about his vision for the novel distillery and Bryan Ricard about their marketing plan. It was interesting to hear about the new business and the efforts to get products out to the public. They spent a lot of time with us and even found us as we wandered through the farmer’s market (they share the building) to take our picture in front of their copper still. They even put a terrible picture up on their Facebook page! Go check it out if you get the chance!
The next day, we went to a museum that I’ve been dying to go to for years: The Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Wales University. We walked in and were greeted by one of the first hot dog”trucks” driven by horses and some large cutouts of food logo characters. Inside, I ogled the collection of culinary tools like intimidating knivesfor absolutely any occasion and elegant tongs that I would never be classy enough to use. I would have taken home every accoutrement if I could have! They also had displays of stoves through the ages, county fairs to culinary olympics, and food on the move. The most exciting exhibit for me, though, was the diner exhibit. I’m a huge fan of diner food and always enjoy finding a new one to go to on Saturday morning.
As we began traversing this section of the museum, a man popped out of a side office and offered us a piece of chocolate. Sounds weird, right? Our minds sounded off ‘stranger danger!’, but our bellies rebelled. After all, we were at a culinary university. We ate the delicious student-made chocolate and began speaking with this friendly man.
He was the curator of the museum, Richard Gutman. It was really lucky that we met him because he has deep knowledge about diners and had helped a friend write a guide for diners in New England. Apparently, years ago, Rick had organized the moving of our favorite diners to the place where it sits now! Our experience here, like the one at Sons of Liberty, was excellent not only because of all that we learned but because of the people that we met.
When we weren’t going on a mini pub crawl, visiting the RISD art museum, or sampling the city’s food offerings, we spent time just wandering. The nicest part of the city is College Hill, where all of the grand historic houses are located. It was wonderful to see the elegant Georgian and Renaissance Revival architecture, among other styles. If only I could afford a gorgeous house in that neighborhood… I would highly recommend wandering around that part of the city on your next trip to Providence.
Like I said, the trip did have some great highlights. Unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy everything that we did, perhaps because of the rain on our last day, or we weren’t in the right mindset, or perhaps because our hotel was located far away from the city center. I would go back to Providence, but probably only for a day trip and not a long weekend.
P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures! I was working with an ancient and frustrating piece of equipment at that time.