Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

I just talked up my Providence-oriented RSS reading list to someone I just met, and it seemed appropriate to share: here’s my daily Providence reading list.

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Baby Doll play set available on Etsy in Rhode Island: http://www.etsy.com/listing/46824903/

If you’re doing some last-minute shopping, that’s all the more reason to keep it local. Here are a few ideas (feel free to post others in the comments) for great children’s gifts that are either invented and/or made in Rhode Island.

Handmade local items at Craftland.

Craftland
Located on Westminster Street in Providence, this packed little shop sells jewelry, t-shirts, cards, puppet-making kits, toys, you name it. All the items are hand-crafted by regional artists.
www.craftlandshow.com

Seven Acre Toys
Providence, RI
Wood blocks, rattles, mobiles, teethers and more.
http://sevenacretoys.com

Pockets of Learning
Warren, RI
This children’s toy company makes unique soft toys. We still have the three little pigs set that Madeline got as a gift years ago.  I’m not sure they still make that, but they have a soft tea set that I’m sure Lucy would love.
www.pocketsoflearning.com

Etsy
Local searches in RI
On Etsy, you can find local artisans who make dolls, toys, clothes, etc. A quick search for “children” in Rhode Island brought me to this adorable mini baby set (pictured above), owl wall plaque, and toddler aviator hat. See the full list of children’s items in Rhode Island.

Mill Street Puzzle Company
Newport, RI
Located in Newport’s Historic Hill, this company creates American-made jigsaw puzzles that celebrate American heritage.
www.millstreetpuzzles.com

Bananagrams

Providence, RI
Let’s not forget one of my personal favorites — a word game for the Scrabble-obsessed.
http://bananagrams.com

Hasbro
Of course, Hasbro, the maker of Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh and a plethora of other toys and brands is also located in Rhode Island. In fact, it’s one of the big national public companies located in the state (CVS is another), and as such is a major employer here.  Buying Play-Doh doesn’t have the same feel as buying a hand-crafted item. Still, a local job is nothing to scoff at when you’re unemployment rate still exceeds 10 percent…
www.hasbro.com

Who out there has other suggestions?

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Jerry and Rose take the bus to Foxwoods Casino when they're in Rhode Island.

My step-mother’s parents, Rose and Jerry (aka Bubbie and Zadie), retired to Florida over 17 years ago. Every year, they return to Rhode Island — the state in which they were born, raised their children, and lived most of their lives.

Of course, they come to visit family, but their journey has also become a pilgrimage to their old favorite restaurants and sights. Their carefully culled picks have nothing to do with hot spots that may rise and fall from the Best of Rhode Island lists. Instead, these are the places that have persisted through the generations and have come to represent a moment in time in Rhode Island.

1. At Twin Oaks in Cranston, they always order the baked stuffed shrimp. They say the shrimp are “scrawny” in Florida compared with the five jumbo shrimps at Twin Oaks. But it’s the stuffing they crave. They also like that when you order a cocktail, like a Black Russian, you get “a drink and a half.” Other favorites here include the house salad dressing and the homemade chocolate pudding.

2. Florida may be the “Sunshine State,” but Rhode Island is still the “Ocean State.” Every year, they plan a beach day at either Narragansett Town Beach or Sand Hill Cove (Roger Wheeler). They love the way the land gradually slopes out to the ocean rather than the abrupt way the land drops at the Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale beaches. (Although they admit the Gulf waters on the west coast of Florida are warm, and the beaches have a more gradual dip.) Still, nothing is better than sitting on the sea wall in Narragansett as the sun is rising or setting. Clam cakes and chowder (which they call chowda) are a must at either Aunt Carrie’s, Champlin’s, or George’s of Galilee.

3. At Crow’s Nest in Warwick, they enjoy the lobster salad sandwiches and their sugar-free blueberry pie.

4. Chello’s by the water in Warwick is a must for the Jim Dandy Burger and the banana berry pie, served only in season.

5. Their trip to Rhode Island is not complete without a Conway Bus day trip to Foxwood Casinos in Connecticut. For 24 dollars a ticket, you get bus service to and from the hotel along with food and gambling vouchers. They give you more in vouchers than the price of the ticket expecting that visitors will wind up spending more gambling. But for Rose and Jerry, it’s a deal.

6. They adore the chocolate walnut ice cream from Brickley’s in Narragansett on route 1A. You can also get Brickley’s in Wickford served in the former Ryan’s market.

7. They love to quench their thirst on a hot beach day with a classic Del’s lemonade. Now with locations in over a dozen states, Del’s started in Cranston. Rose still remembers the owner, Mr. Delucia.

8. They love events like the East Greenwich Main Street stroll; concerts in Wickford and Cranston’s Garden City; and tours in Newport, RI and Mystic, Connecticut.

9. They can’t resist the coffee “cabinets” from Newport Creamery.

10. And no trip is complete without some Walt’s roast beef sandwiches.

Twin Oaks (since 1933)
100 Sabra Street
Cranston, RI
www.twinoaksrest.com

Aunt Carrie’s Seafood (since 1920)
1240 Ocean Road
Narragansett, RI
www.auntcarriesri.com

Champlin’s Seafood (since 1932)
See previous post

George’s of Galilee (since 1948)
250 Sand Hill Cove Road
Narragansett, RI
www.georgesofgalilee.com

Crow’s Nest (since 1966)
288 Arnolds Neck Drive
Warwick, RI
www.crowsnestri.com

Chelo’s on the Waterfront (since 1955)
1 Masthead Drive
Warwick, RI
www.chelos.com

Foxwoods Resort Casinos (since 1986)
www.foxwoods.com

Brickley’s (since 1995)
See previous post.

Del’s Lemonade (since 1948)
www.dels.com

Newport Creamery (since 1940)
See previous post.

Walt’s Roast Beef (since 1957)
www.waltsroastbeef.net

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One of the several candy aisles at Imagine Gift Store.

It’s always a bit sad to see a theatre converted into some other use, although when that happens,  I am in favor of it becoming a extra-large candy store. Imagine Gift Store, located in the restored Lyric Theatre in Warren, RI, can probably satisfy whatever sweet craving you’ve got — including candy cigarettes.

Madonna in your cup.

Here, you might also stock up on your chotchkes, such as the iPlunge (a mini plunger to use as an iPhone/iTouch stand) or a mug in which the Madonna materializes from a remaining coffee stain (my mother-in-law bought this).

We also left with Bananagrams, a word game created here in Rhode Island, which as it turns out, may be as addictive as candy.

Like Scrabble, Bananagrams enables you to build and connect words, however, the board isn’t fixed so you can change and move words as you see fit. Even better, there’s no taking turns, which means I don’t have to wait a half hour while Geoff patiently contrives a way of using all of his letters. And although this isn’t a win-win situation, it means I win more of the time, which is just fine with me.

Bananagrams, a word game created in Rhode Island.

Imagine Gift Store
5 Miller Street
Warren, RI
www.imaginegiftstores.com

Bananagrams
www.bananagrams.com

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The ice cream counter at Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery.


When I read that Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery had s’mores ice cream, I decided to make a trip there with the girls. Although they didn’t have that flavor on the day we arrived, it was well worth the trip (which turned out to be a 20-minute ride anyway).

Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery is actually a toy store/ice cream shop in one (a combination as obvious as chocolate and vanilla) so we picked up a gift for a friend’s new baby and ate some ice cream — chocolate for Madeline and chocolate chip cookie dough for me. As it turns out, they serve Big Alice’s Ice Cream, which once had its own shop on Hope Street. You can still find the ice cream in Providence at Guido’s Italian restaurant — although on my recent visit there (a blog post for another day), I was too stuffed to order dessert, even ice cream.

So I’ll be back for the s’mores. For now, I’ve been sated by the new Ben & Jerry’s flavor, although it’s not quite as tasty when you can read the calorie count on the container.

Lizzy and the Enchanted Creamery
1700 Mendon Road
Cumberland, RI
Facebook page

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Crispy outside and soft inside, these macarons deserve their name.

I often wonder why so many of the tasty treats I’ve discovered in France seem to be either nowhere to be found back home or even worse, simply not so tasty.

That can no longer be said to be true of the macaron thanks to 2009 Bryant University graduate Stephen Fitch. He discovered the cookie during his study abroad in Paris and returned obsessed with the task of recreating what he calls this “culinary phenomena” in Rhode Island. His countless hours of baking and tasting have resulted in the Moondust Macarons collection of flavors (pistachio, lemon, coffee, chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla). Taste for yourself this Saturday at Providence Open Market at Lippitt Park. They are also sold at Eastside Market and through their website.

Moondust Macarons has a stand at Providence Open Market.

Moondust Macarons
www.moondustmacarons.com

Providence Open Market
Lippitt Park
Hope Street
Providence, RI
on Saturday, June 19, 2010
www.providenceopenmarket.com

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The Newport Antiques Show offers fine furniture and art for antique connoisseurs.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

In its third year, the Newport Antiques Show arrived in town this weekend to showcase 40 regional antique dealers selling fine carpets, antique artwork, etched wooden furniture, dishes, grandfather clocks, etc.  Not surprisingly, the show featured a lot of nautical themed objects like paintings of ocean scenes and miniature wooden boats.  The $12/person ticket cost supports the Newport Historical Society and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport County.

I can certainly appreciate the beauty of fine antiques, but knowing very little about them makes guessing prices a bit like an absurd Price is Right.  For example, one painting I supposed worth $10,000 was being sold for $180,000.

The only thing I might consider buying was a 10×14 hand-threaded antique carpet from India circa 1920s sold by Oriental Rugs Ltd. At $9,500, it seemed a relative bargain (if you have the money) considering I saw much less interesting rugs for more money at ABC Carpet in New York City just recently.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

Armory Antiques in Newport, RI features thousands of items from fine antique desks to retro Barbies.

We enjoyed the visit, but left empty-handed.  Since we hadn’t quite gotten antiquing out of our system, we decided to go to Armory Antiques on Thames Street in downtown Newport, a better bet for people like us who care only what they themselves like and prefer a bargain.  The store is open year-round with no admission charge and features antiques from over 100 dealers.  It’s a much rougher style of antique hunting — with a variety of retro games and toys like Barbie dolls (some clothed, others not), dishes stacked high, paintings leaning on furniture, and plenty of knick knacks.  Likely due to the economy, quite a bit is discounted.  I saw a charming painted wooden crèche in the form of a candle holder — when lit, the fan above swirls causing the figurines inside to circle like a carousel.  The price had been slashed three times down to “$95 firm.”  In addition, several of the vendors offered 25% off formerly “firm” priced items.

At Armory Antiques, it feels more like you might discover some treasure — not of value as an investment, but of personal value.  And in fact, an unsigned pastoral painting listed at $250 struck my eye, and I bought for $200 cash (see the photo at right).

Newport Antiques Show
www.newportantiquesshow.com

Armory Antiques
365 Thames St
Newport, RI 02840

www.armoryantiques.net

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