Winter might not seem like the ideal season for a road trip, but when cabin fever starts to set in (let’s be honest, we’ve been feeling it since last March), it might just be the perfect time to fill up the tank and buckle in for some local escapes. Thankfully, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau teamed up with the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and City of Warwick to put together some agendas – cheerfully titled Joy Rides – to satisfy every kind of wanderlust. The best part? You don’t even have to cross the state border.
“These Joy Rides offer a safe and fun way for families to get out of the house, enjoy the sights and attractions in areas of the state they may not be familiar with, and support local small businesses – especially in what’s typically the slow time of year following the holiday rush,” says Kristen Adamo, president and CEO of the PWCVB in the initial press release.
There are eight curated Joy Rides available at GoProvidence.com, each offering things to do, where to eat, and places to stay if you feel like turning the day trip into an overnight. Here’s a preview of what each has in store (visit online for full details, including hotels).
As the name might imply, this ride will have you sipping your way through the state, starting with Diamond Hill or Verde Vineyards in Northern RI and weaving through local craft breweries and distilleries in Pawtucket and Prov like The Guild and Rhode Island Spirits, and finishing at Proclamation Ale. Along the way, combine craft brews with equally delicious eats at Bayberry Beer Hall in Prov or Apponaug Brewing Company in Warwick.
A ride perfect for the kiddos combines active stops like Launch Trampoline Park in Warwick with historic walking tours, a visit to the Providence Children’s Museum, and indoor go-karting at R1 in Lincoln. Both kids and parents will love noshing on sliders at Harry’s Bar & Burger and grabbing something sweet from KNEAD or PVDonuts.
The Warwick Mall kicks off this joy ride, a major shopping destination for national retailers; for local ones, the agenda points to Westminster and Hope Streets in Providence and Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. While you’re sure to encounter plenty of eating opportunities along the way, they recommend CAV for its pretty interior (featuring antiques for sale!) or Vanda Cucina for elegant Italian in Warwick.
Cleverly described as a “java jaunt”, this route weaves from Coffee Exchange in Providence to West Shore Coffee Bar in Warwick, peppered with sweet stops for baked goods and more hot cuppas in between. There’s even something for those who prefer their caffeine steeped rather than brewed: BlackStone Herbs + Coffee Bar in Cumberland has a menu dedicated to hot loose-leaf and specialty tea blends.
Besides beaches and being the smallest state, Rhode Island is known as a top-notch foodie destination that offers global cuisine in a small-town package. Try seafood in Warwick at Top of the Bay or The Crow’s Nest, Peruvian and Bolivian at Los Andes in Prov, Korean fried chicken at Den Den on the East Side, and spice it up with Colombian at La Casona in Central Falls.
Who said breakfast food is just for breakfast? Instead, make it a full-day affair with this trip touring classic Pawtucket diners like Modern and Miss Lorraine, elevated brunch fare at Nick’s on Broadway or quirky takes from Julian’s in PVD, and cozy eats from the Tree House Tavern unexpectedly nestled in a commercial chunk of Warwick.
The weather might be chilly – perhaps even snowy – but that doesn’t mean outdoor adventures are off the table. Drive to Rocky Point Park in Warwick for the remnants of the former beloved amusement park, walk the trail along Blackstone Boulevard in Providence, or hike Lincoln Woods. Of course, Roger Williams Park offers a ton of recreation options in a single space, including the carousel, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, and zoo.
Last but not least, this joy ride takes you through the Little Rhody we know and love: From strolling historic Pawtuxet Village and admiring the Rhode Island State House, to exploring Federal Hill and grabbing a hot weiner from Olneyville New York System or clam roll from Iggy’s, to name a few.