I wasn’t entirely sure if my “New Year New Place” trip this year would even happen given the pandemic situation we are currently living in. On top of that, there are a total of three states, other than Connecticut, that aren’t on our travel advisory – and I’ve already been to one of them. This left me with only two choices for my new place: New Jersey and Rhode Island. Not knowing much about New Jersey, and the fact that it’s double the driving time, I decided to go with Rhode Island.
In doing my research of things to do there, I wasn’t coming up with too much other than Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and Newport. However, I did hear about the Roger Williams Zoo, and if you know me, you know I LOVE zoos. It was then that the plan was set in place – Providence, Rhode Island.
Luckily, I’ve been able to convince my boyfriend, Noe, to tag along for a little weekend getaway since it will only take a few days to do the things I’m interested in, and our anniversary is coming up so it’s good timing to have a nice weekend together.
For anyone who has followed my blogs in the past, specifically my traveling ones, you know Day 1 of my trip has NEVER gone as planned. Whether it was not understanding how a metro works, passing out on an airplane, flight delays, or my hotel rooms not being ready, it’s been an ongoing theme of my travel blogs. Well, FINALLY – on my 5th year – I’m glad to announce this Day 1 had ZERO issues!! (Probably because there weren’t planes or metros involved, but I’ll take it either way)
Noe and I left this morning around 10am or so since it’s only about an hour and a half drive to Providence from the house. The only thing we have set in stone for this weekend is the zoo, which will be tomorrow, because we already got our tickets. There was another place I had in mind for us to go, so this was Stop #1 – Roger Williams Botanical Center.
I personally love plants, nature, the environment, and all things related so this was something I wanted to check out since it’s named New England’s Largest Indoor Display Garden. This was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and I think Noe loved it just as much as I did. The area as a whole is more than just the botanical area, it’s a whole park/conservatory/zoo thrown into one. Everything is dedicated to Roger Williams – the founder of Rhode Island, and also the reason the separation of church and state is written in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution (how cool!!).
We started out in the botanical center walking through four different greenhouses filled with such variety of plant life. Everything is completely sustainable there which makes it even more awesome! They have “rain buildings” that collect all of the rainwater on the roof and drain it so they can then use that same water for their plants, they use goats for invasive plant species, weeds, and poison ivy, it looks like they have solar panels on the greenhouses to allow the heat lamps inside to function, and the only insects within the gardens are those that are beneficial for the plants. Talk about renewable energy and resources! #GoEnvironment
Since the grounds are also a park, we took a little walk around to see what else was there. Since we’re coming into winter, none of the outside gardens or rose gardens have any live plants, but I hope to go back when there are, because I imagine they are probably amazing. There’s a casino on the grounds that looks like it’s since been closed (nothing inside), a bandstand, and Betsy Williams’ cottage (which looks like a museum, but it was also closed). It was the perfect place to spend a couple hours just walking around and enjoying what the park had to offer.
Shortly after that, and a brief walk around the mall to finally find a restroom, we checked into our hotel. All is good in the world except having to pay for parking per night, but a cost I’ve noticed isn’t all that uncommon. We decided to just relax in our hotel for a bit before taking a stroll around outside. Since it was starting to get a little dark outside, we will probably walk around Downtown Providence more tomorrow to sight see some shops and such, but we did get to see Johnson & Wales University where my mom went to college! It’s very bittersweet to know that my mom (and dad) were probably walking these same streets together that Noe and I are now walking.
After a nice, slightly windy walk we decided to head to dinner at none other than Texas Roadhouse since Noe was craving steak and potatoes. He actually ended up getting ribs instead, but I did get the steak so a win-win. It was nothing short of a great first day meal before we headed back to the hotel for the night to shower, relax, and get ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will be heading to the zoo where my mom and dad actually had their first date! Fingers crossed the animals are awake, the weather isn’t windy, and I can find some pressed pennies! Stay tuned 🙂