Cultural Enrichment Abounds in Providence

Photo: The Big Blue Bug near I-95, Providence, R.I. 

As DU hockey makes its only east coast swing of the season to play Providence, we wanted to give Denver’s fans some road trip advice on their journey to Providence, the one in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island, while the smallest state in the nation (1,214 square miles), offers a plethora of exciting attractions. Here are the top attractions to supplement the December 30-31st hockey showdown between the Pioneers and Friars.

Roger Williams was the founder of Rhode Island and died in 1683. He was buried and a tree root entered his coffin and grew into his body. When his burial site was excavated 200 years later, locals saved the root, not the body, and it is now proudly displayed in the carriage house of the John Brown House, 52 Power Street, Providence, R.I.

Image result for roger williams root

If seeing roots grow through the cadaver of Roger Williams is not gross enough, then up the ante and go to the John Hay Library. There are three books in the John Hay Library bound with human skin. Appropriately, one is the famous anatomy textbook De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body) by Andreas Vesalius. They also have two copies of Dance of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger, which were both rebound anthropodermically in 1898.

Driving down to the game on southbound I-95? Look for the worlds largest bug, Big Blue. Constructed by New England Pest Control (renamed Big Blue Bug Solutions, of course), there is a 58 feet long termite that nests on the roof of the company’s headquarters. 35,000 people a day drive by the pest every day. GM David Pontes states , “The bug is what brings the business in,” he said. “We do way over a million dollars a year in termite work alone.”  And the tie to Denver? There is a huge DIA airport terminal mural that features attractions around the country – the Providence’s Big Blue made it.

Miss the mountains? Pack your hydro pack and boots and travel to Foster, R.I. near the Connecticut border. Jerimoth Hill is the highest natural point in the Rhode Island at 812 feet in elevation. The property is owned by Brown University. For many years, hikers could not access the hill because the only path to the summit crossed the driveway of a private property owner, Henry Richardson, who prohibited entry. Richardson posted “no trespassing” signs and installed a security system that alerted him whenever people entered his property. Richardson’s belligerence toward hikers made him something of a legend in the community. Eventually, Richardson’s son worked out a plan to allow access to the path four times a year before the eventual purchase by Brown when public access was allowed. Near Foster there is a Jerimoth Hill sign along Route 101 at the entrance to the trail.

Restaurant Recommendation: Bocce Club, 226 St. Louis Avenue, Woonsocket, RI – 25 minute drive from Providence. A white frame house in a family neighborhood. Order the chicken, family style.

New Years Party after the game – Ogies Trailer Park, 1155 Westminister Street, Providence, RI