This long, cold, snowy winter we’re
enjoying barely tolerating here in the Hudson Valley hasn’t been kind to our travel plans, beginning way back in November, when a storm prevented us from driving to Gatlinburg, TN for Thanksgiving. Another storm was forecast for President’s Day weekend earlier this month, when we were scheduled to drive to Providence, RI. The Girl insisted we go anyway, whining, “Weather has ruined all our trips!”
Okay, so we were committed to getting there. And then The Boy sprained his ankle, and was outfitted with a boot. My eye began to twitch.
But hey, flexibility is what family travel is all about, so we rolled with it. We were snowed in at the Hampton Inn for an entire afternoon. We couldn’t do much walking. But the important thing was WE GOT OUT of town, winter be damned.
And discovered some great BIG attractions in Rhode Island’s capital city.
Because we love roadside attractions, our first photo op stop was “Nibbles Woodaway,” also known as the Big Blue Bug. At two tons, he’s the world’s largest termite, and has sat on top of an extermination business building since 1980. He’s nine feet tall and 58 feet long, and is occasionally dressed in smart seasonal accessories.
The Girl’s favorite stop was to see the six-foot tall Mr. Potato Head in front of the Hasbro company headquarters building in Pawtucket, 10 minutes away. Don’t let The Boy’s unimpressed expression fool you…inside, he was THRILLED too. The story behind this guy is that he is one of the few remaining of an original batch of 47 statues decorated by various artists, and displayed around the state as part of a tourism promotion in 2000.
We also drove around the Brown University campus, and got a closer look at the three-ton statue of “Indomitable,” an 11-foot-tall bronze Kodiak bear, sculpted by Nick Bibby. The Boy is starting high school next year, so we take every opportunity to expose him to college settings. He was impressed with the buildings, but no so much the hills.
Rhode Island may be one of the country’s smallest states, but its impressive Neoclassical state capitol building is topped by the fourth largest self-supported marble dome in the world. On the tippy top is a gold-covered bronze statue of the “Independent Man” representing the spirit of Roger Williams in founding the state. He’s been struck by lightning many, many times since he was installed in 1899!