Our Providence Vacation

For our sixth Navona getaway, we traveled to Providence, Rhode Island.  We stayed in a charming and eclectic Airbnb in the Federal Hill neighborhood. (For some colorful history of this area, I recommend the first season of the Crimetown podcast.)  We were very particular about choosing these accommodations because we wanted to take advantage of the space for our Portland Collection photo shoot.

Navona Handmade Portland Collection Photoshoot Airbnb

Check out our photos for the Portland Collection for a glimpse of the boho apartment we stayed in.  We prefer Airbnbs to hotels because there's a totally different vibe to the entire experience. For a few days, you get the immersive experience of living in a different home, hanging out in a new neighborhood, and seeing parts of the city that only locals venture to.

We went to Rhode Island for a long weekend, driving up Friday after we all finished work at our day jobs. Christine’s sister, Tania, joined us on this trip; you might recognize her as our model!  

Navona Handmade model

We arrived at our Airbnb, unpacked and settled in for the weekend, then broke out the wine. It was fairly late and we’d had a long drive, so after a few glasses we called it a night. We spent most of Saturday taking lifestyle photos in our Airbnb. With careful planning, teamwork, and our family pitching in as models, we always have a great time during our photo shoots. 

We closed out the day by walking a few blocks to have dinner at Julian’s, a local spot recommended by our Airbnb host. Like many of the places we visited in Providence, Julian’s was fun and quirky: weird signs and dolls serving as decor on the walls, and a menu of creative bar food. We recommend the Tikka Masala Poutine Fries!

Sunday we had a slow morning, and ate in for breakfast before heading out to explore the rest of Providence.  For lunch, we dined at Mokban Korean Bistro on a recommendation from a friend, and it was fantastic!

Navona Handmade at Mokban

From there, we walked through downtown Providence. We tried to take in as much as we could, and take in the “must-see” spots, but we were battling thunderstorms the whole time!  (We have a track record of bad luck with weather on our getaways!) We did stop at the Westminster Arcade, which provided a much-needed respite from the weather.

Westminster Arcade

It’s a very historic building that is the first enclosed shopping mall in the US, and is full of cute little boutiques. We also encountered the first of many Providence murals on this walk, which was also the mural that inspired our color palette!  

Providence mural that inspired our color palette

From the Arcade we went on to the RISD museum, taking in their current exhibit as well as their permanent collections.

Navona Handmade at the RISD Museum

It’s always fun to visit museums in other cities, especially those in smaller cities. You always see work by artists you aren’t familiar with, and the small size means they aren’t overwhelming to visit in a single afternoon.

We left the museum and walked down Benefit Street.  This street is known for its colonial architecture, which is both beautiful and charming.  The style influenced many of the shapes and lines in our collection.

Rain boots on Benefit Street

We meandered along, on the way to our true destination: PV Donuts. We arrived less than ten minutes before closing time, and it didn’t disappoint.  

PV Donuts

We did end up having to take cover in a playground across the street to enjoy them, though! Leftover donuts in hand, we headed back out and ran right into a parade. Though we’re not sure what exactly they were celebrating, (it seemed to be a religious parade) their costumes were great.  We left the parade route to stop at the Duck and Bunny, another local spot recommended to us by friends.

Christine and Beth at Duck and Bunny

It’s a quirky bar with Alice in Wonderland vibes, and we ended up having a bucket (of cans) of champagne. Our last stop of the day was at Hot Club, a waterfront bar where we had dinner and participated in their endearing nightly routine of flashing “goodnight lights” at the children’s hospital across the river. 

After Hot Club we headed back to our Airbnb and ended up running into our host, who was working on his motorcycles. We invited him in (to his own house...is that weird?) and had a few glasses of wine with him and his friend (we had a few questions about some of the odder decor in his apartment). This is another thing we really like about Airbnb: it gives us opportunities to meet new friends.

We returned home on Monday morning, having breakfast at the Classic Cafe on our way out of town.  Overall, we were really taken with the charm and vibe of Providence, which was more quirky and offbeat than any of us expected. 

It’s a town that, despite its long history and traditional trappings, doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, and we really enjoyed our time there.  We hope we were able to capture this spirit in our Providence Collection, and that you enjoy the collection as much as we do.