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6 Places to Take the Plunge New Year’s Day

As far as strange holiday traditions go, the polar bear plunge is one of the oddest. Every New Year’s Day, thousands of people across the frozen wastelands of the Northern Hemisphere take a dip in icy waters. Whether they’re motivated by a winter-induced mania or a casual indifference to bodily harm, the results are the same: a spectacular display of human silliness. The practice isn’t just a chance to show off how macho you are; most plunges encourage participants to raise and pledge money to local charities. So, if you’d like to witness this event for yourself (or if you’re crazy enough to participate), here are six locations across the state (and nearby Massachusetts) where people are taking the plunge.

Penguin Plunge

Courtesy of Penguin Plunge Facebook

Every year hundreds head to Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett to take the plunge in support of Rhode Island’s Special Olympics. Participants are encouraged to raise 50$ for the more than 3,200 disabled folks who participate in the Special Olympics every year. Registration begins at 9:00 AM and the plunge takes place at noon. specialolympicsri.org

Newport’s Polar Bear Plunge

Courtesy of Newport Polar Bear Plunge Facebook

You may imagine colonial history and fine eating when you think of Newport, but it also has one of the state’s most popular polar plunges. At Easton Beach, participants gather to raise money for A Wish Come True which helps make sick children’s dreams a reality. Participants will be in the water at noon. www.facebook.com

 Plunging for Paws

Courtesy of Forever Paws Facebook

If you’re looking for an event that benefits your favorite furry four-footed friend, head to Sandy Beach in Fall River. All money raised goes  to the Forever Paws Animal Shelter, which cares for strays, abused animals and abandoned pets. Dive in for Fido at noon on January 1st.  facebook.com

Frozen Clam Obstaplunge

Courtesy of Obstaplunge’s Facebook

Is the normal polar plunge not hardcore enough for you? Try the Obstaplunge, an event that challenges you to do a half-mile obstacle course on Goddard Park Beach before reaching the finish line in the icy ocean. Hosted by Laid-Back Fitness, proceeds go to the RI Mentoring Partnership, a program dedicated to providing the state’s youth with quality guidance. laidbackfitness.com

Block Island

Courtesy of Block Island Tourism Council

Looking for an excuse to be back on island time? Every year, Block Island’s Lions Club hosts a polar plunge at Fred Benson Town Beach. Despite its balmy weather in summer, the island is no tropical paradise, so don’t expect its waters to be warm. As with most plunges, it takes place at New Year’s Day at noon. blockislandinfo.com

Jamestown 1st Day

Courtesy of Jamestown 1st Day Plunge Facebook

For water sports enthusiasts, Jamestown has a paddle board race before their polar plunge. Pre-registration begins at 10:30 at the Jamestown Recreation Center and the event continues from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at East Ferry Beach. It’s family-friendly, so feel free to bring the kids along! facebook.com

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5 Cozy Taverns for Cold Winter Nights

Baby it’s cold outside and I need… some steaming hot wings and a pint of beer. With the winter upon us, bask in the snug warmth of your nearest tavern.

Tree House Tavern

tree-house-tavern

Courtesy of Tree House Tavern’s Facebook

Alright, so it’s not actually in a tree house (although there is a picturesque one on the premises) but the Tree House Tavern still has a lot going for it, including a menu that is a step above normal pub fare. Sit in front of a crackling wood stove while enjoying a piping hot Rustic French Meat Pie or a Venison Chop drizzled in a cranberry mustard demi-glace. Sip a local microbrew and enjoy the rustic interior, rough wood beams and all. 1094 Centerville Rd., Warwick, 821-1105, thetreehousetavern.com

Tavern on Main

main

Courtesy of Tavern on Main’s Facebook

You’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant with as rich a history as the Tavern on Main. First built as a colonial home in the 1700s, it later became the center of violent political upheaval in the 1840s. Rebels trying to overthrow RI’s political elite used the establishment as their headquarters until the state militia fired through the tavern door and took it for themselves. Today, you probably won’t have to deal with musket-bearing militiamen but you will get a chance to sample delicious dishes like their Lazy Man’s Lobster Saute or their Old Fashioned Yankee Pot-roast. 1157 Putnam Pk., Chepachet, 710-9788, tavernonmainri.com

Blackie’s Bull Dog Tavern

blackies

Courtesy of Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern’s Facebook

If you’re looking for a gourmet spin on classic bar grub, head over to Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern. The Junkyard Nachos are made from freshly fried tortilla chips topped with homemade salsa, guac, and pulled pork. They have a smoker out back that is loaded up with meaty goodness almost every day. For the booze hound (pun very much intended), they carry a slew of New England brews on draft and a bunch of creative cocktails –their Winter Bonfire is guaranteed to warm you up in this chilly season. 181 George Washington Hwy, Smithfield, 231-4777, blackiesbulldogtavern.com

DeWolf Tavern

dewolf

Courtesy of DeWolf Tavern’s Facebook

Rustic decor meets top-notch food at the DeWolf Tavern. Once a stone warehouse, it was converted into a tavern with a coziness that will make you want to stay for hours. Tree trunk pillars, rough stone walls and wooden beams give it a primitive-but-pleasant vibe. Their head chef Sai Viswanath has traveled the world perfecting his craft, and he serves up meals that are cooked with meticulous attention  to detail. Try one of their seasonal cocktails: Jack Frost, Cranberry Bog, and Spiced Rumkin to name a few. 259 Thames St., Bristol, 254-2005, dewolftavern.com

Mews Tavern

mews

Courtesy of Mews Tavern’s Facebook

End your quest for a unique bar space here. Mews Tavern has three quirky bars: one is in a room plastered with money, another has a graffiti-covered tree plopped in the middle, and of course there is a rustic Irish pub. For the beer lovers out there, they have a whopping sixty-nine beers on tap; enjoy favorites like a reliable ‘Gansett or experiment with something different with a glass of ominous (but delicious) Monk’s Blood. With their enormous beer list, you could easily forget about food — but you’d be missing out. Feel like trying something different? Slathered in peanut butter, and topped with bacon, cheese and an egg, the Goober burger is just the thing. 456 Main St., Wakefield, 783-9370, mewstavern.com

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6 Places to Skate This Winter

Winter–for some it’s a dismal season with little to do but stare out the window forlornly; for others, it’s a dismal season with the occasional chance to skitter around on solidified water. Whether you’re whizzing around the ice like a pro or holding onto a traffic cone for stability, skating can be one of the few ways to make the most out of winter. If you’re looking to get a bit of a workout or battle that pesky case of seasonal affective disorder, check out one of the following prime skating locations.

Outdoors

Prepare for snow, cold, and lots of fun

 

The Alex and Ani Center

alex-and-ani

Courtesy of Alex and Ani Center’s Facebook page

The Rhode Island equivalent of Rockefeller Center, the Alex and Ani Center is located in the heart of downtown and is usually decked out in holiday cheer. Admire the enormous Christmas tree (or holiday tree as some would call it). Go for a skate with that special someone and grab a bite at one of the city’s great restaurants. 2 Kennedy Plz., Providence, 401-337-5544, alexandanicitycenter.com

Lincoln Woods

lincoln-woods

Courtesy of Lincoln Wood’s Facebook

If you’d like to skate and admire winter wildlife at the same time, Lincoln Woods has several ponds that will give you just that. Make sure the ice is safe! Call the Ice Safety hotline at 401-667-6222 before heading out. Enjoy the snow covered pines, chirping winter birds and cool, fresh air. 2 Manchester Print Works Rd., Lincoln, 401-723-7892, riparks.com

Newport Skating Center

newport

Courtesy of Newport Skating Center’s Facebook page

With the surrounding city’s old-time feel, you’ll think you’ve been transported to A Christmas Carol when skating at the Newport Skating Center. Only a snowball’s throw from the ocean, you can enjoy the salty air and the sights of snowy Newport. With free and discounted skate nights during the week, you can afford to spend a little extra at one of city’s many fine eateries. 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport, 401-846-3018, newportskatingcenter.com

 

Indoors

Frigid temperatures, rain, scorching heat–the weather doesn’t matter in these sheltered rinks

 

Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink

cranston-veterans

Courtesy of Cranston Veterans’ Rink’s Facebook

With two NHL sized rinks, there should be plenty of room at the Veterans Memorial Ice Rink. Looking for something to do on Friday night? The Rock n’ Skate offers live DJs and two hours of skate time from 8:00 to 10:00 PM for only five dollars. Grab a drink and snack from their concession stand or take a break from the ice and play one of the classic games in their arcade. 900 Phenix Ave., Cranston, 401-944-8690, cvmrink.com

Boss Arena

boss-arena

Courtesy of Boss Arena’s Facebook

Whether you’re a student, alum, or just a looking for a place to skate, URI’s Boss Arena is a well-equipped indoor rink great for every skill level. From open figure skating to the family-oriented Rock n’ Skate night, they’re open to the public for at least a couple of hours every day Monday through Saturday. Looking to hone your skating skills? They offer lessons all year round. 1 Keaney Rd., South Kingstown, 401-874-9260, bossicearena.com

Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink

smithfield

Courtesy of Smithfield Ice Rink’s Facebook

Home to Bryant University’s Bulldogs and the high school hockey teams of multiple northern Rhode Island towns, the Smithfield Municipal Ice Rink has public hockey and skating all year. If you’d like to have a birthday party or other arctic extravaganza, you can rent the rink and their conference room. 109 Pleasant View Ave., Smithfield, 401-233-105, smithfieldri.com

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A Bunch of RI Christmas Cards You Didn’t Know You Needed

These are the Rhode Island holiday/Christmas cards you didn't know needed, and there's one for everyone on your list.

For your jovial aunt who used to live in RI but who now lives in Florida and who doesn't understand sarcasm:
(because you don't want to send her the same "You Suck, Merry Christmas" card that you send your bff who gets it. Your aunt will just cry.)

 


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Buy them here, herehere and here

For your friend who is geographically challenged: ("Wait, Chariho  isn't an actual town that's north of Scituate?")

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Buy here and here.

For that one person you know who revels in their weirdness: (There's always at least one). Ed. Note: Not all ABOUT RI, but all the cards are made in RI. 

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Buy here, here and here

For your grumpy uncle or friend who is a bit of a Scrooge/Grinch but secretly, deep down in the recesses of their soul, loves the holidays: (While they nurse their whiskey on the rocks by themselves near a blazing fire, they begrudgingly mutter, 'God bless us, everyone.')

il_570xn-882855956_jw18    best-of-luck-this-holiday-season-card   il_570xn-880890600_5jis

here, here and  here

And finally, just some genuinely cute, pretty cards: (In honor of all that's normal and right with the world)

have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas-card  merry-christmas-card  spread-some-cheer-card

Get them, and more, here.

 

All photos courtesy of the retailers' websites.

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Rhode Island Breweries: Week 8

We're posting a brewery a week to celebrate fall (and the fact that brewery tours and tastings just seem cozier and more fun when the leaves start to change!).

Today's brewery is...

Long Live Beerworks

The new kid on the block, Long Live Beerworks has clever beers that are shaking things up. The brews are the creations of head brewer Armando DeDona and the colorful beer labels are designed by his wife, Jessica DeBry.

From the mouth of the brewer, Armando DeDona:

Black Cat, our hoppy pale ale, is our most popular brew to date. It pairs well with duck confit fries from The Slow Rhode. The citrusy, bright flavor of the beer contrasts nicely with the richness of the duck confit. At home, I pair Black Cat with grilled barbecue chicken tacos. The bright citrus of the hops cuts through the sweet barbecue sauce nicely and complements the experience of grilling outdoors (in warmer weather, of course).

Tastings: Wed. and Thu., 4–9 p.m., Fri. 4-10 p.m., Sat., 1–8 p.m. and Sun. 12-4 p.m.

Photos courtesy of Long Live Beerworks' Facebook

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Escaping the Election: 4 Places to Visit

via GIPHY

Whether you've already cast your ballot or you're abstaining from voting entirely (we don't blame you), most people are pretty tired of this election cycle. As the country selects our glorious leader for the next four years, hide out from the political frenzy at one of these prime locations.

snake-den

Courtesy of Snake Den's Facebok

Snake Den

If you'd like to follow in Thoreau's footsteps and escape to nature, Snake Den is the perfect place. With over a thousand acres of undeveloped forest to explore, you could probably spend the next four years wandering the woods. There's a range of terrain from relatively flat to hilly. If you feel like working off election anxiety, make the climb up to the high trail and bask in the glory of nature from the many scenic overlooks.

2321 Hartford Ave., Johnston, riparks.com

eddy-bar

Courtesy of Eddy Bar's Facebook

The Eddy

It may not be terribly original, but a bit of imbibing can help you forget just about anything, and the Eddy has some of the best drinks around. With warm and fuzzy cocktail names like Bees on Bees on Knees (it tastes great too!), politics should be the last thing on your mind. If mixed drinks aren't your thing, they've got a good selection of craft brews that should do the trick. The best part about the Eddy? There's no TV, so you can drink with your disaffected comrades in peace.

95 Eddy St., Providence, 831-3339, eddybar.com

east-greenwich-lib

Courtesy of East Greenwich Library's Facebook

East Greenwich Public Library

There's no better way to forget about the current political imbroglio than by settling down with a good book. Whether it's a cheap thriller or a classic (Machiavelli's The Prince maybe?) there are plenty of books to choose from. The cozy interior of the library, with its rough-hewn stone and dark wood paneling, will make you think you're nestled away in an Old World manor, far removed from American politics.

82 Pierce St., East Greenwich, 884-9510 eastgreenwichlibrary.org

rw-botanical

Courtesy of Roger Williams Botanical Garden's Facebook

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

If it's too cold for an outdoor adventure, you can still get your nature fix by heading to the Roger Williams Botanical Center. It has more than 12,000 square feet of indoor gardens in its toasty-warm greenhouses. With over 150 varieties of flowers, trees, cacti, and tropical plants, there should be plenty to see. The only heated arguments you'll hear will be over which is the most beautiful plant (Only Trumpet flowers will make the garden great again!).

1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, providenceri.com/botanical-center, 785-9450

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Rhode Island Breweries: Week 7

We're posting a brewery a week to celebrate fall (and the fact that brewery tours and tastings just seem cozier and more fun when the leaves start to change!).

Today's brewery is...

Grey Sail

Grey Sail Brewing has a committed crew of brewers, “yeast wranglers” and beer aficionados. Their brews range from a classic Pale Ale, The Flying Jenny, to their award winning Flagship Cream Ale. No strangers to getting funky, they also carry an array of seasonal and small-batch brews like their Mary Ann’s Ginger spice ale.

From the Mouth of the Brewer, Jennifer Brinton:

Captain’s Daughter Double IPA is our most popular beer. Our pairing would be any seafood dish, especially one with a little spice to it.

Tours and Tastings: Thu. and Fri. from 4–7 p.m., Sat. and Sun. from 1–5 p.m. A pint glass and tasting is $5 per person. Tours are informal.

Photos courtesy of Grey Sail's Facebook
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Where to Chow Down on National Sandwich Day

via GIPHY

What are humankind's greatest inventions? The wheel? Fire? Maybe. Although these were some pretty practical developments, they haven't brought nearly as much joy and contentment to the world as the sandwich. From the humble PB & J to the opulent Monte Cristo, sandwiches have been filling our hearts and stomachs for centuries. What better way to celebrate this delicious victual's national holiday than by visiting one of RI's finest sandwich shops?

cheeseshop-grilled-cheese

Courtesy of Edgewood's Facebook

Edgewood Cheese Shop

More than just a place to load up on Gruyere, Edgewood Cheese Shop has rustic cheese platters and oozing paninis. Try the Adrianne, with roast beef, brie and fig jam or for the picky eater, the Miles, described as “grilled cheese — no green stuff or anything else touching it.”  1828 Broad St., Cranston, 401-941-2400, edgewoodcheeseshop.com 

national-sandwich-platter-geoffs

Courtesy of Geoff's Facebook

Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches

A college-student staple, Geoff’s not only makes good sandwiches, they also give their sandwiches names that make you want to meet them. Take, for instance, the Judy Garland Sandwich, or the Margaret Trudeau Sandwich.
Nice to meet you, roast beef with coleslaw. The pleasure’s all mine, Canadian bacon with mushrooms and Swiss.  163 Benefit St., Providence, 401-751-2248, facebook.com/GeoffsSuperlativeSandwiches/

salami-italian-corner

Courtesy of the Italian Corner's Facebook

The Italian Corner

Three words: Authentic. Italian. Grinders. This is the real deal at The Italian Corner, with a porchetta sandwich that could easily be the best sandwich ever. It has the Guy Fieri stamp of approval, need we say more?  10 Boyd Ave., East Providence, 401-431-1737, italiancorner-ri.com

js-deli

Courtesy of J's Deli's Facebook

J’s Deli

If you’re really hungry, J’s Deli makes a sandwich that is more like a meal. You may even want to split one with a friend. Choose from a variety of beef, chicken and turkey sandwiches and wraps.

2364 Diamond Hill Rd., Cumberland, 401-334-1414;
285 George Washington Hwy., Smithfield, 401-231-0823;
760 Cumberland Hill Rd., Woonsocket, 401-356-1430, jsdeliri.com

thanksgiving-picnic-basket

Courtesy of the Picnic Basket's Facebook

Picnic Basket

Most Narragansett Beach goers rely on the Picnic Basket to satisfy their midday sandwich cravings. Cool off inside and indulge in a freshly made veggie wrap or make the short walk back to the beach with a classic meatball grinder (just watch out for hungry seagulls).  20 Kingstown Rd., Narragansett, 401-782-2284, thepicnicbasketri.com

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Rhode Island Breweries: Week 6

We're posting a brewery a week to celebrate fall (and the fact that brewery tours and tastings just seem cozier and more fun when the leaves start to change!).

Today's brewery is...

Foolproof

Foolproof was the brainchild of home-brewer Nick Garrison and since its inception it has received much acclaim. Funky brews like Peanut Butter Raincloud and Shuckolate have a fevered following, and the brewery hosts an array of fun events like yoga and beer tastings.

From the Mouth of the Brewer, Nick Garrison:

Right now, our most popular beer is our Peanut Butter Raincloud Porter, which I recommend pairing with vanilla or peanut butter ice cream. Even better, blend the beer and ice cream together and create your own beer float!

Tours and Tastings: Tours on Sat. at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. for $10. Participants receive a Foolproof glass, an overview of the brewing process, a tour of the brewery and three beer samples. Tastings on Fri., 5–7 p.m. are also $10 (includes three tastings and a pint glass).

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Four Places for Wicked Good Cider Doughnuts

Cider doughnuts are arguably the piece de resistance of fall in New England, and Rhode Island is no exception. Sure, we love our summery Del’s and our creamy clam chowder and doughy clam cakes, but when the leaves start to change, it’s the humble but delightful cider doughnut that captures a special place in our heart. Here are four WICKED good places to grab warm cider doughnuts on a cool fall’s day.

Jaswell’s Farm: 

50 Swan Rd., Smithfield, 401-231-9043, jaswellsfarm.com

The vibe: Family-friendly farm with pumpkin and apple picking for the tykes (and the adults who are still tykes in their own minds!)

The cider doughnuts: A top secret recipe is fried up in vats of oil and the result is a light, fragrant and scrumptious doughnut that will be gone before you know it.🍩🍩

Image from Jaswell's Facebook

Image from Jaswell’s Facebook

The Hard Pressed Cider Company

71 Weeden Ln., Jamestown, 595-4828, hardpressedcidercompany.com

The vibe: Made in a trailer at Windmist Farm in Jamestown, this hidden gem boasts a beautiful autumnal backdrop complete with glistening lake and winding stonewalls.

The cider doughnuts: Owner Rob Swanson wanted to make a doughnut he would like, so he added apple to the mix. 🍎 The result: a warm, light doughnut so moist and apple-y that you literally can’t eat just one. Read more about the Hard Pressed Cider Company here.

Pippin Orchard

751 Pippin Orchard Rd., Cranston,  943-7096

The vibe: Pippin is a classic pick-your-own orchard, with gnarly trees that truly evoke that October/Autumn/Halloween feeling.

The cider doughnuts: Not only do they have cider doughnuts, they have MAPLE FROSTED CIDER DOUGHNUTS😱. Enough said.

Image from Pippin Orchard Facebook

Appleland Orchard

135 Smith Ave, Greenville, 949-3690, applelandorchardri.com

The vibe: With a name like Appleland, it has to be good. Also, the orchard has been in the family since the ’60s, making it a classic stop this fall.

The cider doughnuts: Their fresh-pressed cider is a key ingredient in their doughnuts, which are a unique and yummy yeasty-cake-y combination😋 .

Appleland Orchard website

Image from Appleland Orchard website

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