When the family (the hubby, me and the kids) had a chance to get together with far-flung relatives (Florida, NY, CT, RI) gathered together in one location for a bar mitzvah, the decision to attend was a swift one. Three of us are self-employed (and daughter Hannah got clearance from her boss) so it was just about carving out the four days and we were off!
Boston’s Logan Airport offers far greater flying options than Providence, RI, the site of the weekend’s festivities. We thus arrived late Thursday, rented our car, spent the night and next day in the city and drove the 90 minutes to our destination.
What does one do first in Boston? Perhaps checkout Fenway — alas, the Red Sox were out of town. See Harvard, MIT, BU or the other schools? No. The answer is to find the best pizza around, which meant a return trip to Regina’s in the North End.
After meeting up with Hannah’s bestie from LA who makes her home in Boston, we made our way to Regina’s after successfully finding parking which is no small feat in any area of the city. This was a second visit for us and it was just as delicious as before. We walked around the area for a bit before saying good-bye to the girls for the drive to Providence. Hannah would take a late-evening train to meet up with us.
|From our Regina’s lunch — two girls very happy to be together and the insanely delicious pies|
Providence to me is your quintessential New England town — sophisticated enough to entice students to either Brown University and/or RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), but quaint enough to have that small-town feel. We found some of each.
We first met up with the family (Uncle, Aunt — who traveled with us earlier this year in India — and cousins on the hubby’s side) for Friday evening (Shabbat) services at Temple Beth-El and a light dinner afterward. The bar mitzvah service was Saturday morning, followed by a luncheon and a party in the evening.
So what’s the first thing unique about this? The synagogue’s roots date back to 1849, more than 110 years prior to the founding of the one my family has called home since 1986 — LA’s Stephen Wise Temple. LA has one nearly that old — founded in 1862 as Congregation B’nai B’rith — which over many years (and in different locations) ultimately became Wilshire Boulevard Temple. But back to Providence ..
We used the time between events to do a bit of exploring around Providence, and the first stop was at Brown — one of our country’s oldest colleges and the third smallest of the Ivy’s. Downtown Providence is bustling as most state capitals are, with a fair share of shopping and food complexes along the banks of the Providence River.
|From top left: An Urs Fischer untitled sculpture (other than Lamp/Bear) on the Brown campus; Providence River; main quad; welcome sign; metal sculpture (artist unknown)|
The party was as it should be — mostly friends of the “man of the hour” Ben Stone. The music was loud and lively and everyone had a terrific time. And since it was at our hotel, it was a fantastic commute — i.e., none! We likewise gathered the following morning for a lovely brunch and a chance to say our goodbye’s. We headed back to Boston for a few more hours of sightseeing before going to the airport.
|Ben’s priorities are in order: sports, family and lots of dessert!|
Oh, would that the trip home had been as pleasant as the rest of our stay. I will spare you the utterly disastrous experience courtesy of Virgin America for another post. For now, we’ll savor the 3-1/2 days of family fun and New England sights as they aptly deserve!
After parking in the underground garage at the Boston Public Garden, we exited into the Garden and quickly found out we were smack in the middle of a weed festival … like we’d entered Woodstock (I guess!) Groovy, man ..
Picture-perfect weather made for a terrific afternoon.