The 12 Strangest Sayings in America

If you’ve had a chance to travel, you’ve noticed differences in the way people talk in other places. This is something that anyone who has traveled the U.S. is keenly aware that people in Seattle talk differently than New Yorkers, and Texans are a whole other kettle of fish again. Even then, we can usually figure out what people mean when they break out a colloquialism or a local version of an idiom. Sometimes, though, we’re left scratching our heads. Here are 12 of those strange sayings that will have you wondering if everyone’s still speaking English.

12. “Bang a U-ey” – Rhode Island

For most of us, “banging” something either means you’re making a big noise, like construction workers hammering nails into a wall or … well, you get the idea. We do use “bang” colloquially, but nowhere is the verb more colloquial than in Rhode Island where locals might tell you to “bang a U-ey” if you make a wrong turn. “U-ey” is pretty common slang for a U-turn. When Rhode Islanders tell you this, they just want you to make a U-turn, and there’s no need to make a lot of noise about it. The term might be related to the phrase “bang one out,” which essentially means to do something, but it sure sounds strange nonetheless. If you happen to be told to do this, your Rhode Island tour guide will likely be impressed if you just wheel it around, no questions asked.

Rhode Island

11. “Your wig’s a little loose” – Kentucky

The Bluegrass State is known for some of its quirky Southern slang, although it shares much of this lingo with other Southern states. One interesting phrase you might hear only in Kentucky is, “your wig’s a little loose” or “I think your wig’s a little loose.” This is essentially telling someone you think they’re crazy—not exactly a compliment. The phrase is comparable to idioms like “doesn’t have his head on straight” and “I think you have a few screws loose.” You needn’t be actually wearing a wig, in this case, your wig is more a metaphor than anything, so don’t worry about telling your Kentucky friends that you’re not even wearing a wig. Bets that this phrase got its start in the early days of the Union, when everyone was still wearing powdered wigs? We really hope so.

Kentucky 1

10. “Get a wiggle on” – South Dakota

The Dakotas get a bad rap: the weather isn’t all that great, there’s not much to see or do and the locals are friendly, but perhaps a little strange. One thing you’ll quickly notice is that South Dakotans, much like Minnesotans and North Dakotans, have some pretty odd turns of phrase. One of the most intriguing is “get a wiggle on,” which essentially means “hurry up.” Others might be familiar with the phrase “get a move on,” which uses the same construct and means the same thing. We’re not entirely sure why South Dakotans want everyone to wiggle to their destination, though maybe it has something to do with keeping warm during the harsh winter weather. Nonetheless, if a South Dakotan acquaintance happens to suggest you should get your wiggle on, you needn’t bust a move like you’re on the dance floor—a bit more spring in your step will do.

South Dakota

9. “Gotta get flat” – California

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Golden State has some pretty slangy terminology. While a lot of California colloquialisms have arisen from surf culture and then spread to a wider demographic through the magic of Hollywood, there are still a few turns of phrase that are uniquely Californian. One of those phrases might be “gotta get flat,” which, at first glance, seems pretty obtuse. Why do we need to get flattened out? Is this something to do with earthquakes? Or maybe it’s some new twist on “getting down.” It actually just means “I need to lie down”—and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense: we often talk about being “laid flat out” or “flat on our backs,” so “getting flat” would be lying down.

California

8. “Geez-o-Pete!” – Michigan

Michigan’s strangest idiom might seem relatively tame or even understandable from some points of view. It’s a sort of mild swear, certainly not as rude as some of the phrases you can find around the world. In some ways, it’s almost cute and it’s definitely Michigan. “Geez-o-Pete!” is an exclamation that’s sort of like “Jesus Mary Mother of God!” with much the same meaning and a kind of parallel structure in that it calls on Jesus and St. Peter. If you hear your Michiganian friends shouting this, you know something’s caught them off-guard and not in a way that’s made them happy. It’s just that polite company is likely forcing them to keep it G-rated—otherwise you might hear some other choice words instead of this phrase.

Michigan

7. “Just because a cat has her kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits” – Vermont

Local pride is something you’ll run into in any number of states (and countries, for that matter), but Vermont seems to take the cake with their own colloquialism about what makes a local a local. Specifically, they might tell you that “just because a cat has her kittens in the oven don’t make them biscuits.” What they’re really saying is that even if you were born in Vermont, you’re not necessarily a Vermonter, just like putting those kittens in the oven doesn’t make them biscuits. Once an outsider, always an outsider in Vermont, it seems. It will apparently take a couple generations to be considered a real Vermonter. In the meantime, nobody’s said we can’t all enjoy maple syrup, fantastic fall colors and great skiing in the Green Mountains in the wintertime.

Vermont

6. “That dog won’t hunt” – Georgia

Georgia’s another Southern state with that peculiarly Southern way of speaking. Of course, the Peach State has its own lingo, and one of the native phrases is “that dog won’t hunt” or “that dog don’t hunt.” While outsiders might think nothing of this idiom, it’s actually a way of saying something won’t work—much like a dog that won’t hunt, something’s a little off. Other versions of the phrase include “that horse isn’t a runner” and the historical predecessor “that cock won’t fight,” which was used as a natural metaphor for an idea that was bound to fail during the heydays of cockfighting in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, if someone from the Peach State tells you the dog won’t hunt, you’d better go back to the drawing board.

Georgia

5. “Looks like 10 miles of dirt road” – Wyoming

Wyoming is a relatively “young” state and this Western state has been decidedly pastoral and rural throughout most of its history, even before statehood. With a large interest in ranching, the smallest population in the U.S. and a huge swath of land dotted by mountains and valleys, it’s little wonder that Wyoming’s slang would take on a distinctly rural flavor. The phrase “looks like 10 miles of dirt road” is an example of that. This phrase is pretty easy to figure out: it means someone looks disheveled or unwell. Dirt roads are often unkempt and bumpy, washed out by storms and rutted especially after use or the winter—so saying someone looks like 10 miles of that is not a compliment! If your hosts in Wyoming suggest you look like this, you might want to nip off and “freshen up.”

Wyoming

4. “I’m going by your house later” – Louisiana

At first glance, the phrase “I’m going by your house later” may not seem all that strange. In fact, some of us may have offered someone a ride home from a party or offered to drop something off because we were “going by later.” But in Louisiana, “going by your house later” doesn’t mean someone is just going to drive by like a bitter ex. It means they’re actually going to stop in and visit. Whereas people from other places might say, “I’m going to stop in later,” Louisianans like to keep you in suspense by suggesting that they’ll be in the neighborhood, at some point. Chances are that the phrase started off much like it’s used in other regions—to mean somebody’s place is on your way—but eventually just became another way of saying they were going to drop by.

Louisiana

3. “Red it up” – Pennsylvania

Have you made a bit of a mess of things? If you’re in Pennsylvania, chances are you won’t be told to “clean up.” No, Pennsylvanians are more apt to tell you to “red it up,” an odd turn of phrase that could catch most of us off-guard. It seems, at first glance, tangentially related to phrases like “paint the town red,” but the actual meaning of the phrase is a lot more buckled down and serious than we might imagine. It’s actually descended from the verb “to ready [up],” which means to make a room ready for a guest or to set the table for a meal. It might be related to other archaic uses like “ready the cannons.” The Pennsylvania Dutch introduced that particular idiom to English in the Keystone state. In the modern day, “ready” has been changed to “red,” even though the phrase still means the same.

Pennsylvania

2. “Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” – Alabama

Alabama is probably best known for its Southern drawl, that oft-mimicked and mocked accent that is supposed to characterize people who hail from Alabama and the other states that make up the Deep South. Alabamans have a few expressions that set them apart from other Southern states. One of the best (and most mystifying) is “butter my butt and call me a biscuit!” This is an exclamation expressing delight at discovering something surprising yet pleasant. Other variants exist around the English-speaking world, such as “pin my tail and call me a donkey.” A close synonym is “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” Just don’t take the suggestion too literally if you’re visiting the Heart of Dixie—nobody actually wants to be buttered and called a biscuit, although they’d surely be surprised if you did!

Alabama

1. “Slap you naked and hide your clothes” – Missouri

This phrase comes to us from Missouri, although there might be variants on it around other parts of the South and the West. In other areas, we might have heard our parents threaten to “tan your hide” or “slap you silly” when we did something they didn’t like. In Missouri, the threat is to “slap you naked,” and then “hide your clothes” so you can’t go out again in public—at least, not unless you want to go out in the buff. Really, this seems like a pretty good threat. If your parents were to “tan your hide,” nobody would really know. If you get slapped naked and have your clothes hidden though, everybody’s going to know what happened—you get a bruised ego in addition. Best to mind your manners when you visit Missouri!

TommyBrison / Shutterstock.com
TommyBrison / Shutterstock.com

10 Most Sacred Sites in the United States

There is a world of variety in what different belief systems find sacred, some have passages of rites, others have sites of worship or holy animals and without a doubt all have a list of defining principles to follow. Great thinkers have struggled with the definition of the truly sacred. But it should be safe to say that in the multicultural melting pot of the United States, there are places of impossible beauty that are undeniably sacred, no matter what your religious background is, these sites will instill a feeling of awe at being in the presence of a higher power. Whether man-made or a natural wonder, they can be considered sacred because of what history has unfolded there or simply the depth of faith their natural beauty displays.

10. Sakya Monastery -Seattle, Washington

Sakya, meaning “grey or pale earth”, is one of four major branches of Buddhism. The monastery was a Presbyterian Church from 1928 until converted in 1975. The name resonates with the original Sakya monastery now in China, built in the 13th century containing some of Tibet’s greatest art works. The saffron robes, beaming Buddhas and the gentle teachings give it an aura of peace. Its devotion to the preservation of Tibetan heritage and culture in the face of the overwhelming power of the Chinese government is striking. The Head Lama has reflected that “the changes in Tibet are an example of the true nature of human existence: all is impermanent, and everything changes” adding to the sense of being in the presence of a heavenly power far beyond anything a mere earthly superpower can muster.

Photo by: Wonderlane via Flickr
Photo by: Wonderlane via Flickr

9. Cahokia Mounds -St. Louis, Missouri

Over a millennium ago, Cahokia was a huge settlement cross the river from what is now St. Louis. With an estimated 40,000 people in and around it, it is believed by many to have been the largest city in the world at that time, certainly the biggest in North America before Columbus. The High Priest literally ruled over the center of Mississippian Native culture from Monk’s Mound (so named by Trappist monks centuries later) where the Sacred Fire burned. In shades of England’s Stonehenge Monk’s Mound and the burial site of the Ruler-Priest are aligned by the stars. In fact, a circle of wooden poles nicknamed Woodhenge was used as a solar calendar. There are dozens of mounds once used for ceremonies, burials, sacrifices and with them the tingling feeling that ancient spirits still roam over them.

Cahokia Mounds

8. Unity Temple -Chicago, Illinois

The renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built the Temple after the Unitarian Church of which he was a member was struck by lightning and reduced to ashes in 1905. Its replacement, too, appears to be an act of God, like no other church on the face of the earth with a complete absence of anything resembling tradition liturgical shapes and textures. Instead of soaring domes and gold leafed chapels there is a mesmerizing geometric precision. Wright saw it as a “democratic’ religious space for the worship of God and a “meeting place, in which to study man himself for his God’s sake.” Like a late Mozart symphony, it seems like a masterpiece that could only have been achieved with the help of the angels. Modern and unconventional it may be, but it still induces a powerful urge to fall on one’s knees in wonder. It is designated a National Historic Landmark and attracts visitors from around the world.

Photo by: Teemu008 via Flickr
Photo by: Teemu008 via Flickr

7. Crater Lake -Medford, Oregon

With a depth of 1,949 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest in the country and Top Ten worldwide. It is an underappreciated scenic gem with one-tenth the four plus million visitors the Grand Canyon gets. The Klamath nation still regards it as a sacred site, created long ago by a terrible battle between the Chiefs of the Above and Below Worlds that completely destroyed the mountain that stood there. Scientists believe that Mount Mazama imploded some 8,000 years ago after a series of cataclysmic eruptions to form a caldera or volcanic depression, which became the lake with an unforgettable shade of blue seen only here. New Age spiritual adherents believe that the lake is a major vortex site and the source of positive energy from the earth’s natural power grid.

Crater Lake

6. The Islamic Center -Washington, D.C.

The mosque and cultural center has been ensconced on Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown D.C. since 1957. It was one of the earliest mosques in the country and for a time was the largest in the Western hemisphere. The interior is lush and imposing, recalling the legendary works of the great Ottoman architect Sinan, called the Muslim Michelangelo. In happy historical coincidence, it was in fact built by an Italian architect. There is something about great mosques that are piously humbling but artistically uplifting. It was there that President George W. Bush read the Koran just six days after the terrorist attack of 9/11: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule”. As the place the President of the United States reached out to a shaken Muslim community, invoking the words of the Prophet and the souls of the victims, in the name of peace, this must forever be a hallowed, sacred place.

Islamic Center, Washington

5. Mount Shasta -Mt. Shasta, California

Part of the Cascade Range in northern California, Shasta is central to the Creation story for local Native Americans and remains a sacred place for them. They have lived there for 9,000 years and though their numbers have dwindled shockingly, descendants still conduct ceremonies in its honor. The towering extinct volcano, once an active part of the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire, stands over 14,000 feet. No other mountain on the continent has been ordained by so many groups with mystical significance. As with many Native American sacred sites, its spirituality has been adopted by contemporary belief systems. Buddhists built a monastery there with the belief that it is one of the Seven Sacred Mountains in the World. Many New Agers believe it to be a vortex emitting earth’s subterranean energy. More than a few believe it to be a refueling base for UFO’s. Some of it may seem sacrilegious, but in a way underline the beauty and power of a place whose beauty has been put here by a Creator for a higher purpose.

Mount Shasta, California

4. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary -Baltimore, Maryland

Maryland was founded as a safe haven for Catholics persecuted in England, but the pious Puritans took up the persecution in the New World to the point that in some places Catholics could be sentenced to death. It took 145 years after the Declaration of Independence to build this Cathedral in Baltimore, so when the Basilica opened its doors in 1821, it was a major landmark for the country. It is sublimely warm and welcoming inside. Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II have blessed it. He called it “the worldwide symbol of religious freedom”. In a sense it can be said that people died for this to be realized and so remains a moving testament to their faith and conviction in the face of intolerance.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary -Baltimore, Maryland

3. Devil’s Tower -Crook County, Wyoming

It is as much as 70 million years old. A stunning geological formation, from a volcanic eruption, it has been shaped and scarred by a millennium of erosion. Known in contemporary culture from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, some twenty Indian tribes have said to had close and sacred encounters with this natural beauty for thousands of years. It is also known as Bear Lodge and Bear tipi. There are many different legends of how it was created by the Great Spirit Legend. The crevices down its side are said to have been left by a bear sliding down in futility after his erstwhile victims found refuge on top. It was the first site declared a National Monument in 1906 and is still a place for Sun Dances, vision quests and other ceremonial customs. Its commanding presence juts out of the Black Hills looking down on its domain- does it have a supernatural power and in its mystery lies the questions by the grace of whom?

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

2.  Touro Synagogue -Newport, Rhode Island

The English settled Jamestown in 1607 and the Puritans landed famously at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The first Jewish settlers found their way to New York in 1654 and to Newport Rhode Island in 1658, likely fleeing persecution (as their ancestors and descendants have) in the Caribbean. The community thrived and decided it was time for a synagogue in 1759, so they chose Peter Harrison, who was considered the colonies’ greatest architect of the 18th century. Its interior is exquisite like a small English palace. Intensely symbolic, it was built so that people inside face east to Jerusalem and the number 12 is a recurring theme honoring the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It too is a historic site, but moreover it is a symbol of the devotion of a tiny group who lit a torch of hope for their ill-treated people in the New World.

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com
LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

1. Bighorn Medicine Wheel -Bighorn National Forest, Wyoming

They are scarce, with only a hundred or so remaining set in starkly, spectacular, settings. medicine wheel’s are intensely spiritual, places that were made for worship. The Bighorn is the grandfather of all medicine wheels, though its 10,000 foot elevation makes it a daunting destination. Its intricate celestial significance is captivating. It’s a circle with 28 spokes, the number of days in the lunar calendar and a sacred number to many tribes. The spokes point to the rising and setting places of stars near and distant, the Sun at summer solstice, Rigel in Orion, and Sirius, the Dog Star (whose apogee in August gave rise to The Dog Days of summer) in Canis Major. Medicine wheels are the New World’s Stonehenge. Despite their name, they were not used for medical purposes. They should more appropriately be called ‘sacred hoops’ honoring the gods and seeking divine wisdom to guide them in every facet of tribal life.

Photo by: The Cut via Flickr
Photo by: The Cut via Flickr

The 15 Most Unfriendly Cities in America

It seems that America isn’t just full of friendly locals, welcoming Texas BBQ’s and charming southerners. Indeed in a recent study by Travel and Leisure, it is evident that America is also full of a slew of unfriendly cities. Avoiding these cities isn’t always possible and many of them boast amazing attractions and things to do, as well as big business centers. Whether it is the locals or tourists, the weather or politics, these 15 cities have been named the most unfriendly in all of America. Discover what makes them so unfriendly and how you can find the friendliest spots in each.

15. Chicago, IL

Chicago is full of museums, great restaurants and a spectacular view, but that doesn’t mean the people are friendly towards outsiders. What visitors here will find are people walking with their heads towards the ground, rushing from one thing to the next and an overall vibe of unfriendliness. Perhaps it is due to the high amount of crime that happens, or maybe people are just too busy to start up a conversation. Whatever the reason is, don’t bank on making any new friends in this city, and make sure you buy a map so you don’t have to ask for directions. For a friendlier Chicago head to the neighborhood of Old Town for a root beer float spiked with Stoli and hang out with the locals or get your laughs on at some stand up comedy at Second City.

photo.ua / Shutterstock.com
photo.ua / Shutterstock.com

14. Providence, RI

These New Englanders are not happy to welcome anyone or anything new in this city. Providence is known for their locals being downright rude and snobby. The weather here is pretty awful, bringing a lot of cloudy days as well as rain, snow and ice in the winter which may contribute to the attitudes of people. This city also happens to be highly unaffordable. The taxes are high, as is the cost of living. Visitors here often have spent enough time here after two days and won’t want to stick around getting to know the locals who often throw them rude glances and downright ignore them when spoken to. The Dean Hotel welcomes visitors and plan on staying here if you want to experience any type of friendliness.

Providence, RI

13. Seattle, WA

Seattle has been deemed unfriendly for many years, but in fact it just seems that this city is unsocial. They won’t slam the door on you, or not make eye contact but rather these locals just seem maddeningly impersonal. The weather can’t help matters as it is seriously grey, wet and miserable looking most of the year. Seattle is a very segregated city, meaning that people stick in their cliques and often have a hard time letting anyone knew in. For visitors, you probably won’t notice the unfriendliness that much as people will still tell you to “have a good day” but it’s people who move here that really suffer. Just look up the definition of “Seattle Freeze” and you will understand what we mean when we call this city unfriendly.

seattle_image

12. Baltimore, MD

We aren’t quite sure how Baltimore got the nickname of “Charm City” but visitors to this city certainly don’t agree with it. Along with recent turmoil that has literally caused this city to be on a curfew; people just aren’t friendly to outsiders, or each other. Crime is at an all time high in this city and both locals and visitors walk around being afraid, which means no eye contact and no small talk with strangers. The city is known as being a little quirky and off-beat, but sometimes that rubs visitors the wrong way. If you are looking for a bit of friendliness in this city, head to one of the concerts by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra or grab brunch in the neighborhood of Hampden.

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

11. Orlando, FL

In a city that boasts “The Happiest Place on Earth”, it seems surprising that Orlando is actually really unfriendly. It is not certain whether it is the locals who are unfriendly, or just the tourists who are snapping at each other. Either way you can expect a lot of horns being honked, a lot of snappy comments and a slew of crying kids. Maybe it is all the tired feet or low blood sugar that comes from visiting the theme parks, but whatever it is, people here can’t wait to return to their hotels. The theme parks tend to be the worst place to deal with unfriendly people, but also tends to be the main draw here.

Orlando, Florida

10. Dallas, TX

Many people have the notion that all people from Texas are friendly and welcoming but that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to the city of Dallas. The people of Dallas certainly seem to be in a rush and are generally stressed out, which leads to a lot of fast walking, plugged in ear pieces and a lack of eye contact. It is interesting here because most people that live in this state don’t actually like people from Dallas, adding to the notion that they are quite rude. Perhaps they are just tired of the cowboy and oil jokes or maybe they just want to keep their city to themselves, either way don’t plan on getting a friendly Texas welcome from this city.

mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com
mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

9. San Francisco, CA

If you ask the people here they will probably outright admit that they can be both rude and snobby, especially when it comes to food. Locals in this city seem to put themselves on a pedestal slightly higher than everyone else. Locals here aren’t afraid to laugh at the tourists in their shorts and t-shirts shivering at the piers, nor are they quick to judge visitors who don’t know how to get around. San Francisco does gain a lot of points for being LGBT friendly though and if you want to experience the friendliest of the city, head to the neighborhood who welcomes anyone of any nature. Just don’t start judging what they eat, trust us on that one.

San Francisco bridge

8. Los Angeles, CA

It has long been known as a snobby city and as the years go on it seems that this city just can’t figure how to be charming. Whether you are trying to exchange pleasantries with the locals and getting shut down, or trying to snap a selfie in the crowds at the hall of fame, chances are you will leave this city feeling bruised. Known as having some of the most beautiful people in the country, chances are you will feel a little down about yourself. To immerse yourself into the locals, try some retail therapy to boost your happiness and connect with some of the shop owners who are friendly if you drop enough cash.

Los Angeles

7. Las Vegas, NV

It should come as no surprise that this city is actually unfriendly. Think about what happens in Vegas, the wild parties, the rambunctious outsiders who come in droves and crowd up the city with large amounts of drinking and gambling. Therefore we aren’t entirely sure who the ones are that are being rude in Vegas. Is it the locals or the tourists? Either way, this city that sits at the top of the list for tourism certainly doesn’t know how to play nice. Expect business men talking business, women brushing off your smiles and people generally avoiding eye contact. If you want to avoid the overly rude tourists make sure to get off the strip and visit the downtown bars where the locals hang out.

Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com
Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

6. Miami, FL

Horn honking, people yelling at each other, rude customer service and stuck up individuals who think they are better than you, all of this and more awaits visitors to Miami. This city is thought to be the capital of “me”, where everyone only cares about themselves and makes sure everyone else knows it. People here love to flash their expensive cars and clothes while looking down on those who aren’t on par with them. Racism is still a problem in this city and contributes to the unfriendliness of their nature. Don’t plan on heading to South Beach if you are looking to chill with the locals and be accepted, instead head somewhere like Virginia Key Beach for a more mellow and laid-back beach scene.

Miami Beach

5. Boston, MA

This city has a horrible history of race relations and that can’t help with people thinking that this city will forever remain unfriendly. Things have changed in this busy city, but people are still not warm and fuzzy. The city rates are high when it comes to intelligent people and perhaps they are just too smart to want to make small talk with visitors. The winters are awful, everything closes early including the bars and red sox fans; and all we will say about that is that you better be cheering for them when they are in town. Visitors should expect that locals will be rushing with heads down, cell phones in hand and far too busy to make new friends. On the plus side, the city is very pretty and if you can find some accepting locals, they promise to be both smart and funny.

Boston

4. Washington, D.C

Politics are ugly, perhaps getting more ugly as time goes on and therefore it is no surprise that Washington is unfriendly, rude and just too busy to make newcomers feel welcomed. Lobbyists and lawyers make up the majority of people in this city and they tend to be too self-absorbed or busy to throw a smile your way. Many commuters tend to use public transit, as do tourists to get around this city and it seems that the unfriendly vibe is picked up by tourists as they watch the commuters on their way to work and home. This city is also high on security which means that entering something like a children’s museum means getting your bags searched and many of the security guards are not warm and fuzzy. Fighting terrorism is a serious job here and it seems they lack in customer service when they do so.

Washington DC

3. Philadelphia, PA

We suggest you don’t come to this city of “Brotherly Love” wearing anything but a jersey that represents Philly as you will more than likely clash with the locals. Locals here also have some colorful and unusual language, being the one city that likes to drop the “f” word on Twitter on a consistent basis. If you can go to visit and act like a local, wear an Eagles jersey and eat a cheesecake with the best of them, it will be no doubt that you will be welcomed in. But if you show up with a New York accent, wearing a Giants jersey and turn your nose up at one of their beloved food choices; plan on someone telling you where to go. Philadelphia has always known for being a bit rough and if you can’t respect them don’t plan on being welcomed.

Marco Rubino / Shutterstock.com
Marco Rubino / Shutterstock.com

2. Detroit, MI

Motor City has been called the armpit of the world by more than one person and does nothing to help its reputation. Unwelcoming, loud and having an incredible amount of lousy drivers makes this a city people love to stay away from. Crime levels have not helped this city as more and more people who visit become afraid of walking after dark or in unknown neighborhoods. Detroit was one of the hardest hit cities by the recession, making it even more unfriendly. The huge numbers of unemployed people tend to be less than happy to see other people visiting that have jobs, houses and cars. If you do want to find some friendlier times here, head to one of the live music venues and chat with other patrons.

Detroit, MI

1. New York City, NY

Sure, New York offers an insane amount of theatres, shops, restaurants, hotels and other entertainment, but it seems that people just can’t get past the unfriendliness of the city. It starts with the angry cabs that are incessantly honking their horns at other drivers and pedestrians. The unfriendliness continues in the stores and restaurants, who are more concerned with how much money you have to spend rather than to make your experience a good one. Perhaps the extremely high cost of living turns people off from this city or maybe they just don’t love the extreme hustle and bustle that is constant. Whatever the reason is, New York has and continues to be one of the most unfriendly cities in America and chances are it won’t get any friendlier in the future.

Aerial view of Manhattan skyline at sunset, New York City

The 8 Best States to Live if You’re a Foodie

Foodies come in all shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common: they love great food. Seeking out bold new flavors, foodies are always up for culinary adventure, and many like to support organic and local producers. But what about when it comes time for a foodie to put down roots? While every American state has its own unique culinary traditions and many have vibrant and growing food scenes, some states seem to be natural oases for foodies. Here are our picks for the top 8 states for foodies to live in the U.S.

8. Maine

Lobster and cranberries are the mainstay of cuisine in Maine, which maintains a unique position in New England cooking. Lobster rolls are relatively cheap and abundant, and blueberry pie, made from wild blueberries, is the state’s official dessert. Eggs, dairy, poultry and maple syrup are some of Maine’s major agricultural products, a fact that’s reflected in cooking around the state. Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, Maine is also home to a growing locavore movement, likely inspired by traditions of small, family-run farming operations and the can-do attitude of early colonists. Small-batch preserves and pick-your-own operations are popular, and upscale restaurants serving dishes made of locally sourced ingredients are popping up around the Portland of the east coast. The countryside is dotted with farmers markets and there’s a growing agrotourism industry. A mix of history and innovation come together to make Maine a place for foodies to watch.

Maine Lobster

7. New Mexico

Southwestern cuisine is something of a phenomenon. Blending Amerindian, Mexican and European dishes and flavors, a new culinary tradition was forged in the arid desert climate of the Southwestern states. Reflecting the environment, Southwestern cooking tends to offer up smoky and spicy flavors reminiscent of Spain, the Mediterranean and the south-of-the-border influences of Mexico. New Mexican cuisine, however, is not the same as Mexican or Tex-Mex; it’s something else entirely—as evidenced by the state’s claim to have invented the breakfast burrito. Carne adovada, a take on the Mexican adobada, sees pork marinated in red chile sauce. The New Mexican chile (also called Hatch Chile) is omnipresent, added into everything from burgers to fries, and local favorites such as stacked enchiladas and sopapillas, often served in place of bread, round out the menu. Wine and chile festivals dot the map and make Santa Fe and Albuquerque excellent places for foodies to set up shop.

New Mexico

6. Rhode Island

Teeny, tiny Rhode Island on the Eastern Seaboard isn’t likely the first place people think of when they think of a culinary tour de force. Nonetheless, the geographically small state makes up what it lacks in size by packing a big punch on the gourmand scene. Imagine hot dogs with a Greek-inspired flare, locally produced clam chowder that’s influenced by traditional Portuguese palettes and clamcakes, fried quahog fritters that are popular throughout the state. These are just some of the homegrown classics, but the Ocean State also boasts a restaurant scene that’s become a hotbed for young chefs; in fact, Providence, the state capital, has more degreed chefs per capita than any other U.S. city. That means a vibrant restaurant scene and an atmosphere for food adventures. Other cities on Little Rhodie also boast food and wine festivals, which make the state a foodie’s paradise during the summer months.

Rhode Island

5. Louisiana

Louisiana might be seen as backwards by some people, but one thing is for sure: Louisiana’s residents are progressive and inventive when it comes to culinary creation. New Orleans frequently rates as one of America’s top cities for foodies, and it’s not hard to see why. With a unique blend of cultures not found anywhere else in the U.S., Louisiana has developed as a world apart—and that means a cuisine that’s as unique as this Southern belle. From French-inspired fare in the French Quarter of the state capital, to cajun-spiced catfish caught in the muddy waters at the mouth of the Mississipi, Louisiana-style cooking, more than anything, has typified and influenced “southern” imitators in other countries. Away from New Orleans, tucked away in bayous and swamps of Acadiana, rural communities have developed their own unique Creole dishes. There’s much for a foodie to explore in the Bayou State!

Crawfish boil

4. Washington

Washington State exhibits typical “west coast” attitudes: some of the most progressive politics in the country, high environmental awareness and a keen focus on “alternatives” to mainstream lifestyle. That’s resulted in a culture that’s ready to experiment, to explore and to innovate, and the world of food in Washington is no exception. Seattle is often seen as one of the foremost cities in the foodie revolution. Washington is a prime place, being one of the leading agricultural producers in the U.S., and there’s an abundance of seafood to boot. Coffee and microbrews abound, which means you’ll have great beverage selection whether you’re chowing down on smoked salmon, sampling a hand-crafted cheese or doing dessert with an artisanal chocolate. And while the state doesn’t have the ethnic enclaves others do, it does give others a run for their money in terms of teriyaki.

cdrin / Shutterstock.com
cdrin / Shutterstock.com

3. Texas

When we think of Texas, we typically think of big, open sky and longhorn cattle—and maybe some thick, juicy steaks. Most people wouldn’t imagine that the Lone Star state’s culinary heritage is so much more than that. Arlington, Dallas and Houston routinely rank on surveys of America’s best cities for foodies. Moving beyond meat-and-potatoes diets, Texas chefs have drawn heavily on the state’s proximity to the Mexican border, infusing perhaps more traditional dishes with a decidedly Latin American flavor. It’s no wonder we call it TexMex! Beyond that, cities like Dallas and Arlington attract their fair share of international and domestic tourists, which means ideas are constantly being imported and given a distinctive Texas twist. Whether you fancy some Texas caviar, Texas gumbo or German-style fare with the Lone Star seal of approval, it’s all here for you to discover under the big sky.

Alfie Photography / Shutterstock.com
Alfie Photography / Shutterstock.com

2. California

Check out any list of “foodie cities” in America and you’re likely to find anywhere from 2 to 4 Californian locales mentioned. Places like San Diego, Los Angeles, San Franscisco and the Napa Valley have all contributed to California becoming a food-lover’s dream come true. California has all the right ingredients to make it one of the foremost culinary destinations in the U.S.: a booming agricultural sector, which means much of the fruits and veggies you find are fresh and local; a proximity to the ocean, which means the sea’s bounty is never far from your plate; and a wine-producing region that’s become one of the most renowned in the country. California also has a unique ethnic mix—Latino and Southeast Asian influences echo throughout metropolises like LA—which means chefs have plenty of traditions to draw from as they dream up their next culinary masterpiece. Truly the Golden Coast!

Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

1. New York

New York is tough to beat. As one of the oldest American cities, it has acted as a gateway to the U.S. for centuries now, acting as both the heart of business and culture. Ethnic enclaves exist throughout the metropolis of NYC, each contributing their unique culinary traditions—and blending them into fare that’s uniquely American and ubiquitously New York. Outside the city, you’ll find farmland; despite being overtaken by other states in terms of production, the history lingers, and New York remains a prominent producer of crops such as apples, which means chefs and gourmands have plenty of fresh ingredients to choose from. With a reputation as a premier tourist destination and a cosmopolitan population, it’s little wonder that New York claims the top spot on a list of foodie havens. From mom-and-pop shops to five-star restaurants, New York’s culinary landscape is like no other in all of America.

littleny / Shutterstock.com
littleny / Shutterstock.com

The 15 Most Expensive Airbnb’s In America

Private accommodations site Airbnb all started as a way to provide budget-friendly accommodations to fellow travelers and offer a way to experience the world as a local -all while feeling right at home (in someone else’s home). These days just about any type of accommodation can be found on Airbnb, including entire mansion rentals which rival some of the swankiest hotel accommodations you can find. From countryside estates to pimped out luxury homes that have reportedly housed some note-worthy celebrities, America certainly has it’s fair share of luxury Airbnb’s…and they of course come with hefty price tags.  Let’s take a look at 15 of the most expensive Airbnb’s in America:

15. Spectacular Grand Mansion Sleeps 25

-Manchester, Vermont
Price per night: $2,500 USD

The Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont is promoted as the ideal spot for weddings, corporate events and family reunions. The 1902 historic estate sleeps 25 guests in 10 bedrooms and also has ‘8+’ bathrooms, pool, tennis court and a sculpture garden…how fancy! The 30 acre estate also features other rental houses and can accommodate 125 guests for special events. The price tag might be $2,500 per night with a 2 night minimum but hey, there’s always a price for such elegance.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

14. Dream Weddings, Corporate Get Aways

-Gilford, New Hampshire
Price per night: $2,500 USD

Advertised as the perfect retreat for weddings and family reunions, this New Hampshire property is located just minutes from ski hills and lake Winnipesauke. The 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom home can accommodate up to 16 people with 10 beds and also has a hot tub, heated pool, basketball court and even a grass tennis court for non-stop family fun.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

13. Antietam Overlook Farm Scenic B&B

-Keedysville, Maryland
Price per night: $2,995 USD

While the price per night may seem high, this lovely farmstead B&B in Maryland is located right near Antietam National Battlefield making it a perfect rental for your reenactment troops. The 19th century-style property can also be rented for events like weddings and parties with space to accommodate up to 50 guests. Featuring 6 bedrooms suites with 6 bathrooms on 95 acres of beautiful Maryland country-side.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

12. 3 Bedroom Premium View Unit Solaris

-Vail, Colorado
Price per night: $3,000 USD

This next listing is particularly interesting for those foodies out there who have deep pockets. If you’ve ever wanted to attend the Taste of Vail Food and Wine Festival, but weren’t sure where to stay, consider this swanky rental unit which features 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, over 2,000 sq feet of space, spectacular village views and access to all the amenities if this luxury building including room service, pool, spa, valet, housekeeping and a private chef.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

11. Beautiful, Spacious Beach House

-Narrangansett, Rhode Island
Price per night: $3,255 USD

Rhode Island is a favorite summertime vacation destination with beautiful beaches and quaint towns along the beautiful east coast. Staying in this newly built Colonial Narrangansett beach house featuring 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a third floor deck and ocean views. You can also sip the famous Narrangansett beer while actually being in Narrangansett…all for the not so low price of $3,255 per night.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

10. US Open Chambers Bay Mansion

-Tacoma, Washington
Price per night: $3,500 USD

Compared to some of the other luxury accommodations on this list, this 10 bedroom, 10 bathroom Tacoma, Washington mansion is almost a deal at $3,500 per night. The historic home was once owned by the famous Weyerhauser family and sleeps up to 20 guests. It also features 4 kitchens, 4 decks and a media room. The high price tag is due to the fact that the US Open will be in Chambers Bay in June so a 1 week stay is required then. But, they’re throwing in 3 bottles of Chateau St. Michelle wine and a $250 gift card to a local brew pub

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

9. Executive Indianapolis Home

-Indianapolis, Indiana
Price per night: $3,900 USD

This next listing is somewhat puzzling; OK, we get that being only 6 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium is many football fan’s dream but other than that we don’t really see what’s so special about this “executive home”. The photos in the listing are nice enough and the description indicates the home has 2 fireplaces, a steam shower and flat screen televisions but a $3,900 per night price tag and 4 night minimum? Really?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

8. Royal Private Estate

-Santa Fe, New Mexico
Price per night: $4,250 USD

This impressive estate in Santa Fe sits on 14 acres and boasts some seriously spectacular mountain views. The home itself is equally impressive and seems like it could have been featured on MTV’s ‘Cribs’ with features like 3 master suites, a library, theater, gourmet kitchen, “museum quality art collection” and 10-car “auto court”. You know you’ve made it when you don’t just have a garage, but an auto court. It’s no surprise this mega mansion comes with a $4,250 per night price tag.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

7. Alaskan Experience on Luxury Yacht

-Juneau, Alaska
Price per night: $5,000 USD

This next luxury listing proves that not all homes (or accommodations) are stationary. Hop aboard this 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom private yacht and set a course for discovery as you explore the wilderness and waters of southeast Alaska. Your luxury yacht comes complete with Captain, crew and your very own private chef. Activities and itineraries are customized and tailor to the preferences of guests. If an Alaskan cruise ship is just too crowded for you (and you have deep pockets) this private option might be just for you.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

6. Sprawling Horse Country Estate

-Southern Pines, North Carolina
Price per night: $5,000 USD

When you’re booking an accommodation that costs $5,000 USD per night, you probably want to know what you’re getting. Unfortunately this listing is lacking in details…and photos, but we do know this North Carolina estate sits on 16 acres of farmland. While there are no photos of the inside of the home, the host does indicate there are 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, a pool, a pond and an indoor fitness room. Those that are curious about this rental will just have to contact the host for themselves.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

5. Hale Ohana

–Kahuku, Hawaii
Price per night: $5,520 USD

Hawaii is known for luxury accommodations in a picture perfect setting and this lavish rental home is no exception. Hale Ohana O Kekai (which means family house by the sea)  is located on the ocean with private beach access and is a 25 minute drive to historic Haleiwa Town on the island of Oahu. The one-acre property features 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, open air living space, 3 dining areas, infinity pool and a guest house. This slice of Hawaiian paradise has hosted such celebrities as Diana Ross and Bobby Brown -who could easily afford the $5,520 per night price tag and 4 night minimum.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

4. English Country Manor

–West Orange, New Jersey
Price per night: $8,000 USD

Located 14 miles from New York City is this elegant country manor –something you might not expect in New Jersey. The 5 bedroom, 7 bathroom home is located in the gated community of Llewellyn Park –the country’s first planned community, and is just down the street from Thomas Edison’s home. There’s also a televisions in each room, a fitness room, country kitchen and a pool table. Sure, there’s no denying this home is lovely…but $8,000 a night?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

3. Film Location

–Brooklyn, New York
Price per night: $8,000 USD

If you’re going to spend $8,000 a night to stay in New York, you’d probably expect to be in Manhattan rather than Brooklyn, but one look at the photos of this classic brownstone and you’ll see why the price tag. The 10,000 square foot home was built in 1887 and combines the vintage details and character with modern furnishings. Owned by interior designer Jessica Warren the home is being offered on Airbnb as a film location (hence the price tag). In addition to the 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms is a green room, hang out space and a kitchen that is “perfect for craft service”. All for the starting price of $8,000 for a 12 hr shoot.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

2. Abode at Red Cloud

–Park City, Utah
Price per night: $10,000 USD

If you’re planning on making a trip to next year’s Sundance Film Festival and have very deep pockets, check out the Abode at Red Cloud in Park City Utah. This mountain mansion features a spectacular great room with massive fireplace, 2 master suites, wine cellar, exercise room, steam room, screening room (for private film festival parties) and a ski room which provides direct access to the Red Cloud chair lifts via a heated walkway. While this place would probably be any skiers dream, the price tag of $10,000 USD per night put it comfortably out of reach for most. Oh, and did we mention there’s a 3 night minimum?

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

1. Historical Mansion Garden District

–New Orleans, Louisiana
Price per night: $10,000 USD

This beautiful 4,000 square foot Greek revival style mansion is located in the Garden District of New Orleans. The Airbnb listing claims past guests have been A-list movie stars but doesn’t go as far as to mention any names. The house features 4 large guest rooms each with adjoining bathroom, a kitchen many chefs would be envious of, a pool and gardens. As you can see from the photo, the house is beautiful and decorated in a lavish style that suits the history of the mansion, but at a price tag of $10,000 per night plus cleaning and service fees, this luxury home is reserved for the rich and famous.

Photo by: Airbnb
Photo by: Airbnb

10 Things to See and Do in Providence

Providence, Rhode Island is considered to be a “commuting city” with its proximity to Boston, and is often overlooked when visitors plan their New England region getaway. Providence is one of the oldest cities in the United States, it actually predates the nation by 140 years, has endured both the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression and the Great Recession. Don’t think that this former trading town is mired in the past however, through careful planning and focus on historical preservation this city has been transformed into one of the best destination spots along the eastern seaboard. As the state capital and an education center (Providence boasts many high-profile universities and colleges) the city has a large student and professional population which in turn, fuels world class shopping, dining and night-life. The city is laid out into four main neighborhoods: Downcity, the Providence Place Mall, Federal Hill and College Hill, each with its own distinctive character and charm.

10. Get Some History

Although some would argue that the city of Providence itself is a living, breathing museum, there are still some noteworthy museums that deserve your attention.  If Constitutional history is important to you, visit the Roger Williams National Memorial and learn about the man that proclaimed Freedom of Religion in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Roger Williams is a popular historical figure in Providence and the Museum of Natural History is found in the park that bears his name.

As the only natural history museum in the state, it exhibits local flora, fauna and fossils as well as Native American tools and textiles. Adjacent to the natural History Museum, The Cormack Planetarium is one of the best in the Country, featuring a state-of-the-art star projector which is able to portray the motions of the starry sky in unprecedented detail. Also worth noting is the Culinary Archives & Museum at Johnson & Wales University which provides a window into the history of the culinary industry.

Roger Williams National Memorial Providence

9. Go Bar Hopping

Although Providence isn’t as big as nearby Boston, it still has a very busy nightlife. There are many bars and clubs to suit your taste and price range, from hipster, to upscale, to punk, to divebar. Start your night at Point Street Dueling Pianos, where two piano players entertain with hilarious adult humor.  After you are warmed up, head to The Wild Colonial and mix with students and locals choosing from their wide selection of micro-brews while shooting pool and playing darts.

If you feel like dancing, Ultra the Nightclub is your jam, boasting 2 rooms playing Hip-Hop and Techno/House, you can dance well into the night for a small cover charge. If Dancing isn’t your thing, and you want to just chill out, get your sprawl on at the Smoke Lounge, known for its relaxed atmosphere, they offer hookah, drinks and music on two levels. In the summer, the first level roofing is removed to allow patrons full view of the starry sky.

shutterstock_134857196

8. Go to the Zoo

Providence is home to one of the oldest zoos in the United States, the Roger Williams Park Zoo.  In 1872, the Roger Williams Park Zoo opened its doors to the public to display a limited selection of small animals and birds. The zoo grew in size until the mid-1940s, adding facilities to display monkeys, bears, big cats, elephants and sea lions. In 1949, one of the most popular exhibits was unveiled, Bunny Village.

Into the 1960s, the zoo started to show its age, and the Rhode Island Zoological Society was formed to raise funds to improve the public landmark. The Society remains to this day as the managing entity for the zoo and has done an excellent job enhancing the visitor’s experience with improvements to almost every area of the zoo. The Roger Williams Park Zoo is home to over 100 different species, and has exhibits showcasing animals from all around the globe.  A recent addition for children is Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard – which promotes interactive, outdoor play.

shutterstock_103447787

7. Eat Food from a Truck

Food trucks have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the last few years and Providence represents, with local aspiring entrepreneurs being profiled on Food Network shows. The city even designated a Food Truck Market in Kennedy Plaza from August to September. Consistently at the top of the review lists is Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ truck, their Kimchi Pork sliders are always a lunch crowd favorite.

Feel like something different? Championship Melt has been motoring around Providence serving up the most unique versions of the grilled cheese you have ever scarfed curbside, open your mind (and mouth) and order up a Sith Lord (peanut butter, sriracha, bacon, cheese). Seafood from a food truck might seem weird in Kansas, but not here in this seaside town, Clam Jammers will serve you a fantastic cup of homemade fresh clam chowder.  Finish off your meal with dessert from the Flour Girls Baking Company Sweet Truck where cupcakes or homemade sticky buns are local favorites.

BluIz60 / Shutterstock.com
BluIz60 / Shutterstock.com

6. Listen to Some Live Music

If classical music is your thing, Check out the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School which is celebrating its milestone 70th season this year. The Philharmonic Classical series covers works from Tchaikovsky to Bach and runs from September to May.

Providence has seen the genesis of a lot of local bands, of all different genres and tastes, upcoming acts like Lemon Lime Tennis Shoes, Johnny Lingo and the Jesse Minute. Genres and influences collide making the Providence indie music scene into something original and unique. Firehouse 13, “made of brick and built to rock”, is a great place to explore the underground music scene, built in 1856 it was a training center for firefighting cadets, now it’s a venue for great local bands. In the mood for House, Techno and Electro? Head to the infamous Sweatshop if you can find it (don’t worry, we have you covered, it’s in the basement of the Salon, Providence’s uber hipster bar).

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

5. Go See Some Art

Providence is known as the Creative Capital of the New England Region and is well known for its innovative and thriving art scene. This historic city is home to one of the best art schools in America, The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) as well as the RISD Museum of Art, which boasts more than 80,000 pieces of art, from pictures of dogs playing poker to Greek sculpture to modern multimedia.

Providence goes out of its way to make art accessible, and one of the best ways to experience what Providence has to offer is to participate in Gallery Night, which features more than 20 local galleries on the third Thursday each month from March to November. A free bus takes you through the city and stops at all the participating venues throughout the night. If you feel like combining performance and art, check out the workshop for the grown-up puppetry of Big Nazo, located just a block away from Kennedy Plaza. Based in Providence, Big Nazo’s artists perform around the globe in large whimsical costumes and manipulate puppets made in the lab from conception to finished product.

RISD providence RI

4. Shop in the Oldest Indoor Mall in America

History is a recurring theme when it comes to Providence, Rhode Island attractions, and shopping is no different.  The Westminster Arcade (also known as the Providence Arcade) has the claim of the oldest indoor shopping mall in the United States.  One of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture, the Westminster Arcade was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.   Built in 1828 between Westminster and Weybosset Streets, the main street-side entrances resemble Greek temples, with massive 45-ft columns which lead to open vestibules with stairs that lead to the upper levels.  Inside, a skylit roof extends the length of the granite, brick and cast iron building.

The Arcade has recently been renovated with new retail spaces, restaurants and cozy-living micro-lofts.  Whether it’s fashion, gifts or salons you seek, the Westminster Arcade has you covered.  If you’re hungry the Rogue Island Local Kitchen & Bar, specializes in local foods and beers from within 40 miles of the city. New Harvest Coffee & Spirits will craft brew coffee as well as serve small-batch bourbons and whiskeys, coffee cocktails and pastries.

Photo by: Connie
Photo by: Connie

3. Attend NecronomiCon – and Celebrate HP Lovecraft’s 125th Birthday

The Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council works extremely hard at making Providence the epicenter of Lovecraft’s lore and fame. To the unfamiliar, HP Lovecraft is widely regarded as the father of weird fiction, and one of the most important authors of his genre.  Unfortunately he spent most of his life in obscurity and died in poverty but his legacy lives on and NecronomiCon Providence will continue to celebrate his life and works.

Also showcased will be other creators of weird fiction, past and present, as well as Lovecraftian authors, academics and artisans.  If the grandfather of American Horror is your thing, you can join world-wide attendees to pay homage and connect from August 20 to 23.  Satisfy your Eldritch fix by taking in the academic talks, research symposium, readings, vendors, film, theater, and art all dedicated to Lovecraft-related topics.  Stretch your legs with guided walking tours (and bus tours) showcasing locations directly referenced in the stories you love.  Attend community and social events honoring Providence’s creepiest son like the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast and the Eldritch Ball.

Photo by: thurdl01/a>
Photo by: thurdl01/a>

2. Have a Drink in One of the Oldest Taverns in America

The White Horse Tavern isn’t just one of the oldest Taverns in America, it is one of the oldest buildings in the country.  In fact, the White Horse Tavern predated the United States, and played a community role like most taverns of that era. Built back when Rhode Island was a British Colony by William Mayes Sr. in 1673, it was the meeting place of the criminal court, General Assembly and the City Council.  In 1702, William Mayes Jr took the reins and was provided license to sell all sorts of strong drink.

Young Bill Mayes was a notorious pirate but a shrewd businessman who made the White Horse a popular haunt for regular folk, mercenaries, sailors, soldiers, merchants and founding fathers. These days you can feel the history and significance of this preserved location while eating excellent local farm-to-table fare and relaxing with a drink in front of a one of the fireplaces.  And if you are especially fortunate, you can communicate with one of the many ghosts said to haunt this establishment, it is well documented that in addition to being one of the oldest, the White Horse is also one of the most haunted taverns in America.

Photo by: White Horse Tavern
Photo by: White Horse Tavern

1. Attend Waterfire

Providence plays host to an annual festival, performance work, community ceremony and art instillation all rolled into one.  Waterfire is an expansive yearly celebration which celebrates community diversity and expression.  As far as city wide festivals go, Waterfire is relatively new and started when artist Barnaby Evans created the art installation called First Fire to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Providence’s First Night participation (the North American Arts and Culture celebration which was founded in nearby Boston).

Dedicated volunteers and strong community support have allowed this to be an admission free event every year, with the local and state government only contributing ten percent of overall costs, Waterfire is supported by generous donations from local business and citizens. During Waterfire, the downtown core of Providence is illuminated by one hundred bonfires that are set just above the surface of the Woonasquatucket, Moshassuck and Providence rivers that pass through Waterplace Park.  Visitors are encouraged to stroll the paths along the waterfront and interact with the community fire-tending volunteers that make this event run smoothly every year.  Also included in the festivities are local and visiting artisans and performers, no matter what you are into, there is something to capture the imagination of almost every visitor.

Photo by: Waterfire
Photo by: Waterfire