1. Make memories at Rocky Point Park
It wasn’t Six Flags or Disneyworld, but it was Rhode Island’s very own amusement park. The roller coasters were small. The wooden one was scary only because it seemed very old and rickety, and the other one had a corkscrew and was over in about 2 minutes. But you got wet on the Flume, dizzy on Music Express, and laughed all the way through the House of Horrors
2. Spend many afternoons at McCoy Stadium.
It’s the home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the minor-league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Whether you were a baseball fan or not, going to McCoy Stadium was and still is a Rhode Island tradition. It was always affordable, especially compared to Fenway Park. And you were right on top of the action. You could hear the umpire calling balls and strikes. It wasn’t uncommon to see a big leaguer or two playing during a rehab stint from an injury, or an up-and-coming rookie a year or two before his debut in the big leagues. From the old scrimmages with Boston, to high school football games, and fireworks on the 3rd of July, everyone has at least one memory with friends from McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, and at least one PawSox souvenir cup in their cupboard.
3. Hit the beach as often as possible.
We’re not called the Ocean State for nothing. We have beautiful beaches and coast line. And most of the summers growing up in Rhode Island were spent by the water. You would get up early and pack your cooler and blankets into the car, and as many friends as you could fit to save money on parking. We’re a small state, but for some reason the ride to the beach always seemed long. Even longer on the way back, stuck in traffic on Route 1. But you didn’t care. Because a day of laying on your blanket laughing with friends, walking the boardwalk flirting with guys and girls, and enjoying some clamcakes and Del’s lemonade, were memories that would last forever.
4. Drink Awful Awful until you got sick.
“Drink Three, Get One Free” was the ultimate challenge for you and your friends growing up in Rhode Island. It was a promotion they had at Newport Creamery — a local restaurant chain that specializes in comfort foods with a diner-like atmosphere, but more commonly known for its ice cream treats. Their version of the milk shake was called the “Awful Awful”. Because it was awful big and awful good. And supposedly, if you could drink three of them, you’d get a fourth one free. A challenge many attempted growing up, but few succeeded. Most of us just end up with brain freeze and belly aches.
5. Stuff your face at Haven Brothers.
After a night of bar-hopping or clubbing in downtown Providence, everyone gets hungry. And there were a fair share of food trucks available at 1am. But everyone growing up in Rhode Island knows the best late night snack was Haven Brothers — a diner truck parked downtown. They served the usual burgers, hot dogs, and fries. The line was usually long, but you didn’t mind because you were there with your friends, and you didn’t want the night to end.
6. Stroll on Blackstone Boulevard.
Everyone has spent some time with friends on this throughway, even 4-legged ones. You could go exploring in Swan Point Cemetery, or joke about someday being committed as you passed by Butler Hospital. If you wanted you could keep going until you got to Thayer Street and grab a quick cone of homemade ice cream from Maxamillian’s (now Three Sisters).
7. Cruise the night away.
Top down or sunroof open, there was nothing better than Ocean Drive along the shore line in Narragansett, or zipping past the Breakers, beaches, and cliffs in Newport. And at night you’d head to Federal Hill for a bite to eat, or cruise the Ave in Pawtucket and East Providence, where everyone would be hanging out in the parking lots of Dunking Donuts and Burlington Coat Factory If you were up North and had a car that was fast and loud the place to go was Diamond Hill in Cumberland.