Weekend Road Trip to Providence and Newport, Rhode Island

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Summer is the perfect time to take a road trip in the northeast for the warmer weather in the region and to escape muggy weather in areas like New York city and further south. I recently partnered with Toyota for a road trip in New England, and went up to Rhode Island since was already making plans to visit Providence for a food story I was working on and to check out different areas in the city. Since I would be driving now instead of using the train to visit (which would’ve been easy and comfortable to do leaving from the Tri-State area), decided to also stop by Newport for the beach, biking and mansion exploring.

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Find more road trip moments below – plus Providence highlights for neighborhoods to visit, a hotel to stay at and LGBT nightlife, and how to spend a day in Newport:


Toyota RAV4

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Having a personal history of driving a Toyota Camry, the RAV4 XLE seemed like the best choice for any easy transition from a sedan to an SUV since it’s perfectly compact. I had the RAV4 a couple days before taking off for Providence that was good to practice, but the transition was so easy that I could’ve gotten it the night before. Along with the stylish exterior aesthetics, the interior was perfect for a weekend (or even week) road trip – for which I brought my friend Tom along with me.

I really enjoyed the6.1-in. high-resolution touch-screen audio and display system (which includes an integrated backup camera display, an AM/FM, CD and MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, a USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, music streaming via Bluetooth and more). Along with a good sound system, luggage space is important for road trips and the RAV4 XLE had a lot of it. We were able to fit two Cannondale bikes (the Bad Boy 2 and CAAD 8 with the one wheel taken off each) in the back with the reclining, fold-flat second-row seat along with our weekend duffle bags and backpacks. The remote keyless entry system is a nice, standard touch, and the spacious and comfortable front seats made the two and half hour drive from Stamford fly by.

More specifics about the RAV4 XLE can be found on Toyota, and a couple pics below before the Providence and Newport moments:

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(PS: Hilary Duff’s “Sparks” is my summer jam!)

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Providence

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Having only been to Providence once before when I was a teen, was great to go back and really see the city. I was very impressed by the food offerings the city had, that there’s going to be a post on that coming later (and a link to the food story I’m working on when that goes live) – so please excuse the tease from that statement! Get a taste of the downtown and historical college hill areas below and some places to visit when you’re in town:

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My favorite part to walk around in Providence had to be river water front on the side of College Hill and around the RISD campus. Beautiful Victorian architecture can be found throughout, plus the area looks like it’s amazing year round with the beautiful spring flora coming in at the time that made me wonder how great the foliage must be! The RISD museum is also worth the visit if you’re an art and culture lover, but even if you only have a little interest in these areas and like to shop, the gift shop has some fun and kitschy surprises.

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Downtown Providence has a lot to offer that it’s like a little Manhattan with areas that reminded me of the FiDi and SoHo. Washington and Westminister Streets were among my favorites for the bars, food options and shopping on and around them.

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For my fellow gay travelers, Providence bar hopping is great since they are all pretty much steps or a couple short blocks from each other – and there’s over 10 gay bars / community favorites in the downtown area. Among them, check out The Stable for a modern video bar that’s filled with locals and offers with tasty drinks and a backyard patio (fun fact: it actually used to be a stable), and the lively Dark Lady with gay nightlife elements of drag shows, go-go dancers, shot boys and retro dancing (pre-drink at club’s sister bar the Alley Cat beforehand, which is right next door to stumble into Dark Lady when you’re ready).

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There’s a number of hotels in Providence to choose from. We stayed the historical Providence Biltmore which conveniently was located in front of Burnside Park (which is host to a number of events such as this year’s Eat Drink RI Festival and it’s Truck Stop event). More info about the hotel to come!

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Newport

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After a couple nights in Providence it was time for Newport! I learned from my day’s outing there that it was not enough to see everything Newport had to offer, but was a good introduction if you haven’t been before (as I have not prior to the trip).

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Photos by Andrew Villagomez – for the most part 🙂

Two road trip style posts coming tomorrow!


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About Andrew Villagomez

Andrew Villagomez is a lifestyle journalist, style photographer and owner of VeeTravels.com. He contributes to publications such as Details.com, Out Magazine, Logo TV's NewNowNext.com, Passport Magazine, Latina.com, Thrillist.com and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @VeeTravels

Posted on June 4, 2015, in Gay Travel, Hotels + Resorts, Nightlife, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for highlighting my home state. I miss it

  2. Looks like an extremly enjoyable trip! Road trips to the sea are just great!

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