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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

College Hill

In another installment of university touring, we spent the afternoon in Providence today, mostly in the area around Brown. I had visited several times back in the college years, hanging out with my high school friend who went there, but it was hard to connect those memories with the way it looked today, partly because it was so cold that everything was sort of deserted. And also, it was more than ten years since I'd been there ...

However, I did remember this part: I always loved walking up the steep hill from the train station, seeing the old buildings clustered ahead. Parts of Providence feel very old, even downright Colonial.

The neighborhood is full of big old houses, the kind I always think of as "sea captain houses," whomever originally built them. You know the type.

We passed some Rhode Island School of Design (a.k.a. "RISD," pronounced "Rizdee") buildings on the way up the hill. I wonder if this was a student's renegade installation:

On closer inspection these garlands appeared to be paper magnolia-like flowers. Rather lovely, no? This tree got leied!

I also noticed this peculiar bus station. Or art exhibit? I couldn't figure it out, and felt shy about going closer with the guy sitting on the bench. Some organic substance clung to the posts, maybe old wasps nests. It looked like something that had been submerged underwater for years and years, and was still encrusted with barnacles.

Other things may have changed around Brown, but the shops on collegey Thayer Street still know their core audience.

We liked how "Grateful Dead" and "Phish" each constituted its own entire genre, on the same level, category-wise, as the more generic "tapestries" and "incense." I can't be sure, but I think this is a classification system no-no.