This past week, I had the opportunity (which is an odd word to use because it was sort of a salvaging of an already lost opportunity, but there you go) to visit Rhode Island. I had always wanted to visit Rhode Island ever since watching the beloved sitcom/drama (is it a sitcom?? that feels like the wrong genre) Providence with my parents when I was younger. It solidified my obsession with all things New England and my perpetual want to always have a sweet, lovable golden retriever by my side. I think that and my love of Lands End really did it for me.
Well, those dreams came true when I was able to rent a car in Manhattan and drive up the eastern coast through Connecticut and to the city of gorgeous history herself, Providence. I only had a solid six hours of sunlight between the night before and the next morning before having to go back to New York, so I decided to take a short ride around the city. Through true dumb luck, and I say this honestly because my GPS wasn’t working, I drove up on the oldest, longest, most well preserved mile of American colonial architecture in the country: Benefit Street.
Now, for those who, like me, were unaware this street existed, here’s a brief description/history. TripAdvisor listed it as #7 on Things to Do in Providence and I have to surely agree. Again, not having proper internet, I wasn’t able to really look up other activities. However, once I got out of my rental car and situated my backpack and camera, I was so incredibly engrossed in my surroundings that I don’t think I would’ve wanted to spend my time doing anything else.
I’ve always loved looking at various types of architecture, though I have never studied it. American colonial is one of my favorite styles and I was thrilled to see so many variations on the genre.
Benefit Street, also referred to as the Mile of History, is just that: a mile of historical homes laden with plaques that list the original owner/builder along with the year of construction and, in some cases, the year the home was moved from its original location to its current residence on Benefit Street. I won’t lie, I really didn’t know who roughly 90% of the residents were, but I did know how to read years and was thus blown away by the established dates of some of the homes.