the east side of providence

Providence, RI; a little city full of charm

(PVD for short)

Okay, I’ll start by sharing that I grew up in Rhode Island. Did you know it’s the tiniest state in the U.S? Some people don’t even know it exists! You have no idea how many times I’ve been asked by non-Rhode Islanders if R.I. is “in New York?” because they think it’s the same thing as Long Island (big hint: it’s not). Oyyy! People are really missing out on the charm that this little state has to offer, so let’s talk about it!

Providence, RI a.k.a. “PVD” is Rhode Island’s capital and a very small (old) city at that. I suppose that being a small city makes sense, considering the size of the state, but still- it’s tiny. Tiny with a lot to offer, though! Can you believe the city was founded in 1636? Holy old-ness!

I’m a huge fan of the East Side of PVD specifically because it’s rich with history, beautiful architecture, and offers so much to do... plus, the dog parks have been a pretty great spot for me and my pup to hang, just saying. It houses Brown University & RISD, two incredible schools that people travel from all over the world to attend. The East Side has multiple neighborhoods including Blackstone, Hope, Mount Hope, College Hill, Wayland, & Fox Point. I’ve lived here on the East Side of Providence for about four years and I don’t plan to leave any time soon. It’s just too dang good to leave.

Taking photos on the East Side is an all time favorite of mine. The area’s architecture has so many textures. You see stone, brick, ivy, and homes painted in sooo many colors. You wouldn’t believe how many funky and unique door knockers you see while walking down Benefit Street. There’s even one shaped like a horseshoe crab, which is my personal fave, but anyway- point is, the East Side is really somethin’. That’s why newly weds, John & Julia, decided to plan for an intimate photo session in the area to commemorate their recent elopement that took place in Nantucket, MA- a location very special to them.

benefit street

On this beautiful November morning, we started our photo journey on Benefit Street. This street is known for its brick & cobblestone sidewalks, old victorian light posts, & historic homes.

The fall leaves were everywhere, which was obviously fantastic. We walked along Benefit St, getting some cool shots of these two strolling along the old sidewalks & dancing around in the street, before we decided to take a break and head down to get some coffee on South Main Street.

college hill

College Hill is, well, a literal massive hill, but it’s also a popular neighborhood on the East Side of PVD. I’ll never forget when I bought my 6-speed (stick shift) Mini Cooper in 2014 and tried to drive up the streets of College Hill for the first time. Did I stall? You bet your toosh I did. But whatever. Worth it.

Anyway, College Hill is a gorgeous neighborhood that homes both Brown University & Rhode Island School of Design. That means it has lots students a.k.a. lots of cool shops & night life (be sure to check out Thayer Street if you’re ever in the area).

As you walk down the hill, you’ll find stunning panoramic views of Downtown Providence, as seen here. We went down the hill to South Main Street where one of my favorite little coffee shops resides.

south main st & south water st

South Main St. is one of the coolest spots on the East Side. My favorite sandwich shop (Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches at 401 S Main St, Providence, RI) & coffee spot (Dave’s Coffee at 341 S Main St, Providence, RI) are on that street.

Naturally, we stopped by Dave’s coffee for Julia & John to get caffeinated before walking one street over to South Water St. where the best view of the Providence skyline sits.

There are cute little pathways to walk on, benches to rest at, and so much more. Recently, Providence built a new pedestrian bridge across the Providence River with the best view yet- be sure to check it out!

back up the hill

After a much needed caffeine break we headed (well, walked…) back uphill to Benefit St. I’m so obsessed with the colors of the houses & the old brick sidewalks there.

By this point, we were all awake and ready to explore. We continued walking around the area as the sun came up and eventually found some adorable little alleyways to take photos in together.

I’m so grateful for Julia & John; they were such troopers despite the fact that we did a LOT of walking up & down hills (on very uneven old sidewalks) and didn’t complain once!

neighbor's lane

You should probably keep this one on the DL, but we eventually found Neighbors Lane. Keep it on the DL because its not a well-known spot. This is a teeny tiny alleyway with gorgeous brick and old cobblestone roads that nobody seems to know about.

It was an amazing spot to stop and explore all sorts of poses around the brick, cobblestone, autumn leaves, and green ivy.

My favorite locations to shoot are always the ones that nobody seems to know about. They’re so peaceful and serene. Neighbors Lane definitely fit the bill.

ending at benefit st

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m kind of obsessed with Benefit Street. We parked on Benefit, so it was an easy place to end our time together.

We spotted some gorgeous little stoops and, of course, had to stop there for a few more photos. I specifically remember Julia loving the old mailbox slots on this deep red door, so this is where we settled in.

It was such a full circle to start and end our session in the same area, which was absolutely perfect. I’m so grateful for these two and their decision to hire me, follow me around the city, and explore together!

If they had asked me what to do next, I would have given them ideas such as:

Breakfast at:

- Julian’s; 318 Broadway, Providence, RI 02909

- The Kitchen; 94 Carpenter St, Providence, RI 02903

- Nick’s on Broadway; 500 Broadway, Providence, RI 02909

Lunch at:

- Tallulah's Taqueria; 146 Ives St, Providence, RI 02906

- McBride’s Irish Pub; 161 Wayland Ave, Providence, RI 02906

- The East End; 244 Wickenden St, Providence, RI 02903

But, it was early and I’m pretty sure we were all pooped and ready to get back to our cats at home. Cat people are the best people, obviously. That being said, Providence is the dang best. I know the area well and love exploring & photographing here, but it’s true that R.I. has so much to offer despite it’s size. Between cute little cities, coastal towns, and so much forrest, this state has at all.

In love with the East Side of PVD as much as me and want to see more? Check out the gallery below and feel free to let me know in the comments what *your* favorite place in Rhode Island is:

-Emily W of EEW Photography-