WHY GO IN AUGUST Beat the Southern heat—it's much cooler in New England than Charlotte in August.
Stay at the Biltmore Hotel
It’s a good bet that Charlotte will be hot this summer given that temps hit 80 in December (damn your prophecies, Al Gore!). So head north to Providence, a city chock-full of New England’s history and funny accents, but without all the traffic.
Book a room at The Biltmore (11 Dorrance St., 401-421-0700, www.providencebiltmore.com, $139 and up), a fixture in the Rhode Island city since 1922, and you’ll be within walking distance of the delicious pomme frites at the Bravo Brasserie (123 Empire St., 401-490-5112, www.bravobrasserie.com ) and the home-style meatloaf of DownCity (50 Weybosset St., 401-331-9217, www.downcityfood.com ). Thanks to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the city’s major artist population has spawned a slew of craft and furniture shops. Stroll a few blocks to Westminster Street and check out the cool clock collection at Bowl and Board (217 Westminster St., 401-521-0504, www.bowlandboard.com ) and the jewelry at the hipster-friendly RISD Works (10 Westminster St., 401-277-4949, www.risdworks.com ), which features items from the schools’ alums and faculty.
If you’re looking for a beach with sand that hasn’t reached molten temperature, take a forty-five-minute detour south to the beaches at Narragansett or Newport. But be sure to make it back for dinner in the Federal Hill section of town—ubiquitous chef Mario Batali called it "One of the Top Ten Little Italys in America"—a spot packed with family-owned restaurants like Costantino’s Ristorante & Caffe (DePasquale Plaza, 265 Atwells Ave., 401-528-1100, www.vendaravioli.com ).
Plan your trip to align with one of the city’s many summer WaterFire events—which feature 100 bonfires lit on installations atop the city’s three rivers. A riverside stroll admiring the flames is a perfect way to end an evening.
- Twenty percent of the country’s National Historic Landmarks are found in Rhode Island, thirteen in Providence alone.
- The Culinary Archives & Museum at Johnson & Wales University features cooking utensils from as far back as 5,000 years ago.