March is coming in like a lion, Rhody. This week’s Best Times include farmers’ markets, free meatballs, wine, art classes, and a field trip to a new museum. Let’s ride.
THE ART OF WINE...
No, not the art of whine. That’s me before coffee. (Ba-doom-boom-ching! I’ll be here all week folks.) Newport’s Huddle offers a BYOB wine class with Rhode Island wine educator Matthew MacCartney. From the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival Wine Director, you’ll learn how wine is made, the difference between wines around the world—and about the bottle you bring in. “The Art of Wine.” Feb. 25, 6 p.m. $35. 42 Spring St., Newport. Details here.
…AND DRINKING OF WINE
On Feb. 26, put your new-found knowledge to use at a flight tasting at Leyden’s Vineyard in West Greenwich. Select five house wines and learn about each. Sip on the heated patio or stroll the vineyard. If purchased online, $12 for a wine tasting and logo glasses for two; $22 for a wine tasting and logo glasses for four. Noon to 4 p.m. 160 Plain Meeting House Road, West Greenwich. Details here. Make it a Rhody winery tour and try a few others: Newport Vineyards, for example, is open daily for walk-in tasting bar service; kitchen is open Friday-Sunday this week. (909 East Main Road, Middletown. 401-848-5161.) Greenvale Vineyards is open Thursdays-Saturdays, 11- 5 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, according to their Facebook page. #WineTime.
As we near March Madness, Providence College basketball is officially a Very Major Rhode Island Event. The Friars take on Creighton Feb. 26 at 8:30 p.m. at the Dunk. Hockey fans, the Providence Bruins take on Hartford at the Dunk Feb. 27 at 3:05 p.m. Ticket prices vary. 1 LaSalle Square, Providence. 401-331-6700. Details here.
CROWN THE BURGER KING
Voting ends Feb. 27 for Newport’s “Burger Bender.” Some 50 burgers — beef, veggie and fish — are vying for the title of Best in Town. I mentioned the kick-off last week, but unless you’re Jughead, there is no way you ate all 50 already. Some of these entries are epic: Caleb and Broad serves a crispy pork belly burger with sharp cheddar, pickled strawberries, caramelized onion, and bourbon glaze on a doughnut (!). La Forge Restaurant — the defending champs, according to their Instagram — serve a half-pound Umami burger: spicy orange-ginger braised pork belly, sesame sautéed shiitake mushrooms, crispy bok choy, bone marrow aioli, and double cream brie. #GameOn. Vote via discovernewport.org. Details here.
TIVERTON FARMERS MARKET
From vegan ravioli and vegan donuts to babka and challah breads; from local seafood and seasonal fruits to local beef, honey, and soups, dozens of local vendors from all over the Farmcoast offer goods each Sunday at the Tiverton Middle School gym. It may be indoors, but the farm vibes are in check: Alpaca hats, gloves and scarves. Table linens, CBD balms. Farm-made apple sauce, microgreens, local eggs, kombucha, hand-made jewelry. #FarmersMarketVibes. Feb. 27. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 10 Quintal Drive, Tiverton. Details here.
THE FLEA’S KNEES
You never know what gem you might find at Providence Flea. If you’ve never been, think more maker’s market and curated vintage spot than a flea market. They’ll move outdoors this summer. The winter/spring flea runs Sundays now through May at Farm Fresh Rhode Island Market Hall. Hit it up Feb. 27 to find some 70 vendors — vintage vendors, artisans, indie makers, small batch bakers, artisan coffee, craft beer and food. Free admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 10 Sims Ave. Details here.
FREE MEATBALLS & OPEN MIC
You had me at free meatballs.
Providence’s Askew offers two free meatball sandwiches per person, and a musical open mic on Feb. 28. Bring your instruments and show us what you got. Askew does this every Monday, according to their website, so keep this on your calendar, Rhody. #MeatballMondays. Sign up at 7 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. 150 Chestnut St., Providence. Details here.
It’s Bob Ross vibes with pencils instead of paint. Bring your art pencils and get ready to zen out drawing flowers and plants in a mansion with Nature Drawing at Blithewold — a 45-room mansion framed by gardens, greenhouse, and whimsical stonework. You’ll work from pictures and found natural objects, focusing on rendering color, texture and design in nature. #HappyLittleFlowers. From $30. 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. 401-253-2707. Details here.
YOU AND ME AND THE BOTTLE MAKES 3 TONIGHT (BABY)
Swing fans, rejoice: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is bringing that ‘90s swing to the Greenwich Odeum March 3. Wear your dancing shoes. #GoDaddio. Tickets from $50. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. 59 Main St., East Greenwich. 401-885-4000. Details here.
Ghana superstar Bisa Kdei will rock Providence for a Ghana independence celebration on March 4. Be prepared for hits including Mansa, Asew, Jwe, Odo Carpenter and others. Jefferson Hall, 79 Jefferson St., Providence. Doors 9 p.m., show 11 p.m. Age 18+. Tickets from $30. Details here.
SLATER FIELD TRIP
Tell me you grew up in Rhode Island without telling me you grew up in Rhode Island.
Was coffee milk an option at lunch? Do you know at least one Feinstein Junior Scholar? Did you take at least one field trip to Slater Mill? (Check, check, and check.)
It’s time for a grown-up field trip to Webster, Mass. for the Samuel Slater Experience. The new, permanent museum is entirely interactive, using 4-D digital technology to tell the story of Slater, according to a press release. In the works since 2018, the museum opens its doors March 4.
As any Rhode Islander knows — and I’m reciting this from my old 4th grade field trip memory, so bear with me — Slater was born on June 9, 1768, the fifth son of William and Elizabeth Slater, and grew up on a farm in Belper, Derbyshire, England. (OK, I looked this up.)
In a nutshell: Slater knew his way around a water-powered textile mill. When he heard about Moses Brown’s failed attempts at starting a working mill in Pawtucket, he made the trip from the Big Apple to Lil’ Rhody. A year later, he had the first working water-powered textile mill in America. It grew from there: Slater is now known as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution.”
Learn (much) more at the Samuel Slater Experience. 31 Ray St., Webster, Mass.. Adults $16. Tickets for March 4 will be available at the door only from 1-3 p.m. Buy tickets online for Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend here.
And check here for info and visiting details on Rhode Island’s own historic Slater Mill.
A PARTY-HEARTY “TWELFTH NIGHT”
The University of Rhode Island’s Theatre Department puts a new twist on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” by giving the play a contemporary feel while keeping its 17th century roots. The set, designed by URI Theatre alumna Rénee Surprenant Fitzgerald, resembles a dance club for royalty, but the script is classic Bard. “Our production of ‘Twelfth Night’ is a party,” explains junior theater and English major Riley Nedder, who plays the roles of Viola and Cesario. “Be ready to laugh, to sigh and to fall in love alongside us.” March 3-5 and March 10-12 at 7:30 p.m., March 6 and 13 at 2 p.m.. Tickets $15-$10. J-Studio at the Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston Campus. (401) 874-5843. Details here.
“GEM OF THE OCEAN”
August’s Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” runs through March 27 at Trinity Rep. Set in 1904 Pittsburgh, “Gem” is first of the 10 plays in Wilson’s “American Century Cycle”— which includes “Fences” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Tickets from $25. 201 Washington St., Providence. 401-351-4242. For full synopsis and details, see here.
Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.