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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Oct. 13-20

This week: A seafood fest, haunted boat rides, Chris Van Allsburg, “Spider-Man,” vintage shopping, and more

University of Rhode Island alumnus Jesse-Ray Leich will appear in “Music As Storytelling on Broadway,” a free event at URI on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.Rob Strong

Boo. (I didn’t use an exclamation point because I didn’t want to scare you too badly.) Whether you want to scream yourself silly, relax with oysters and beer, meet authors, shop vintage or hang with a New England Patriot, I’ve got a lil’ something for every Rhode Islander in my bag of treats — and I’m not tricking, neighbor.


BYOB on the Providence River Boat Company’s “Haunted Boat Ride.” According to the billing: “Surrounded by the moonlit bridges, cobblestone walkways and century-old architecture of downtown Providence, you will hear stories of our capital city’s dearly-deceased-but-not-so-departed residents; local literary giants and humble servants alike; their restless souls still stirring among the living.” Climb aboard… if you dare. Adults $35, kids 10-17 $33. Details here.



Trick-lovers, you’re in for a treat: Scary Acres RI is open for the Haunted Season. “The Dark Harvest hayride” takes you through Haunted Town, according to billing. Then “brave the haunted burial grounds cornfield. Lastly, try to survive the curse of the bayou… Will you survive?” 2150 Scituate Ave., Cranston. Prices and hours vary. Details here.


Time for a little lesson this Friday the 13th! Take a cooking lesson at the Ocean House: “In the Kitchen: Halloween Sweet Treats” Oct. 13 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Culinary pros can teach you how to make strawberry ghosts and pumpkin tartlets to wow your pals at the Halloween party. $95. Reservations required. Details here.


I’m a lifelong book lover and want to spread the Ocean State literary love. Rhody is so packed with authors and stories, I’ve started a little subsection of this column, Rhode Reads. If you’re a local author or a bookstore hosting a local signing, hit me up and you just might get featured. In this week’s Rhody Reading News:


  • The 2023 Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors at PVD’s Lincoln School Oct. 14 boasts a stellar lineup of award-winning children’s authors and illustrators. A Banned Books Panel Oct. 13 kicks off the fest.
  • The Oct. 14 lineup includes RISD alum and kids book icon Chris Van Allsburg (read my interview with the Caldecott Award winner here) and Caldecott winners Grace Lin (read National Book Award finalist “When the Sea Turned to Silver”) Carole Lindstrom, Shannon Hale, Bryan Collier (he illustrated Langston Hughes’s “I, Too, Am America” so powerfully) plus Boston’s Raul The Third (I’ve given his books as gifts, so good) Jeanette Bradley, Kelly Murphy and Jamie Michalak, Ellen T. Crenshaw, Josh Funk and Kah Yangni and more.
  • Authors will give talks throughout the day, sign books, and meet fans. Kids can “participate in bookmaking and other crafts, and view a special performance.” Love all of this. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 301 Butler Ave., Providence $5, or $10 per family. Details here.


Treasure hunters, it’s go-time: Little City Thrifty Vintage Market, a curated gathering of some 90 vendors hits at the WaterFire Arts Center Oct. 14 and 15. Think clothing, barware, vinyl records, books, art, furniture, home decor, jewelry, collectibles, and the like. Entry includes a free small beverage, your choice: cocktail, beer, coffee or water. Early buying starts at 11 a.m. $15, GA opens at noon, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, if event doesn’t sell out. 475 Valley St., Providence. Details here.


The 32nd Annual Seafood Festival at Bowen’s Wharf in Newport runs Oct. 14-15 with live music and plenty of seafood. (That’s rock and lobster, B-52 fans.) It’s free admission — just pay for what you eat. Expect fish tacos, lobster rolls, stuffies, chowder, fried calamari, clams, oysters, plus cocktails, beer, frozen lemonade, donuts, and kettle corn. Proceeds from bars benefit Oliver Hazard Perry. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m both days. Details here.


We’ve got a solar eclipse Oct. 14, and the Rhody gem that is the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center makes a day of it. The eclipse starts at 12:15 p.m. and continues until 2:35 p.m. with maximum eclipse at 1:26 p.m., according to their website. Starting at 10 a.m. they’ll have solar telescopes in both white light and hydrogen alpha to view the solar photosphere and chromosphere, views of sunspots, prominence, and filaments on the sun. Plus solar projectors and eclipse shades. $5. Kids 4 and under free. 61-62 Park Lane, Charlestown. Details here.



It’s a full WaterFire Oct. 14. You know the drill, Rhody. Assume positions. Lighting at 6:06 p.m.; braziers remain lit until 11 p.m. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Two highlights: The Steeple Street Music Stage feature thes Gendo Taiko drummers at 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Watch fire-spinners from Cirque de Light at 6, 7:30 and 8 p.m. Details here.


Take your marks… The 24th Annual Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism’s Flutie 5K kicks off at 11 a.m. Oct.15 at Johnson & Wales. Run or walk solo, create a team, or race virtually. All contributions support the foundation’s “mission of helping families and individuals affected by autism live life to the fullest,” according to event info. $35. Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus, 60 Harborside Blvd. Register here; learn more here.


Newport’s Broadway Street Fair brings classic street fair vibes to a wide footprint, from Equality Park down to Farewell Street and into Washington Square on Oct. 14 from noon to 4 p.m. Expect artisan vendors; fare like Ben & Jerry’s, Del’s, kettle corn, chowder, donuts and more. And activities: magic shows, photo booth, pumpkin painting, scavenger hunt, skate demos and more. Rain or shine. Details here.


This one’s a splurge, but if you’re a Pats super-fan — or want to give someone an early Christmas/birthday present — hang with former Patriot Super Bowl champ Adam Vinatieri at “Adam Vinatieri’s Second Annual Clays 4 Charity Shoot” at The Preserve Sporting Club in Richmond on Oct. 14. The Pats’ famed placekicker hosts a clay-shoot to benefit Ducks Unlimited, which “aims to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl,” Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Ruffed Grouse Society, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. After the event, tackle the equestrian center, fly-fishing, archery, ax-throwing, lawn games and more. Breakfast and dinner included. Fireworks end the evening. $549. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 53 Kingstown Road, Richmond. Learn more here.



No, this isn’t the movie crossover we’ve all been waiting for, just two separate events at PPAC this week.

Catch “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” live in-concert Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. According to billing, the Oscar-winning animated movie is paired “with live musicians and turntables featuring a DJ scratcher live on stage. Emmy winner Daniel Pemberton composed a sprawling score of boundary-pushing original music…complemented with song contributions by Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Jaden Smith, and Nicki Minaj.” From $30. Details here.

“Mrs. Doubtfire,” a musical-comedy based on the classic movie, and directed by four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks, runs Oct. 17-22. From $38. Details here.


Broadway’s orchestra pit musicians are seldom visible, but essential. So URI is hosting Nick Jemo and Jesse-Ray Leich — two Rhode Island natives and URI alumni musicians working in Broadway pits — for “Music As Storytelling on Broadway,” a free event open to the public Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. According to event billing, Jemo and Leich will “discuss a range of topics,” from “anecdotes about the secret lives of orchestra pit musicians to reflections on the changing landscape of musical theater” in the era of AI. They’ll also perform songs from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Mary Poppins,” “Mr. Saturday Night” and more. Register and learn more here.



Calling all garlic lovers: this may be the first Rhody fest dedicated to your favorite powerful flavor. Tiverton Farmers Market host its Inaugural Garlic Roast on Oct. 15. Curious? Same. According to the event billing, offerings include handmade sausage and pepper marmalade sandwiches, empanadas, pizzas, garlic focaccia breads, garlic honey, and more.

Safe to say there will NOT be vampires. Tiverton Middle School Cafeteria, 10 Quintal Drive, Tiverton. Details here.


Providence’s Teatro ECAS opens its 26th season with “Terapia” (“Therapy”) a comedy by Martín Giner and directed by Francis Parra. Oct. 19-29. From $30. 679 Valley St. Learn more here.


Ever seen a movie so bad, you wonder: How did this get made? So did these three actors: Paul Scheer (of “The League” (but he’ll always be Kenneth Parcel’s page-nemesis from “30 Rock” to me) Jason Mantzoukas (so many good things) and June Diane Raphael (same) host of the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast that “celebrates the best of the worst.” They look at the 2002 movie “Rollerball” at The Vets Oct. 19 at 7:30. From $35. Details here.


This is technically next week, but I started a little section for hot tickets that may go fast!

If you shucking love oysters, hop on it: the 9th Annual Ocean State Oyster Fest, offering up the bounty of some 15 Rhody oyster farms, plus beer, wine, gin garden, food trucks and live music by the boardwalk along the Providence River at the 9th Annual Ocean State Oyster Festival Oct. 21. $10 advance, $15 day-of. 1-7 p.m. River Walk Park, Providence. Details here.


I rounded up more fall ideas around New England for you here, but for Rhode Islanders in particular, try these picks:

  • Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo. This year’s theme: Pumpkins Around The World. Note that on Oct. 10 and 11, kids can meet costumed characters before hopping on the pumpkin trail. Nightly 6-10:30 p.m. Online purchase only. Mon.-Thurs. $18 adult, $15 child. Fri- Sun.: $21 adult, $18 child. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. 401-785-3510. Details here.
  • Fall means apple picking and cider donuts, and Rhody’s orchards are ripe with both. From Greenville to Little Compton to Cumberland, pick a peck of Fujis, Honeygolds and Empires — and grab donuts for the road — with our guide here. Then, of course, post a pic of apple-picking on Insta — I think that’s in the apple-picking rulebook. Don’t forget to check @Ciderdonuteur’s map to see where to snag a cider donut in Rhody. (Which Rhody-made cider doughnut did Boston Globe Today’s Segun Oduolowu say “slaps”? Find out.)
  • Fall means apple cider drinking and we can do it in luxury: The Chanler at Cliff Walk’s Apple Cider Bar is open weekends through Nov. 19. Sit out in the crisp open air to sip mulled cider crafted from Rose Hill Heirloom apples to refuel after your Cliff Walk. Details here.
  • It’s Corn! Dare to escape from the 8-acre corn maze at Escobar Farm in Portsmouth, then treat yourself. Concessions include popcorn, candy, raisins and “butterscotch flavored lollipops in the shape of an ear of corn,” according to website. Ages 12 and up $10, kids 4-11 $8; 3 and under free. Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. GPS: 255 Middle Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-1444. Details and hours here.

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.