Say what you want, but I love this state. The food, the history, the diversity and the short drive to pretty much anywhere made it a great place to grow up as a kid in the 80s and 90s. Speaking of which, I have been reminiscing lately how much I miss some great Rhode Island “landmarks. If they were still here I would be so excited to introduce my kids to these Rhody staples:
Ann & Hope: There was nothing you couldn’t get at Ann & Hope. Need toilet paper, the Ghostbusters on VHS, the latest New Kids album, new pair of stonewashed jeans and a Lite Brite for your friend’s birthday gift? You went to Ann & Hope. It was the first one-stop shopping place before Wal-mart and Target. Seriously, Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-mart, visited Ann & Hope for inspiration. And the shopping cart conveyor at the Cumberland location? Pure entertainment! I remember racing up the stairs so I’d get up there before the cart (probably to my mother’s dismay). I know that Ann & Hope still has a Curtain & Bath outlet open, but it’s just not the same. And, yes, Target is amazing and all, but you’ll never beat the authenticity of an original like Ann & Hope.
Rocky Point: Okay, no-brainer here. Although at my age now I don’t have any desire to go on the Corkscrew or Free Fall, I sure did when I was 12 and wish my kids could at least have had the opportunity to experience these rides in our home state. Oh, and the dining hall? Yum! While you can still get Rocky Point chowder and clam cakes, it will never be like sitting at those tables that seemed never ending-ly long as a kid.
Almacs: Sure, it was just a grocery store. But it was OUR grocery store – a Rhode Island original. Plus they made the best crunchy chocolate chip cookies ever. I am mostly a chewy chocolate chip cookie girl and Almacs made pretty much the only crunchy, crispy chocolate chip cookies I liked. They were perfection! My grandparents almost always had a box on the table for dessert on Sunday nights. I have yet to find a store that can replicate those.
Conrad’s Restaurant, Central Falls: This is very local to me, but I’m sure a lot of other people from the “Valley,” will know what I’m talking about. Conrad’s was practically Cheers in Northern Rhode Island. Everyone knew each other’s name. I don’t think I ever went there with my parents for fish & chips on a Friday night, or breakfast on a Sunday morning and didn’t see someone we knew. And you could get family style chicken without driving “all the way” to Wright’s Farm. The chicken rice soup was my favorite. So many family events were held either in the main restaurant or the rental hall. It was even the site of my very first job bussing tables.
The Original Lincoln Mall: I actually think the “new” Lincoln Mall is pretty awesome. We love going there for bowling, movies, and shopping. But there was something truly special about the old Lincoln Mall. My grandmother, who didn’t drive, would take me on the RIPTA and we’d go to Lincoln Mall. You could easily make a day of it. We’d go look at the puppies in the pet store, get lunch at Newport Creamery, go shopping at Caldor. (Speaking of which, I really miss the days where there were more Newport Creameries around!)
Admittedly, these old landmarks are a Blackstone Valley girl’s walk down memory lane, but I sure do miss them. What’s on your list of Rhode Island “no longers” that you wish were still around for your children to experience?