In 2006, friends Mike and Courtney—independent researcher for the historical society and ghost tour guide, respectively—drew up a unique business plan to spook Providence locals and tourists alike with fact-based ghost tours. Their combined interests in the paranormal and knack for research led them to pillage the minds of staff members and records at the Providence Historical Society, the public library, and the Rhode Island State Archives for accounts of abnormal and violent events. They dug through old files and microforms of oft-forgotten morbid events—including murders, suicides, and fires—gathering facts to present objective stories about real people. Once they’d crammed their skeptical minds with grim and gloomy facts, the tours were ready to begin. Today, these truthful and skeptical accounts of paranormal activity chill the spines of tourists and terrified library books as guides lead walking tours, lit by lantern, through centuries-old Providence streets. Since its inception, Providence Ghost Tour has been counted among TripAdvisor's top 10 ghost tours in America, and was featured on an overnight paranormal investigation with Syfy's Ghost Hunters frontmen, Brian Harnois and Keith Johnson.
Eco Pedicab melds eco-friendly travel with engaging urban tours. Its squad of cyclists and city guides usher riders along city streets in pedicabs that eliminate the release of harmful emissions produced by cabs or buses. Knowledgeable guides share the sights and tastes of the area during tours of historic locations, chic eateries, or local breweries. The bike pilots are also on call throughout the week to take riders for quick trips around town and to save them from having to track down a taxi or weightlifters willing to give out piggy back rides.
Ann and Michael Martini have long shared a love and familiarity with Rhode Island's culinary landscape. Ann left her post at Rhode Island Monthly to work with chefs, restaurants, and food events, and Michael, a professional chef, has let his knives fly at upscale Rhode Island eateries for more than 25 years. Together, they bring outsiders into New England's culinary gems to sample signature dishes, tour kitchens, meet chefs, and get lucky guests’ tongues autographed. Ann coordinates each tour, then sends Michael off with up to a dozen people to receive insider access to restaurants, gourmet shops, and other palate-pleasing stops. For two hours, groups cover about 2 miles of ground at a leisurely pace. There are treats to sample at each stop—although, according to the Sun Chronicle, "What's almost as good as the food is the fact that the chefs welcome tour guests into their kitchens, which in many cases have sous chefs and other personnel beginning to prepare for dinner service."
Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. Combining the bustle of a track meet with the brain-taxing sleuth work of a luge competition, the race uses a dozen trivia-based clues to lead contestants to checkpoints all over Providence. Location hunters reach their checkpoints by whatever means necessary, be it hopping a bus downtown, flying madly through a network of secret ziplines, or scuba-diving in a fountain for bus fare. At the mini destinations, racers must use a camera to document their presence, or, in some cases, get their passports stamped after completing a challenge.
From their perches on smooth-gliding segways, guests take in scenic harbor views and historic venues as they cruise Rhode Island's most populous city with Providence Segway Tours. Notable sites?including the Rhode Island State House, Federal Hill, and the Downcity art district?color the routes as guests glide through the capital in 30 or 60 minutes.
With everything from wings to mussels, the eclectic Ciara Restaurant and Lounge helps satisfy any number of cravings. Grilled pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta round off the menu, with plenty of hearty offerings to keep bellies full. Live music on the weekends accentuates the feasts.