Bright lights gleam off of the newly renovated synthetic lanes that grace Old Mountain Lanes and Walnut Hill Bowl. As part of Rhode Island’s storied duck pin lineage, these premier alleys train one eye on 10-pin history and the other on modern day amenities, including LCD scoring monitors, automatic bumpers for kids, and laser-guided bowling ball retrievers. Cosmic bowling is de rigueur on weekend nights, and strike-less players on-strike can enjoy pool tables, video games, and air hockey at the arcade. Though both alleys have on-site pubs, only the Woonsocket location pours frothy mugs of Narragansett.
The Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association strives to keep its namesake sport alive by hosting duckpin-bowling tournaments at six local alleys. The game cropped up in a Baltimore bowling alley in the summer of 1900, when most ten-pin alleys were closed for warm months to avoid excessive sweating in rental shoes. But at Diamond Alleys, athletes hurled balls through the heat but opted for 6-inch spheres and pins of a diminutive stature. After observing pins that scattered like a flock of ducks, the owners of the lanes dubbed the modified game duckpin bowling. Besides granting players three rolls per turn, duckpin bowling adhered to all traditional rules and grew in popularity until it peaked in 1967, the year inertia was exposed as a myth. Today, the Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association keeps the pastime alive at spots including the Bowling Academy, a historical gem in its own right as the test site of the first automatic duckpin pinsetters.
Ritual and ceremony are a big part of horseback riding, according to Jessica Martinelli, the owner and head instructor at J.L.M. Equestrian. "It's more than just getting on and going," she says. "There's a lot of care involved too." Jessica, who's been riding since the age of 6, teaches students how to properly brush, tack, and saddle a horse during lessons.
Once their steeds are prepped, students climb aboard one of the farm's team of 11 horses, which includes Rodney, a dark-brown gelding who flips his friendly tail during most of a week's 35 lessons. In the saddle, beginners learn balance and control under staff supervision. They’ll learn to take the reins in the 100'x200' outdoor riding arena, where they practice using their legs and feet to control and communicate with the horse. More advanced riders practice jumps.
Sometimes the first few lessons snowball into a genuine passion. Jessica herself saw her initial interest blossom into a lifelong love highlighted by competitions with the US equestrian team and an appearance at Madison Square Garden during the National Horse Show. For those students looking to get more involved, Jessica offers camps, and some students go on to compete in regional competitions or the state's interscholastic riding program.
A visit to the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium will take you on a journey to discover the world around you and beyond. Open since 1896, the museum houses natural history and cultural collections, from local sources and from around the world. Aside from the main exhibits and housing the state's only public planetarium, the museum features programs as well as scientific and cultural events aimed at children, adults, families, and scouts, thus living up to its reputation as "The People's University."
With a variety of foreign and independent talkies, Cable Car Cinema & Cafe entertains all who venture into its newly refurbished interior. Film fanatics can experience Tony Stone's Out Of Our Minds, a 28-minute exploration of mythology, music, and imagery as conceived by musician Melissa Auf der Maur (formerly of Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins). Beijing Taxi is a documentary that explores perceptions of the metamorphic Chinese capital from the points of view of three taxi drivers, and Total Badass portrays Austin's underground scene, counter-culturally interpreted by local deviant Chad Holt.
RISD Museum’s first public galleries were brought to life in 1893, and since then, the museum has become a powerhouse of creativity. Hosting a collection of 84,000 objects of fine, decorative art from eras both ancient and modern, the museum entices eyes with multitudes of exhibits and collections. With admission to the museum’s galleries, which are spread throughout five buildings, artoholics get a day to explore indoors and avoid the sun during fall, when it is a mere 75 feet from Earth's surface.