As the sun begins to dip below the skyline, the Providence River’s surface flares up, tinged with its flickering glow. In the hazy sunset light, a gondola emerges cutting through the still water’s surface, though it’s just as easy to hear as it is to see; as it glides down the river, the boat wafts strains of song from its live accordion accompanist. Led by owner Marcello, La Gondola’s group of gondoliers row with the mission to only furnish passengers with romantic sojourns and to celebrate the riverfront and the city’s Italian ties. Each of his Venice-built gondolas gleams with intricately wrought ornaments and solid brass trim, and at 36 feet, they comfortably hold a gondolier, guests, an accompanying musician, and the occasional hitchhiking tugboat captain.Each gondola trip his company takes gets Marcello’s custom touch, as he tailors every trip to passengers’ desires. “No matter who you are,” he says, “we strive to make you feel like the queen and king of the river.” In agreement with many other residents, Marcello considers Waterplace Park a city hub: “If the park is the heart of the city, the river is the lifeblood,” he says. He hopes the rebirth of the local riverfront parallels a local renaissance for gondoliering as well, which inspired him to plan the inaugural Gondolympics in May.
Greenside Skate Park, Rhode Island's only indoor skate park, boasts 12,000 square feet of ramps, quarter pipes, lips, stairs, and rails that encourage skaters of all skill levels to roll to new heights. The all-day pass nets board-hoppers admission to the park's 3 p.m.–6 p.m. and 6 p.m.–9 p.m. sessions, during which they can test the waters of Greenside's spacious bowl, grind away hours on wood and concrete ramps, or practice tricky drop-ins in the antigravity chamber, all the while protectively padded with provided safety equipment. During the five-day camp, first-aid-certified counselors group boarders by ability and age, then guide them through skating-related activities from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Each day kicks off with stretches and warm-ups, preparing rollers for two total hours of instructional skate time, an hour of free skate, an included lunch, a contest and prize session, and a discussion on the etiquette of midair tea parties.
The professionally trained fencing instructors at Rhode Island Fencing Academy & Club seek to develop their students' mind, body, and character through participation in the centuries-old sport. During the academy's classes, students of any skill level may choose to learn on all three Olympic weapons: foil, sabre, and épée. The one-hour sessions generally last for six weeks and each builds on prior material to help students improve their skills on the strip. Two meetings are composed entirely of competition with fellow classmates, allowing students to show off their newfound skills, and the last session is a class tournament.
Rhode Island Fencing Academy & Club, which originally operated as a two-location enterprise, consolidated into one 12,000-square-foot full-time professional fencing studio in March of 2012. The air-conditioned facility features 15 electric strips and zero chandeliers from which swashbuckling fencers may swing. Though the sport finds its roots in the practice of sword fighting, modern fencing is much safer, and the academy has advanced equipment and instructors that hold CPR certification just in case.
Since 1954, Meadowbrook Lanes has encouraged visitors to don appropriate footwear and participate in duckpin-style bowling, which employs smaller balls to decimate pintsize pins. The leisure-sport emporium maintains a vintage aesthetic with wood paneling and purple and teal gutters. After pummeling 10 pins, bowlers can unwind in a lounge replete with cold beer and flat-screen TVs or explore the edible possibilities of the alley's snack bar, Bishop's Grill, which fills stomach vacancies with pizza, calzones, and grinders. Meadowbrook Lanes also hosts parties, providing revelers with tables, chairs, and streamers made of low-hanging cirrus clouds.
Santosha Yoga Studio and Holistic Center provides ancient yoga practices with modern context, creating unity between past and present. In doing so, the studio embodies union, or "the true meaning of yoga," as explained in Santosha's business philosophy. Holistic services, which include therapeutic massage and acupuncture, root out pain and promote openness. Yoga and fitness classes further support wellness to help patrons discover greater ease of movement. Although instructors do not require yoga students to chant during practice, they do encourage it and even provide resources on the topic. Transcripts and translations of common chants include call-and-response mantras and campfire kumbayas.