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The Sun King

It’s a cloudless lunch hour last October, with a brisk, chill wind whipping across the back terrace of the State House. A dozen or so protestors — some young, some gray-haired, some in suits, others in jeans — carry bright, neatly lettered signs that read “Solar Power To The People” and “Bring Back Solar.” A placard anchored in the grass…

The Wine Lover’s Companion

SOMEWHERE IN JOHNSTON, in the middle of winter, three of us huddle around an oak barrel in Jim Verde’s bottle room (read: garage), tasting wine pressed from the St. Croix grapes he grows in his backyard vineyard. The 2005 and 2006 wines are still too young to bottle, but the 2004 has already won awards, and wears the ribbons to…

Hello, Dahlia!

Dahlias have never inspired poets or playwrights. No dahlia sonnets, no sweet dahlia ditties. It’s rumored Vita Sackille-West, designer of the famous Sissinghurst Castle Garden, once called them “vulgar.”  Never mind. Pay no heed to those who turn up their noses. Long after the rest of the parade has passed, right up until October’s killing frost, dahlias continue to produce….

Diner’s Update

Tio Mateo’s of East Greenwich is expanding its arsenal of burritos and tacos. Their second location, located on Park Avenue in Cranston, has just opened offering lunch, dinner and take-out. This month Newport Harbor Corporation is opening Waterman Grille at 4 Richmond Square, the site of the former Gatehouse. The restaurant will serve Italian-style tapas plates, including crepes with rotisserie…

White Electric

Things are percolating at hipster-hangout White Electric on Westminster Street in Providence. The retro-inspired coffee spot’s new owners, Tom and Heather Toupin, plan on keeping what makes the place ultra cool — the special house blends with half-price refills ($1.30–$1.95); the pressed tin walls that double as a mini art gallery; the constantly refreshed community board jammed with notices of…

Diamonds Are Forever

Dave Travers is feeling the heat and it’s not because of his heavy gray wool uniform and light blue socks. He’s down two strikes and worried. The balls have come in hard and sharp, and Travers feels he should have been able to keep up with the velocity. He hasn’t. It’s only the first inning, but Travers and his Providence…

There Are No Atheists in Foxholes

Jeffrey Jencks is still shaking off his habits from Iraq. He checks an overpass again as he drives underneath looking for signs of ambush. Driving on Interstate 295 in Rhode Island a few weeks back, a deer hit his car like a bomb, and he had to remind his passenger, also a veteran, that it wasn’t an Improvised Explosive Device…