Three Places for Winter Fun in Rhode Island
Enjoy ice skating, igloo dining and more at these cold-weather-primed destinations.
January gets a bad rap in these parts. As soon as daylight dwindles and the frigid air comes creeping in, we head for our homes. No one can blame you for wanting to curl up under a blanket with a hot drink and a good book or Netflix binge, but just know there are other options. Here are three cold-weather-primed destinations that just may be enough to pull you out of hibernation this winter.
The BankNewport City Center Providence Rink
Although the Providence Rink is a year-round operation, its wintertime activities can’t be beat. Located in the heart of downtown Providence, the space boasts an ice rink double the size of the one at Rockefeller Center. Open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (weather permitting), patrons can enjoy three hours of uninterrupted ice skating from the time of ticket purchase. You can bring your own skates and take advantage of blade sharpening services if needed or rent yourself a pair (in youth, men’s and women’s sizes) for $6.54. And don’t let any lack of experience (or balance) dissuade you; skate aids in the form of adorable penguins and safety helmets are also on hand for a small fee. If you want to sharpen your skills, or if you have a little one who dreams of becoming the next Olympic figure skating medalist or Stanley Cup champion, you can sign up for the rink’s private, semi-private or group skating lessons. Specials include $2 off admission for college students on Wednesday nights and $2 discounts for adults between noon and 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. With enough notice, the entire rink can be reserved for birthday parties or other private events. Daily tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children, seniors and military (with valid ID). Season passes are $90 for single adults, $250 for families and $50 for children and seniors. For more information, visit theprovidencerink.com/skating.
Ice Bumper Cars
The Providence Rink is the first outdoor rink in the area to host this fun, all-ages activity. Unlike your standard, old-fashioned bumper cars that are attached to the ceiling via a pole mount, these puppies allow you to move forwards, backwards and sideways with a full 360-degree turn radius to ram into your fellow motorists. Reservations are required and you have a couple options at your disposal. These include shared ice rates (where a small portion of the rink is dedicated to the bumper cars while the rest goes to ice skating) for $12 a car; full ice rates (fifteen-minute sessions scheduled every twenty minutes) for $15 a car; or a private full ice rate (one-hour exclusivity with up to ten cars) for a flat fee of $500. For more information, visit theprovidencerink.com/bumper-cars. 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, 680-7390, theprovidencerink.com
Boss Ice Arena
While it may be chilly in temperature, Boss Ice Arena’s atmosphere is warm and welcoming to both newbie and seasoned skaters alike. Its public skating is open to all ages, allowing you to enjoy the sport while listening to tunes and socializing with family and friends or even getting to know other skaters. Public skating is also a great for hosting a birthday party or other group event (though private ice time, along with the arena’s hospitality/party room, is also available for booking). More skating opportunities include open figure skating for more experienced individuals looking to hone their skills and routines; public hockey for men and women ages fourteen and older; and late-night rock n’ skate events with music under special lighting. Skate rentals are available for $5 a pair. Admission prices are $7 for the general public and $3 for URI students, faculty and staff. For rink schedules and more information, visit bossicearena.com.
Boss Ice Arena has also been home to the University of Rhode Island’s men’s and women’s hockey teams since it was built in 2003. In fact, the NCAA Division I facility is named after the men’s program’s biggest supporter and alumnus of the 1955 team, Brad Boss. To keep up with the Rams and maybe even catch a home game or two while donning Keaney blue, visit urihockey.pointstreaksites.com and uriwhockey.pointstreaksites.com. 1 Keaney Rd., Kingston, 874-4988, bossicearena.com.
Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina
With the historic Goat Island lighthouse and calm waters as your backdrop, skate the 9,000-square-foot surface of ice alongside determined pals, family members or a significant other. Pack some warm water and hot chocolate packets to sip between bouts on the smooth ice. The rink is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday, Sunday and the holidays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is free; admission tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children twelve and younger, seniors sixty-five and older and military. Skate rentals for every age and shoe size are $10. Keep an eye out for fun winter events the resort has to offer, as well as the $2-off admission specials available on Wednesdays for family night, Thursdays for college night (bring valid college ID), between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for school groups and between 4 and 6 p.m. on weekdays for after-work hours. Hosting a private event? Request the rink for $500 an hour with skate rentals included and a full catering menu available upon request. For event reservations and more information, visit gurneysresorts.comnewport.
The resort’s pop-up igloo dining experience offers dinner under the stars in warmth and privacy. On the lounge and firepit deck, the igloos, which can fit up to four people, feature an après skate menu as well as Gurney Newport’s full lunch or dinner menus and specialty cocktails. Minimum prices for the two-hour dining reservations are $175 between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., with $300 minimum for holidays, and $275 between 5:30 and 8:45 p.m., with a $375 minimum for holidays. Select from menu items such as the soft pretzels with beer cheese dip, house-made venison chili, chicken and noodles, pear and beets salad, bruschetta grilled cheese and tomato bisque and shrimp and grits. Drink specials include a Caribbean hot chocolate, golden apple cider and a caramel espresso martini. In the event of rain or snow, igloo reservations can relocate inside the resort’s main dining room. For reservations and more information, visit gurneysresorts.com/newport. 1 Goat Island, Newport, 849-2600, gurneysresorts.com/newport
The Puck Stops Here
Most people (hockey fans and novices) have heard of the Boston Bruins, but little Rhody is partial to its AHL affliate, the Providence Bruins. Get to know them before you bundle up in black and gold for an exhilarating rink-side experience.
Providence Bruins Founded: 1992
Formerly Known As: Maine Mariners (1987–1992)
Current Nickname: PBruins
League: American Hockey League
Titles: 5 Division, 3 Regular Season
Home Ice: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence
Season: October through April
Colors: Black, Gold and White
Mascot: Samboni (the bear)
Fun Fact: “Bruins” is derived from the name for brown bears used in classic folk tales. The name came about when Boston Bruins founder, Charles Adams, directed his general manager, Art Ross, to come up with a nickname that invoked the image of an “untamed animal displaying speed, agility and cunning.” 1 La Salle Sq., Providence, 331-6700, providencebruins.com
Hit The Slopes
No matter the season, Yawgoo Valley is a destination for family fun. In the winter, however, locals break out the snowsuits and head for the valley’s snow tubing park or its ski area. The latter contains thirty-six acres of easy, intermediate and advanced trails, complete with double chair lifts and rope tows. The grounds also feature a pro shop for seasoned skiers and snowboarders and a rental shop for dabblers, plus a snow sports school for newbies. Seasonal snow passes are sold out, but visitors are welcome to sign up for the waitlist or purchase a day pass; tickets are $35 to $55 for adults, $30 to $50 for youth, seniors and military; and $5 for children younger than five. Fees for the tubing park — which includes a tube and a lift back to the top of the hill, thanks Yawgoo — are $30 for ninety-minute sessions. Ski Area, 160 Yawgoo Valley Rd.; Snow Tubing Park, 220 Yawgoo Valley Rd., Exeter, yawgoo.com