Providence | Brunch in Federal Hill

providence - broadway street federal hill victorians

We walked down Broadway in search of a place to brunch – past rows of old houses house, some more faded and more crumbling than others, but each beautiful in its own right, each with a story begging to be told. As I stopped to take a photo of one of the most elaborate houses a guy popped out from the alley way smoking a cigarette as if we were playing out a scene from a movie. “That house scares me,” he said, pointing to the crumbing Victorian with multiple turrets across the street. I hesitated as I usually do when approached by unfamiliar guys emerging from alleyways, but could not resist the possibility of hearing a story. “They say that house is haunted,” he continued. And I was hooked. I wanted to know more.

The story went that the house lay abandoned for years and was kept up regularly by a handyman. One day neighbors heard a shot. Turned out the handyman was in the turret one evening and took his own life. Now he haunts the house, his ghostly figure visible on the dark, shadowy turret balcony. “Nobody has lived there for years but now someone bought the place and is turning it into nice apartments. But they don’t know.” He looked at us with wide eyes. “I live right here across the street,” he said, pointing to his apartment beyond the alley, “I look at that window every night. It gives me the creeps.”

His story gave me the slightest of chills, but in a deliciously scary sort of way. That’s the beauty of ghost stories — nobody ever knows if they are true. In fact, I’m not even sure if what I remembered is exactly what he told me or if it has since been mixed with bits and pieces of my own overly active imagination.  It’s an easy game to play while walking around all Federal Hill where ghosts from the past linger beyond every facade.


Federal Hill –  We walked to Federal Hill from The Dean Hotel — it was about a good 15 min. or so walk to the edge of Federal Hill. Some of the streets are less gentrified than others, but you can find some of the best restaurants here, a Little Italy, and lots of beautiful historic houses/neighborhoods. I wish we had a bit more time to explore and eat. Next time.

Julians – Inexpensive – The vibe of this cafe reminded me so much of a restaurant I would find in Austin — it’s casual, indoor/outdoor seating, eclectically decorated, tatted servers, and a menu that features items like scrambled egg pizzas and entrees with names like “The Sith Lord.” Vegan and Vegetarian options available.

Rocket to Mars Vintage = I couldn’t resist stopping at this well-curated vintage store on our walk back to the hotel. Everything in there has been carefully selected and the prices, while not exorbitant by any means, reflect that. It’s comparable to buying something vintage off etsy over sifting through heaps of stuff on your own at a thrift store. The store is well organized and the owners are really helpful if you’re looking for something in particular.

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