As summer is now coming to a close and kids are starting to get back into school there may be a need to get that summer reading book they never got around to, or there are new book assignments already. So if you are looking for that very late summer reading book, want to squeeze in one last beach read, want to continue a series you started this summer, or are seeking out a new bookstore to visit, this list is for you. Compiled below are a slew of bookstores across the state and even a few across the border:
Mystic, CT Westerly, RI
Bank Square Books in nearby Mystic and Savoy Bookshop and Cafe in Westerly are two incredible locally-owned locations to browse books. Both are close to the Atlantic Ocean giving you scenic locales perfect to inspire beach reading or stay in at the cafe. The staff organize great author meet and greets and storytimes year-round.
Warwick, Smithfield, and Middletown
Barnes and Noble are the big guys, but their large facilities and multiple locations make them a great spot to check out the newest releases from your favorite authors. Barnes and Noble hosts plenty of free events. If you were a fan of our previous board game post (check it out here) you will be happy to know that Barnes and Noble hosts game nights and has a great selection of tabletop games.
Barrington and Cranston
Barrington Books has two locations, the flagship store in the Barrington town center and a second location in Garden City. Each location is a very walkable shopping area making it easy for you to pop in and browse the selection of books and unique gift ideas.
Books on the Square is aptly named for its great location right on Wayland Square. Step in before or after visiting the nearby cafes and catch a weekly storytime or author event. Books on the Square celebrated their 25th-anniversary last year and they remain a local favorite.
Books on the Square celebrated their 25th last year and this year Island Books in Middletown has that honor. This local favorite has remained a hub for book lovers whether they be year-round islanders or just stopping by for the beaches. RI Monthly has consistently named them the best bookstore in Newport County since 2006.
Island Bound Bookstore is out on Block Island, so if you are stuck on the Island and hate what you brought or finished already check out this store’s wide selection. Island Bound features both NYT bestsellers as well as local books that capture the beauty and history of the island.
Paper Nautilus is heavily influenced by its proximity to College Hill and its renowned campuses. Paper Nautilus has an eclectic assortment of books and gifts. Local authors are always in stock and the store prides itself on its H.P. Lovecraft selection. Head in and check out the collection and the visual art displays.
RiffRaff Bookstore is a one of a kind bookstore in the area, not only for its stock of books but in addition to a cafe, it also features a full bar. Discover books from independent presses and new voices as you sip on a cocktail or a coffee.
Right by the historic Slater Mill is this independently owned bookstore filled with both new and used books. Stillwater Books is a huge supporter of local authors with its ever-growing collection, as well as having its own independent publishing company.
Symposium Books is located downtown right on Westminster Street and provide a variety of new and used goods books as well as vinyl records. They are constantly adding to their collection and have a convenient delivery service for those in the area in need of a last minute gift. This is a popular spot in the heart of Providence for both young and old.
Located inside the Wakefield Mall, Wakefield Books is a proud supporter of local authors and its community. They offer discounts for many events and local educators and host local authors monthly. Wakefield Books also has a 24/7 online store perfect for those who have a late night craving for a book.
In addition to these great stores offering both new and old these stores are exclusively used bookstores. Do not let that scare you away, these stores have a fantastic selection of books at a discounted price and an ever-revolving inventory. So stop at these locations and peruse the shelves:
This bookstore just over the border in Massachusetts offers a wonderful variety of used books at a deep discount. Their inventory also includes audio books, comics, and a small selection of discounted new hardcovers. Call them up and clean off your shelves and have them buy back your books or textbooks and share with someone else.
Cellar Stories is located in downtown Providence tucked away right near Trinity Rep. Their inventory of used books is the largest in the Ocean State featuring over around 70,000 volumes. While the books are constantly changing the quality is always top notch.
To see which locations are in your area and their addresses check out the map below:
For the past several years Escape Rooms have been opening their doors and locking them behind us.
Escape Rooms provide an experience where you and up to 10 people, depending on the room, are locked inside and tasked with getting out. The only way to unlock the room is for you and your group to work together and solve the series of clues and riddles that the mastermind creators have concocted. Each room has a different theme or storyline to explain why you have been locked inside and why you only have one hour to get out.
Escape Rooms are perfect for parties or just a get together with a group of friends. It is possible for multiple groups to go in the same room if you do not have enough people in your initial group. So it can even be a great place to meet new people. These rooms also offer a good opportunity for you and your coworkers to do some fun team building.
Discussion is key. Found a key? Let everyone know. Have a thought on the riddle? Discuss. Does something look funny or remind you of something a message said? Work it out with your teammates and try to smash the record time, or simply make sure that your group photo at the end does not have you holding up a sign that exclaims to the world that you could not escape.
These rooms usually cost under $30 per person and can be booked in advance or scheduled for a certain time. Here are the top rooms in the state.
Located on South Main Street on the East Side of Providence, Escape RI was founded by Ethan Carlson and Escape Industries. Ethan got his Mechanical Engineering degree from Yale University and has used his knowledge to create technologically based puzzles. Rooms are based off HP Lovecraft, reclusive billionaires and their secrets, and military test bunkers among others. Escape RI keeps things fresh by retiring one room and introducing a new one every few months. So this place can never get stale. The intricate, handmade puzzles give you an experience most people can not replicate at home.
Escape RI offers a true immersion experience with a storyline, as well as electronic timers that can also show hints. “The Bunker” has been a popular attraction, allowing for up to 10 players, but has just a 14% success rate. Their newest room is “Andromeda Station” where up to six people returning from a space mission try to figure out why the space station is on lockdown.
To take your shot at success, check out their website at EscapeRhodeIsland.com, or if you have additional questions email them at email@example.com.
Lock and Clue
Lock and Clue is located at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket and offers multiple experiences, from backstage of a reality show to try to escape from a murderous butcher. Lock and Clue has great hosts along with separate game operators for each room making sure everyone gets the full attention of staff members. The hosts wear costumes and act in character when bringing groups into their room in order to engross players. Lock and Clue uses sound effects, music, and lighting to create unique puzzles and captivates their customers.
Lock and Clue has recently diverted from the norm of other escape rooms by making any booking private, meaning that no matter how many slots are empty they will not be filled with another group.
Lock and Clue is currently working on a large expansion, which they hope will make them New England’s largest escape room in terms of size. When completed, the expansion will result in a total of seven rooms and almost 9,000 square feet. They have also recently completed the “Zany Zoo,” an escape room designed specifically for kids age 7-11.
Businesses will be pleased to know the Lock and Clue has an attached kitchen and serving area, along with a conference room with digital projector perfect for meetings and completing teamwork exercises.
If you have interest in reserving a room with them check out their website at LockandClue.com or for questions contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Great Escape Room
The Great Escape room is a national chain that has made a home right in Downtown Providence at 146 Westminster Street. Many of the rooms have a Sherlock Holmes theme and include Holmes’ very own Library and Moriarty’s Gameroom. The Great Escape makes their rooms more intimate by putting a facilitator in the room in order to give clues and answer any questions participants may have. They also employ a scavenger hunt into their rooms, forcing participants to gather the clues to solve the larger puzzles. Their newest room, the President’s bunker, deviates from the usual Sherlock theme and instead has you attempt to avert a nuclear disaster.
To show off your inner Sherlock or if you have questions, head to their website at TheGreatEscapeRoom.com or contact them at Providence@TheGreatEscapeRoom.com
RI Riddle Room
While not having escape in the name The Riddle Room is still an escape the room experience that offers two rooms of varying difficulty. Located at 20 Water Street in East Greenwich, The Riddle Room was founded by Rhode Island natives Kara Zanni and Byron Delmonico. Their goal for the rooms has been to not only create engaging puzzles but also to capture the audience with deep storytelling that makes players feel connected to the course of events. The storylines for the rooms are based on real-life local events and locations, while the props they use have an authentic feel that will make you feel like Atwells Ave moved to East Greenwich. Their newest room, La Cosa Nostra, is a Federal Hill mobster themed room.
To check out their rooms with local flavor go to their website at RIRiddleRoom.com or email them at ContactUs@RIRiddleRoom.com.
What: Providence Art Festival, 100+ juried Artists, musicians, craftsmen,
and food vendors
When: Saturday, June 13th, from 10:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m.
Where: Downcity Providence, Westminster Street