I'll be back with restaurant recommendations a little later tonight when I have more time, but to whet your appetite, here's the website for Waterfire...it explains it better than I could. Be sure to check out the photos:
Every Waterfire lighting is a huge event, as it takes place all along the river through downtown and there are generally musical performances, dancing, food booths etc. along the way. It's free, it's family-friendly but also romantic for couples and I can't think of a better way to spend a lovely summer night than strolling along the river and taking in the sights and sounds of Waterfire.
The 'Waterfire" website link you provided in your latest post is great! I just had a quick look at it and was amazed by the photos of the bonfires along the rivers and with the whole idea of creating art in this unique way. I look forward to your next post and in the meanwhile will fully explore the fascinating website. Thanx a million!
Hi curtie. A day late, but as promised, here are some of my picks for great seafood in the Ocean State. This list is by no means complete...there's such an embarrassment of riches here that I'm sure to overlook some great restaurants.
Castle Hill - my favorite spot, and not just for seafood. This is the best place in all of RI to enjoy a drink at sunset. The Inn is set atop a cliff overlooking the entrance to Newport Harbor. There's a broad, sweeping lawn with Adirondack chairs scattered here and there, so you're never crowded. You can grab a seat or sit on the grass with a drink and a spectacular view of the sunset, Fort Adams, the wharves and the boats sailing in at the end of the day. In summer, there's al fresco dining and in all seasons there's a more formal dining experience indoors. http://www.castlehillinn.com/
The Black Pearl - gets my vote for the best chowder. A great spot, right in the heart of everything (a few steps from The Mooring). http://www.blackpearlnewport.com/
Clark Cooke House - two doors down from The Black Pearl is this gem. Dining on the Porch (click Dining and then Porch at Clark Cooke at the following link) is very romantic, particularly on a rainy night. http://www.clarkecooke.com/
Now, a brief, but worthwhile digression. There's a classic RI seafood spot which is not to be missed. It's in Narragansett, another historic town on the Bay. Locals will drive to Narragansett just to visit Aunt Carrie's.http://www.auntcarriesri.com/ It's not glamourous. It's not "fine dining". It is a classic New England seafood restaurant and was just honored with a James Beard Award (which is certainly not something most weathered-shingle restaurants can boast). This is not the place for scallops flambeed tableside. This is the place for lobster with a bib, fried clams, chowder etc. And while I'm digressing, here's a brief guide to specialties found only in RI:
"RI Clam Chowder" - if you order chowder in RI, in addition to the "white or red?" question you might get elsewhere, you may have the option of "white, red or RI?" RI chowder is clear...no tomatoes, no milk or cream. And it's excellent. But if you prefer white, don't worry, it's available everywhere.
"Stuffies" - this is the local expression for Stuffed Quahogs. A quahog is a large (maybe about 4") hard-shelled clam. To prepare a stuffie, one would use the shell of a quahog, stuff it with a mixture of bread, spices, chopped clam, garlic, pepper etc. and bake it on the half-shell. With a shot of tabasco and a spritz of lemon, they're fantastic.
"Clam Cakes" -if you want to know what summer tastes like to a native RI-er, this is it. A batter is made from flour, water, clam juice and (sometimes) a little chopped clam. This batter is then dropped by spoonful (hush puppy style) into hot fat and deep fried until golden brown and crispy outside and cakelike inside. I know clam cakes are a foreign concept outside of RI, but you'll have to trust me on this one...they're yummy. Just don't have more than 3 or 4...they're heavy as lead. They are the classic accompaniment to chowder. Chowder and clamcakes by the shore is a RI tradition.
And if I've convinced you to make a pitstop at Narragansett, you might want to make a day of it and check out The Coast Guard House...great seafood with an unbeatable view. This place is so close to the ocean that it takes a beating during every major storm/hurricane. http://www.thecoastguardhouse.com/
I haven't forgotten about Providence, but I've run out of time. I've got to get some stuff done around here. But I promise I'll be back later with my Providence seafood picks.