I love Providence and my third visit brought me to a different neighborhood in a city that has plenty of good ones. Parking however, is not great, so I picked a nearby hotel at India Point Park and chose to Uber into College Hill. The afternoon was my own created walking tour and the weather didn’t cooperate most of the time as it rained. At least it wasn’t too cold. Sites visited included 1) Prospect Terrace for an elevated downtown view, 2) Benefit Street for all the historic buildings, 3) Providence Athenaeum an amazing old library, 4) John Brown House, a rather dull audio-tour of a historic home, 5) Brown University. Brown is the last of the Ivy campuses that I’ve seen and I really liked it, contrary to other views. I thought the diversity of the buildings make it look nicer than other Ivies, plus they had some nice Green’s. Nearby Thayer Street has an assortment of shops and restaurants and I picked a good one for dinner as I loved East Side Pockets. The Mediterranean place has all sorts of accolades for their Falafel and it is deserved. Their Gyro was fantastic as well.
Brown had a hockey game at night and I went to Meehan Auditorium to check out their match-up with Clarkson. The rink is too small to be on The List, yet I really enjoyed it despite the small seating size. The overhead dome cover and high seating on the sides make for a nice place to watch a game (except for the freezing temperature). As for the experience itself, not a lot went right here. First, the Brown ticket office screwed up my will-call ticket, so I had to wait in the lobby 20 minutes (not exaggerating with time) until someone could find the ticket. Meanwhile, maybe 50 people arrived to the game, so it wasn’t close to being busy. During the second period, I was on the phone most of the time with my wife as our 4-year old daughter decided to lock some doors in the house. The lockable doors have that pinhole that you can unlock from the outside, except for one….the walk-in closet door in our bedroom. For some idiotic reason, the designers or previous owners put a lock that you need a key to get in. So, of course that got shut and locked with our cat inside. We don’t have a key and couldn’t pick it. With the cat crying and scratching, options were down to a locksmith during off-hours or the volunteer fire department. We went with the Fire Dept., who have dealt with things like this before and it’s a good thing we called because my wife (and me for that matter) would not have a chance at getting it open. They used some special tools and thankfully didn’t destroy the door too much to get it open. Thank you to the Hackettstown Fire Dept! Needless to say, I didn’t really get to focus on the game and before I knew it, the game went to OT, with Clarkson prevailing. Kids!!!
Saturday was gladly a quieter affair as the sun was shining and I relaxed in the hotel room before heading to Brown Stadium. It was the last game of the year and visiting Dartmouth needed a win to at least share the Ivy crown. Brown came to play on Senior Day and it was incredible how this two-win team was dominating the Dartmouth Defense. The Bears’ first six possessions all went inside the Big Green 10-yard line. The problem: Finishing the job. Only two of those possessions finished with a touchdown and Brown settled for 23 points. If you watched sports long enough, there was that feeling Dartmouth could come back. It was 23-14 when the Big Green went for it on 4th down with 13 minutes left at their own 40. That feeling of comeback disappeared as Brown got the sack and the crowd went wild. However, the ensuing possession only lasted a few minutes as the home side had to punt. Dartmouth zipped down the field and quickly scored to cut the deficit to 2. A defensive stop preceded another quick touchdown as the Visitors showed the resolve of a champion as their sideline went bonkers. The game wasn’t done however as Brown had a chance, getting down to the 15-yard line with around 30 seconds remaining. The theme of the game played out as they couldn’t punch it in and Isiah Swann made the acrobatic game-winning interception. It was a fascinating game with plenty of offense as the teams both threw for over 400 yards and they combined for 54 first downs. With Yale also winning a wild one against Harvard, 50-43, the Bulldogs and Big Green share the championship.
Seeing Dartmouth celebrate the Ivy League title put a personal cap on this visit as it felt like a fitting end for me. Brown Stadium represented the 8th and final Ivy League Stadium that I have visited and it has been a wonderful visit to these historic venues. This one was no different as the towering concrete stand was full of nostalgia, like the engraved bear head and the crest at the top. In this day and age of constant college stadium expansion, it is so refreshing to watch football in an old-school place with caring fans that have to brave the elements on a cold, tight bleacher seat. I have plenty of other stadiums to visit, but none will replicate that feeling I get inside one of the Ancient Eight homes.