34 Elbow St, Providence | 401.421.1399 | parl.org | PARL’s mission is “to provide for the rescue and relief of suffering of homeless animals and perform charitable or benevolent acts for the welfare of animals.” They take in more than 2500 stray, abandoned, and owner-surrendered pets per year — and have doing so for 101 years. The PARL facilitates adoption, foster-care, spaying/neutering, vaccination, microchipping, and more for furry friends all around the state. Visit their website to see the dogs, cats, and other critters who are waiting to melt your heart.
BEST OPEN SPACE: COLT STATE PARK
Hope Street, Bristol | 401.253.7482 | riparks.com/Locations/LocationEastBay.html | There’s no better combo of wide-open spaces and picturesque views in the state than the 450-plus acres that make up Colt State Park. Take a ride on the scenic, windy bike trails or throw a Frisbee around, then cool down with some lunch at one of the 400 picnic tables or a gazebo (fireplace rentals are also available). The traffic can make it a slog, but the trip down Route 114 is always worth it — there’s no better place to spend a summer day in Rhode Island.
BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH:WATERFIRE PROVIDENCE
waterfire.org | WaterFire marks its 20th anniversary at sunset on Saturday, May 24, when its braziers will be lit along the Downcity river. This special occasion will draw a larger-than-usual crowd (it’s Memorial Day weekend) of folks from all walks of life. Whether newlyweds, skate punks, or elderly couples catch your eye, there will be plenty to gawk at. And don’t worry if you can’t make it to opening night — the people-watching gets even more interesting as the sweaty season drags on.
BEST PLACE TO RUN: BLACKSTONE BOULEVARD
blackstoneparksconservancy.org | This 1.6-mile urban oasis is a prime destination for walkers and runners (it’s a perennial Best winner). The East Side path is filled with trees (nearly 300 new additions since 2003), flowers (more than 600 spring bulbs), whimsical stump seats (chair backs embedded in tree trunks), the inspiring Spirit of Youth statue, and throngs of friendly folks (and their four-legged friends). The simple pleasures are The Best. ’Nuf said.
BEST POLITICIAN: ANGEL TAVERAS
providenceri.com/mayor | We usually don’t reveal The Best vote counts, but we’re going to make an exception in this category. Angel Taveras won the last two years as mayor of Providence, and this year he’s doing double duty as the capital city honcho and a gubernatorial candidate. Taveras topped our poll with 23.8 percent of the vote; his Democratic foes, Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell, garnered 18 and 9.6, respectively. Forgot those other electorate samples — this is The Best news Angel could get!
BEST RADIO PERSONALITY: BUDDY CIANCI
630WPRO.com | Buddy aces this category for the fifth time, but he might be getting out from behind the mic soon to pursue another run for the mayoralty of Providence (his doctors gave him the green light, post-cancer treatment). In the meantime, he’s holding forth weekday afternoons on WPRO (630 AM and 99.7 FM). Whatever the topic — local cultcha, the weather or, ummm, politics — the essence of Buddy comes charging through the speakers. Yeah, he’s a character!
BEST RADIO STATION: WBRU