- College Hill
- Benefit Street, Providence, RI
- Trailhead: 41°49’9.33″N, 71°24’2.01″W
- Last Time Hiked: January 1, 2014
- Approximate distance hiked: 2.9 miles
- Easy with some significant elevation.
I started this New Years morning walk from the bottom of College Hill at the intersection of Benefit and Wickenden Streets. A very cold and quiet morning indeed being a holiday morning. I passed some of the oldest colonial era houses in the country as I made my way up Benefit Street. Many of them have plaques showing the date they were built. The architecture in this part of Providence is just downright beautiful. Along this stretch I also passed The Barker Playhouse, The Hoppin House, The John Brown House, The First Unitarian Church, The Superior Courthouse Building, and The Athenaeum before turning right and uphill on College Street towards the famous Van Wickle Gates of Brown Univeristy. At the top of the hill I then turned left on Prospect Street passing the Carrie Tower. The dome ahead is the First Church of Christ Scientist. I then turned left onto Waterman Street downhill back toward Benefit Street through part of the Rhode Island School of Design campus. There is a grassy area on the right with a sculpture in the middle. In warmer weather many RISD students are here sunbathing. It has become known to the locals as RISD Beach. Needless to say, no sunbathers today. When I got back to Benefit Street I turned right and followed it to Meeting Street passing behind The First Baptist Church and The Marine Corps Arsenal. At Meeting Street I turned right and followed it uphill to the end of the road. At the end of the road there is a set of stairs that lead you to Congdon Street. At this point I turned left and still uphill until I reached Prospect Terrace Park. At this park there is a statue of Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, that overlooks the city. From this vantage point you can see most of the city and its landmarks including the Rhode Island State House, Providence City Hall, The Biltmore Hotel, the steeples of The First Baptist Church and The Washington Trust Company, as well as the skyscrapers of the Financial District. After leaving the park I made my way up Bowen Street. After a block I reached the peak of this walk. The rest would be downhill. Bowen Street offered many home of various architecture as it skirted the Brown University campus. I followed Bowen Street to Thayer Street where I turned right. This stretch is usually bustling with activity. Again being early morning on a holiday, Thayer Street was as quiet as I’ve ever seen it. The next quarter mile is a cluster of small shops, eateries, and coffee shops. Although mostly corporate now there are still some Mom and Pop shops left here. I continued down Thayer Street through the heart of Brown University and followed it to the end at Transit Street. Again the architecture in this area is stunning passing several more colonial era homes. I turned left onto Transit Street before turning right onto Brook Street where another small cluster of shops are mixed with very old homes. I then turned right onto Wickenden Street passing several restaurants before making my way back to the car I had parked near Wickenden and Benefit Streets.
I did not find a trail map on-line.