Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Spooky stories of the Ocean State

Fall has finally made its colorful debut here in Newport, Rhode Island!  The crisp air, and leaves fluttering about are a welcomed change of pace. With Halloween quickly approaching, we have a wonderful selection of spooky books to keep you occupied (and frightened) on these chilly evenings! If you have a penchant for the paranormal and occult, make sure to come by and check out our expansive book collection on this tiny state. For such a small place, it has quite an interesting past that many local authors have done an excellent job of documenting. 

Our newest addition to the bookshelf  is Cursed in New England by Joseph A. Citro. Cursed in New England chronicles seventeen tales of "curses" placed upon New Englanders many years ago. It's guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine!

"Cursed in New England is a splendid combination of off-beat social history, masterful storytelling, and absolutely first-rate writing from a true New England original with a life-long passion for things that go bump in the night and, come to think of it, in broad daylight as well." - Howard Frank Mosher, author of Waiting for Teddy Williams

Another sordid staple is Witches Wenches and Wild Women of Rhode Island by M.E. Reilly-McGreen. This book is one of the few pieces of literature that details the story of Mercy Brown, Rhode Islands own vampire!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big E

Only In Rhode

Just 3 short days until The Big E begins!! For the uninitiated among you, The Big E is short for The Eastern States Exposition, which began more than 80 years ago and is one of the largest regional fairs in the country. More than 1 million people attend over the course of 17 days and it's quite unlike anything you've ever seen!

The best part (in our opinion) is The Avenue of the States. Each of the 6 new England States participates in this event, and each State's building is a replica of its original Statehouse. The Rhode Island building, therefore, looks  just like The Colony House in Newport

RI Bldg at The Big E

In each State building, you'll find all kinds of things from that State (logical, right?) This is, of course, the ideal place for us! Only In Rhode Island has participated in the Big E since 2005, and it's always and adventure!

Our Store at The Big E.... We are open for 17 days each year. Everyday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We hold our famous Annual Flip Flop Sale (2 pair for $40!!, also available for 2 more days at We also sell, jewelry, Lightfoot's Pine Soap, Rhode Island Soapworks products, books, photography, pet stuff,   Black Pearl clam chowder, and all sorts of other Rhode Island creations! Join us any day from Sept. 14th through September 30th. It's an experience that's not to be missed!!

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paquette Flip Flop Clearance Sale!

Only In Rhode

Every year Douglas Paquette retires certain styles in their sandal line to make room for new designs next year. When that happens, we buy as many of them as we can and offer them at an amazing price when we set up shop at in September. We've never done it in our stores, and we've never done it online.....................NEVER SAY NEVER!!!!

Go Ahead & Shop

The greatest flip-flops on earth are available for a very limited time at our once-a-year clearance price. We do this every year at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), but we've never done it online until now - 1 PAIR FOR $30, 2 PAIR FOR $40!!!! (enter promo code FlopsRI at checkout to get the multi-pair discount). Quantities are limited and they're going fast, so be sure to stock up and give your feet the happiness they deserve! You'll want to wear them every day!(machine washable/air dry, and they'll be just like new!)

These adorable premium flip flops are specially designed for superior comfort with increased arch support and a non-slip bottom. You'll never find a better pair ! Machine wash on cold - air dry.

Stock Up Now!

Friday, September 7, 2012

2013 Rhode Island Photo Calendar

Only In Rhode

Our first annual Only In Rhode Island Photo Calendar is in production and we are beyond excited!!!

If you haven't heard us talking about this (it seems we talk of nothing else, some days!), we held a photo contest on our facebook page. We received so many spectacular shots that it was a brutal selection process. When our judging panel was able to select 13 winners (12 months + the cover), we began assembly of our calendar.

Pre-Order Yours Here
Once we had the photos in place, we decided to add important and significant dates in Rhode Island history. A simple idea?? Yes. Easy to do?? Not even close!! There is such an extraordinary wealth of Rhode Island facts, firsts, and memorable happenings that we could probably have worked on this for years, but we need to get the calendar out before 2013, so people can actually use it.

We were loving this calendar so much, and were so proud of ourselves for showcasing the talents of Rhode Islanders, the beauty of Rhode Island, and the fascinating history of our State. Just when we were thinking this calendar of ours could not possibly be any better, a lightbulb went on - "Let's donate proceeds from the sale of the calendar to Adoption Rhode Island!" And so we are.  This is a truly wonderful organization that operates as a private, non-profit and is always able to use donations. 

NOW, our calendar is perfect!! We cannot wait for you to see it!! You can pre-order now. We hope to have them in-hand by mid-September. These are a limited print run, so supplies are limited - no procrastinating!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lobster Bisque

Only In Rhode

So, this time of year is always a time of transition - when our Summer Girls go back to school, the weather turns cooler (but no less humid, according to my giant hair), and we have to get ready for the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), which is a 17 day event held each year in Springfield, Mass. Only In Rhode Island participates each year, representing all the fantastic things created in the Ocean State.

One such fantastic thing is our Rhode Island Seafood Company Lobster Bisque. We sell it along with the Black Pearl clam chowder and the Rhode Island Seafood Co. Clam Chowder, and just like the chowders, it has a cult following. 

         RI Seafood Co. Lobster Bisque                     

I'm not a very good cook and, as a result, I don't really like to do it very often. When we first started carrying this lobster bisque in our stores, we had product tastings to let our customers sample the new soup. It was a huge hit and pretty much everyone who tried it, bought some to take home - myself included. The directions say to mix the bisque with heavy cream or half-and-half, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, and used 2% milk instead. It was phenomenal! I think the secret to preparing a premium soup like the ones we carry, is to let it simmer as long as possible, just like when you make it from scratch. That way the flavors get a chance to meld together and I swear to you, you would never believe it came out of a can! Not only do I make this lobster bisque at home on a regular basis, but I once even came down to the store in the middle of the night, in my pajamas, to get more - that's how good it is!

We have customers that buy it by the case and serve it at dinner parties and use it as a lobster sauce in all kinds of different dishes. One of the best I've tried is Pasta With Seafood & Lobster Sauce. It's the easiest thing to make and people who don't know me would readily believe that I know my way around the kitchen, despite the numerous smoke alarms placed strategically around my stove.

Ultimately, I've never been a huge fan of food from a can - but I happily indulge in this delicious lobster bisque at least once a week and it's as good as any I've had anywhere. Considering that I live on an island, surrounded by seafood, in NEW ENGLAND -that's saying something. 

Believe me when I say, this is some good lobstah!!

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Celebrity Sighting

Only In Rhode
So, our big exciting news for the day is that actress Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) shopped in the Only In Rhode Island Newport store this afternoon, before making her way to Castle Hill.

We can happily report that she will be going home with some great Rhode Island-made stuff, and we appreciate her support of our local economy! (And yes, she is just as beautiful in person as she is on screen. It was a rather humbling experience:)

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Saturday, September 1, 2012


Only In Rhode

There's nothing quite like Waterfire.

The Great music, the visuals, heat and smell of a roaring fire, the tranquil vibe of boats floating on water, and the bustle of a street festival all combine to create an experience that is not to be missed. Really unique and worthwhile. It is a wonderful evening out. So beautiful it is easy to forget you are in the middle of the city. Great music that echoes through the underpasses. On a warm summer night it is a great place to go and buy food from the vendors along the park and sit and eat and listen and best of all people watch.
Photo: It's no Blue Moon, but Waterfire was pretty spectacular tonight!

WaterFire is the award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans presented on the rivers of downtown Providence.
First created by Evans in 1994 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of First Night Providence, WaterFire has grown to become an annual public art phenomenon.
WaterFire is simultaneously a free public art installation, a performance work, an urban festival, a civic ritual and a spiritual communal ceremony. Well known nationally and internationally as a community arts event, WaterFire’s symbolism and interpretation is both inclusive and expansive - reflecting the recognition that individuals must act together to strengthen and preserve their community.
On WaterFire evenings, downtown Providence is transformed by one hundred bonfires that burn just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence in Waterplace Park (the WoonasquatucketMoshassuck, and Providence rivers). The public is invited to come and walk the riverfront, and enjoy the beauty of the flickering firelight, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the changing silhouettes of the volunteer firetenders, and the music from around the world.
Average attendance is 40,000 a night, ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. WaterFire is presented for free, with only ten percent of the funds needed to host WaterFire acquired through governmental means and the remainder coming from private and corporate donations.

It's an experience for all the senses! Metal cauldrons floating on the Providence rivers, filled with burning firewood, you smell the wood burning, hear eclectic music playing, you see the wonderful sites of 100 fires burning up and down the rivers! Definitely a must-see! Go to to see schedule.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Flip Flops or Sandals

Only In Rhode

As we head into Labor Day weekend, I am realizing that Fall is upon us, and Winter will be here about 5 minutes after that. Every single year I try to figure out some ingenious way to convert my flip flops into shoes that I can wear all winter, even in the snow. So far, I've got nothing.


These are my actual shoes on my actual feet

I have more than 30 pair of Douglas Paquette Flip Flops and I wear them all day every day until I absolutely can't bear the weather and I unhappily put on real shoes. My love affair with this fabulous footwear started 6 years ago, when we began carrying them in our stores. The company was based in Providence for many years and originally made hair ornaments. They then expanded into jewelry, then belts and accessories, a bunch of other stuff, and now premium ribbon sandals, or flip flops in my midwestern parlance. They are now located in a much larger warehouse in North Kingstown, RI and they design, create, and sell Pet Accessories too. (which we also love and we also sell - and yes, you can match your dog's collar to your shoes!)


My actual dogs in their actual collars

Unlike many things in my life, I don't just love these sandals because they're cute - I love them because my feet love them!! Each Spring, every member of my staff receives a brand new pair of the sandals of her choice and we all agree that there's nothing like putting your feet into a new pair of flip flops. It's heavenly! And because they're designed with firm arch support I can wear them for 12 hours at a time and not even realize I've been on my feet. Retail is pretty grueling when it comes to your feet so I wouldn't wear them if they didn't deliver.

And perhaps my other favorite thing about them (after the cuteness of the ribbon styles) is that you can throw them in the washing machine and they come out looking brand new! I do this every Spring and some of my flops are 6 years old, but you can't tell!!

So, I'm still trying to figure out how I can get through the New England Winter with flip flops on my feet. If you come up with a way to do this, and you create this product of yours in Rhode Island......we just might be able to  help each other out.............

This is the story of the Douglas Paquette Company in their own words..

"Douglas Paquette Accessories was started in 1976 as a hair ornament company. As with most small business owners starting up in the 2nd floor apartment, with the dining room as the stockroom and the kitchen as executive office, times were simple. During the day the owner would visit local stores in his red Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and then returned to his high-tech facility to process and ship the orders. This mega order processing center consisted of his mother Louise who expedited the hair ornament orders for packaging and then left them upstairs, on the 3rd floor landing, for Lorraine.  Lorraine was a hoot; she was a nurse at the local hospital who suffered from insomnia.  The insomnia was a double edge sword, not necessarily good for Lorraine but the orders were packaged perfectly and left on the 2nd floor landing for next day shipping. (Lorraine liked making money while watching Johnny Carson)  Mom then would take out the old black Underwood typewriter, create an invoice, pack the box and wait for UPS to show.  Louise would leave for home around 3PM to make dinner for her beloved husband Arthur. 
Well as with most stories of small businesses there are lots of things that you just don’t see coming. Who would ever think that a U.S. Olympian would change the course of business?  Dorothy Hamill won her 1st Gold Medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck. We were all very proud of America’s sweetheart but did she have to cut all the hair off!!!  Needless to say sales in hair goods dropped by 90% in the course of 6 months (we still cringe when Ice Capades come to town) 
The company had to change gears in a hurry, thank goodness that the U.S. jewelry industry was 10 miles away.  Douglas Paquette Accessories branched out into jewelry manufacturing to build a core business and then continued with an array of products such as, belts, belt buckles, ladies and men’s neckwear, door knockers, cabinet hardware, pet products and footwear. 
2012 will be the 37th year in business for Douglas Paquette Accessories and there are just a few thoughts about its longevity.  Make a great quality product at a fair price, honor your customers because they are the lifeblood of your business, and always keep your eye on the future and trends like Dorothy’s haircut."
Doug & Allyson Paquette

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rhode Island Red

Only In Rhode

About 8 years ago, we received a product submission from two ladies that had just developed a new hot sauce. They named their product "Rhode Island Red". Now, as you may know, the RI Red is a rooster that also happens to be the State bird of Rhode Island. You may not know that I am a  pushover for a decent pun, and this one being Only In Rhode Island in nature, was too good to pass up.

So, the ladies presented us with sample and I swear to you that I ate that hot sauce every day for a week - I could not stop once I has the perfect warm glow that enhances the food you put it on, it doesn't overpower the food and leave your mouth feeling like a raging inferno!
RI Red Hot Sauce
RI Red Hot Sauce

Only In Rhode Island was the first store to take a chance on this new product and offer it in our stores. Since then, they've made a great success of their business and have added two more products. We love their products, we love their energy, and we love their story!

Read for yourself how a couple of girls from Rhode Island created the next great sauce company!!

Since a chef started the company, our story is naturally told through a recipe!

Recipe for Sauce on the Side
Yields one fantastic business committed to bringing creative, all natural sauces to the masses!

1 super-talented, creative chef (Linda Kane) working at Johnson & Wales University
1 delicious, addictive, all natural hot sauce recipe
1 co-worker (Aimee Fontaine), willing to do the day-to-day organizational work

Method of preparation:
Bring chef, coworker and hot sauce recipe together at a restaurant table and let simmer for 2-3 hours. For best results, add wine and grilled pizza.

A Rhode Island-based company that produces all natural sauces using fresh ingredients to offer creative and flavorful alternatives to the ordinary condiment.

To maximize results, add 1 creative guy with sales and marketing experience (Eddy Ricci Jr.)!

What’s In A Name?
So, the company actually had a name before it was even a company and the hot sauce even had its name before it was actually a hot sauce.

“Sauce on the Side” is a restaurant phrase attached to a “special” order when a guest has requested their sauce to be served on the side instead of on top of the food item. “SOS” is kitchen slang for the phrase. Appropriate, we thought, for our business since we cater to special needs of sauce lovers everywhere, and because our sauces will “rescue” you in times of trouble! S.O.S. says it all!

As for the hot sauce, the Rhode Island Red is the official state bird (Vincent is the name of the rooster on our label).  But really, can you think of a more awesome name for a hot sauce from Rhode Island!

The cowboy on the Cowboy Ketchup bottle’s name is Jake - just a name we thought fit! 

Our Motto
Go ahead…play with your food!

Shop Only In Rhode Island

Douglas Paquette Anchors Away Flip FlopsShop Only In New England

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Black Pearl Clam Chowder


Only In Rhode

One of the questions we are most often asked in our stores is "Is this chowder really from the Black Pearl?" To tell you the truth, I would love to just once be able to say in a loud whisper, "No, it's market....contraband..... but mum's the word, it's just between us....." I imagine the look on that person's face would be priceless!!

But of course, our Black Pearl clam chowder is "really from the Black Pearl". There aren't a lot of secrets in Rhode Island (not for long, anyway), so I'm quite sure that if we were selling a faux version of their chowder for the past 7 years, the Black Pearl might have figured it out by now. The truth is that we get the chowder directly from them, and the t-shirts and hats too. It's difficult to keep the Black Pearl products in stock, so we're lucky that they're located just down the street!

The Black Pearl Clam Chowder, 15oz can
Black Pearl Clam Chowder
Black Pearl T-Shirt
Black Pearl T-shirt

We also have people ask why the Black Pearl lets us sell their products. The obvious answer is that we sell a ton, but there's a funny story behind it too. Seven years ago, I was in Las Vegas for a retailers conference. I was eating in a restaurant and overheard two women at the next table talking (I hate that I come off as an eavesdropper in this tale, but it's the sad truth). Anyway, they were discussing their upcoming vacation plans and one woman said she and her husband were going to Mexico and that her friend and her husband should join them. The second woman said, "Oh you know we have to go to Newport every year. Bob just has to get chowder at the Black Pearl."

So there I was, two thousand miles from home and the people next to me are talking about the Black Pearl!! Because I'm not just an eavesdropper, I'm also quite pushy, I jumped into the conversation. I thought the universe must be sending me some kind of sign and twenty minutes later I was convinced that I must bring the Black Pearl clam chowder to the world!! So I came home from Vegas, called the restaurant, and we are. 

The third question people ask us about the Black Pearl clam chowder is whether it's as good as the restaurant's. We tell them the truth......."There is no way the Black Pearl would put their name on it if it wasn't. It's their recipe and it's excellent." I believe the secret to making it is to let it simmer, just like when you make it from scratch. That way the flavors get a chance to meld together and, I swear to you, you will not be able to tell you're not sitting on the wharf in downtown Newport, with the wind in your hair and 30 people waiting to take your table.

Shop Only In Rhode Island

Douglas Paquette Anchors Away Flip FlopsShop Only In New England

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Monday, August 27, 2012

No Experience Needed

Only In Rhode

Okay, so the other day I talked about how my favorite thing is spending the Summer in downtown Newport, and the wonderful people that give us a chance to recognize how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful place.

Now, I'm talking about my least favorite thing................saying Goodbye to employees. It happens every single year, and I hate it every single year. Our "Summer Girls" go back to school, or our year-round girls move on to new adventures, babies, career moves, or other life changes. 

Only In Rhode Island's very first employee worked with us for 7 years (until she went off to law school). Others have been with us 6 years, five get the idea - we become rather attached. We've always been incredibly lucky to find those individuals that "fit". One of our favorites was with us for only 2 years because her husband was in the Navy and was re-assigned. We knew this would be the case when she started, but that didn't make it any easier to say goodbye. 

Those who have moved on stop by the store from time-to-time, stay connected through facebook, and send Christmas cards, but it's obviously not the same as working side by side for years at a time. Still, we get incredibly excited when one of our former team reaches an important goal or milestone, or achieves fantastic success. For instance, I was driving over the Newport Bridge some months back and heard Roz Raskin & The Ricecakes playing on the radio. Roz is an Only In Rhode Island girl from way back and I was so proud of her I cried. When she wins her first Grammy, I fear I might explode.

Similarly, one of our girls just left this past weekend for Wellesley, the alma mater of Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. There is no doubt in my mind that her accomplishments will eventually eclipse both of those amazing women.

Created by The Mad Hatter Bakery

The above photo is our end-of-Summer cake, celebrating another fun, successful Summer and to show our appreciation to the great staff that worked so hard.