Interview with I {heart} Rhody

Erika Smith has been writing the blog I {heart} Rhody since 2010. She loves the state's eclectic architecture. Earlier this year she participated in the #100 Day Project on Instagram, sharing one photo a day of a different historic Rhode Island building. Recently, we asked her a few questions about why she loves the Ocean State so much!

How long have you lived in the Ocean State?

I moved to Rhode Island in June 2008, so almost 12 years!

Can you tell us about your project, I {heart} Rhody?

I {heart} Rhody started out as a list of places to go with my son. When we went to a place on the list, we'd write about it, and post it on the blog, and link the post back to the list. Over the years, it's been updating and evolving.

What are some of the best kept secrets in Providence as far as buildings/places to visit go?

Some of the best places are ones I haven't been to yet! The Nature Lab at RISD and Emporium of Popular Culture are both on my must-see list. The interior of the Brown Division of Applied Mathematics is wonderful. The Ann Mary Brown Memorial is a colorful surprise inside. And I love the peacock on the O'Gorman building on Westminster St.

If you mapped out a tour for visiting friends, where would you take them in Providence?

We'd tour the historic locations in Downcity, along the river, the Superman Building, the Arcade. A stop at The Dorrance for drinks or dinner, Providence City Hall, and The Biltmore for coffee. Providence is such a walk-able city, with so much to see!

Do you refer to Providence as downtown or downcity?

I go back and forth. I'd never heard the term "downcity" until I moved here, so sometimes I slip up and say downtown.

What makes Providence so special to you?

It's the total package in terms of art. I'm including food, architecture, theater, music, visual arts, every kind of art is represented! I love the walkability, the history, the diversity.

What is in the works for I {heart} Rhody in coming months?

I recently took the data from the historic buildings surveys at the state preservation commission, and uploaded it into Google MyMaps. I'm working on #The100DayProject on Instagram to document 100 of those houses on the map with current photos.

How can folks find you (website, social media)?

I {heart} Rhody is more of an Instagram thing lately (@iheartrhody), though I do still post at I'm also on Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to hear more of Erika's participation, check out her Pechakucha Providence presentation here!