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Best things to do in Rhode Island this week: Nov. 17-24

This week: Lukas Nelson, PVD’s own Deer Tick, an illuminated boat parade, a hip-hop take on Shakespeare, and more!

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real perform onstage during the Farm Aid Music Festival at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana on Sept. 24, 2023.SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

I’m dancing to “Alice’s Restaurant” while awaiting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and searching for recipes involving coffee syrup, clam cakes and red strip pizza. It’s Thanksgiving week, Rhody. We feast on fun with Lukas Nelson, Deer Tick, dumplings, beer, an illuminated boat parade and more.


Get an early start on holiday gifts by shopping local, small, and supporting local artists. WaterFire Providence hosts the “BuyArt Small Works Holiday Show and Sale” now through Jan. 7 at the WaterFire Arts Center. With some 30 local artists, “the show encourages art enthusiasts and holiday shoppers to purchase art right off the wall. As visitors purchase art, new works will be added throughout the run of the show.” Love this. Opening reception Nov. 16 from 5-9 p.m. 475 Valley St., Providence. Details here.



They must love Rhody as much as we love them, because Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha is back. The folk quartet from Kyiv played in Providence last year, after making Rolling Stone’s list of “The Best Things We Saw at Newport Folk Festival 2022.” The group returns to play Westerly’s United Theatre on Nov. 17. According to their website, the group sits at the crossroads of Ukrainian folklore and theater, with music “plumbing the depths of contemporary roots and rhythms, inspiring cultural and artistic liberation.” Nov. 17, 8 p.m., 5 Canal St., Westerly. $35. Details here and here.


It’s glow-time: Newport’s fourth Annual Sparkling Lights at The Breakers lights up Nov. 17 for the season. According to billing, it includes a “50-foot long, 26-foot-tall light display on the back lawn in the outline of a train from the Vanderbilts’ New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.” Warm up by fire pits with treats, s’mores, drinks and adult beverages for purchase. Tours at 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Gates close at 6:30 p.m.; house and grounds close at 8 p.m. Adults $40, youth $10. 44 Ochre Point Ave. Details here.



Do not miss your chance to see one the best guitarists working today. Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson, 34, pulls into PVD’s The Strand Nov. 19 with his band Promise of the Real.

For the uninitiated, check out Nelson’s cover of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” from Farm Aid 2010. The barefoot virtuoso toys with the guitar like a cat with a mouse. When he plays with his teeth? I lose my mind every time. Unreal.

Neil Young has tapped Nelson and POTR for tours and records. Watching Nelson at a Young concert, Bradley Cooper plucked him to play in the Oscar-nominated “A Star Is Born.” And Nelson’s taut, wavy, vocals smack of young Willie. Go go go. From $26.50. 7 p.m. Details here and here. Read my 2019 interview with Nelson and the band here.


“Rennie Harris Presents: Rome & Jewels,” presented by FirstWorks, hits the Vets Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. A New York Times Critic’s Pick, Harris’s work is based on the Bard’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “challenges preconceived notions of Shakespeare with a hip-hop journey through the streets of Philadelphia,” according to billing. Content advisory for strong language. Under 6 not allowed. Tickets from $24. Doors 7 p.m. 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. Details here and here. Read more about the show here.



…Yes, please. Boston’s Dumpling Daughter pops up at Narragansett Brewery Nov. 18. You might pair Bohemian Pilsner with scallion pancakes or a Hefeweizen with pan-seared pork dumplings. Free admission. Noon-8 p.m. 271 Tockwotton St., Providence. Details here.


Fiddle fans, beeline to the Newport Art Museum to hear fiddler/vocalist Phoebe Hunt, presented by Newport Live, Nov. 18. Old-time Appalachian talent from a young new voice. Listen to “Galloping” and “Molly, My Dear!” for a sense. Her website sums it up well: “Whereas the fiddle and voice are often the… icing on the cake of a full band recording,” here they’re “the whole cake.” $35. 7 p.m. Details here and here.


Linden Place Mansion’s fourth Annual Winter Artisan Market on Nov. 18 features some 40 local artisans offering jewelry, weaving, clothing, pottery and more in an indoor/outdoor shopping market campus that include the mansion’s ballroom, courtyard, grounds and nearby Bristol Art Museum. Plus live music, local food vendors and more. Free admission. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 500 Hope St. Details here.


The Good Trade Makers Market, Nov. 18 and 19 at the WaterFire Arts Center, boasts some 100 indie makers and small manufacturers of home decor, art, apothecary products, apparel, accessories, and more. Ticket price includes your choice of beer from Proclamation Ale or Trinity Brewhouse, cocktail from The Industrious Spirit Company, coffee from New Harvest Coffee Roasters, sparkling water or Gather Farm ice cream. #ShopLocal. $8 advance (advance sales end at midnight Nov. 17) or $10 door. Noon to 6 p.m. both days. 475 Valley St., Providence. Details here.



Tired: chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Wired: Marshmallows toasting on a mansion lawn. On Nov. 18 and 19, Blithewold Mansion Gardens & Arboretum provides the fire pits, chairs, s’mores kits and mansion garden views — just grab your crew and come ready to get deliciously messy. 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. $55 for up to six people. 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. Details here.


That’s not a threat, just a heads up that Nov. 21 is the “Meet Your Maker Winter Market” at Hope & Main in Warren. You’ll find craft cocktails, local food vendors, kid’s activities, music and more, according to billing. They’ll have more holiday markets popping up throughout the season. Free admission. 691 Main St. 4-7 p.m. Details here.


‘90s kids, rejoice: Bush plays PPAC Nov. 21. It’s time to sing “Machinehead” and “Glycerine” together. (And now I have “Swallowed” stuck in my head.) Tickets from $46.50. 7 p.m. Details here.


Guitar fans, this is your week. We have two greats in PVD. Just days after Nelson, blues guitar great Joe Bonamassa rocks PPAC Nov. 22. The former child prodigy who opened for B.B. King is now, at 46, a four-time Blues Music Award winner and three-time Grammy nominee. See here for a sense of his vocals and guitar chops. From $81. 8 p.m. Details here and here.



Newport kicks off the holiday season on the ocean with an Illuminated Boat Parade Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. at Newport Harbor. (Because Ocean State.) According to billing: Bundle up and head to the harbor to see boats decked for the season, with festive music. Boats compete for best decorated. According to Discover Newport’s Instagram post, you can view from “Newport waterfront, including Perrotti Park, Bowens Wharf, Bannister Wharf, and various points around Newport Harbor.” Event details here.


Not the bad kind. The good kind. Providence-native folk-rockers, and frequent Newport Folk guests, Deer Tick, touring now to promote their most recent album “Emotional Contract,” play two hometown shows Nov. 24 and 25. As of this writing, there are still tickets to see the homecoming on Nov. 24 — night two is sold out. Hop on it. $40. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. 270 Broadway, Providence. Details here and here.


After giving thanks, let’s not stampede and strangle each other over a TV. Each year on Black Friday, my boyfriend and I do something we call “Green Friday” where we go for a hike in Rhody and escape the maddening crowds.

Try Weetamoo Woods and Pardon Gray Preserve in Tiverton, which has some 9 miles of mostly flat, well-marked, color-coded trails that slice through forest and meadow, past farmland, and over streams. Throughout the 650-plus acres, which date to King Philip’s War, you may see historic stone walls, a wooden footbridge, historic sawmill remains, an old stone-arched bridge, ancient outcrops of rock, and a babbling brook.

Up in Foster, try Jerimoth Hill. You can find solitude along the roads and trails of Buck Hill Management Area, Burrillville, or Arcadia Wildlife Management Area, West Greenwich, R.I. Information on those three here.

There’s a nature preserve just a few miles outside of Providence: The Nature Conservancy opened the Moshassuck River Preserve last year with 3 miles of blazed trails that loop through hardwood forests, around glacial boulders, and crisscross small streams feeding into the river. Since the 1990s, this 210-acre parcel has been left wild and open. It’s a peaceful place to contemplate gratitude. More here.

For more info on local state parks, see our guide here. #GreenFriday

Until next week, Rhody: Keep rockin’.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.