When I told UK friends I was heading off to gay Providence, the reaction was the same.
‘Oh,’ followed by the look people inadvertently display when they search their mind for any knowledge of a destination and come up blank. ‘Er… nice.’
‘Is it for Bear Week?’ asked a couple of pals.
‘Um, no. That’s Provincetown. This is Providence, Rhode Island.’
In short, for many in the UK, Providence has a branding problem. Until now, visitors to this corner of New England were more likely to travel to Boston (an hour north-east by train), or Provincetown (a 90-minute ferry ride from Boston or 2.5 hour drive from Providence).
I say ‘until now’ because that is set to change. In June, Norwegian airlines began the first, direct services to Providence from the United Kingdom. It operates flights from Scotland and Ireland.