SURVIVAL GUIDE TO NECRONOMICON
So you’re going to NecronomiCon? I’ve been to two
already, and it’s been a wonderful experience. Here’s
some hints on what to do when in Providence.
Any other thoughts, or corrections, would be great.
* Collect the proper gear. Clothing (informal, but remember, the Con
doesn't allow costumes), personal hygiene items, money for food, dice
and rulebooks for role-players, books you want to get signed. A
lightweight bag to carry around the con might be useful; often,
signing a book is a matter of catching an author as they're walking
down the halls.
* Read some Lovecraft stories about Providence. I rank them in this
with the most pertinent first:
"The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" (at least the first part)
"The Shunned House"
"The Call of Cthulhu"
"The Haunter of the Dark"
You can also bring along a paperback copy of any of these. Reading
about a place in Providence is one thing; seeing it, and understanding
that Lovecraft saw the same thing, is another.
* Sit down and make a plan of what you want to see. The convention
includes a number of panels, video displays, tabletop and live-action
role-playing and other events. You should look at all the schedules,
and decide what you have to attend. That way, you won't miss any
once-in-a-lifetime opportunities – or at least, the scheduled
* Take a walking tour of Providence. The convention typically has a
few walking tours, each about two hours and covering three miles, some
of it steep. You'll get to see important places from Lovecraft's life
and four of his stories. I recommend Donovan Loucks' tour; if I take
one, that's the one I'll be on. Bring something to drink – it's
hot, and you won’t be able to find much on the way.
* Go to the Prayer Breakfast: At least once, you should go to the
Breakfast, sing silly songs, and watch Robert M. Price dress up in
weird outfits. If you forgot to buy your tickets, you can go to the
S. T. Joshi panel. If that's not your game either… let me know.
* Go to the Hay Library. This usually has a small exhibition of
Lovecraft related materials – letters, manuscripts, and other
interesting items – but it's only open during business hours on
Directions: Go up Randall, take a right on North Main, and a left on
Olney Street. Then, a right on Prospect, and drive on to the Brown
Campus. The library will be on your right – and parking may be
* Visit the Book Room: An astounding array of stuff here! You never
know what you'll find. If your SO is along, you may want to give them
your credit cards.
* Help out at panels. Some panels are really dynamite, others don't
seem to go anywhere. If people at the panel seem reluctant to speak,
raise your hand and ask a question. They’ll be grateful.
* Be yourself. Unless you're an obnoxious boor, that is.
NecronomiCon is a small convention, so it's perfectly all right to go
up to people and start babbling about how wonderful they are. If
they’re ever rude, it reflects on them, not you.
* Make friends. You'll never know when you'll need to bum a ride.
Here's a primer to Providence sights near the hotel. As a hint for
the directions herein, when you walk out the hotel's front entrance,
you're facing south. You may want to print out Donovan Loucks' map of
College Hill, to help you find your way around:
If you plan to be driving around Providence much at all, I'd suggest
picking up a map of the place at the hotel.
You will need food, and you may get sick of delivery. Here's some
spots to eat.
The Plaza: Turn left on leaving the Marriott. The major street you
see is Randall. Walk up one block, crossing the Mosshasuck River, and
look for the golden arches.
Yes, that's McDonald's, and there's a Boston Market at the other end
(plus a Staples open to 9 PM, if you need copies). Good, cheap food
– but see under "Safety".
Benefit Street: To get there, walk south down Canal, then keep going
south on Main. Take a left on Meeting, and walk up the hill one
block. (For a more picturesque route, take a left on Star Street,
just before St. John's Church, go up one block, then turn right on
Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches has a wide variety of excellent
sandwiches, but if you've got a big appetite, one may not fill you up.
Checker’s Pizza is next door.
*Providence Place Mall: Turn right coming out of the main entrance,
then take a left on State. Follow State as it turns into Gaspee, then
curves around the State House past the train station. The mall is on
Francis Street, to your left. There's a parking garage around back.
Typical mall fare – Dave and Buster's, Pizzeria Uno, a "select
your own cut" place called Fire and Ice that I haven't visited yet,
plus a food court on the top level with Chinese, Italian, Subway, Ben
Thayer Street: If driving, go south on Charles Street to Canal.
Continue south on Canal, until you come to Angell (just past the First
Baptist Church). Take a left, go straight after a block to Waterman,
and drive up to the top of the hill, past Brown. Or take the trolley
from the Marriott, if it's Saturday.
Features a wide range of restaurants – Johnny Rocket's, another
Geoff's, an amazing hot dog place, and some restaurants of higher
caliber. The Kabob 'n' Kurry comes with my highest recommendation
– the food is excellent, and the lunch specials are only a
couple dollars more than fast food.
Atwell's Avenue: Drive, don't walk. Follow the directions to the
mall, then take a left on Francis. Just past the Westin, take a right
on Exchange, and quickly a left onto Sabine. Past the Holiday Inn,
take a right onto Atwell's, and head for the big pineapple on the
arch. You might also check the trolley schedule.
The place in Providence for Italian food, or that curious relic called
Rhode Island pizza. Check the prices before going in, but some
places, like Angelo's, Caserta's (on the other side of DePasquale
Plaza), and the Italian groceries, are quite reasonable and good. (A
few blocks down is St. John's Park, the former site of the church from
"Haunter of the Dark".)
The Marriott is in a fairly safe neighborhood, though you might want
someone to accompany you if you go out to your car late at night, just
to be sure. Going up Randall Street to the McDonald's plaza after
dark should be done by car, and don’t stay too long.
Other Things to Do
If you brought any non-Lovecraft fans along, do them a favor. Print
out this section. You might also keep an eye out for the Providence
Phoenix, a free entertainment newspaper, that should give you more
The Mall: See above. It's huge, it's got a cinema and an IMAX.
Waterfire: Around 8 PM on Saturday, weather permitting, Providence
will hold one of its Waterfires over by the Mall (see under "Food").
I’ve been told it's an amazing event, even for us jaded
decadents, and thousands of people turn out for it. It ends around 1
AM. See www.waterfire.com for more info.
Roger Williams Park: At the corner of North Main and Smith. A small
museum, plus postcards and pamphlets and books on Rhode Island
RISD Museum: If you enjoy art museums, check out the RISD museum on
Benefit Street, near Angell, which seems to specialize in modern art
and American objects. Friday 10-8, Saturday and Sunday 10-5.
Lovecraft's Grave: This is a driving destination, to be sure. Swan
Point Cemetery is on Blackstone Boulevard. To get there, head up
Randall to North Main, where you'll turn left. After a few blocks,
the North Burial Ground will be on your left. Take a right on
Rochambeau, and follow it for a mile to Blackstone Boulevard, a street
with a broad island in the middle. Take a left, and look for the
cemetery on your right.
Directions from the a.h.c. FAQ: Once you enter the cemetery, follow
Holly Avenue straight back to Junction Avenue, where you make a left.
Soon after this, Pond Avenue curves off to the right. Follow Pond
until it intersects Avenue B. The family plot is on the east side of
the intersection of these two avenues.
Don't forget, they close at dusk.