Midstate Camera Repair: The best thing to happen to photographers since the pinhole camera

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It’s a Thursday morning, and you’re realizing that isn’t a flock of birds in the photos from last week’s beach session, that’s a dirty sensor and you have a triple-header wedding this weekend. What to do?

Call my favorite camera repair and cleaning store, Midstate Camera Repair, in Warwick, RI! Plenty of photographers ship gear to them daily, so if you aren’t within an easy drive of them, not to worry.

But if you ARE in an easy drive, there is lots to keep you busy while you wait for your gear to be cleaned. I especially love that there are so many independently owned businesses to patronize in Warwick and Cranston, so I can get a lot done while supporting other small businesses.

The Fortin brothers at Midstate Camera Repair go above and beyond to help me care for my gear, and I recommend them to all professional and hobby photographers I know. They are truly meticulous and provide exceptional service, and I hope they don’t retire for a good long time. I just hope they’ll still have time for me after everyone else discovers how great they are, and how wonderful it can be to spend a few hours in Warwick, RI! (Bring cash or check, they don’t take credit cards!)

TEN THINGS TO DO NEAR MIDSTATE WHILE WAITING FOR YOUR GEAR

1. Get some work done

In the days following Hurricane Sandy it was hard to find anything within 30 minutes of me that had wifi and power. I decided to call the day a loss and headed to Midstate to get my gear cleaned in advance of the weekend’s weddings. I threw my laptop in the car, and was glad I didóthe guys at Midstate pointed me towards the Cozy Grill, just up the street at 440 Warwick Avenue. Great diner menu, great servers and all the power and wifi I could use. I still use it as a place to camp out if I need to work while spending a few hours waiting for my gear.

If you prefer more quiet and less coffee for your work, try one of the three branches of the Warwick Public Library, all just minutes from Midstate.

2. Buy beer

I.M. Gan Discount Liquors is located just across the street from Midstate at 380 Warwick Avenue, Warwick (401-467-5558) and was the first place I ever found to do a “mixed-six” of fancy beer. Everyone seems to offer that now, but few places have their amazing selection of beer, wines and liquors at great prices.

3. Get a pedicure

On a Monday after a double-header wedding weekend, this is practically medicinal. I’ve sampled a few (!) salons in the area for pedicures and my favorite well-priced spa salon in the area is Love Nails & Spa. They’re just minutes from Midstate at 1160 Post Road, Warwick, and their phone number is 401-533-9992. I can especially recommend the Hot Stone Pedicure with lavender oil. Looks like they do facials, plain old reflexology foot rubs, waxing and massages as well.

4. Get your car detailed

Try the car detailing services at Top Notch Auto Detailing, located at 1184 Warwick Avenue. Call ahead (401-226-1103) and make an appointment while your gear is cleaned! No time to do a detail? Try Alpine Car Wash for a quick and gentle car wash at 1271 Warwick Avenue.

5. Groom your pup

This is another appointment you’ll need to book ahead of time, but if you bring your dog in for a groom at the same time you bring your gear in, you’ll be finished with both in the same amount of time–clean gear, clean doggie, what could be better? Doggie Do’s Grooming Salon is located in Pawtuxet Village at 2190 Broad Street, Cranston, RI. Call them at 401-941-3544.

6. Call a photographer friend and go for a walk!

There so many beautiful places to walk in the area, since Midstate is just a little ways away from the bay. I especially like Roger Williams Park, and strolling the streets and the waterfront park in Pawtuxet Village in Cranston. I also love Buttonwood Park in Warwick, it has a beautiful three-mile walking loop, and a dog park for my pup! There are loads of other great places to walk–leave your favorites in the comments.

7. Check out some Rhode Island retail history at Ann & Hope, Ocean State Job Lot or Benny’s

Once a thriving chain of trendsetting department stores, now just the Warwick and Cumberland stores are left, as well as a handful of Ann & Hope Curtain and Bath stores.† Check out one at1689 Post Road in Warwick, RI, Ann & Hope was the first self-service department store and inspiration for Walmat and Kmart, according to Wikipedia.

If you live in Southern New England, Benny’s and Ocean State Job Lot isn’t new to you, but you can always find something you need at Benny’s. They pride themselves on products to serve locals, so think seasonal–snow melt, a clamming rake, an air conditioner, a beach pail or seasonal sporting goods are all available at Benny’s, while getting new tires, a new dish rack and a new Lego for this weekend’s kid birthday party. Ocean State Job Lot is a mixed bag, but depending on what you’re looking for and what’s available, sometimes a good deal is just waiting to be had.

8. Do a Rhode Island food tour

In Warwick you can make a stop at Del’s Lemonade, go to Dave’s Marketplace and pick up a coffee milk, some Dave’s Coffee syrup and some bakery pizza (you know, the thick, square pizza covered in red sauce with no cheese, served cold, sometimes described as grandma’s pizza). Then, head down to the bay and have lunch at local landmark Iggy’s for quahogs, stuffies, clamcakes, fish n’ chips and doughboys. Still hungry for Rhode Island food specialties? Pick up a “cabinet” for dessert at Papa’s Ice Cream (2987 West Shore Road, Warwick) or find a remaining Newport Creamery for an Awful, Awful.† Not a seafood lover? There’s my newest favorite,† California Taco Shop, located on Elmwood in the old Harry’s building.

9.† Buy gas

When I travel from the land of high gas taxes (CT) to any other state, the gas seems more reasonable, but Warwick seems to make cheap gas hunting a sport. If you’re interested in filling up while in the fair city of Warwick, check out Gas Buddy for the most recent report. The Sandy Lane Smoke Shop and Gas Station has a sign claiming cheapest gas in town, but I think they have a lot of competition.

10.† Shop for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING

While I love all my mom & pop stores in Warwick, I live a blissful 45 minutes from most big box strip plazas, so I do sometimes take advantage of a Midstate date to shop at the “good” grocery stores, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. In addition, just a few minutes from Midstate is the Garden City Center in Cranston, with J. Crew, Anthropologie, Lululemon, White House Black Market, J. Jill, Pinkberry and of course, Chipotle for all of your upscale shopping needs. If you can’t find what you need at Ocean State Job Lot, head over here!

Headed to Midstate Camera Repair? I like to call first to be sure they can fit me in. They are located at 389 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI and you can reach them at (401) 467-7390. Cash or check only!

Pencil & Lens

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