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Interview with with Christopher Martin of Quahog.orgTell a Friend

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Who was the brainchild for

It was my idea to take a road trip around the state, visiting all the
sites of interest in a single weekend. I did all the research for it,
and because I never know when to stop, the trip ended up taking four
weekends. My friend Dan Hillman should be credited with suggesting that
all the information I'd gathered, and all the photos we took on the
trip, should form the basis for a website. Dan is responsible for the
architecture and all technical aspects of the site. I'm the content guy.

What did you envision for the site when you first started it?

The website originally was going to be a Rhode Island version of
Roadside America crossed with Jane and
Michael Stern's RoadFood books. Very early on, however, I developed an
interest in local history and that became a further focus of the site.

Have you gotten many positive testimonials for What's the
general perception of the site, do Rhode Islanders enjoy the uniqueness
of the site?

I'm still surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response that the
site has received. Common wisdom would say that people are more likely
to bother to write when they have something to complain about, but
truly, in the ten years we've been online, I think we may have received
only three or four emails that could be considered negative. Most of
what we get is people 1) praising Quahog as a great resource, 2)
offering clarification or correction on something we've posted (which we
appreciate), 3) suggesting topics we should cover or offering memories
of specific Rhode Island institutions (eg: Rocky Point), 4) asking how
to mail order hot wieners/stuffies/pizza strips, etc., or 5) asking for
help with local historical or genealogical questions. On the last I
always try to help when I can, and I think that contributes to the
positive impression people have of the site.

And of course, we were named Best Rhode Island Website two years in a
row (2007 and 2008), first by the editors of Rhode Island Monthly, then
in the magazine's Readers' Poll.

What would you rather have, a Awful Awful® or Cabinet? (you can't say both)

Okay, then, I'll say an Awful Awful®. The reason is because a Cabinet is
different from any other drink made with ice cream, syrup, and milk only
in name. An Awful Awful® is made with a proprietary preparation of ice
milk. The drawback is you can only get an Awful Awful® in a limited
number of flavors, while your choice of Cabinet flavor is limited only
by your imagination. But you said I could only pick one, so there you go. is of course Rhode Island focused but do you get a lot of non
RI visitors that find the site as interesting as a Rhode Islander?

Most people I hear from are ex-pats who miss their home state. Sometimes
I get emails from kids in other states who are doing school projects on
Rhode Island, but for the most part I don't hear much from non-Rhode
Islanders. Or else they don't find it necessary to identify themselves
as such. (An ex-pat will almost always tell you where they grew up and
how long it's been since they've been back).

But I do know at least one couple who claim that their decision to move
to Rhode Island was heavily influenced by what they learned about the
state from

I personally enjoy the bio section of If you had to decide
which bio is the most interesting on, which one would it be?
If you could, would you could go back in time and be that person for
one day?

Tristam Burges seems like a pretty interesting guy, but I'm more
fascinated by a guy named Robert Voorhees who lived the last several
years of his life in a makeshift hut on Burges's property. People only
knew him as Robert the Hermit, and it wasn't until shortly before he
died that anyone learned his whole life story. He'd been a slave down
south, escaped, was captured, escaped again, and spent many years as a
sailor before arriving in Providence. Along the way he married twice and
lost two families.

Do I want to be Tristam Burges or Robert the Hermit for one day? No way.
I've always thought it would be interesting to travel back in time to
meet some of these people, though. has been online for over ten years. Where do you see in the next ten years?

Geez, I hope we're still online. So far the site has led me to some
interesting opportunities and collaborations, and I've met a whole lot
of nice people. I look forward to more of that. My buddy Dan has been
working on a technical revamp of the site, and I hope that will allow us
to add a lot of new functionality. Wildest dreams? I'd like Quahog to be
the go-to place for anyone interested in Rhode Island's history,
culture, or quirks.

Christopher Martin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The definitive Rhode Island road trip
Rhode Island Monthly's Best Rhode Island Website 2007-2008

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