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Rhode Island Region Guide


Nicknamed the Ocean State, Rhode Island offers visitors 1,214 square miles of a leisurely getaways, fun and excitement, and 400 miles of scenic coastline. The historic splendor of the state blends perfectly with the many trails and water centered activities. Rhode Island offers much in the way of art and culture complimented only by its multi-cultural, sought after cuisine. Seasonal Events can keep you busy all year long. The events have a way of bringing together most of the 1 million people living there. A state you do not want to miss, and a place you will never forget.

Rhode Island, one of the original thirteen colonies that’s been known since colonial times as a bastion for independent thought – the statue on top of the State Capitol in Providence is even called “The Independent Man – has long been a destination for those who seek a place off the beaten path. The spirit of freedom is alive and well in the Ocean State.

Rhode Island is the smallest of states in the United States. This allows the state to offer many attractions in close proximity to each other, giving you the option to explore the city on foot. The state processes one of the largest collections of historic landmarks. The first settlement, founded in 1636, was Providence, which is the states capital. In the late 1700’s, Rhode Island gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. Manufacturing and industrialization continue to bring the state to national attention.

Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, there’s plenty to do once you get out beyond the confines of Providence. The state’s main airport, T. F. Green International Airport, is centrally located and it’s an easy ride to anywhere else – less than an hour in most cases.

Head south from Providence to the lower reaches of Narragansett Bay to visit the windswept beaches of Little Compton, or go even further south along the bay to the US’s original resort colony, Newport.

Places to See and Visit
Once you arrive in a city, you can travel around the state by ferry, trolley, gondola, bike, or on foot. Gather your things and head over to the many regions in Rhode Island.

Providence - Explore Rhode Island’s own “Little Italy”, this capital city has three-and-a-half centuries of history, The Rhode Island State House, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Blackstone Valley - In the city of Pawtucket, along the Blackstone River, enjoy the Slater Mill Historic Site, and the new Museum of Work and Culture.

Block Island - 11 square-mile seaside resort, reminiscent of Ireland, with 365 freshwater ponds, its Victorian Charm and quiet woods summon you to take a break.

East Bay - Home of the oldest Fourth of July parade in US, you can enjoy a 14-mile biking and walking path, Blithewold Mansion and Gardens-a 33-acre waterfront estate, the Herreshoff Marine Museum, and the Audubon Society Environmental Education Center.

Newport - Enjoy Yacht racing, year round events including “Christmas in Newport”, and The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. Newport offers leisure, and culture.

Warwick - Home of Green Airport where you will likely start your journey, also the retail shopping mecca of Rhode Island, you can take a boat ride on Narragansett Bay, or enjoy the beach at Goddard State Park, and Gaspee Days every June.

South County - Charming villages, whale watching, water-skiing, and canoeing are all popular attractions in South County. You can stay in Colonial and Victorian inns or Bed and Breakfasts; enjoy Smith Castle, Theatre by the Sea, and roadside vendors. The simplicity, relaxed lifestyle, and organic quality of South County make it a unique stress free getaway.

Rhode Island takes pride in their performing arts. There are over twenty theatres ranging from community theatre productions to Tony Award winning Trinity Repertory Company. The National and city parks offer majestic walkways, a city zoo, and plenty of history. For an interesting detour, you can take a tour in any of the five vineyards Rhode Island has to offer. Tours are available by boat, or bus, or enjoy a walking tour through the cities. If you are traveling with little ones, make sure to visit the Zoo, the Children’s Museum, or one of the historical working farms that allow families to get a look at rural 18th and 19th century life, complete with livestock and farm tours.

In Rhode Island, the word recreation is synonymous with beach. With over 400 miles of coastline, this “Ocean State” makes you want to trade in your land legs for fins. Boating, sailing, fishing and a plethora of water sports are enjoyed here. With more than 100 public and private beaches, you can find a place to swim, play, or just plain lay around. There are many hiking and biking trails. In fact, biking is a preferred means of transportation due to the size of the state. Sixty percent of the states land mass is covered by woodlands, offering picturesque camping. For the golf enthusiast Rhode Island has over 30 of the finest golf courses available.

Seasonal Events/Things to do
With a clear expression of all four seasons, Rhode Island welcomes you with something to do all year long. The summer presents seafood festivals, clambakes, and the Smith Castle Strawberry Festival. The fall offers the Annual Taste of Rhode Island, and the Pawtucket Art Festival. An unforgettable event is Waterfire. Taking place in Providence, it displays an award-winning sculpture of 100 dazzling bonfires.

If you head down 95 from Providence, you’ll reach the South County beaches. Facing Long Island Sound, these long, open stretches of sand are the perfect family destination for those long lazy days of sunbathing. All Rhode Island beaches are smoke free, adding to the pleasant atmosphere. Wildlife sanctuaries abound in the area, and names like Misquamicut and Ninigret remind visitors of the original Native American inhabitants of the territory.

A drive into the western RI towns along the Connecticut border will lead you into memories of the old Rhode Island of small farms and rolling, wooded hills. Exeter, Foster, Glocester, and Chepachet offer the tourist a chance to see unchanged Colonial architecture and farmland, with the added bonus of hidden antique shops and Mom and Pop restaurants and diners.

For those with a taste for the slightly macabre, a visit to Exeter can include a stop at the grave of Mercy Brown, sometimes called “the last American vampire.” Brown was 19 when she died of tuberculosis in 1892. A serious of mysterious deaths and illnesses in the family and local community followed, leading to the townsfolk’s’ belief that Mercy was a vampire. Her body was exhumed and she was treated to the traditional fate of the vampire – her heart was removed when the body was seen as being “too well preserved.” While modern science offers alternative explanations for the phenomenon, the legend of Mercy Brown has remained a curiosity. Some have even pointed to her story as having been an influence on the work of Bram Stoker, who included a Mercy-like character in his landmark “Dracula.”

Northern Rhode Island offers the Blackstone River Valley, known as one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution in the US. The streams and rivers that are everywhere in the towns of Burrillville, Smithfield, Pawtucket, and the city of Woonsocket were the source of power for cotton and woolen mills that helped make the US the manufacturing powerhouse it still is today. Pawtucket’s Samuel Slater Mill is a museum that charts the history of the time in an authentic mill built by the man who brought the original plans for cotton mill machinery from England in the 1790s.

Regardless of the time of year, or length of your stay, Rhode Island is sure to provide you with lasting memories, charming friends, and an urge to plan your next visit. The state of Rhode Island may be small, but every corner of the state offers something to the visitor who’s willing to make the time to discover it. It’s a great place to start an exploration of New England.


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