| Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States of America. Although tucked between Massachusetts and Connecticut in New England, it has over 400 miles of coastline, courtesy of Narragansett Bay and islands such as Aquidneck Island, home to the "City by the Sea", Newport. |
The state of Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original American colonies to declare independence from British rule, signaling the start of the American Revolution. Rhode Island was also the last of the original thirteen states to ratify the United States Constitution.
Despite its name, most of Rhode Island rests on the mainland. Providence plantations refers to the mainland, while Rhode Island was the 17th and 18th century name for Aquidneck Island, now an amalgamation of the city of Newport, and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth.
Traditionally, Rhode Island is known as "Little Rhody". But the state's official nickname is "the Ocean State," as nearly one tenth of Rhode Island's inland area is covered by salt water and no resident is more than a thirty-minute drive from the water's edge.
The state's full name is "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations". Despite east coast urban sprawl, there is still both gently-developed oceanside territory and farmland here. The name is probably derived from the name Roode Eylandt given to it by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, because of its red clay.
Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD), Warwick. T.F. Green is serviced by many major US airlines, either non-stop or from a spoke. Service to Green Airport from Canada goes through Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) is much larger and is generally used for most international flights.
Amtrak has three stations in Rhode Island: Providence (downtown), Kingston (located in the town of South Kingstown and close to the beaches of Narragansett, and Westerly, the westernmost town in Rhode Island, at the Connecticut border. Providence is also on Amtrak's Acela and Regional routes continuing to the south and west to Washington and Virginia.
The Acela train takes just under three hours to arrive at New York's Penn Station on the way to points further south.
From Boston, the MBTA, ( 617) 222-5000 goes to Providence via the T's Attleboro/Stoughton commuter rail line from South Station to the Providence AMTRAK station at 100 Gaspee St. However, it does not run on weekends. Only Amtrak travels to Providence on weekends.
R.I.P.T.A., (401) 781-9400. Services across all of Rhode Island with a central hub in Providence at Kennedy Plaza. Bonanza Bus Lines and Greyhound Bus also service Rhode Island.
Rental cars are available in central Providence, at T.F. Green Airport, and other locations around the state.
Amtrak runs through the state, with stops in Providence, West Kingston, a village of South Kingstown (a few miles from the University of Rhode Island), and Westerly.
Bus travel within the state is coordinated by the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (R.I.P.T.A.). $1.50 will get you from one end of the state to the other. Transfers are $.10. Buses run from Providence to Newport, Kingston village in South Kingstown, and other points.
R.I.P.T.A. also runs a ferry to Newport from mid-May to mid-October. A separate company, Block Island Ferry, runs ferries to the Block Island.
Vineyard Fast Ferry, Phone: +1 401-295-4040. Runs between North Kingstown (Quonset Point), and Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard island.
You may want to walk around Providence with no on-street overnight parking in the city (although this is changing for some neighborhoods under a pilot program). Federal Hill, Downcity, and most of the East Side are easy to walk while a number of bus routes serve the area.
• International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport Casino, Newport Features the only professional tennis events played on grass in North America and the largest collection of tennis memorabilia in the world.
• Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence. The zoo features a park, a dinosaur exhibit, and blends history and culture with the animals.
• WaterFire, Providence. A piece of environmental art, it consists of almost 100 bonfires which float on the rivers through the city accompanied by ambient music.
• Bristol 4th of July Parade, Bristol The oldest Independence Day celebration in the country, the parade attracts marching bands from all across the nation.
• Museum of Work & Culture, Woonsocket. Exhibits recreate the unique Woonsocket labor story of the rise of the Independent Textile Union which grew to dominate every aspect of city life.
• Sweet Twist, East Greenwich. The chocolate emporium features handmade chocolates, fine confections, and unique gifts fill this beautiful 3,000 sq ft building.
• Autumnfest. Held every Columbus Day Weekend (October) in Woonsocket, this 5-mapleleaf festival in one of New England's "Little Canadas" attracts a varied crowd of locals and out-of-towners.
• Blackstone River Bikeway, Cumberland. The 17.1 mile long scenic bike-path runs along the Blackstone River. Scheduled to link to the East Bay Bikepath.
Arts & Entertainment
• Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre. Renowned for its acoustics, intimacy, and artwork, the Stadium Theatre has been a center for performing arts since 1926.
• Newport Jazz Festival, Newport. The annual festival attracts some of the biggest names in jazz. Highly recommended for any music lover.
• Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium, Pawtucket. McCoy Stadium is a popular summer site for families looking for an inexpensive night of fun.
• Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence. A world-class facility hosting first-class Broadway touring shows, plays, contemporary acts, concerts, and much more.
• Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket. A museum complex displaying interpretation of the American industrial heritage.
• Blackstone River Theater, Cumberland. Continuing Blackstone River Valley folk traditions.
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State House, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.
• Bristol County
• Kent County
• Newport County
• Providence County
• South County
Where to start
"The Towers" in Narragansett, is a large stone arch that scenic route 1A (Ocean rd.) travels through. It was once the entrance to the famous Narragansett casino that burned down in 1900. The towers now serve as a tourist information center and also a banquet hall for events like weddings and birthday parties.
Providence is relatively safe, but be careful while walking around the capital city at night. Areas in which to exercise caution, unless you know where you are going, are Camp Street on the East Side, South Providence, and the Olneyville section of Providence.
Rhode Island is an example of a warm, summer humid continental climate with hot, rainy summers and cold, snowy winters. Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 82 °F (28 °C) to a low of 20 °F (-7 °C).
• Although the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island ranks 43rd in population (1 million).
• The resort town of Watch Hill is home to the country's oldest carousel.
• Built in 1673, the White Horse Tavern is the oldest tavern in the US.
• The Touro Synagogue houses the oldest torah in North America.
• The nation's oldest schoolhouse (1716) calls Portsmouth home.
• Newport was home to the country's first circus in 1774.
• Rhode Island is home to the famous roadside attraction Nibbles Woodaway, the Big Blue Bug, the world's largest termite.
Perhaps the most peculiar culinary tradition in Rhode Island is the "clam cake." The clam cake is a deep fried ball of buttery dough with chopped bits of clam inside. They are sold in most seafood restaurants around the state, and usually come by the half-dozen or dozen. The quintessential summer meal in Rhode Island is "clam chowder and cakes."