Rhode Island’s Rich Culture and History
The beautiful state of Rhode Island is a nature lover’s dream, with its breathtaking natural wonders, scenic Atlantic Ocean beaches and infinite ways to enjoy them. Yet beyond the beach, a fascinating cultural and historic adventure awaits, filled with amazing architecture, one-of-a-kind events and a rich heritage that will astound you.
Slater Mill Historic Site
Although Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., it actually contains 20 percent of the nation’s historic sites. I begin my vacation at one of the most well-known sites in the picturesque small city of Pawtucket, known for its classic architecture and artistic community. Here, I check out Slater Mill, the first successful factory in the U.S., recognized as the “birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.” With three impressive buildings, guided tours and an outdoor park to explore, this National Historic Landmark and museum is definitely worth checking out.
Providence, Rhode Island’s Capital City
Nearby, Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence has an energy all its own, with cool restaurants and bars, unique shops and galleries, and a ton of fun things to do. Walking through historic Federal Hill, “the heartbeat of Providence,” I take in the cobblestone walkways, colourful architecture and delicious cuisine – much of which dates back to the Italian immigrants who were among the first to settle here.
Downtown Providence is equally enticing, with an eclectic mix of old and new – classic storefronts hosting modern restaurants and shops. Tonight, Providence is a flurry of activity, as tourists and residents alike prepare for the excitement of WaterFire. This award-winning installation features more than 80 bonfires lining the three rivers in downtown Providence, and it does not disappoint. A definite highlight of my trip, this powerful and moving work of art is a must-see.
Opulent Newport Mansions
A trip to Rhode Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beautiful city of Newport. Here, in the “sailing capital of the world,” you can experience more than 300 years of Rhode Island’s incredible architecture at the Newport mansions. With nearly a dozen extravagant estates to explore, it’s difficult to know where to start. For the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages,” I visit The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo built by the affluent Vanderbilt family. This colossal estate is sure to take your breath away.
Farm-Fresh Seafood and Produce
To enjoy some of Rhode Island’s legendary seafood, I head to Matunuck Oyster Farm in South Kingstown for “pond-to-plate” dining. Amazingly, the restaurant’s oysters are grown in Potter Pond, directly off their waterfront patio, and many of the herbs and vegetables they use are picked from their own farm. With incredible local food and a serene outdoor setting, it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing and sunny afternoon.
Pristine Block Island
Hopping on the ferry in Point Judith, I travel a half hour to reach Block Island, a beautiful and quiet island retreat. Upon arrival, I’m greeted by the delightful oceanfront boutiques and restaurants of Old Harbor. Devoid of chain hotels or stores, this island offers unique accommodations, including classic Victorian hotels, quirky B&Bs and charming inns.
While Rhode Island may be nicknamed “The Ocean State,” its beauty goes far beyond its sparkling blue waters and sun-drenched beaches. With its rich history, extraordinary architecture and world-class attractions, Rhode Island is a dream vacation destination.
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Rhode Island Tourism Division
When you goHistoric & Cultural Attractions
Rhode Island Tourism Division