Because of Rhode Island's compact size, biking is a natural for the Ocean State. Bike paths and trails stretch through miles of scenic landscape with panoramic views of historic harbors, to Narragansett Bay, along the historic Blackstone River and abundant protected nature preserves of Block Island. Beyond Rhode Island's natural pathways the State's Department of Transportation has led the charge in converting former rail lines into popular recreational trails in collaboration with the East Coast Greenways program. Extensive paved pathways traverse North to South, east to west and offer a two-wheel adventure just a peddle away.
The Rhode Island waters lay claim to the final resting place of more than two thousand shipwrecks, more per square mile than any other state in the US. Wrecks include colonial trading ships, ships of war, a German submarine, and a luxury passenger vessel from the nineteenth-century. It is widely theorized that the world renowned Captain Cook's ship the HMS Endeavour, was sunk off the waters of Newport, RI during the Revolutionary War. This vessel holds special interest to English & Australian underwater archaeologists, being compared in significance to that of the Mayflower.
The first polo matches in the United States were held in Newport in 1877. Today, the tradition is alive and well as horses thunder, mallets collide and turf flies at Glen Farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island . Throughout the summer months, Olympic-level matches are scheduled on Saturday afternoons between Team USA and competitors from around the world.
Newport Rhode Island's all-season resort, is the setting for the acclaimed "Christmas in Newport" celebration held annually throughout the month of December. Three centuries of Colonial, Federal and Victorian homes and Gilded Age mansions are the setting for many of the celebrations, which include concerts, candlelight tours, holiday decorating contests and visits from St. Nicholas. Other major events such as the Holly Ball, Turtle Frolic and Festival of Trees reflect the holiday nostalgia of Christmases past. Twinkling lights lining sailboat masts, gleaming luminaria and the crystallized candlelit windows beckon visitors to the month-long city-wide celebration.
Experience a unique adventure as a guest and keeper of Rose Island Lighthouse - a living history museum. Overnight visitors enter a bygone way of life by participating in lighthouse keeping, and sleeping in the same rooms occupied by keeper families for over a hundred years. Like keepers of old, today's overnight visitors play a necessary hands-on role in daily monitoring and the minding simple chores that keep the station functioning. Guests relive a lifestyle offering primitive charm in place of modern conveniences, but is rich in romance, history and adventure. The lighthouse, situated between Jamestown and the Newport Harbor area offers spectacular views of maritime activity along Narragansett Bay.
Providence, Rhode Island is now home to Juliett 484, a former nuclear cruise missile submarine that roamed the seas for 30 years as one of America's deadliest enemies. More recently, the submarine was the star of Paramount's, Cold War thriller, K-19: The Widowmaker, also starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson. The sub, the only one of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere, is restored and currently open to the public as an educational center and popular attraction.
The rocks off the shores of Narragansett Bay serve as the winter habitat and lounging area of bay seals. The bay tour offers an adventurous unobtrusive way to view the seals in their natural habitat. Nature connoisseurs can take a harbor cruise to Rose Island lighthouse, or from Wickford Harbor aboard the Dutch sailing vessel, Brandaris. For those who prefer to stay on land, a winter hike to Rome Point just outside of Wickford offers the perfect viewing ground. Bundle up, bring your binoculars and a thermos of hot chocolate for an afternoon of fun and frolic with the seals!
Providence has become the center of an emerging arts and entertainment community in New England. Established venues such as the award-winning Trinity Repertory Company, Providence Performing Arts Center and Veterans Memorial Auditorium are historic landmarks which now provide venues for Broadway musicals, seasonal ballets, opera, plays, concerts, and children's performances. The capital city is also known for its "up-and-coming" theatre such as Perishable Theatre, AS 220 and the Black Repertory Company, as well as notable collegiate offerings such as Brown's Leeds Theatre, featuring contemporary play debuts and alternative performance art. Providence is a haven for young artists, many of whom are alumni of the renowned Rhode Island School of Design, who have established galleries, art and specialty shops and theaters. Local arts attractions have collaborated to create a monthly "Gallery Night." A free art trolley loops throughout the city stopping at participating venues enabling visitors to experience first-hand Providence's emerging arts and cultural community.
The original "diner" concept was born 125 years ago in Providence, Rhode Island when Walter Scott created a lunch cart to feed night workers. Today, some 2,500 old-style diners are still operating in America, Spain, Germany, England and Russia . Rhode Island offers a rare glimpse at early Americana with 22 classic diners located throughout the state. These popular, one-of-a-kind eateries can include everything from authentic Jonnycakes at Jigger's Diner in East Greenwich, to a fresh turkey dinner at Newport's 4 th Street Diner, to a 'gut buster' Hot Dog at Haven Brothers - downtown Providence's mobile city landmark.
Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, was the first to view Rhode Island as the perfect getaway. However, his motivation was one fueled by the search for religious freedom, and his journey inevitably led to the formation of one of the earliest of the original thirteen American Colonies. Today, carved in marble on the south portico of the Rhode Island State House, facing the City of Providence and Narragansett Bay, is a quotation from the Royal Charter of 1663, which Roger Williams obtained from the English King, Charles II, on July 8, 1663. "To hold forth a lively experiment that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with full liberty in religious concernments." These words refer to the principle of religious liberty and tolerance upon which Roger Williams founded the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It the principle for which he is probably best known and made notorious for in his banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Rhode Island continues to perpetuate religious freedoms and the state is home to more than 300 religious organizations. Learn for yourself why today, Rhode Island's aptly named lively experiment has continued to flourish.
Newport, Rhode Island is known as the "Sailing Capital of the World" and a venue that has long been considered a yachting paradise. From 1930 to 1983, the America's Cup Races were held in the waters off Newport, which explains why its main thoroughfare is named America's Cup Avenue. During the summer, the harbor is filled picturesque sailboats, pleasure craft and mega yachts from all over the world. The international sailing community is familiar with the waters of Newport and Narragansett Bay and return year after year to compete in premier racing.
Visitors to Rhode Island may be curiously surprised at the wide variety of things to see and do in the Ocean State :
- Enjoy Providence-Venetian-style with a romantic gondola ride along the city's riverfront.
- Charter a floating B & B, an authentic English canal boat the only boat of its kind, 'this side of the pond.'
- Kayak South County's Narrow River under the light of a full moon.
- Sip strawberry tea as a guest of The Astors' Beechwood Mansion in Newport.
- Play tennis on the historic grass courts at Newport's International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- Sail Narragansett Bay aboard a former America's Cup defender yacht, "Courageous" Dennis Connors boat and the official Rhode Island State yacht.
- Sample Rhode Island's Official State drink, coffee syrup that locals like to put in their milk.
Photos and wording courtesy of Rhode Island Tourism Division