Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the nation, but don’t let its size fool you. Lil’ Rhody is filled with a culture and history that dates back to its time as one of the original 13 colonies. Here are some things you don’t want to miss on your bucket list when you find yourself in the Ocean State.
10. The Breakers
(image via Wikipedia)
The Breakers, built in 1893 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, epitomizes Newport’s Gilded Age opulence. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, this 70-room palazzo, reminiscent of Italian palaces, was a summer haven for the Vanderbilt family. Acquired by The Preservation Society of Newport County in 1972, it’s a National Historic Landmark, visited by many and featured in HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”
9. Eat a Saugy Hot Dog
What may appear as a normal hot dog is given a brand new flavor and texture when placed in a sheep casing. This Rhode Island specialty is named for Augustus Saugy, the son of a 19th-century sausage maker. The best place to grab a saugy dog is at the Seaplane Diner in Providence.
8. Newport Vineyards
(Image via Facebook)
Sitting on over 60 acres, Newport Vineyards is the largest grower of wine grapes in New England. Located just five miles from downtown Newport, this is an ideal getaway for any wine lover. After you have done the tour and tasting, be sure to go down the road to The Food Shack.
7. Newport Folk Festival
(image via Getty Images)
Since it began in 1959, the Newport Folk Festival has been a breeding ground for budding artists. In 1965, Bob Dylan was famously booed off the stage when he traded in his jangly acoustic set for a few electric numbers. Be sure to get your tickets well in advance, as the festival sells out quickly.
6. Block Island
Off the Southern coast of Rhode Island lies Block Island, one of the Nature Conservancy’s twelve “Last Great Places.” Visitors can take a ferry ride from Newport to get to the island. The area’s long history has led to several attractions, such as the Southeast Lighthouse and U-853, the remains of a sunken U-boat that has become a popular diving site.
5. Ocean Drive
(image via Flickr)
From this stretch of Newport highway, visitors are able to see breathtaking views of the Atlantic shoreline, but that is not all the area has to offer. While driving down Bellevue Avenue, you will see dozens of extraordinary mansions. America’s wealthiest families, such as the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, built these massive houses as summer getaways.
(image via Flickr)
During the warmer months, Providence hosts WaterFire, a festival with crafts and vendors surrounding downtown. Situated on the Providence River, flaming statues appear in the water and fire dancers perform on boats. It truly is an incredible way to spend a Saturday night, and it helps to promote the local art scene.
3. International Tennis Hall of Fame
Located in the Newport Casino, the International Tennis Hall of Fame celebrates the greatest achievements in the sport’s history. It was originally established in 1880 as a resort for the wealthy residents of Newport. Aside from the awards hall and the museum, there are also actual tennis courts on the estate.
2. Pippin Orchard
(image via Facebook)
Apple picking is a popular Rhode Island pastime every autumn, and everyone knows Pippin Orchard is the prime place. The orchard contains sixteen varieties of apples, including Macoun, Honeycrisp, and Rhode Island Greening. Also, Pippin Orchard has a massive celebration for Columbus Day every October.
1. Downtown Providence Historic District
Now referred to as Downcity by the locals, the Downtown Providence Historic District traces its roots back to 1746. It quickly became an industrial and economic hub in New England. Today, the area is filled with wonderful shops and restaurants, surrounded by a beautiful blend of preserved architectural styles.