Rhode Island at a glance
"The best place to live and work in the northeastern United States." "One of the twelve best vacation places in America."
These are the accolades assigned to the State of Rhode Island by editors of Money magazine at the dawn of the new millennium.
A visit to the coastal region called South County is a nostalgic trip back to the days before annual pilgrimages to mega theme parks became a way of life. Vacationers delight in the simplicity found here – miles of shoreline dotted with winsome beachfront cottages and inns, and roadside vendors selling the freshest seafood, produce, and fresh-baked breads and pies. Here, beach-goers while away the summer days by building sandcastles, riding the waves on boogie boards, surf-casting and digging for clams. Twelve miles off shore, the hiking trails, ocean beaches and dramatic bluffs of Block Island beckon. Reached only by boat or airplane, this teardrop shaped island offers Victorian charm and gently rolling hills that are reminiscent of Ireland.
Via two bridges, traverse the brilliant blue of Narragansett Bay to arrive in legendary Newport, whose stunning coastline, glittering harbor and charming Colonial seaport have lured the world’s wealthiest people for more than 150 years. This is the home of fabled Gilded Age mansions, world-class yachting, renowned music and film festivals, fine dining, spirited nightlife and shopping galore. Newport is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, where the greatest players in the history of the sport are enshrined.
One hundred years of America’s Cup yacht racing has left Newport with a legacy as the Sailing Capital of America. Sailing lessons for all ages and abilities, sailing charters and sightseeing excursions are abundant here. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Newport Harbor is packed with so many boats of all shapes and sizes, that it seems like they could be used as stepping stones to cross from one side to the other!
North and east of Newport, the laid-back charm of the East Bay is evidenced in a plethora of antiques markets, historic inns, secluded marinas, main streets and village squares that are as authentic as the patriotic spirit that surrounds America’s oldest Fourth of July parade, held here in the Town of Bristol since 1785.
The Blackstone Valley, to the northwest, is a land of rivers and woodlands that is rich in historic significance. America’s Industrial Revolution was born here in the 18th century; today, some of the old mills have been preserved as museums dedicated to the history of labor and immigration. In central Rhode Island, the recently expanded T.F. Green Airport makes air travel to Rhode Island easy and affordable. Amtrak service, already available in Providence, will soon be linked to T.F. Green, providing seamless intermodal transportation through Rhode Island and into the rest of New England.