An Introduction to the Ocean State
Rhode Island is blessed with 400 miles of coastline including 100 miles of sandy beaches. Combine that with its premium location — just 60 miles from Boston and 180 miles from New York City — and it is easy to see why some of the biggest names in America flocked to Rhode Island at the turn of the century, turning it into their summer playground.
Today, Rhode Island offers an astounding variety of vacation possibilities. Newport's marvelous mansions are a must-see, as is the natural beauty of Block Island, called “one of the twelve last great places in the Western Hemisphere” by the Nature Conservancy. Capital city Providence has undergone extensive urban renewal, and the River Walk and Water Place Park are permanent monuments to the city's rejuvenation. Travelers and locals alike flock to see the spectacular WaterFire displays on the Providence riverfront; a musical score accompanies the crackling bonfires that float along the river, casting a warm, shimmering glow on the vibrant city center.
The Blackstone Valley in the northern part of the state was the birthplace of America's Industrial Revolution — Samuel Slater opened his famous cotton mill there in 1793. And, of course, you can't leave for home until you've played on the beaches of South County. Ocean lovers have been lured to these shores for more than a century.
Rhode Islanders have stamped their state's name on their own variety of clam chowder. Unlike traditional, creamy, milk-based New England clam chowder or tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder, Rhode Island clam chowder features quahogs, celery, onions, and potatoes in a clear broth.
The good news is, these days, you don't need a name like Vanderbilt or Astor to immerse yourself in the pleasures of this seaside paradise. From mansions to boating excursions to beaches to outdoor concerts to seafood dinners, Rhode Island offers a little something for everyone.