Several years ago in November, my husband and I went up to Rhode Island on my work trip, and we ended up making a mini vacation out of it. The place really captivated my heart, and I was inspired by this New England state. Rhode Island has amazing views, seafood, parks, historic houses from the Gilded Age, and its very own famous art installation coined “WaterFire.”
Providence Rhode Island hosts WaterFire each year generally from May to November, which is understandable since it is an outside installation. Various bonfires are strung about the waterways of the downtown Providence area. This was one of the very first places we visited on our trip, and it was a very emotional experience for me. The night that we went, it was beautiful memorial to soldiers, and the music that played truly provoked our hearts.
Even before I traveled to Rhode Island, in my mind, I associated it with lighthouses. Honestly, this makes sense because the smallest state in the United States has extremely diverse coastlines spanning over four hundred miles. While there are sandy regions, the areas that we visited were very rocky in its landscape. One lighthouse that we were lucky enough to check out was the Castle Hill Lighthouse, which is located in the Narragansett Bay area. I was lucky enough to capture pictures of the lighthouse during sunset, and the colors from the sky played very well against the rocky cliffs and driftwood emerging from the ocean.
Another fun activity if you enjoy walking around and exploring cities is to check out downtown Providence. There are so many neat cafes and little shops, but we were most amazed at a mural we stumbled upon by artist Umberto Crenca. The Providence Bank facade changes images frequently, so if you visit make sure you take photos of the most recent ones. Mine are from November 2017 to give a time perspective on when these particular images were taken.
There is so much colonial history seeping from the streets of Rhode Island. We enjoyed spotting these treasures from the past that are woven into the current times. Providence also has the Oldest Baptist church in the United States, and that is a place to definitely check out as it was founded in 1638 by Rodger Williams. Talk about history!
One of the best parks (in my opinion) to visit in Rhode Island is the Fort Adams State Park. The fort is rich in Naval history, and currently there are a high prevalence of sail boats in the region. You can see that the people of Rhode Island really enjoy the Newport Harbor and the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay. If you have to opportunity to visit during the summertime, there are Jazz and Folk Festivals to really take in the surroundings. Fort Adams is very easy to navigate as a walker and is more of a relaxing hike with a coastal feel.
I think a great point to go from there would be Rhode Island’s delicious seafood! One of the craziest experiences I had in Rhode Island was going to a “Raw Bar.” What is a raw bar anyway? A raw bar is an area to enjoy freshly shucked oysters, clams, and sometimes other seafood items. The key word here is “raw and uncooked.” When we visited a local raw bar, it was directly by the ocean, and the boats actually brought in the seafood. You can not get fresher then that! I was very anxious before this event, but the evening prior, I tried a seafood soup with mussels and that was actually pretty good. I believe if there is a place to try raw seafood for the first time, Rhode Island is the place to go!
Anyway, when we walked into this little restaurant, there was a little area that sectioned off clams and oysters directly on ice. We decided to get a dozen to share, half oysters and half clams. Now, if you have not had this before, I recommend not looking at it for awhile before you eat it. Just trust me on that one! At the table, they gave us lemons and hot sauce to dress the seafood with. I tried both methods and they were equally good. It literally tastes like the ocean and had a fresh flavor. I highly recommend checking out the raw bars in Rhode Island.
You will notice in the Ocean State that as you go into the Northern Atlantic areas on the coast, it is quite easy to find a lot of mussels, clams, and sea life. The area is very clean, and to my surprise, even though it is a northern state, the water is very clear in many areas. Even as you drive the roads in Rhode Island, there is a very strict “No Litter” policy. You can see signs that notify the citizens that you can be fined sometimes for $1,000 for littering. I honestly wish more areas would adopt these policies and focus on the health of our environment and Earth. I do believe there is hope after seeing this in action, and you can see how the seafood there is so delicious!
Another place I highly recommend going to see is The Breakers, which is a historic Vanderbilt Mansion from the Gilded Age. They have audio tours that guide you room to room and give a historical perspective of those times and you get to feel the perspective of their daily lives. Rhode Island has a multitude of Gilded Age mansions and if you have the time, they are worth the stop. On our trip we went to The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, and Rosecliff. The opulent style at the time almost visually overwhelmed me, and they truly are the castles of America. You can see the historical relevance of industry as well, and how the times changed from previous generations of American settlers.
Rhode Island is such a magnificent place, and I highly recommend it to any traveler. It’s history, architecture, coastal areas, parks, restaurants, and even the delightful pine trees everywhere make this place a must visit region. I have listed some resources for you to check out as well for more travel information! Also, remember to click that subscribe button!