Newcomers to Rhode Island will find a pleasing diversity of communities as well as choices in lifestyle, from downtown Providence to suburban neighborhoods or picturesque waterfront villages. Historic districts abound, preserving architecture from quaint to magnificent dating back hundreds of years. The “island” of Newport County is a showcase of fabled mansions, the stunning, elaborate “summer cottages” of America’s Gilded Age. Benefit Street’s Mile of History in Providence boasts the most impressive concentration of original colonial homes in America, a place where beautifully restored houses, churches and museums overlook the city’s historic and scenic waterfront.
Lush parks, theme parks, science museums, historic sites, and quiet harbors dotted with picturesque sails are just a sampling of the attractions. Miles of bike trails traverse heavily wooded and forested regions or panoramic waterfront scenes. Outdoor concerts and plays combine with local and international festivals and celebrations for a calendar of special events that covers every season. Aficionados of the arts will discover wonderful theatre, Broadway productions, and world-class exhibitions in elegant venues.
From professional and collegiate sports to sailboat racing, tennis matches, golf tournaments, and sports leagues, Rhode Island welcomes spectators and participants to their choice of lively competitive action. Yawgoo Valley offers a downhill ski resort in the winter months, complemented by natural ponds for ice-skating and a chain of parks for cross-country skiing and winter sports. More than 100 saltwater and freshwater beaches in resort communities like Newport, Narragansett, Watch Hill, and Block Island provide opportunities for outdoor adventure. Public and private facilities are available to support such popular outdoor activities as swimming, scuba diving, surfing, water skiing, boating, horseback riding, camping, and picnicking. The Victorian “treasure island” of Block Island remains virtually unspoiled by progress, located just 10 miles south of Rhode Island’s southern coast. Accessible by ferry or airplane, this scenic retreat is a cornucopia of delicious seafood and a haven of quaint architecture. Pick-your-own farms as well as farmer’s markets are available across the Ocean State, offering delicious produce and healthy plants in yesterday’s style of commerce. Of the attractions that are unique to Rhode Island, WaterFire Providence is the most spectacular. Nearly 100 bonfires light up the waters of Providence River in a truly enchanting outdoor event. Cobbled riverbank walkways lead to WaterPlace Park while fires dance on the water to the strains of world music and aroma of cedar. Canoes and kayaks quietly cutting through the water and Venetian-style footbridges add charm to an already romantic scene. From bustling urban centers to serene forests and harbors, America’s smallest state offers an endless variety of pleasures and delights.