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Rhode Island

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Rhode Island
Rhode Island in United States (zoom) (extra close) (US48)-rotate.png
Flag of Rhode Island.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Providence
Government U.S. State
Currency US dollar (USD)
Area 3, 140 km2
Population 1,050,292 (July 2012 est.)
Language English(No official language)
Religion Roman Catholic 43%, Protestant 27%, Non-Religious 23%, Other 5.5%
Electricity 120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Time Zone UTC -5/-4

Rhode Island officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations [10] is the smallest state in the United States of America, tucked between Massachusetts and Connecticut in New England. Nonetheless, it has over 400 miles of coastline, courtesy of Narragansett Bay and islands such as Aquidneck Island, home to Newport, the "City by the Sea".


There are five counties in Rhode Island:

Map of Rhode Island Regions.png
Bristol County
Kent County
Newport County
Providence County
South County (Washington County)
Rhode Islands summer region, full of small communities on and near the beach


  • Providence - The state capital, largest city, and main commercial center. Unless you plan to spend the entire week at the beach, find some time to get to Providence.
  • Central Falls - Spanning merely one square mile, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
  • East Greenwich - Founded in 1677, its historic district along Main Street features charming shops, excellent restaurants, and a community theater.
  • Narragansett - Best beaches in New England.
  • Newport - Located on Aquidneck Island. Once the darling city of the American elite, it is famous for yachting, mansions, and jazz.
  • Pawtucket - Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution
  • South Kingstown, including the villages of Kingston, West Kingston, Matunuck, Peacedale, and Wakefield.
  • Warwick - home of TF Green Airport, two malls, and "Gaspee Days," it is an easy (and less expensive) place to land from your flight, and rent a hotel room and car.
  • Woonsocket - Once known as "Little Quebec", it has the largest French-speaking population in Rhode Island. Today, French is rarely heard, replaced by English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Block Island - Island off the southern coast of RI. This island packs great scenery and great beaches into a small, walkable, and bikeable area.
  • Smithfield - located in north-central Rhode Island, this town is home to 21,000 people along with major businesses and a great residential community.
  • University of Rhode Island - One of the most popular colleges in Rhode Island. With several campuses located all over Rhode Island, URI is the home of the Rhody Rams!


The state's full name, as established by the Royal Charter granted by King Charles II in 1663, is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." Despite east coast urban sprawl, there is still both gently-developed oceanside territory and farmland here. The origin of the name (pronounced "road island") is debatable. It is either derived from the name Roode Eylandt given to it by Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, because of its red clay, or because Block Island reminded the Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano of the Greek Island of Rhodes, and subsequent explorers became confused and renamed Aquidneck Island 'Rhode Island.' The state's population is just over a million, so even though it is the smallest state in the U.S., it is ranked 43rd in population.

In Rhode Island, the residents experience all four seasons. Winter weather usually sets in around December. Winters here can be mild to severe. Spring weather starts in late March/April. Summers in Rhode Island is absolutely breathtaking, it rarely ever gets too hot here. Fall is a wonderful time of year in Rhode Island the trees change a beautiful shade of orange and it's just the perfect temperature outside.


Rhode Islanders talk with a distinctly eastern-New-England accent, similar to Boston's famous broad a and dropped r. Natives also have a habit of adding r to the end of a word. For example, some people may say idear instead of idea. Some words you might hear while visiting: "bubbler" (water fountain), "grinder" (submarine sandwich), and "cabinet" (milkshake).

Rhode Islanders will affectionately complain that if they have to drive anywhere and it takes longer than a half-hour, then it is too far.

Natives also have names for certain landmarks, sometimes with a historical aspect with it. For instance, the Henderson Bridge, which is a mini-freeway/bridge in the Providence area, is affectionately known as the "little red bridge" because before the present bridge was built, a red wooden bridge stood there. Central Falls and East Providence will be known, especially in newspapers, as CF and EP respectively. Barrington will sometimes be called Borington because there are no liquor stores there (it is prohibited by a town ordinance).

Rhode Island's local pastime is politics, which can get very emotional here. With an "everybody knows everybody" states of mind, you've got Rhode Island politics in a nutshell.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD), Warwick. T.F. Green is serviced by many major US airlines, either non-stop or from a spoke. From Canada, Green offers service to Toronto Airport.
  • Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS) is much larger and is generally used for international flights.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak (From the south), +1 800-USA-RAIL, [11] has three Rhode Island train stations - Providence (PVD) (downtown), Kingston (KIN) (located in the town of South Kingstown, close to the University of Rhode Island and the beaches of Narragansett), and Westerly (WLY), (the westernmost town in Rhode Island, along the Connecticut border). Providence is also on Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Regional routes connecting Boston through the south and west to Washington and Virginia. The Acela train takes just under 3 hours to arrive at New York's Penn Station on the way to points further south. From Boston, it is more economical to take the MBTA commuter rail.
  • MBTA (From Boston), +1 617-222-5000, [12] travels from Boston’s South Station via the T's Attleboro/Stoughton commuter rail line to the Providence AMTRAK station (100 Gaspee St.). Trains run 7 days/week. Construction has begun on the new Warwick Intermodal Facility (opening late 2010) that will provide commuter rail/train service from T. F. Green Airport through Providence and up to Boston.

By bus[edit]

  • Bonanza Bus Lines, [13].
  • Greyhound Bus, [14].
  • Megabus, [15].

By ferry[edit]

  • Block Island Ferry "+1 401 783-7996

Get around[edit]

By train[edit]

Amtrak [16] runs trains through the state, stopping in Providence, West Kingston (a village of South Kingstown a few miles from the University of Rhode Island), and Westerly.

By bus[edit]

Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA), Phone: +1 401-781-9400, [17]. Services 38 of RI's 39 cities and towns with a central hub in Providence at Kennedy Plaza. RIPTA operates public transit 7 days a week with a program called RIde specifically for senior citizens and the disabled. They provide 27 sites for Park n’ Ride service throughout the state and special seasonal routes to the southern beaches for $2. On Air Quality Alert Days, they offer free services to everywhere except the beach.

By car[edit]

It should be noted that local custom often overrules traditional driving right-of-way laws at intersections. Drive defensively, and be aware of the locals' casual disregard for turn signals, stop signs, and red lights.

Locals may stop and give you the right-of-way for seemingly no reason, i.e stopping on the main road to let you turn left even if there was no traffic.

Rhode Island interstates also have a myriad of on and off-ramp situations and out-of-state drivers should pay extra attention, especially at the frequent simultaneous enter/exit ramps.

Locals are known to regularly drive 10-15 mph over the speed limit.

Rental cars are available Downcity in Providence, at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, and other places around the state.

By ferry[edit]

RIPTA also runs a seasonal ferry from Providence to Newport (mid-May to mid-October), while a separate company, Block Island Ferry [18], runs ferries to Block Island.

By foot[edit]

If you're in Providence, you may want to forgo a car and walk. There is no on-street overnight parking in the city (although this is changing for some neighborhoods under a pilot program). Federal Hill, Downcity, and most of the East Side are quite walkable, and several bus routes serve the area. Use common sense when walking alone or at night, as you should in any city.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Beavertail Lighthouse Museum, Jamestown. This museum at the southern tip of Jamestown features a collection of information and artifacts about the third-oldest lighthouse in North America. The lighthouse has panoramic views of Narragansett Bay.
  • Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree Lighting in Newport.
  • Bright Night Providence - Dec. 31. Providence. Features hundreds of the best local sings, actors, dancers, acrobats, musicians, magicians, and clowns.
  • Bristol 4th of July Parade, Bristol The oldest Independence Day celebration in the country, the parade attracts marching bands from all across the nation.
  • Conanicut Battery, Jamestown. Located off of Battery Lane in the southern section of the island, the earthen fort was built in 1776. During their four-year occupation of Newport, the British rebuilt the earthworks in the shape seen today.
  • Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown. Situated on 100-foot high granite cliffs this former coastal defense battery and training camp is known for its spectacular view of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. Family and group picnicking, boating, fishing, and hiking.
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino in Newport. Features the only professional tennis events played on grass in North America and the largest collection of tennis memorabilia in the world.
  • Jamestown Museum, Jamestown. The Jamestown Historical Society's Museum on Narragansett Avenue was originally built in 1886 as the town's one-room schoolhouse. Open seasonally with changing displays.
  • Jamestown Penguin Plunge - Jan. 1. Jamestown. Hundreds of tuxedo-clad swimmers take the frozen plunge into the water to raise money for charity.
  • Jamestown Windmill, Jamestown. Located on North Road with views of the Newport Pell Bridge, the original 1787 framework of the mill is of hand-hewn chestnut timbers with a shingled exterior. The mill is maintained in working condition. Grounds open year-round, tours in summer.
  • Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket - The exhibits recreate the unique Woonsocket labor story of the rise of the Independent Textile Union which grew to dominate every aspect of city life.
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. The zoo features a park, a dinosaur exhibit, and blends history and culture with the animals in each area. During October, the Jack-O-Lantern spectacular is held at the Roger Williams Park Zoo where there are thousands of hand-carved pumpkins lit and on display.
  • Seabee Museum and Memorial Park in North Kingstown. Located on the site of the Original Home of the US Navy Seabees, the collections include the largest known display of historic Quonset Huts, military equipment, and memorabilia, the world's largest all-concrete chapel, and largest Seabee statue.
  • Six vineyards and wineries - which allow for scheduled tours and tastings. Includes Diamond Hill Vineyards, which offers custom labels for their wines.


Do[edit][add listing]

  • Blackstone River Bikeway, Cumberland. The 17.1-mile long scenic bike path runs along the Blackstone River. Scheduled to link to the East Bay Bikepath.  edit
  • Blackstone River Theater, 549 Broad St, Cumberland, RI 02864, [1]. Continuing Blackstone River Valley folk traditions.  edit
  • Blackstone Valley Polar Express, [2]. A live story presentation of “The Polar Express,” based on the children’s book by noted Rhode Island author Chris van Allsburg.  edit
  • Dunkin Donuts Center, 1 La Salle Square, Providence, RI 02903, [3]. The Dunk is the home of the Providence Bruins and Providence College Friars and is host to several different attractions including Stars on Ice, Ringling Brothers & Barnum, and Bailey Circus, and boxing matches featuring “Contender” finalist Peter Manfredo Jr.  edit
  • Fishing, [4]. If you live in Rhode Island or are just visiting, fishing is something that you must do. Many natives have been fishing for most of their lives, and anyone who was born in Rhode Island was born to fish. Rhode Island is home to some really great fishing spots. Most people opt to go fishing on the shores of beaches and some go fishing in boats. People are sometimes shocked to discover that fish exist in the river that flows through the downtown area of Providence as well as the Pawtucket River. Most locals know that the best spot on the river is behind the Apex building. Two of the most common species that you can catch here are bluefish and striped bass, which have been given the nickname stripers. People can easily catch these fish on and offshore. Outsiders will find that Rhode Island is home to a very big fishing community.  edit
  • Gansett Rides, 145 Boon Street, Narragansett, RI 02882, +1 401-363-9550, [5]. 9am-6pm. Known for its beaches and recreational activity throughout the year, Narragansett is a hot spot of activity in warmer months. Gansett Rides rents jet skis, scooters and bicycles to reach all of the beautiful beaches – Narragansett Town Beach, Scarborough State Beach, Roger Wheeler State Beach and Salty Brine State Beach. With their jet skis, they provide a new perspective and a new way to experience Narragansett from the water! Narragansett Rides does more than just rent scooters, bicycles, and Jet Skis.  edit
  • Golf. There are over 50 golf courses in Rhode Island, including some oceanfront and PGA courses.  edit
  • Newport Cliff Walk. Enjoy the three miles of ocean view and the grandeur of some of the finest mansions in the US. There is no entrance fee and it is open 365 days a year.  edit
  • Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium, 1 Columbus Ave, Pawtucket, RI 02860. McCoy Stadium is a popular summer site for families looking for an inexpensive night of fun.  edit
  • Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St, Providence, RI 02903, [6]. A world-class facility hosting first-class Broadway touring shows, plays, contemporary acts, concerts, and much more.  edit
  • Ryan Center, 1 Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston, RI 02881, [7]. University of Rhode Island sports, concerts and events.  edit
  • Rustic Tri-View Drive In, 1195 Eddie Dowling Hwy, North Smithfield, RI 02896, +1 401 484 5452, [8]. Drive-In Movie Theater with operating three screens; all screens show double features of first-run films.  edit
  • Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket, RI 02895, [9]. Renowned for its acoustics, intimacy, and decor Stadium Theatre has been a center for performing arts since 1926. Though it stopped operating in the 1970s, a grassroots project and strong business support in the 1990s raised over 3 million dollars for restoration. It has been operating ever since.  edit


  • Block Island late-night Christmas Shopping. December 20.  edit
  • Bluegrass on the Pawtuxet, Cranston. Bluegrass festival that takes place on July 4th weekend in Pawtuxet Village. America's music on America's Birthday.  edit
  • Mardi Gras Ball, Cranston. New England’s only authentic Louisiana Mardi Gras celebration.  edit
  • Newport Folk Festival. The first place where Bob Dylan played electric. Part of the Festival Network.  edit
  • Newport Jazz Festival, Newport. Held every August. This festival attracts some of the biggest names in jazz. Founded in 1954, it was the first outdoor music festival devoted to jazz and is now internationally known. Highly recommended for any music lover.  edit
  • RI State Pagan Pride Day, Johnston (War Memorial Park). Every Summer. This is a state-wide festival that is intended to raise awareness and information about the various pagan paths within the community, as well as for pagans to celebrate their beliefs as a community. The festival consists of over fifty vendors selling artwork, jewelry, books, herbal medicines, clothing, cooking supplies, and much more. There is live music throughout the day and many food vendors available selling many autumn favorites. Other attractions include workshops on various topics such as Past Lives, the Mystical Symbolism of Tattoos, kitchen witchery, and Wicca 101. The day concludes with an open ritual that anyone may join.  edit
  • Scituate Arts Festival, Scituate. Held on Columbus Day Weekend every October. 400 plus painters, artists, and craftsmen sell their wares in the scenic historical New England village of North Scituate. One of the largest and oldest art festivals in the country, the 3-day weekend art festival of paintings, antiques, arts and crafts, music, and food can draw over 200,000 people during the three days.  edit
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Newport. It is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day.  edit
  • WaterFire, Providence. A piece of environmental art, it consists of up to 100 bonfires that float on the rivers which flow through the city accompanied by ambient music.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Providence's Federal Hill district lives up to its heritage with some outstanding Italian restaurants, but there is great Italian cuisine throughout the state. If you happen to be in the area on St. Joseph's Day (March 19th), pop into an Italian bakery and join the locals eating zeppoli, a heavenly sort of cream puff.
  • Unique Clam Cuisine can be found at "clam shacks" along RI's beaches, especially in South County. Chowder (sometimes pronounced and spelled "chowda," in deference to the local dialect), is much debated and always delicious. The three major varieties are traditional white (made with cream), Manhattan red (made with tomatoes), and Rhode Island clear (unsullied by either cream or tomatoes). Add quahogs (stuffed clams or "stuffies"), clam cakes (fried dough with pieces of clam in it), and a summer beer to guarantee a perfect trip to the shore, no matter what the weather.
  • The Port of Galilee is where many locals purchase live lobsters directly off the fishing boats to cook (boiled with corn, potatoes, and quahogs) at home.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 21. Under-age drinking is taken very seriously so if you are in a club or bar and appear to be under 30 you should be ready to present identification showing your age. The only exception to allow underage consumption of alcohol is for educational purposes (Example: students in culinary school).
  • Coffee milk is the official drink of RI and can be ordered in most local restaurants. It is sweet like chocolate milk and very nearly tastes like coffee.
  • Del's Lemonade[19] is a state-wide phenomenon. Once delivered only in small "ice cream truck" style vehicles, it is now available in more than twenty-five fixed locations and six flavors besides the original lemon. Get some.

Stay safe[edit]

RI is generally safe in most neighborhoods you would intentionally go to. The most dangerous part is probably driving, as the locals are prone to run red lights and shift lanes with no warning. Locals are also known to run through stop signs. Many accidents are the result of not signaling properly when changing lanes and running through red lights and stop signs.

Providence is relatively safe, but be careful while walking around the capital city at night. Areas in which to exercise caution, unless you know where you are going, are Camp Street on the East Side, South Providence, and the Olneyville section of Providence. Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue on the South Side of Providence are also areas in which to exercise caution.


Arguably one of the most gay-friendly states in the U.S., with scores of bars and entertainment venues in Providence, and even a visible "out" community in smaller towns and villages.

Every year around June, Providence holds its Gay Pride Festival downtown. Many people throughout the city attend the festival. Things rarely happen that negatively impact the festival (other than the weather) because Providence is, for the most part, a pretty open-minded place. The festival holds many attractions for many people. There are tons of different stalls to see and to buy from on the day of the festival.

Get out[edit]

  • Massachusetts - The birthplace of America's revolution, the state's northern neighbor is home to historical towns, the vacation hotspot of Cape Cod, and the always-interesting city of Boston.
  • Connecticut - Rhode Island's western neighbor is home to Yale University, Mystic Seaport, the restaurant and nightlife scene in downtown New Haven, the Maritime Aquarium, and two major Native American casinos.

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