Rhode Island

An hour south of Boston is Rhode Island, which is not an island! Much is made of “Little Rhody’s” size (only 37 miles wide by 48 miles long), but America’s smallest state is well worth a visit.

Providence, the state capital, has a fine art museum and an array of historic buildings. Dominated by the statehouse with its huge dome, Providence offers history, culture and fun. Federal Hill is “Little Italy”, where cafés and delis reflect the Italian heritage. College Hill is home to Brown University (where Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame studied) and the Rhode Island School of Design. Nicknamed the “Mile of History”, Benefit Street is dotted with historic homes. DownCity, the old heart, buzzes with restaurants and shops. A fun way to see the city is from a gondola! The tour goes through downtown Providence on the Woonasquatucket and Providence Rivers.

Nowhere else in the USA matches Newport for its “stately homes”, built in the late-19thcentury. The so-called “cottages” are open for tours with must-sees including Marble House, inspired by the Petit Trianon in Versailles; The Breakers with 70 magnificent rooms and Rosecliff, whose ballroom hosted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tango scene in True Lies. Special is 125-year-old Rough Point, unchanged since Doris Duke died here in 1993: paintings by Rodin, Renoir, and Gainsborough hang on the walls.

Walking the cobbled streets of this small city is like strolling through America’s early architectural history. Many houses have plaques boasting of being built in the 18th and early 19th century. Several historic houses are now atmospheric inns or romantic B&Bs; the White Horse Tavern has dispensed hospitality since 1673.

Newport was also the “Sailing Capital of the World”, hosting the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1983 and you can still take a sunset cruise aboard a former competitor. You can also trace the history of tennis, through multi-media and artefacts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum; book ahead to play on the world’s oldest grass courts (1880).

Other delightful towns include Watch Hill, home to the Flying Horse Carousel – America’s oldest merry-go-round (1883). On Narragansett Bay, pretty Wickford is known for art galleries – but it was also the setting for The Witches of Eastwick, by John Updike.

For an away-from-it-all break, take the ferry out to Block Island. Only 12 miles offshore, Block Island is virtually car-free and perfect for a relaxing getaway. Get there by ferry from Point Judith, Rhode Island, and also, in summer, from New London, Connecticut and Montauk, at the eastern end of Long Island, NY. Get out and about on this 11-square-mile island, take in the views from the bluffs and find hidden coves and do some sea kayaking.

 

 

Fantastic!!! Left wanting more, and plan to return. Cannot fault any aspect of the holiday!!! Many thanks for all of your help - we had the best holiday ever!!

Mr Blyth - Travelled to New York