Things to Do in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is one of the smaller U.S. states and therefore people often write it off. What we discovered is that there is actually a lot of cool stuff to see. Take a look.
Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island
The Southeast Lighthouse on Block Island was built in 1875 for $80,000. It was designated a primary seacoast aid to navigation. It was deactivated by the Coast Guard in 1990 and deemed one of America's 11 most endangered structures of historic significance by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Volunteers raised money to have it moved away from the edge of the bluff; it's now being restored to become a museum and overnight accommodation. Tours of the tower are available in the summer.
Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge
In 1934, the state of Rhode Island petitioned for federal aid to build two bridges over the east and west passages of Narragansett Bay. While the project stopped and started many times, the Newport Bridge was finally opened in June 1969. It was later named in honor of Claiborne Pell, the longest-serving U.S. senator from Rhode Island.
The Boyd's Wind Grist Mill, built in 1810, is a historic smock mill in Middletown, R.I. It originally had four common sails but the Boyd family added four more. The windmill was restored in 1990 and became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. It is open for tours on Sundays in the summer.
McCoy Stadium is home to the minor league baseball team, the Pawtucket Red Sox. The stadium holds more than 10,000 fans. It's also the site of the famous "Longest Game" between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox. It lasted a record 33 innings and took more than eight hours over the course of two days.
Narragansett Bay covers 147 square miles and forms New England's largest estuary. There are more than 30 islands in the bay. The bodies of water that make up the Bay are Sakonnet River, Mount Hope Bay and Taunton River.
The largest coastal fortification in the U.S. stands in Newport Harbor, R.I. The fort has a long history and played a role in many different wars. Guided tours are given daily. Visitors can see where soldiers lived, enter the casemates, explore the tunnel system and climb to the top for amazing views of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor.
Rhode Island State House
The Rhode Island State House sits atop Smith Hill in Providence, R.I. It was designed in the same vein as the U.S. Capitol building with a central dome and two wings. The Senate chamber is in one wing and the House chamber is in the other. There is also a library and reception room. The state house is known as a proud symbol of Rhode Island's economic and social stature.
Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University is a private college with both graduate and undergraduate programs in business, hospitality, culinary arts, technology and education. There are four campuses, including one in Providence, which serve more than 17,000 students. Its culinary and hospitality programs are ranked among the top in the nation.
The Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I., is a National Recreation Trail that spans 3.5 miles. It combines the beauty of the shoreline with nature, including wildflowers and birds. The southern half of the walk is a bit rugged. Walkers will also see various mansions and buildings along the route.
Founded in 1759, Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the U.S. It stands on top of a hill in Newport and is open to the public for tours. It was named after the first rabbi of the congregation, Isaac Touro.
Ochre Court was commissioned by Ogden Goelet as a summer home for his family. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America's foremost architect of the 19th century. In 1947, it was given to the Religious Sisters of Mercy by his son Robert.
Watch Hill is a resort community located on the shore of Block Island Sound. Nearly surrounded by water, the village offers lots of outdoor activities such as fishing, sailing and swimming.
Providence, R.I. is home to the seventh oldest college in the US, Brown University. The Ivy League school offers graduate and undergraduate programs along with the Alpert Medical School and the School of Engineering. The university has about 8,400 students.
The Blackstone River starts in Massachusetts and continues into Rhode Island. It runs through Woonsocket, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls and Pawtucket. It ultimately becomes the Seekonk River. It has been classified by the EPA as "the most polluted river in the country with respect to toxic sediments." Efforts are underway to clean up the river.
Naval War College
In 1884, Secretary of the Navy William E. Chandler signed an order to create a college for "an advanced course of professional study for naval officers." It established the school in Newport, R.I., and appointed Commodore Stephen B. Luce as the president. Today, the school has an expanded mission of providing a professional military education for all enlisted personnel and officers of the U.S. Navy.