Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island
You may recall part 1 of our list 10 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island, well now it is time for the very best part of our list, Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island. I know the first 5 were indeed amazing but believe it or not, it gets even better.
So without any further delay, let’s get to list – Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island.
5 WaterFire Providence
It is common to have a river flowing many of our thriving cities across our great country. And, there was a time when some of the rivers were so polluted that they would spontaneously combust into flames and burn until all the fuel on the river would burn off. Well if that is what comes to you mind when you think “Water Fire” you have got the wrong idea.
But I assure you Providence has the perfect idea of what “WaterFire” should mean. Providence, RI has created a huge community event around the concept of “Water Fire”. Basically they have three rivers that flow through the city and they have places where they have placed what they call “braziers” in the river. They fill these containers with wood and light them at dusk throughout the summer on many weekend evenings.
URI Jazz Concert at WaterFire Providence
Each lighting is a combination of a huge city wide festival and an almost tribal ritual of lighting the basins. The particular evening that we were there, they was first a jazz concert going on by what appeared to be a jazz band from the University of Rhode Island!
Providence WiterFire Event Video
4 Newport Rhode Island
Newport is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions. The summer resort part of the city gives opportunity for many interesting shops and restaurants.
The Newport Historic District is a historic district that covers about a square mile near the center of Newport. It was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1968 due to its extensive and well-preserved assortment of intact colonial buildings dating from the early and mid-18th century. Six of those buildings are themselves NHLs in their own right, including the city’s oldest house and the former meeting place of the colonial and state legislatures. Newer and modern buildings coexist with the historic structures.
It is a major tourist attraction due to its history, its setting on Newport’s waterfront and the shops located within it along Thames Street. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport,
The Naval Station Newport (NAVSTA Newport) is a United States Navy base located in the city of Newport and the town of Middletown, Rhode Island. Naval Station Newport is home to the Naval War College and the Naval Justice School. Newport now maintains inactive ships at its pier facilities, along with the United States Coast Guard. In BRAC 2005 (Base Realignment and Closure), NAVSTA Newport gained over five hundred billets, in addition to receiving, again, the Officer Candidate School (OCS), the Naval Supply Corps School (in 2011), and several other activities, to include a few Army Reserve units.
That is a huge mouthful, but the most special thing is that when you enter Newport, you go over a very high bridge. While you are going over this, you see both the huge Naval expanse of a base below you, but you also get to see parts of history Newport at the same time. It is quite a site to see. I would have loved to have days to explore all of the history of this city. But for this trip, that was not to be.
3 Newport Cliff Walk – Mansions
Newport is a historic wealthy town. And like any other wealthy town, the wealthy people put their homes in the most beautiful places. In this case it is along the gorgeous rocky seashore of town. Well in 1975 the walking path behind these homes, closest to the ocean, became a National Recreational Trail. That is crazy to have a trail like that in a National Historic District. But now it is open to the public to enjoy the gorgeous vistas mixed in with some of the most astonishing mansions in the country. It is a pure delight.
On the date that we were there walking past one of the mansions, there was a large fundraiser party going on to raise funds for the Newport Mansion Organization. If felt like we were experiencing something out of “The Great Gatsby”. I say, lifestyles of the rich and famous for sure.
There are actually many mansions in this part of town, but there is a nonprofit organization, NewportMansions.org that maintains, restores and operates tours with ten of the most amazing mansions of the area.
The mansions include:
- The Breakers
- Marble House
- The Elms
- Isaac Bell House
- Green Animals Topiary Garden
- Hunter House
It is a must to take this all in. It will enchant you, sweeping you away to another era. You will enjoy yourself and you will come away wealthier for the experience.
2 The Breakers Vanderbilt Estate
The Breakers Masion is the creme de la creme of the mansions in Newport. I strongly recommend that you take the tour. Do yourself a favor, get the recorded tourguide devices and listen to all of it. There is so much history packed into this space that it is certainly worth your time. As I was going through this place, it was so majestic that it felt like a castle or a church. Yes it is almost sacred.
The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America.
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century.
The Commodore’s grandson, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, became The Breakers Chairman and President of the New York Central Railroad system in 1885, and purchased a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport during that same year. In 1893, he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the earlier wood-framed house which was destroyed by fire the previous year.
Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters.
Crazy personal note, while we were on this tour listening to the prerecorded message, we were informed that our son’s fiance is the grand niece of the architect of this amazing place. Crazy small world.
This is certainly one of those must go to places. You will thank yourself for the rest of your life.
1 Block Island
The Beautiful Historic Inns of Block Island
It is very strange that Block Island it at the top of our list “Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island”. You see at the beginning of our trip, it was not even on the list. A friend of ours had mentioned it, especially how they loved it even more than Martha’s Vineyard. We heard it and then quickly ignored them.
Then while we were on the trip and starting showing friends images on social media we kept getting the question, are you going to Block Island? Why are these people so crazy insane? What is so great about Block Island?
The island is a popular summer tourist destination and is known for its bicycling, hiking, sailing, fishing, and beaches. It also hosts two historic lighthouses: Block Island North Light on the northern tip of the island, and Block Island Southeast Light on the southeastern side.
Southeast Light Historic Lighthouse
Oooohhhh now you have my attention. A big part of this entire trip was to visit and capture as many as possible of the Lighthouses of New England. (Check this previous post). And to tell you the truth, I had not been overly successful with the drone yet by this point of the trip. I was hungry for drone success, like a shark with blood in the water! To Block Island it is!
Remember, we were traveling after the busy summer tourist season so when we got off the block island ferry early one autumn morning the place was calm and quiet, not crazy busy like Martha’s Vineyard. But you could certainly tell what a great summer vacation spot this would be. Wonderful huge historic hotels were tossed around the city and across the landscape. There will still vendors selling moped and bike rentals, but some of the shops were closed for the season or at least opening later.
Cliffs of Block Island
This island is not large so we decided to walk for this adventure. Our main goal for the day was Block Island Southeast Light, the cliffs and the beaches below. Turns out, the walk was a little further than we expected, (maps are not drawn to scale), but we made it perfectly after a lovely walk on a warm autumn day.
We got to the lighthouse and asked the caretaker if it was ok to photograph with the drone. He said we have many drones flying around, but he had never been asked before. He was happy to give me permission and he helped me set up. How cool is that? You can check out the amazing results here.
Lighthouses of New England – Including Block Island
All in all the day was an incredible success and even if you are not a lighthouse lover or drone pilot there is plenty to see and do on Block Island!
So I hope this list “Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island” was enough to wet your appetite to get to the Ocean State. We certainly enjoyed ourselves immensely and we were certainly be back. If you have any questions on the trip, feel free to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
And until next time, get out and capture the adventure!
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“Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Rhode Island”Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website