the Ocean state
Rhode Island holds the title of smallest state in the United States, measuring just 1,214 square miles. Packed into that space is a wealth of history, natural beauty, visual and theatrical art, great dining, and cultural phenomenon known only to the tiny Ocean State. The capital city of Providence lies along the great Metropolitan strip of the East Coast, less than a one-hour drive to Boston and less than four to New York City.
Like most of New England, the state transforms into a riot of color and beauty in the fall. Rhode Island is full of wildlife parks, campsites, and trails for mountain biking and hiking. The Ocean State contains 400 miles of coastline along the Narragansett Bay, beloved by surfers, sailors, and sun-worshipers alike. During the colder months of winter, the snow-covered Appalachian mountains of northern New England can be reached in just a few hours.
The renaissance city of Providence has grown out of a multicultural history of Italian, Irish, and Portuguese immigrants, recently enriched by a population of young professionals, artists, and college students. Providence boasts more degreed chefs per capita than any other city in the country, resulting in dozens of locally sourced restaurants, ethnic home-cooking, fresh seafood right from the coast, and uniquely Rhode Island fare such as clam cakes, quahogs, stuffies, and coffee milk.
In the summer months, visitors from all over southern New England travel to see the entrancing citywide event, Water fire. Nightlife shines with a cocktail of artsy eclectic bars, upscale martini bars, hip-hop clubs, and plenty of low-key pubs and brew houses. Museums, live music, theaters, vintage shopping, and a continually growing list of year-round events round out the rest of the city, earning its place as the heartbeat of Rhode Island.
Where we live
The history of lil rhody
Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his extreme views on freedom of religion and speech. He traveled southwest to what is now Rhode Island and purchased land from the Narragansett tribe. He founded Providence on the principles of tolerance and peace. We all think this sounds like a good idea.
Brown University, known as the "college in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” was founded in 1764 and was the first university to accept students regardless of the religious affiliation. It is one of 9 universities founded prior to the American Revolution. Rhode Island was the first American British colony to secede from Great Britain in May 4, 1776, two months prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was signed in the original Rhode Island State House.
"...founded Providence on the principles of tolerance and peace..."
You can still go the court room where the Declaration of Independence was signed. It is open to the public on weekdays and located at 150 Benefit Street. Despite being the first colony to officially secede from Great Britain, Rhode Island was the last of the 13 colonies to become a state. The French, under General Rochambeau, landed in Newport in 1780, and Newport became the base of the French forces during the American Revolutionary War.
At the beginning of the mid-19th centuries, wealthy southern planters began to build their “summer cottages” on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the nations wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Wideners were summering in Newport and had constructed large “cottages,” such as the Breakers and Miramar. You can now visit the Newport mansions, which are protected by the Newport Preservation Society. They are open most days, and have audio guided tours.
Newport has become a popular wedding destination as many of the mansions can be rented for large events. The mansions have also served as sets for many Hollywood films, including “The Great Gastby” and “27 Dresses.”
Providence underwent cultural revival in 1980-1990’s with growth of visual and performing arts (fueled by Rhode Island School of Design), and restaurants (fueled by Johnson & Wales Culinary Art School).
Rhode Island is considered the birth place of religious freedom. It is home to the First Baptist Church in America (left), which is located in Providence. It is home to the First Synagogue in America, the Touro Synagogue (right), which is located in Newport. Rhode Island is also the birthplace of Industrial Revolution. In 1790, the English immigrant Samuel Slater founded the first textile mill in Pawtucket, which revolutionized the textile industry in New England. He is now known as the father of the American industrial revolution.
The Rhode Island State House was built in 1895-1904 and became the model for other state houses around the nation. In fact, the dome of the RI State House is the 4th largest self-supporting marble dome in the world, behind the domes of the St. Peter’s Basilica, the Taj Mahal and the Minnesota State Capitol Building.