I have lived in Rhode Island all my life, and one incorrect belief about my home state especially irks me: “There’s nothing to do here.”
Sure, this isn’t California or New York. However, there is something to love about the Ocean State everywhere you look. Across all 39 towns and cities in Rhode Island, you can find something enjoyable or interesting. So to kick off the Cigar’s year-long series about our fine, little state, here’s a primer. If you’re from out-of-state, get to know Rhode Island. If you’re in-state, get to know it better. Here’s one thing to do in every city or town. Here we go.
Burrillville – The only town in Rhode Island that touches both Connecticut and Massachusetts, Burrillville is home to the legendary Wright’s Farm Restaurant. There you can get some of the best fried chicken in the state.
North Smithfield – Speaking of Wright’s, you have Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery in North Smithfield. They produce specialty cakes and fresh milk that is produced and bottled right at the farm.
Woonsocket – Chan’s Fine Oriental Dining, which has won numerous awards for the best Chinese food in the state, can be found here.
Cumberland – Cumberland is the only place in the world you’ll find the rock Cumberlandite, from which the town takes its name. One four-acre lot in Cumberland and that’s it for the state rock of RI.
Glocester – This town contains the village of Chepachet, which was the first of its type in Rhode Island placed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1971, per its town’s website. Chepachet also has Brown & Hopkins, the oldest, still-running country store in the U.S., opened in 1809.
Foster – This one is for history nuts. Foster is home to the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, which can actually still direct you all the way to Yorktown, Virginia, per the town’s website.
Smithfield – Another one for history buffs, Smithfield is the site of the Wolf Hill plane crash of 1943. Three servicemen on board the plane were killed in the accident, and a boulder sits in the spot where it is thought the fuselage came to rest, according to the town’s website.
Lincoln – This town plays host to Autocrat, the only company on earth that produces the official drink of Rhode Island, coffee milk. If you ever want to visit HQ, its just a short drive away.
Central Falls – Garrison Confections produces some of the best chocolate in the state, and it’s right in Central Falls.
Scituate – The Scituate Art Festival, voted the Best Annual Festival in 2013 by RI Monthly, is Oct. 10-12 this year. Set your schedule accordingly.
Johnston – Salisbury Farm is perfect, especially in the fall, for an old-fashioned corn maze, candy apple and some fun with friends.
Pawtucket – Home to Stone Soup, which has various folk musicians come through over 25 years. The perfect backdrop for this coffeehouse? Slater Mill, which spurred the Industrial Revolution in America.
Providence – Take your pick. The hurricane flood markers. The Big Blue Bug. Haven Brothers’ travelling diner. World’s your oyster in Providence.
North Providence – If you’re looking to relax, Massage by Mari has your back…literally.
Cranston – Check out Garden City. Several restaurants and shops with a beautiful gazebo in the middle. For when you want your Chipotle burrito mixed with some jazz.
East Providence – Home to the Crescent Park Carousel, which was named the “State Jewel of American Folk Art” in 1985 by the Rhode Island General Assembly, according to the city’s website.
Bristol – The extremely secretive Musee Patamecanique, run by curator Neil Salley, is filled with “patemechanical objects,” which “validate the existence of other realms and allow us to envision them” (Seth Brown). Sounds crazy? Want to visit? Set up a tour and only then will you find out where it is.
Warren – Hosts the Rhode Island Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Championship every October. Enough said.
Barrington – Visit another RI location on the National Register of Historic Places, the Alfred Drowne Road Historic District.
Warwick – My hometown is where the first blood was shed during the American Revolution, way before any Boston Massacre. Check out the story of the HMS Gaspee, burned by locals in 1772.
West Warwick – History lovers can visit Lippitt Mill, a textile mill that has been standing since 1809, according to the Providence Journal. The current plan, according to ProJo, is to convert the structure into apartments to increase tourism.
Coventry – The home of Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene can be found here, built in 1774 and still standing today at 50 Taft St.
West Greenwich – Dan’s Place is a hidden gem in West Greenwich where you and some friends can a nice meal, do some karaoke and watch some TV.
East Greenwich – For some breakfast fare, head down to Jigger’s in East Greenwich. They serve gingerbread pancakes, and it’s almost that time of year.
Tiverton – Check out the Joseph Hicks House in Tiverton, which has stood since the nineteenth century and was built by the Hicks family, one of Tiverton’s first.
Little Compton – Sakonnet Vineyards is a gem to visit after strolling the many beaches of Little Compton.
Newport – Take your pick. From Fort Adams to the mansions to the Old Stone Mill to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the oldest library building in continuous use, Newport is always guaranteed to yield an enjoyable experience.
Middletown – For fans of the supernatural, take a trek down to Purgatory Chasm, where the Native American devil Hobomoko is supposed to have killed a murderer many moons ago.
Portsmouth – Home to Green Animals, the oldest, longest-running topiary garden in the country.
Jamestown – This southern end of this island contains one of Rhode Island’s most beautiful Â sites, Beaver Tail. When you’re not there, check out the Jamestown Windmill, built back in 1728.
Exeter – Also for fans of the supernatural, here you can visit the grave of supposed vampire Mercy Brown.
North Kingstown – Ever hear of Quonset huts? Well, they were first built in North Kingstown in 1941 and you can check out some original ones. While you’re at it, visit the Seabees, too.
South Kingstown – Take a stroll down to Moonstone Beach, which *used* one of the last nude beaches in New England, which is now a haven for wildlife. There’s always the quaint village of Wakefield, too.
Narragansett – I’m sure you’ve seen the Towers in Narragansett, but try one of these days to get inside of them. There’s rich history within about what used to be a lively Gansett boardwalk.
Charlestown – Visit the 227-acre Ninigret Park, one of the finest in all of the Ocean State.
Richmond – Home to the illustrious village of Carolina, placed on the National Register in 1974, which is home to many mills and structures of the 19th century (ProJo).
Hopkinton – Black Farm, which has sections that overlook the Wood River and Plain Pond, has been in Hopkinton for over 300 years.
Westerly – Everyone knows Taylor Swift has a summer house here, but Watch Hill is scenic year-round.
Block Island (New Shoreham) – Simply put, the entire island. Only about 500 people live there all year, so the winter season isn’t popular for tourists. Once the weather improves, though, it’s one of Rhode Island’s best locations.
Information from Seth Brown’s “Rhode Island Curiosities” was used in this story.