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  • traveldave's Profile Photo

    Newport

    by traveldave Updated Jul 19, 2012

    Favorite thing: Often called "America's First Resort," Newport was founded in 1639 by refugees from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It quickly grew into a bustling seaport due to its location at the mouth of Narragansett Bay on Aquidneck Island.

    Starting in the early seventeenth century, wealthy visitors began to build summer homes in Newport, attracted by the sea and the beauty of the promontory on which the town sits. Then, in the 1880s, rich New York society families began to build enormous mansions (called "summer cottages") on Bellevue Avenue and Ocean Drive. These multimillionaires, and even billionaires, amassed their fortunes during America's "Gilded Age," through industry, railroads, shipping, farming, or mining. Among the most notable families who had summer cottages in Newport were the Astors and the Vanderbilts. These society families tried to outdo each other in the opulence of their summer cottages, so each mansion had to be bigger and better than the one next door.

    Nowadays, most of the mansions of Newport are museums which are open to the public, and are the biggest attraction in Newport, attracting more than 1,000,000 visitors per year.

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    Providence

    by traveldave Updated Jul 18, 2012

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    Favorite thing: Rhode Island's capital and largest city, Providence was established in 1637 by Roger Williams and his followers, who fled Puritan Boston from which they were to be deported back to England for such liberal ideas as separation of church and state, and for criticizing the civil authorities who imposed harsh punishments for infractions of church rules.

    The site for the new settlement was chosen because it was outside the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and because the land was offered by Chief Canonicus of the indigenous Narragansett Indian tribe.

    Roger Williams called the new settlement Providence in gratitude for God's providence to him in his time of distress. He declared that Providence would ever afterward be a place of refuge for the oppressed.

    Nowadays, Providence is the center of a metropolitan area with over 1,600,000 inhabitants. After decades of economic stagnation, the city is currently undergoing an economic boom and regeneration. Formerly run-down areas are being restored, new businesses are coming into the city, and the city is becoming a prime destination for tourists.

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    A Couple of Things You Can't Do

    by DueSer Updated Feb 14, 2009

    Favorite thing: Newport has two very historic sites within the town limits that, sadly, cannot be toured.

    One is Hammersmith Farm. This home was built in the late 1800s by Jackie Kennedy's family. When she married President Kennedy (then a senator), the reception was held here. Later, it was called the Summer White House because the Kennedys spent so much time there. It's an elegant, gorgeous home right on the water. What's really a shame is that it used to be open to the public but isn't anymore. I read that whoever bought it is actually using it and I certainly can't blame them for that because it's a great house but it seems a shame that the public can no longer get to know this aspect of American history. The neatest feature of the house is the dining room window. It goes ceiling to floor and when a button is pushed, drops down into the floor - instant picnic! :-) Not really, it was actually made that way so that President Kennedy could land his helicopter on the lawn in the backyard and then walk right into the house - the man evidently like dramatic entrances!

    The other significant house, called Clingstone, which you can see from the backyard at Hammersmith Farm, is unique because it is located in the middle of Narragansett Bay on a tiny island only slightly bigger than the house. Built over 100 years ago for the Whartons (American author Edith Wharton's family), it has survived a LOT of bad weather - the reason it was abandoned about 40 years ago. Someone bought it recently though (for very little money) and is again using it but it's still a private residence so you just have to admire it from across the water - or a little closer if you take a harbor cruise.

    Because of the historical signigicance of these homes, if you visit Newport, I would suggest asking around and making sure that things haven't changed. Maybe someday one or both of these houses will be open to the public again.

    Related to:
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    Historic houses and crafts on Fall days

    by Pawtuxet Updated Oct 5, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Autumn leaves brighten our fall days...even when there is a bit of rain. Taking a jaunt north on RTE 146 to Lincoln, Rhode Island, we come upon several historic houses and a black smith shop around the area of Great Road. The first stone house had several activities on the grounds including open fire cooking, indian drumming, and a sales table with apple pies, cider, peanut butter cookies, and Pumpkin bread. Of course we had to bring some of the treats home with us. There were costumed guides to talk about the house as well as others who were demonstrating rug hooking, spinning, quill pen writing, and basketry. Everyone was very talented and it was fun to discuss their crafts with them.
    It seems there was a man who won a lottery in the 1800's and built a wonderful house in Lincoln. He brought his fiancee to see it and she exclaimed she could never live so far from Providence and civilization! He never married, but lived out his days in his wonderful stone mansion.
    Next stop the blacksmith shop. It was a woman stoking the fire! She was busy with some hooks to hang plants on a porch. Not as authentic as we've seen in the past, but it was amusing to the visitors.

    Related to:
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    Part II Historic houses on a fall day

    by Pawtuxet Written Oct 5, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Next stop was our favorite...the Arnold House. It is owned by Historic New England. It was built in the 1600's and is one of the very few stone enders which is only found in the northeast. There is an enormous summer beam and fireplaces you could walk into.
    Here the Society of the 17th Century was visiting and demonstrating their early crafts. My favorite was the potter who was making redware... a weakness of mine. Of course I purchased some of his work.
    His wife was upstairs doing lace work along with a man who was a hornsmith. That's an unusual one. We spent a long time talking and learning about how to boil the horn, remove the center, slice it, flatten it, and then separate the layers in order to boil again and begin to form it. such a process, but he had some sweet examples of some very delicate work.
    Another docent was at the main fireplace...huge! He had some black powder guns and various other early pieces. An herbalist was also available to tell you which herbs to keep on hand as an antibiotic and such. Each of the people who demonstrated were extremely knowledgeable and quite authentic in their costumes.
    I'm more determined than ever to start hooking rugs and learning to make my own redware.
    Lincoln has several such days in the course of the year.

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  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo

    Watch the Gaspee Day Parade

    by Pawtuxet Updated Jan 3, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Each year on the 2nd Saturday in June, Pawtuxet Village celebrates the Burning of the Gaspee. Colonists rowed out to the British ship at midnight and burned the ship that was chasing our ships up and down the bay....looting....taxing...terrorizing. The parade spans 2.5 miles through the village on a red, white, and blue stripe in the road. There are many other events besides the parade. See my Pawtuxet pages as well for more photos and look for photos of the children's walking tour, which takes place prior to the parade. Lots to see and do around this time of the year.

    Stop in at my home town... Pawtuxet

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  • davecallahan's Profile Photo

    counties

    by davecallahan Written Jan 2, 2008

    Favorite thing: Being so small, Rhode Island does not need many counties.
    Bristol (the smallest and least populated), Kent (the newest), NewPort (the oldest), Providence (the largest and most populated), Washington.

    Officially Bristol was part of Massachussets Bay Colony; Providence, Kent and Washington are part of the Providence Plantations; NewPort is the original Rhode Island. Now they are all under one government.

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  • paulapes's Profile Photo

    The Blue Bug

    by paulapes Updated Jul 15, 2007

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    Favorite thing: If you drive through Providence on the highway (Route 95) you're sure to see this landmark and favorite Rhode Island insect....the BIG BLUE BUG on top of New England Pest Control's business building. Normally he doesn't have sunglasses on and isn't helping himself to a Del's Lemonade (another RI icon). The bug has been named 'Nibbles Woodaway' and since he's a termite that would be appropriate! (I hope NE Pest Control won't mind that I 'borrowed' their picture).

    Fondest memory: Well, ONE of my favorite holiday sights is seeing the Big Blue Bug decorated as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

    Visit this website for more information and better photos of the Big Blue Bug: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/map/ri.html

    THERE IS A MAJOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT UNDERWAY AND IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THE BIG BLUE BUG WILL HAVE TO BE RELOCATED....HOPEFULLY IT WON'T BE DESTROYED!!

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    One of the finest State Houses in the country

    by Pawtuxet Updated Nov 9, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Our state house is a beauty. It's one of the largest unsupported domes in the United States. Fashioned similar to the Capitol in DC...it is made of Georgia white marble.
    Pic #2 Geoff_Wright (VT member) walks the white marble steps beneath the glorious dome of the State House when he visited Providence.
    Pic #3 shows you the breathtaking dome from the interior.

    Related to:
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    Fall Color

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 11, 2006

    Favorite thing: People that come to see the fall foliage are called "Leaf Peepers". Vermont and the northern and higher elevations of New England are prime foliage viewing territory. But little Rhode Island has beautiful and colorful leaf scenes also.

    There are beautiful drives suggested on the Foliage maps, such as this one

    Route 3 parallels I-95 from Exit 1 to Exit 6. This drive is a nice break from the interstate. Traveling north on I-95 take Exit 1 just after your cross into Rhode Island from Connecticut and get on Route 3 North in Hopkinton. You’ll drive through the little village of Hopkinton with its old country store and then on to Hope Valley. At a traffic light in Hope Valley Route 3 forks to the left, and Route 138 to Newport goes to the right. Bear left staying on Route 3 pass the State Police barracks and then under the interstate. Stay on Route 3 as you travel through Exeter and West Greenwich. After you pass a big field and cemetery on the left and travel down hill you will see an elevated I-95 running parallel on your left. You can soon rejoin I-95 at Exit 6. Hopkinton -
    West Greenwich

    If instead, you turned north on 102 (Victory Highway) to the intersection of 117 in Coventry, and then went west toward Connecticutt, toward Greene, you would go right past our old house.

    Fondest memory: When the leaves would turn each fall, I'd try to get a few shots. I like to take pictures where about half the leaves had turned. I didn't like it when most of the leaves had fallen off the trees - I'd rather have some green leaves in there. I wanted the sun shining through the leaves, but I also liked there to have been rain which would darken the trunks of the trees for contrast. And I would always prefer to have the trees reflected in some body of water.

    Related to:
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    • Eco-Tourism

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Rhode Island Flag

    by grandmaR Updated May 23, 2005

    Favorite thing: Rhode Island was the 13th state in the USA; it became a state in 1790.

    I never noticed the Rhode Island flag until I was looking at my old pictures and wondered what the white flag was. This particular state flag is almost devoid of color.

    The RI flag is mostly white, with a yellow anchor surrounded by 13 stars which represent the original 13 colonies. The anchor was first adopted as a seal for Rhode Island in 1647, when the four original towns of Rhode Island (Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth, and Newport) united under a single charter. The blue ribbon under the anchor reads "HOPE."

    Rhode Island's official flag was adopted in 1897, and the website says it is fringed with yellow on three sides i.e. other than the side next to the flagpole. I don't see that on this flag.

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  • londonlover's Profile Photo

    The Breakers

    by londonlover Updated Apr 8, 2005

    Favorite thing: The Breakers is yet another gilded mansion in Newport.

    The best way to see all these mansions is to get a combination ticket for the houses in which you are most interested from the Preservation Society of Newport County. See their webpage at www.newportmansions.org.

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  • londonlover's Profile Photo

    The tea house in the backyard :)

    by londonlover Updated Apr 8, 2005

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    Favorite thing: This is the tea house in the backyard of the Marble House. (Disgusting, isn't it?) :) I do love the Asian architecture, which oddly seems to blend in with the oceanfront surroundings. Oh, and unfortunately, that is NOT my cute little car parked over there. (I wish!)

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  • safardreams's Profile Photo

    XMAS TIME

    by safardreams Updated May 26, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Always had a live tree. For the last 12/13 yrs.
    A handful of us drive to VOLENTOWN CONN.
    To HARTIKA'S tree farm. Only about 40 min drive. Last yr. 2002 was the first we didn't do that. Also the first time we used a fake tree!

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  • safardreams's Profile Photo

    The HEMLOCK!

    by safardreams Written May 25, 2003

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    Favorite thing: I am trying to find pics of this tree when is was healthy! I had a tree service try and save it. But it didn't happen. Those insects effected
    the HEMLOCKS from the MID-ATLANTIC to
    way up NORTH! They are try to control the insect with another insect! It is too big of a problem.
    If any of your trees look sick, DON'T WAIT!!
    Call someone!!

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