I lived there many years ago, so I know that Rhode Island is in Southern New England, a couple of hours north of New York on I-95. Wedged between Connecticut and Massachusetts, it's easily reachable by car, Amtrak, ferry, or bus.
Called the Ocean State because it has hundreds of miles of coastline, Providence is the largest city and state capital, home to Trinity Repertory Theater, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
All that I knew, but what I learned on a recent trip is that the state has become an amazing place to eat.
There's great fast-food, Providence-style--cabinets, New York style hot dogs, pizza strips, spinach pies, coffee milk--and fun summer shore food--stuffies, steamers, chowda, lobster rolls, raw oysters & clams--and there's a remarkable community of talented chefs turning out sophisticated fine dining, the likes of which you'd expect in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
In the summer, roadside stands are everywhere, filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, squash, peaches, and plums. In the fall, the stands have pyramids of pumpkins, baskets of local apples, and jugs of freshly squeezed apple cider.
When I lived in Rhode Island, I stayed close to Providence. On this trip, I wandered around the state, spending time in Newport, Block Island, Little Compton, Bristol, and South County.
I discovered what the locals know. There are hundreds of bike paths, walking trails, public parks, and nature preserves that make the state a paradise for those who enjoy connecting with nature. Block Island, a few miles off the southern tip of the state, is a refuge from city life, a place to ride around on your bike, stop for a lobster roll at a waterside restaurant, take a nap, read a book, and walk on the grass topped beaches.
I put together a travel gallery of Rhode Island for the New York Daily News web site. Later this month the profiles of the restaurants I visited on the trip will post on Peter Greenberg's web site.
I had a great trip and expect to be back. In the meantime, I have a lot of photographs to help me remember what a great time I had.