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Dear Travelers to Rhode Island: Please Don’t Come Until You’ve Understood These 10 Things

Rhode Island
by Jenna McCrory Jul 12, 2016

1. Rhode Island has been important in US history.

Rhode Island often gets overlooked because of its size, but many people don’t know just what an important role Rhode Island has played in United States history. Roger Williams, who established the first white settlement in Rhode Island, founded the region because he was escaping religious persecution from the Puritans in Massachusetts. As a result, Rhode Island was the first colony and state to have religious freedom. Rhode Island was the last colony to ratify the Constitution, demanding that the Bill of Rights be added, which gives Americans individual liberties. In 1793, the Industrial Revolution was sparked by the success of Samuel Slaters Mill in Pawtucket, America’s first success water-powered cotton mill.

2. When you fly into T.F Green Airport, you are not flying into Providence.

Very confusing for travelers, when you fly into T.F Green Airport (PVD), you arrive in Warwick, Rhode Island, not Providence. Warwick is about 20 minutes south of Providence, so consider this when you are making travel arrangements.

3. Rhode Island is not a part of New York.

Know your geography. Just because there is a Long Island, New York does not mean that Rhode Island and Long Island are the same. We are a separate state, the smallest of the 50 United States.

4. Rhode Island is not just one island.

Rhode Island is comprised of a mainland, three larger islands, and a bunch of other small islands. There are four inhabited islands, Aquidneck, the largest, where the city of Newport is located, Goat Island, a small island just off Newport, then just over one bridge from Newport is Conanicut where the quaint town of Jamestown is located. Then there is beautiful Block Island, which sits alone in the Rhode Island Sound, 13 miles off the coast of the mainland. Also, there are over 40 small, uninhabited islands throughout Narragansett Bay.

5. Rhode Island beaches have been protected from commercialization.

The governing bodies of Rhode Island have worked hard to protect the state’s natural resources, including beaches. Rhode Island features 100 public and private beaches, and most of them have very few commercial businesses on them. The private section of Misquamicut Beach in Westerly is an exception. Otherwise, Rhode Island beaches only have a pavilion with a bathroom and snack shack. There is typically a long stretch of beach, owned by the state or the town, and then private sections where people have built residential homes. Most beaches are free to visit, but you must pay for parking. As a visitor, please respect the state’s natural resources, and don’t leave trash on the beach or in any parks or trails. Go to our local Parks and Recreation site to find more information about each beach.

6. The majority of Rhode Islanders root for Boston sports teams.

The majority of Rhode Islanders root for Boston sports teams. However, it is not uncommon to meet a Rhode Islander who roots for New York sports teams, especially in Westerly. The Boston versus New York battle can be very intense.

7. We have our own distinct accent.

People say Rhode Island’s accent is a blend of Boston and New York, which makes geographical sense. Listen for the dropping of “R’s” when they are at the end of sentences and the vowels “A” and “O” are pronounced more like “Ah” and “Aw”. You might hear a sentence like, “ Oh My Gawd (God), How Hawwwrable (Horrible)!”

8. Newport is beautiful, but it’s not the only place to see in Rhode Island.

Check out the beaches of southern Rhode Island, the amazing food, art, and music scene of Providence, especially Water Fire events, the delicious restaurants of Bristol, the endless forests of Exeter, the gorgeous Mohegan Bluffs on Block Island, the hills and trails of Burriville, and the pristine beaches of Little Compton. These are just a few places; there are so many nooks and crannies of Rhode Island that can be discovered only with time and help from locals.

9. Quahog is not a place; it’s a clam.

Thanks to the show Family Guy, many people think Quahog is the name of a town in Rhode Island. The truth is, there is no Quahog, Rhode Island, but there are lots, and lots of hard-shell clams, or as Rhode Islanders call them, Quahogs. Unique to Rhode Island, try a “Stuffie”, a quahog shell filled with a yummy stuffing and baked, or “Rhode Island-style chowder”, chowder made without cream, and “Clam Cakes”, deep-fried, ball-shaped dough, made with flour, chopped clams, milk, and spices. Note: Iggy’s Clam Shack and Aunt Carrie’s makes delicious Clam Cakes and Matunuck Oyster Bar is one of the best restaurants in the state, and their Rhode Island-style chowder and stuffies are a must-try.

10. Del’s frozen lemonade is God’s gift to summer.

For any Rhode Islander, Del’s frozen lemonade is synonymous with summer. It’s owned by the Delucia family, and it began as one lemonade stand in Cranston in 1948. Since then, it has grown to locations all over Rhode Island. Other companies have tried to mimic this drink, but no one has compared to its deliciousness. You must stop at the sign of the lemon! Try the original flavor before you try other flavors.

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