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Rhode Island Attractions 2009

Rhode Island Attractions 2009
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by in May 2009

ATTRACTIONS

Best Rainy-Day Walk:
ROGER WILLIAMS PARK BOTANICAL CENTER, Providence
New England’s largest garden conservatory is still expanding its outdoor displays, but its 12,000 square feet of indoor tropical and subtropical plants, complete with palm trees, waterfalls, orchids, cacti, and many other exotic blooms and fragrances, transport visitors to a southern paradise. 1000 Elmwood Ave. 401-785-9450 x263; providenceri.com/botanical-center

Best New Cultural Attraction:
THE CHACE CENTER AT RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN MUSEUM OF ART, Providence
The six-month-old Chace Center, designed by award-winning architect Jose Rafael Moneo, has a shimmering facade of clear and etched glass that contrasts nicely with the red-brick and aluminum fins. This innovative four-story structure, set into a steep hill, creates new galleries for an art collection that is one of the jewels of New England. 20 North Main St. 401-454-6500; risdmuseum.org

Best Beachside Hike:
BLACK POINT, Narragansett
Although Narragansett is best known for its sandy beaches, this coastline stretch is more Maine than Rhode Island, with layers of rocks to clamber on, fish from, or hike beside. A former Narragansett Indian path, Black Point offers intriguing plants along the way, views of Point Judith Light, and mysterious stone ruins at the end of the three-quarter-mile-long path. Ocean Road, just north of Scarborough Beach

Best River-to-Ocean Glide:
Narrow River Kayaks, Narragansett
For a scenic paddle through estuaries to an ocean beach, begin by checking out the 75 kayaks and canoes at Narrow River. Then take to its playground, a one-mile stretch of the Narrow River that winds downstream past marsh grass, under a bridge, and past a large sandbar before concluding at a crashing surf. For longer excursions, head upstream to kettle ponds and the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace. 94 Middlebridge Road. 401-789-0334; narrowriverkayaks.com

Best Uncrowded Strand:
SCOTCH BEACH, Block Island
All Block Island beaches are free, but this one embodies that far-away-from-it-all feeling, with other beachgoers barely sprinkled around. Its name stems from a time when the beach closest to town charged a fee, but penny-pinchers who walked a bit farther came to this beautiful crescent backed by low dunes. Because it’s so sandy and the breakers roll in so consistently, this is a favorite beach for volleyball and body surfing. Corn Neck Road

Best Island Hike:
CLAYHEAD TRAIL, Block Island
First, this trail descends into a marshy area; then it climbs into a sunny meadow, all the while providing a low, rumbling thunder-like soundtrack from the crashing surf below. And then suddenly you’re there: at the edge of a high, sandy bluff, gazing across sparkling water to what in Block Island-speak is called “America,” or mainland Rhode Island. Off Corn Neck Road

Best Dancing at Sunset:
THE TOWERS, Narragansett
You don’t need a wedding invitation to boogie in this beautiful historic setting. The third-floor dance area spans the arch between 19th-century stone towers and gives dancers a 180-degree view of Narragansett Bay. Live bands pump out swing, Cajun, salsa, and ’50s rock ‘n’ roll every Thursday from May through August. 35 Ocean Road. 401-782-2597; thetowersri.com

Best Agricultural Expedition:
SWEET BERRY FARM, Middletown
Come for the market, relax for lunch, stroll the gardens, order a picnic supper, and stay for an open-air concert. When it’s time to go home, take a little bit of Sweet Berry Farm with you, from the pick-your-own strawberries, to the homemade ice cream, to the farm’s own sausage and smoked meats. 915 Mitchell’s Lane. 401-847-3912; sweetberryfarmri.com

Best History Escape:
SLATER MILL, Pawtucket
Sure, a phrase like “the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America” might sound stuffy, but expert tour guides take you into the lives of the 18th-century inventors who built Slater Mill and the 19th-century workers who ran the giant spinning and weaving machines that turned America into an economic powerhouse. 67 Roosevelt Ave. 401-725-8638; slatermill.org

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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