Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blog Trotting - Tour of Rhode Island

Blogtrotting is a virtual travel blog hosted by Cara that offers bloggers around the world the chance to share a tour of their state or country with others.  What a fun way to learn about other places and people!  Although I was born and raised in nearby Massachusetts, I'm happy to bring you on a tour of my current state, Rhode Island:

RI is known for being the smallest state in the U.S.  In fact, on a non-traffic day, you could travel by car from one end of the state to the other in about 2 hours! 

We have many beautiful beaches and coastal areas in RI and our state is known for everything from the weird and tacky to the traditional and sophisticated:

The Big Blue Bug aka Nibbles Woodaway (Mascot of New England Pest Control ) perches high on a building overlooking Interstate 95 going through our capitol of Providence. He is often decorated for various holidays and has "starred" in movies shot here, such as Dumb and Dumber.

Del's Frozen Lemonade -- a cross between an Italian ice and a Slushie -- just lemon, sugar, and bits of lemon peel make it something to look forward to during the warmer months.  Flavors and state locations have expanded over the years.

Coffee Syrup -- Autocrat makes this popular syrup along with the Eclipse brand.   Here in RI/Southeastern MA locals enjoy their coffee milk and coffee cabinets (like a milkshake).  I have to ship my mother huge bottles of this treat since she has retired to Florida. 

Distinct Accent -- like our neighbors in Boston, MA; depending on where in RI you are from there can be a distinct accent -- sounds like we live in "Vo Dylan."

Foster/Glocester --two rural, woodsy towns who share a school district and are infamous to locals for always being the first to cancel schools when it snows.  They often get the most white stuff and their tricky rural roads aren't easy to plow and get buses through.

Seafood -- we take it for granted here, but those who move away, like my Mom to Florida, really miss the local seafood -- fish and chips, scallops, lobster, and clam boils. Though nowadays we might not eat as much  fried foods as we once did here, summer isn't complete without New England clam cakes and chowder. There are popular little "clam shacks" throughout the state only open during the summer season, such as Evelyn's in Tiverton (featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) and Flo's in Newport.

New England Clam Chowder and Clam Cakes

Some Notable Locations and Residents:

Providence -- the capitol city where many commute from nearby suburbs, including MA to work.  Large concerts and sporting events like those involving the Providence College Friars (basketball) are held at the original Providence Civic Center, now called the "Dunk" because it was renamed the Dunkin Donuts Center in 2001. Not all Rhode Islanders were pleased about this change.  Although there are over 150 Dunkin Donuts locations in our small state, this sponsorship seems to be a bit much.

Brown University is one of our shining stars on the historic east side of Providence, where there are many beautiful tudor and victorian homes.  The lovely Swan Point Cemetery is where RI born writer H.P. Lovecraft  is buried along with other RI notables.

Brown University

H.P. Lovecraft

Trinity Repertory Company in Providence is the main venue for plays and local theatre -- every year they produce a different version of A Christmas Carol there.

The Providence Performing Arts Center, affectionately known as PPAC, is the place to see traveling broadway shows -- just a few months ago I finally saw Wicked on its second journey to Providence.

Providence Performing Arts Center
 The city of Pawtucket, RI is home to HASBRO toy company's corporate headquarters, where I once worked years ago as a secretary. Hasbro is well-known for Mr. Potato Head (there he is standing outside of Corporate headquarters), My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, Playskool Brands, and the Milton-Bradley family of games.

Mr. Potato Head - Mascot of Hasbro Headquarters


Besides the Providence College Friars basketball team, Providence is also home to the Providence Bruins -- minor league team to the Boston Bruins.

Providence Bruins Hockey
 The city of Pawtucket is home to McCoy Stadium, where the Pawtucket Red Sox play, the minor league team to the Boston Red Sox.

Pawtucket Red Sox play at McCoy Stadium

I have saved my very favorite area in Rhode Island for last --- Newport, RI, famous for its dozen or so Newport Mansions built along the Atlantic Ocean around the turn of the 20th century. Wealthy socialites and ship traders from New York (the Vanderbuilts for instance) built these outrageously extravagant mansions to serve as their "summer cottages" and were only used 2-3 months during the summer social season.  It's a beautiful place to visit, especially decorated during the holiday season or in the summer when you can walk along the property and "pretend" you are looking back at your own home.  At least that's what I like to do! 

A Newport Mansion

Boating and sailing are also a popular past time in Rhode Island, and Newport has hosted the America's Cup race several times.

As with all locations, there is always so much more!  Check out:  Visit Rhode Island

Thanks for joining me!
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  1. Wait, Rhode Island isn't an island? (kidding!)

    A good friend of mine is from RI and she definitely has the accent. She has told me a lot about your state, though, and I have always wanted to visit. I just can't imagine living in those big mansions! One of these days I'll get up there. Maybe my daughter will go to Brown! In 16 years. :)

    Great tour! And thanks for being a part of BlogTrotting!

  2. Cara,

    I left you a reply on your blog, but thought you brought up a great point about Rhode "Island" that I wanted to copy part of my reply here:

    Aquidneck Island (now Newport and surrounding cities) was the original Rhode Island, so yes, it is an island! The rest of RI used to be called Providence Plantations. Thanks for bringing that up!

  3. Great post! Isn't it fun to blog about your home state or city?! When I did mine, I realized all I had taken for granted here in central Ohio! Rhode Island looks beautiful! I have travelled all over the US, except up in the New England states. One day...

    Best of luck with your studies and career plans!

  4. I have been to Rhode Island, but just once. I ate dinner at a gorgeous home when I was about 10 years old. I remember being in awe of the place :) I wonder where that was?

    I didn't realize just exactly how much coastline you all have - wow, quite a bit. You've got me itching to go exploring your fair state. I'd love to wander the mansion properties. :)

    Thank you!
    Kristin - The Goat

  5. What a great tour - thanks for sharing!