As you all know, We are just back from a fantastic trip to Rhode Island. An unforgettable adventure. One of my favourite trips so far this year. What a beautiful place to explore. We did so much from sailing in Newport and cycling the pictursque Block Island to exploring an Oyster Farm and going to a Waterfire Festival in Providence. Check out our experience on everything we did below. We flew for the first time with Norwegian and I can honestly say it was a very relaxed flight. There is no in-flight entertainment so I would recommend bringing a tablet with some movies or series downloaded on it, a power pack for back up or a good book. I am always the first person to fall asleep on a flight so I would also recommend bringing a travel pillow and light blanket. Norwegian fly a nonstop service three times per week from Cork Airport. Nothing is better then flying from your home city. What I love is both Cork Airport and TF Green Airport in Providence are extremely manageable. Both airports are small, friendly and easy to find your way around without any long walks to your gate. Flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and are very comfortable for the journey. The best part of it all is the price. Fares start from €129 one way / €219 return including all taxes and charges. If you want any extras such as a meal, checked luggage or seat reservation you can add those on for €65 each way. I like this as you just pay for what you want. You don’t have to pay for a meal or luggage automatically if you don’t want it. I would highly recommend booking with Norwegian. It honestly was the easiest international flight I have been on and it was even better to fly into my home city of Cork. If you are thinking of booking a trip with Norwegian, you can book on their website www.norwegian.com/ie or call 0330 828 0854.
You can do so much once you arrive. You can rent a car and explore Rhode Island like we did, explore Cape Cod, go to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard or even take a commuter train for €12 one way into Boston. If you are getting the train into Boston you get it from TF Green Airport and take it to either Back Bay or South Station and it will bring you directly into the heart of Boston. Also on your return to TF Green airport, be sure to check the timetable as some trains just go to Providence and not every train goes to TF Green. Just plan it well to insure you get on the right train back. You can book your ticket on the app MBTA but you need to activate it just before boarding. This can be stressful if you have no data trying to find wifi to activate your ticket but great if you have data!! You can alternatively book your ticket at the station or book your return ticket when you arrive at TF Green airport.
On this trip, we explored Rhode Island. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we then rented a car with Enterprise Rent-A-Car directly from TF Green Airport and explored Rhode Island.
Where We Stayed
We spent one night in Providence. We stayed in the beautiful Biltmore Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Providence. This landmark hotel was designed by the celebrated firm Warren and Wetmore, the architects behind New York City’s Grand Central Station. It honestly was an absolutely stunning hotel and extremely central for exploring Providence.
Where we Ate
- We ate in Circe restaurant on our first night in Rhode Island. The restaurant is a bright, stylish space for refined New American fare and updated comfort food. It also has a fabulous cocktail menu so the perfect start to your holiday.
- We ate in Rogue Restaurant in Providence for brunch the following morning. We heard it was one of the nicest places for brunch in Providence so we had to check it out. Rogue Island offers approachable farm to table cuisine in an informal atmosphere. Their menu changes regularly to highlight the ingredients of their local food system.
What We Did
- The night we arrived, there was a Waterfire Experience taking place in Providence. There was also a big foodie festival taking place so the atmosphere in Providence that night was electric. The Waterfire experience is an award-winning sculpture by Barnaby Evans installed on the three rivers of downtown Providence which features over eighty sparkling bonfires, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and enchanting music from around the world. We went on a boat up the river to explore a little closer up. It was a perfect start to our time in Rhode Island.
- The following morning we went on a self-guided tour of Providence. I always think, you need to walk a city and get lost in a city to really see it and find it’s gems. We stumbled upon the Providence Flea market which takes place every Sunday and is full with vintage treasures and local pieces by local artists and makers. It runs every Sunday between 10am – 4pm (June to September outside and it moves inside for the winter months).
Where We Stayed
We stayed in the Hampton Inn in South Kingstown. It was very comfortable and located perfectly to explore all of what South County had to offer.
Where we Ate
- We had Lunch at Matunuck Oyster Bar. I tried my very first Oyster and I was extremely surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Matunuck Oyster Bar unites fresh, locally grown produce with farm-raised and wild-caught seafood to make the freshest dishes you’ll find anywhere. The signature raw bar offers a variety of Rhode Island oysters, crisp cherrystones, littleneck clams, and jumbo shrimp. The Matunuck Oysters are grown in Potter Pond right off our waterfront patio and many of their herbs and vegetables are grown in their vegetable farm on the north end of the pond. We did a tour of the Oyster Farm before lunch and it was a great to taste the oysters afterwards.
- We had dinner in The Coast Guard House in Narragansett. In the late 1800’s, the United States Life Saving Service, now known as the US Coast Guard, built a station of solid granite perched overlooking Narragansett Bay. The architects, responsible for the resilient building, are the famed McKim, Mead & White. Today it is home to the Coast Guard House Restaurant, known for serving locally harvested seafood and offering a stunning and unrivalled view of Narragansett Bay.
What We Did
- We arrive at Matunuck Oyster Bar and went out onto Potters Pond for a tour of the Matunuck Oyster Farm with owner Perry Raso to learn about local aquaculture. I absolutely loved this tour. It was extremely interesting to see a working Oyster Farm and learn all about the process and work that takes place. Perry was a great guide and it was amazing to see what he has built and grown over the years. Very impressive.
- We went for an evening kayak at Narrow River Kayaks. We went on a guided tour up the river to the beach and explored the Chafee Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove. If you wish to paddle longer distances you can venture upstream to the kettle ponds and Gilbert Stuart Stream. There are so many tours available from sunrise tours, sunset tours and eco tours. You can also just rent a kayak or a paddle board yourself to venture out.
How we got there
We took the Traditional Speed Ferry with Block Island Ferry which took around 55 minutes. You can also take a fast ferry which takes around 30 minutes but I honestly would recommend the traditional ferry to enjoy the views. It was a very enjoyable journey with beautiful scenery all around. The views as you enter Block Island are just breathtaking. I think my favourite views on our trip in Rhode Island.
What we did
- We rented bikes as soon as we got off the boat with Island Moped and Bike and headed to explore block island. We cycled around the whole island and stopped off in a few places along the way. The island isn’t too big and it’s very manageable to cycle the full island. We stopped off in some incredible beaches along the way to cool off in the water before hopping back on our bikes again.
- We also went to Fort Island Kayak & Paddleboard for a paddleboarding experience. We picked up our paddle boards and off we went on an adventure. Such a relaxing and picturesque setting to head out on the water. A very peaceful environment.
- One of my favourite things was the Edward S. Payne Overlook at the Mohegan Bluffs. The views were incredible and a perfect spot to relax and cool off. We also stopped at the lighthouse just up from the Bluffs and enjoyed a frozen lemonade with a view. It was perfect.
Where We Stayed
- We stayed in the The Firehouse Inn, a recently renovated firehouse dating back a more than a century and known for lovely gourmet breakfasts. Maria was our host at the Inn and she made our stay extremely enjoyable. I can honestly say the breakfast in the Firehouse Inn was one of the nicest I have ever had. We stayed in the Firehouse Inn for two nights. The rooms were extremely comfortable and so nice to relax in after a busy day. We stayed in the studio and it was absolute luxury.
Where we Ate
- We had dinner at The Wharf Pub in Newport near the harbour. It is a rustic tavern featuring a raw bar and American comfort food and extensive collection of local and national craft beers. We both got delicious burgers and I even tasted the famous American Mac & Cheese.
What We Did
- Firstly, we enjoyed one of the most spectacular scenery on the East Coast along Newport’s 10-mile ocean road. We stopped off at Fort Adams State Park, where the fort lives on as an engineering and architectural masterpiece. From 1824 to 1950, Fort Adams housed generations of soldiers. Today, it is the largest, most sophisticated, most complex fortress in North America. We also saw Eisenhower House which is the late 19th-century home that served as the summer White House from 1958 – 1960.
- We then went to to The Breakers, the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn of the century America. We took a tour and the tours feature the lives of the people who lived and worked there, whether a family member, a servant, or a guest. The 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo was designed by prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt and though owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County, The Breakers continues to play host to some of the most prestigious events on the social calendar. I cannot even imagine this mansion being a summer home. The audio tour is at your own pace. You can arrive any time after 9am and the last tour admission is at 5pm. You can also do the tour in many languages.
- One of my favourite things to do in Newport was to explore Newports Cliff Walk. It is a 3.5-mile path along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean that also offers a sneak peek of manicured mansions grounds. A little tip is if you go past The Breakers to the coastline and take a left to enjoy the mansion heavy section of the walk. I loved that you had the spectacular coastal scenery on one side and a little taste of the mansions on the other side.
- Newport is the sailing capital of the world so we went to set sail on Schooner Madeleine, a 72-foot, three-masted sailing yacht, across exquisite Narragansett Bay which featured landmark sights including Goat Island, Fort Adams and Hammersmith Farm(site of the Kennedy wedding reception on Sept. 12, 1953).
- We went to experience the International Tennis Hall of Fame. A fascinating, beautiful property and museum featuring a diverse collection of memorabilia, art, video and more from the 14th century through today. The museum is housed within the stunning Victorian architecture at the 1880 Newport Casino, a McKim, Mead and White-designed complex which included shops, club rooms, a Horseshoe Piazza, sporting areas including a court tennis area, a theatre, restaurant and lodging. In 1881, it hosted the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships, which has evolved into today’s U.S. Open. The complex boasts the world’s oldest continuously used competition grass courts.
- We then went to the neighbouring Middletown for a wine tasting at Newport Vineyards. This vineyard is New England’s largest grower of wine grapes. Wander through the heart of the winery and outdoors to the vineyards. Public tours are only at 1pm and 3pm. We arrived on a night when a live band was playing so we sat down and enjoyed the vineyards, a glass of wine and some music. The perfect end to the day.
- We also explored the area with Rail Explorers. We took a tour with Rail Explorers and experienced the magic of the railroad like never before! What I loved about it was you got amazing views as you went along the railroad. It was simple breathtaking. It is a very enjoyable experience and not too strenuous to use. It’s a lovely relaxed pace. You can enjoy an unforgettable scenic ride along historic Aquidneck Island and spectacular Narragansett Bay. They offer two tours. First the ‘The Northern Ramble’ – a six mile exploration of the historic railroad between Portsmouth and the Sakonnet River. A one way tour with shuttle bus back. The second tour is ‘The Southern Circuit’ – a six mile round trip tour (3 miles out, 3 miles back).
We had a fantastic time on this trip. As you can see, we did so much and experienced a lot. I would highly recommend a visit to Rhode Island. There is so much to do and lots of choice. I would also like to say Thank You to Norwegian for partnering with me on this post and to the Rhode Island tourist board for inviting me on this incredible trip!