Top Tips For Exploring Rhode Island

Many of you have messaged us about our Rhode Island trip last summer so we decided to put together all our top tips for you to explore. For a more detailed blog and video on everything we got up to and where we stayed, you can check it out here. We did so much from sailing in Newport and cycling the picturesque Block Island to exploring an Oyster Farm and tickling our taste buds in outstanding restaurants.

Our Top Tips
  • Book a table at Circe restaurant in Providence, 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.
  • For breakfast in Providence, check out Rogue Restaurant. 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.
  • Go 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.
  • Check out 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).
  • In South County, book lunch at Matunuck Oyster Bar. It is very popular so be sure to book ahead. 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.
  • Another fab dinner spot in South County is 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.
  • While in South County, be sure to go out on Potters Pond for a tour of the Matunuck Oyster Farm with owner Perry Raso to learn about local aquaculture. It was extremely interesting to see a working Oyster Farm and learn all about the process and work that takes place. Perry is a great guide and it is amazing to see what he has built and grown over the years.
  • Get out on the water in the beautiful South County. We would recommend an evening kayak at Narrow River Kayaks. Take a guided tour up the river to the beach and explore 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.
  • Block Island is a must in Rhode Island. It is one of the most amazing experiences. Take a Traditional Speed Ferry with Block Island Ferry which took around 55 minutes. The views as you enter Block Island are just breathtaking. Rent bikes as soon as you arrive  and go explore block island. Cycle around the whole island and stop off in a few places along the way. The island isn’t too big and it’s very manageable to cycle the full island. Stop off in some incredible beaches along the way to cool off in the water before hopping back on our bikes again. We would also recommend going paddle boarding with Fort Island Kayak & Paddleboard.  A very peaceful environment. One of our favourite places on the island was the Edward S. Payne Overlook at the Mohegan Bluffs. The views were incredible and a perfect spot to relax and cool off. Be sure to stop at the lighthouse just up from the Bluffs and enjoy a frozen lemonade with a view.
  • In Newport, if you are staying overnight, we would highly recommend The Firehouse Inn. A recently renovated firehouse dating back a more than a century and known for lovely gourmet breakfasts.
  • In Newport, take a road trip along the East Coast along Newport’s 10-mile ocean road. Absolutely beautiful scenery.
  • When in Newport, you have to check out the mansions. We would recommend going 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. 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.
  • The Newport Cliff Walk is a must. 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. You have 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 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).
  • Head to Newport’s 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.
  • While in this area of Middletown, take a tour with Rail Explorers and experienced the magic of the railroad like never before! 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).

If you have been to Rhode Island and have any more tips to add to the list, we would love to hear them. Just leave a comment below on your favourite things to explore in Newport. 

The content gathered in the post was created on a press trip with Cork Airport, tourism boards in Rhode Island and Norwegian Air.

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