50 States in 50 Days, Day 9: Rhode Island

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In honor of me having achieved my goal of visiting all 50 US States, each day for the next 50 days, I will post a picture of somewhere I have visited in each state and write a paragraph or two about my experience. There is so much to see in every one of them, so I am just selecting one of my best memories. 

One of my best friends in grade school was much shorter than the rest of our classmates. He was often teased about his diminutive stature. Despite the ribbing, he remained unflappable and would merely respond with “dynamite comes in little packages.” While the “Ocean State” of Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the union but there’s dynamite in its tiny packaging.

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While most of the state is inland and not an Island. Given the state’s compact size a beach is never far away.

Most of Rhode Island is inland and not an island. The official name of the states is “Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations.” Eventually, the colonists just shorted the name to Rhode Island. There are two theories about how the Rhode Island was so named one theory is that Italian explorer Giovanni Verrazano thought one of the islands in Providence Harbor reminded him of the Greek Island of Rhodes. The other theory is that local Dutch settlers notice several of the Bay Islands had reddish soil and named it “Rodich Eylande” and the name is an English vulgarization of the Dutch name.

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Narragansett Bay makes up almost a fifth of the Rhode Islands total area and roughly divides the state in two.  The bay is filled with small Islands. No one is certain which one was the original Rhodes or Red island. Boating is an excellent way to get around as the bay makes access to almost anywhere in the state a sinch.

The capital city of Providence is located at the end of Narragansett Bay and is by far the states largest city. The town has a beautiful harbor pedestrian mall which is loaded with shops and restaurants. The view of the skyline makes a great backdrop.

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Providence glows in the harbor reflection.

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Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams who was exiled by the Puritans in Massachusetts because of his views of religious tolerance. Many colonial-era churches of many denominations are still standing.

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Rhode Island in Newport. In the late nineteenth century, Newport, Rhode Island was the summer home of some of the nations wealthiest industrialists. They built opulent mansions that served as cathedrals to conspicuous consumption. These insular palaces were a far cry from the abject slums many of those in their employ inhabited. Vulture Capitalism notwithstanding, these mansions are actually quite fascinating to explore.

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Sure, I am laying on the class conflict think kind of thick. But having said that these homes are a feast to the eyes.

My favorite memory of Rhode Island is exploring the harbor area of Providence and driving around the bay and exploring the mansions of Newport. Given the compact size, you can easily do this in a day, but get up early because you will most likely find more to do than you have planned.

 

 

 

 

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