Posted by: Larry Socha, Consular Officer
Rhode Island is the smallest U.S. state but has a big concentration of historic sites and exciting activities. It’s only 60 kilometers across which means that on I-95, the large interstate that connects New York City and Boston, you can cross the state in under an hour by car. However, it’s worth taking an exit.
Newport ranks as one of the state’s major tourism destinations. The town is home to the Touro Synagogue – the oldest surviving synagogue building in North America. Since the time of the colony’s founder, Roger Williams, religious freedom has been part of the state’s history. The state’s oldest Catholic Church is located in Newport as well. A young Jacqueline Bouvier married the handsome John F. Kennedy in the church in 1953. They celebrated their wedding reception at Hammersmith Farm – one of the many mansions built in Newport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Several of these beautiful homes are open to the public today as museums.
Block Island is another favorite vacation spot in the state. In early summer, the island comes alive for Race Week in which over 100 boats race from Stamford, CT, down Long Island Sound, and around Block Island. Spectators can catch glimpses of the passing boats from one of the island’s many beaches. Captains beware, however, as the waters around the island are home to many shipwrecks including a Nazi submarine sunk by the U.S. Navy in 1945. The island has two picturesque lighthouses – one at the sandy northern end of the island and one atop the 56 meter Mohegan Bluffs at the southeast corner of the island. Both still function.
A summer day along the coast of Rhode Island is a relaxing break from the busy cities of the East Coast. Grab some sunglasses and some friends, and your ocean escape is only a few kilometers away.