A Travel Guide to Rhode Island
Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut on its western border with Massachusetts capping it to the north and bordering it to the east. The smallest state in North America also shares the water of New York's Long Island on its the southwest. The capital of this ‘Ocean State’ is Providence.
Providence is one of the few capitals of the United States that does not have a Governor’s Mansion. However, it does have some beautiful civic buildings such as the prominent Rhode Island State House with a dome styled on the dome that forms part of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The elegant, cupola marbled City Hall that houses portraits of the founding fathers as well as an old writing desk used by the late George Washington and the art deco of the Industrial Trust Building.
The most beautiful mansions in Rhode Island are truly beautiful and lie in Newport’s Bellevue Avenue Historic District. The first is Elms, a French Chateau that once belonged to a powerful coal magnate. This grand home contains a magnificent array of historic splendour throughout its marbled rooms including the grand ballroom, conservatory and grand hallway. There are also two upper floors – the second housing bedrooms belonging to the landed gentry and the third where the servants resided. You get a real sense of understanding of the upstairs/downstairs relationship of servants and their fortune-favoured masters to whom they served.
Even grander is the seventy roomed former residence of Cornelius Vanderbilt II called the Breakers. Its value today would estimate at approximately Ł200 million. There are video tours that detail this grand house and its magnificent contents including the High Ceilinged Great Hall and the platinum leafed wall panelled Morning Room.
Last but not least is Marble House that alike Elms is also marbled – golden marbled from floor to ceiling. The Dining Room is laid with red marble with gilded bronze chairs and a grand table that could easily seat the entourage of a royal. There is also a Gold Room so called for its elaborate carvings of the soft metal and the Gothic room, distinctive but more sombre in style.
All three of these residences can be visited throughout the year and there is a special concessionary rate. There are also other mansions that can be visited in the summer and some of them can also be included to the above tour concession for an added charge.
There are beautiful hikes that can be taken alongside the Cliff Walk that overlooks the ocean and beaches that are available throughout the late spring to early autumn season. There are also boats available for tour at Newport Harbour – ideal for a spot of seawater fishing to bait a bass or fishermen can move more inland to lure freshwater trout.
These are just a few of the many activities that can be enjoyed at Rhode Island and there is plenty of self catering vacation rental accommodation available from beachfront homes on the coast to period styled townhouses in the cities.