written by Brigid Shea.
“If you’re lucky enough to live in Rhode Island, you’re lucky enough.”
After my home of Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island was voted the 6th best island in the U.S., I started to think about how our little portion of the country resonated so much with those who visit. I’m currently in school in New York and seeing that article made me remember all the things that I love about my state. So here are some of the things that I miss whenever I leave Little Rhody.
1. The Beaches
Being able to walk to the beach from my house is something that I miss whenever I’m gone. Even if you can’t walk there, it’s never more than a 15-minute drive. Whether its summer time and I want to get a tan, or its fall or winter and I just want to take a walk by the water, having the ocean so close is one of the biggest perks of living in the smallest state.
2. Never having to go too far for anything
Like never having to drive for more than 15 minutes to get to a beach, you never really have to drive more than an hour to get, well, anywhere. I can get pretty much anywhere in the state in less than 45 minutes. This also makes us kind of spoiled because I know I get frustrated when it takes me the same amount of time to take the subway from 242nd Street to 66th and to drive from Newport to Providence.
3. The Big Blue Bug
Speaking of Providence, how could you not miss seeing Mr. Nibbles Woodaway while you’re driving down I-95? I know I miss seeing him, whether he’s looking dapper for Christmas or trying to beat the summer heat.
4. Downtown Newport
I’m definitely biased on this one, considering Newport is my hometown, but I think Downtown Newport is something that both native Rhode Islanders and visitors appreciate. While it turns into a tourist trap during the summer, it doesn’t take away from the sheer beauty of it. With breathtaking views of Narragansett Bay and some of the best seafood around, it’s definitely one of the best places in Rhode Island.
5. Let’s focus on the food now
From Brick Alley Pub in Newport to Al Forno in Providence, we definitely offer some great dining in our humble little state. For me, a trip back home wouldn’t be complete without clam chowder from The Black Pearl or a burger from Mission, both in Newport.
6. The Newport Creamery
Anyone who has ever been to Newport Creamery knows the power of a good Awful Awful. For those of you who don’t know, an Awful Awful (awful big, awful good) is the signature drink of Newport Creamery and is like a milkshake, but 100 times better. There is no better way to treat yourself than with this glorious drink. Newport Creamery is located not only in Newport but in various locations in Rhode Island as well as two in Massachusetts.
7. Christmas in Rhode Island
Even though business in Rhode Island definitely picks up in the summer, the winter is the time when I truly fall in love with this state. Snow covered sidewalks and beaches, Christmas lights everywhere and ice forming on the water may be the prettiest sight I can imagine. Even though it’s freezing, there is no way to avoid seeing the beauty of the state in winter.
8. The Newport Mansions
Really, who wouldn’t love to see Gilded Age mansions right down the street from their house? These mansions built in the 1800s for big names like the Vanderbilt’s and the Astor’s are a huge part of Rhode Island history and are proudly preserved in Newport.
9. Smallest State, Biggest Heart
We may be the smallest state, but we sure wear it proudly. There is so much character packed into our 1,212 square miles and so much history surrounding us every day. To take a very common phrase and make it my own: “If you’re lucky enough to live in Rhode Island, you’re lucky enough.”
Brigid Shea is a Newporter now studying at Manhattan College in New York City.