48 Hours in Rhode Island – Our Visit to the Ocean State

Planning a trip to Rhode Island, aka the Ocean State in the near future? Gene and I just got back this week and had a great time. If you are planning a your own trip, let me share some ideas, and things we did during our 48 hours in Rhode Island. We actually landed in Providence and stayed in an Airbnb not too far from the airport. It was late so we just got settled in and got ready to head to Newport early the next morning. We had never been to Rhode Island, so I was so ready to explore the next day.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Misc 2

Newport is a really cute seaside city about 33 miles southeast of Providence. The city has a total area of 11.4 square miles, of which 7.7 square miles is land and 3.7 square miles, or 32.64%, is water. It is most known for its historic mansions as well as its rich sailing history. The White Horse Tavern in Newport was built prior to 1673 and is one of the oldest taverns in the US. The city of Newport is also home to the Touro Synagogue, one of the oldest Jewish houses of worship in the Western hemisphere. Newport also has the nation’s oldest lending libraries, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Misc 3

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, wealthy southern planters seeking to escape the heat began to build summer cottages on Bellevue Avenue. Around the middle of the century, wealthy northerners, such as the Wetmore family, began construction on even larger mansions. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the nation’s wealthiest families were summering in Newport, including the Vanderbilts, Astors, and the Widener family. In the mid-19th century, a large number of Irish immigrants settled in Newport. The Fifth Ward of Newport in the southern part of the city became a staunch Irish neighborhood for many generations. To this day, St. Patrick’s Day is an important day of pride and celebration in Newport, with a large parade down Thames Street.  We were there in early March and they were definitely getting ready. 🙂

48 hours in Rhode Island - Easton Beach

With so much history it is easy to see why so many visit the city each year. We decided to start our 48 hours in Rhode Island by visiting Easton Beach, aka First Beach. It is located right near the Cliff Walk and was a wonderful way to start our exporation of Newport.  We parked the car and walked around a little bit taking a few pictures and just enjoying the view. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Easton Beach is the only beach in Newport. They do make it enjoyable to visit, with free use of over sand wheelchairs, rental cabañas, rental beach chairs, surf boards, boogie boards and umbrellas. They also have a children’s playground, covered picnic pavilion, seasonal snack bar, and a beach store with souvenirs. Public restrooms, indoor and outdoor cold water showers are available. FYI, no dogs permitted Memorial Day through Oct. 1.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Easton Beach

After walking around a bit we decided to head to their famous cliff walk. It is a 3.5 mile with picturesque ocean views, crashing waves and the perfect amount of sea breeze on one side and stunning, century-old, Gilded Age mansions on the other. It was breathtaking and wished I’d had the energy to do more walking then we did. FYI, The northern half of Cliff Walk begins at Memorial Boulevard just before Easton’s Beach and continues south with entrances at Narragansett Avenue by Forty Steps, Webster Street, Shepard Avenue and Ruggles Avenue. This is often considered the easiest portion to traverse, with paved pathways and a flat terrain making a walk, jog or run feel attainable to the average person. It gets rougher the further you go. We didn’t do that part, lol. Here is a link to the map. I was in awe watching the huge waves crashing against the rocks. It was definitely the highlight of our 48 hours in Rhode Island.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Bridge

While driving around Newport we came across Claiborne Pell Bridge, more commonly called the Newport Bridge, as well as the Goat Island Lighthouse, more commonly known as the Newport Lighthouse. I love both bridges and lighthouses, so this was so cool to see. The Newport Bridge, is a suspension spans the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island (northeastern United States). The bridge connects the city of Newport on Aquidneck Island and the Town of Jamestown on Conanicut Island. It is named for longtime Rhode Island U.S. senator Claiborne Pell who lived in Newport. The Goat Island Light was built in 1842 and is known for its green light visible from across the bay at night. Unfortunatly we weren’t there at night, but it would have been cool to see.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Bens Chili Dogs

By this time we were quite ready for a quick lunch and tried a suggestion from a local. We checked out a local hot dog place called Ben’s Chili Dogs. I know it doesn’t scream Rhode Island, but we wanted something quick that we could eat while exploring the area.  After quickly eating we walked around and I ended up getting a couple of souvenirs. Later we drove around the city some more checking out different areas. We ended up heading toward the mansions. I wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Marble House

The one mansion I had heard about a lot is called the Marble House. I love marble and that was probably why I clued into that one so quickly, lol  In actuality, the Marble House was built by William Vanderbilt and given to his wife Alva as a 39th birthday gift. What a gift, huh? Today the house is open to the public and they offer daily tours. Here is a link to their website if you would like to plan your own tour one day. We didn’t do a tour, but I did have a nice time walking around the front of the property and taking a few pictures.

48 hours in Rhode Island - White Horse Tavern

After touring the mansion area, where there are quite a few, we decided to check out the oldest tavern in all of the U.S. It is called the White Horse Tavern, was established in 1673 and is acknowledged as the 10tholdest in the world. Originally constructed as a two-story, two-room residence for Francis Brinley, it has only had 9 owners in its 350 year history. It was too early for dinner and we weren’t dressed for a nice dinner, so we just sat in the bar and had a drink. The bartender was related to one of the former owners and had some many great stories. We could have set there talking to her for hours, but they got busy and we decided to head back toward Providence to have dinner.  Here is a link to more information of you would like to read more about the White Horse Tavern History. It is quite interesting for sure.

We made it back to Providence but so happy that we spent the first part of our 48 hours in Rhode Island visiting the city of Newport. We ended up having dinner and a craft beer at a wonderful placed called The Malted Barley. They have craft beer, as well as soup, salads, sandwiches, etc. However, what they are known for are their gourmet pretzels. Gene had me at pretzels, lol. We walked up and I thought I recognized the sign out front, but also figured I may have seen it when we were driving around getting to or from our Airbnb. However, after we walked in, I felt like I had been there before, which of course we hadn’t. Then I remembered why it looked familiar. I had seen it a year or so before on a YouTube video by vloggers I follow named Matt and Nat. They had visited the brewery/restaurant while in Providence and filmed part of their time there. Here is a link to their video if you want to check it out. Anyway, we ordered a couple of beers, a sandwich and of course a pretzel. Everything was so amazing and we hoped to make it back there later in our trip. Sadly we didn’t, but it’s definitely on our list for the next time we are in the area again.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Capitol 1

Sadly the next morning we got up late due to a few too many beers and pretzels. Not the way we wanted to start the second day of 48 hours in Rhode Island. but we got ready quickly and made our way to the Rhode Island State House.  They do have 2 guided tours a day but the timing didn’t work for other plans we had that day. We were able to do a self- guided tour and learned a lot about its history. The capitol was built between 1895 and 1904, is Rhode Island’s seventh state house and the second in Providence. It is constructed of Georgian marble with one of the largest self-supported marble domes in the world. The Rhode Island State House is constructed of 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble, 15 million bricks, and 1,309 short tons of iron floor beams. The dome is the fourth largest self-supported marble dome in the world. If you only have 48 hours in Rhode Island, I highly suggest visiting the state house if you are into state history.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Capitol 2

After leaving the state capitol we decided to grab an early lunch and headed to Providence Burger Bar. It is a local place near the capitol and they have some delicious burgers served on potato buns.  We were there early in the day and it was still quiet, but I imagine that place gets crazy busy on game night as they have 18+ big screen tv’s. That would be fun. Check them out if you are in the area. I don’t think you would be disappointed.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Roger Willaims 1

After our tasty lunch, we made our way to Roger Williams Park. I had heard a lot about this place and was looking forward to exploring it a little. Sadly it was sprinkling while we were there, and everything was still closed for the season.  We didn’t let a little rain stop us from exploring what we could and saw a lot of the HUGE park. It is stated to have 435 beautiful acres, including 100 acres of lakes. The park is named after Roger Williams, the founder of the city of Providence and the primary founder of the state of Rhode Island. During non-winter hours are there are so many things to do in the park. Here are just a few:

48 hours in Rhode Island - Roger Willaims 3

  • The Gateway Visitor Center on Broad Street
  • The Roger Williams Park Zoo
  • The Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium
  • The Roger Williams Park Botanical Center
  • Japanese Gardens
  • Victorian Rose Gardens
  • The Dalrymple Boathouse and boat rentals
  • The Carousel Village
  • The “Hasbro Boundless Playground” which is accessible for handicapped children
  • The Temple to Music
  • The Roger Williams Park Casino
  • The Providence Police Department’s Mounted Command Center
  • Historical tours
  • Miles of walking paths

48 hours in Rhode Island - Roger Willaims 2

Like I said a lot was closed, but we did check out Carousel Village, the Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. The gardens were so beautiful and peaceful since there weren’t many other people around. It sort of reminded me of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio, Texas.  There are also many lakes in the park and we actually saw a swan swimming around probably looking for food. Never expected to see a live swan as the only swans I had heard about were the swan boats that can be rented during decent weather. It was exciting driving around the park, and walking through the gardens. Hopefully the next time we are there it will be a little warmer.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Brown University

Being in Providence made us think about the fact that it is the home of Brown University. With that in mind we decided to take a quick drive around the campus and see what we could see. First things first the campus is HUGE. I don’t know how everyone figures out where they are going, especially as a new student. Secondly there were a lot of Asians walking around the campus and neighborhood, thus also a lot of Asian restaurants. I was a little surprised at first, but I shouldn’t have been. My bad. However, the one thing we both felt very OLD. We are both near 60 and seeing these 20  years old made us feel ancient, lol. But it was fun to drive around, take a few pictures, and wonder how many people thought we were there to visit a child or grandchild who attended the school, lol.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Soup

By the time we left the park we were getting a little hungry, and decided to take a locals suggestion on the best place to try clam chowder. She suggested Hemenways Restaurant in downtown Providence. It was a little pricey and definitely while table cloth worthy, but we really wanted to try some good Clam Chowder. We ended up trying the Rhode Island Clam Chowder which is basically New England Clam Chowder without the cream. I was a little hesitant in the beginning, but I do try to be more adventurous while traveling, so why not? It was phenomenal and very flavorful. I would definitely go back just for the Clam Chowder. I really want to try the New England style the next time. If the Rhode Island style was that good, I can’t imagine how good the New England style would taste.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Narragansett Brewery

Sadly our 48 hours in Rhode Island. and Providence was slowly coming to an end, but we did one more fun thing before heading back to our Airbnb to pack. We visited another craft brewery suggested by a former Rhode Island local who now lives in Colorado. He gave us the suggestion of checking out Narragansett Brewery and we are so glad we did. We walked in and they were in the middle of trivia night! We love trivia night. I am not too good, but Gene really is good and one of the topics was about the craft brewing process. We did really well on this section. I sucked on the music section. I can sing a song word for word and not know the name of it (unless it’s obvious) or the band. Gene did better on this section for sure. The beer(s) were wonderful and the atmosphere was great. It was just what we were looking for our last night in town. I am so glad I remembered this suggestion.

48 hours in Rhode Island - Misc 4

As I said before, sadly our 48 hours in Rhode Island had to come to an end eventually but we had a wonderful time exploring our 49th state and look forward to hopefully visiting the area again soon maybe during the spring or early summer (before it get too hot, lol).  If you have someplace that we have to visit the next time we are in the area, please leave us a comment and I will add it to our ever growing to-do list. Lol. Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip and learning a little bit about the Ocean State.


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