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For being the nation’s smallest state, Rhode Island has the largest number of historical attractions than any other. When you add the miles of scenic trails, lush, rolling vineyards, museums and live theater, Rhode Island serves as an excellent vacation destination for either a quick getaway or a prolonged visit.
A visit to the city of Pawtucket starts off your journey of discovery through Rhode Island; Pawtucket was founded in the late 18th century and is the birthplace of the modern textile industry. Pawtucket is also the site of some incredible natural beauty, and it’s situated between Narragansett Bay and the Blackstone Falls.
Riverboat cruises are available to take you sightseeing down the serene Blackstone River, and harbor cruises on plush, Euro-style ferries take you across either Narragansett Bay or Providence Harbor. After you return to shore, hit up the Modern Diner which is a 1930s-style diner built inside a Streamliner. The Modern Diner is the first diner to be put on the National Register of Historic Places, and the food is excellent!
Next on the itinerary is the city of Woonsocket in the north part of the state, a mere 16 miles away. Hop on the northbound I-95, then 4 miles later you’ll come to the northbound I-295 which takes you the rest of the way into Woonsocket. This is one of the cleanest, best-manicured towns you’re likely to visit anywhere. The surrounding woodlands provide plenty of opportunities to hike, camp and the river path is a beautiful environment to take a leisurely stroll. River fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in Woonsocket, as is kayaking and canoeing. In the winter, the river freezes over and becomes a natural ice skating rink, drawing locals to skim back and forth between its banks. One historic site you might want to stop and visit is the Stadium Theater, which has been restored to its original 1926 movie palace condition, featuring brilliant woodwork and finely-detailed design.
Heading west on the RI-102 for 10 miles takes you into the city limits of Chepachet, one of the antiquing capitals of Rhode Island. There are many shops to explore, plus, the city is the home of the historic Brown & Hopkins Country Store, the oldest country store in the U.S. Local vineyards in nearby Cumberland offer wine tasting and the surrounding Blackstone Valley is filled with opportunities to enjoy some of the most beautiful countryside in New England.
Your final stop of Hopkinton awaits you, a mere 14 miles south. Take the I-102 for 10 miles, then merge with the RI-3 for 4 miles until you get to Hopkinton. Hopkinton is actually composed of the small villages of Ashaway, Hope Valley and Hopkinton City. This area is a throwback to the “good old days” when things were simpler, the pace slower, and the people were friendlier. Hopkinton is filled to its borders with craft shops, antique stores and old-school general markets. Other activities in the region include kayaking and freshwater fishing in the Wood River, and there’s a great view from a 70-foot bluff that overlooks the water and forests.
For such a small state, Rhode Island certainly packs enough in to keep visitors coming back for more!