Celebrated annually on October 5, National Rhode Island Day marks the last colony to join the Union. If you’re visiting, or even just dreaming about Rhode Island, tag #NationalRhodeIslandDay to share on social media.
At a glance, Rhode Island seems to comprise entirely of museums and historic sites. Admiring day-dreamers wander along Newport’s famous Cliff Walk to view ornate mansions, former summer-cottages to the Old Money. Many have been lovingly restored to their former glory and offer a glimpse of life in the Gilded Age. A jewel in Newport’s crown, Belcourt Mansion is one of these magnificent buildings that celebrate Rhode Island history and culture. Rhode Island-born Carolyn Rafaelian, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of worldwide lifestyle brand ALEX AND ANI, is working to return Belcourt to its original splendor. Inspired by the first lady of the house, Alva Vanderbilt, Carolyn is in the process of reviving the mansion’s faded grandeur with a breath of fresh air.
The Preservation Society of Newport County showcases a quiver of magnificent properties, all worth a visit. The Breakers, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau sur Mer, and Hunter House feature among the list of breath-taking historic residences. Also on the Society’s list, the Green Animals Topiary Garden is a wonderland of vegetative fantasy. Superintendent Gardeners Joseph Carreiro and George Mendonca were responsible for creating the topiaries. The gardens contain more than eighty pieces of topiary sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood, including ornamental designs, geometric figures, animals and birds.
Another Rafaelian project, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, is proudly recognized as New England’s oldest vineyard. Founded in 1975, Sakonnet has produced award-winning wines for over four decades. The grapes are all grown locally, picked by hand, and barrel-aged in oak from France, Hungary, Russia, and America. Salty sea breezes, occasional rains, and rolling fog all lend unmistakable, prominent flavors to the grapes, resulting in unique wines sought-after by connoisseurs from around the world.
For a luxury getaway, head out to Ocean House in the historic town of Westerly. A dramatically beautiful historical retreat and unforgettable seaside refuge, Ocean House is dedicated to rest and relaxation. Guests enjoy gourmet meals, spectacular views, and traditional activities like lobster boil. One of the only Forbes Five-Star-rated spas in the country, OH! Spa at the Ocean House pays tribute to the local abundance of the gardens and ocean to provide everything from sea salt scrubs, lavender-infused body treatments, and marine mud wraps. Ocean House Rhode Island maintains a partnership with Wings Air for those wishing to drop in by helicopter from New York or Boston.
Known as the Ocean State, Rhode Island boasts over 650km of coastline with numerous public and private beaches along its tiny 3140 square kilometer area. Despite being the smallest state, Rhode Island has an abundance of enviable ocean views and the promise of adventure.