I am practically evangelical about my home state. Lots of people have hometown pride and feel connected to the place that raised them, but I feel that way about my entire state.
Visit Rhode Island
Of course, it’s not difficult to feel a connection on the state level when you’re from Rhode Island. Often overlooked, Rhode Island is the smallest of the United States.
And, when I travel, I make a point of educating the people I meet about its existence. Maybe it would be easier to say I’m from Boston, where I’ve lived for four years, but I’ve met too many people who thought Rhode Island was a part of New York (they were thinking of Long Island, which, I’m sorry, isn’t super flattering) to give up that easily.
One way that I’ve worked to set the record straight over the years is by showing people around when they visit Rhode Island. They can see what my state has to offer and hopefully fall in love with this quirky, little place. Or at least learn enough about it so they can poke fun at something other than its size.
Providence, Rhode Island
There is a ritual to introducing people to Rhode Island. We drive into the state on Route 95 South passing through Providence, which refers to itself as “the creative capital” because of its thriving arts scene fueled by students at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design – one of the best art schools in the country.
In 2012, Travel + Leisure even named Providence “America’s Favorite Food City,’ so sometimes we’ll stop and get dinner, but usually we keep driving because I’m from Southern Rhode Island.
(Yes, it only takes an hour to drive the length of the state, but we still divide it into Northern and Southern.)
Rhode Island Beaches
Rhode Island is the Ocean State, and I grew up just a 10-minute drive from the beach, so, this is the part of my home that I most enjoy sharing with friends. It doesn’t matter if you visit in the summertime or not, on Emma Holliday’s Tour of Rhode Island, we take to the sea. We might go to Narragansett Beach and walk along the seawall or stop at The Coast Guard House for a drink overlooking the water.
Narragansett Rhode Island
More often than not though, we’ll go to Black Point. The parking lot is unassuming and the sign reads “Black Point Fishing Area,” but the name doesn’t tell the full story. If you follow the path into the woods for just a few minutes, you’ll find yourself on a rugged rocky coastline.
The ocean will spread out before you, the waves will crash, and you’ll breathe the salty sea air. You might see some people fishing, as the parking lot’s sign foretold, but others will simply be walking or sunbathing. There might be children tiptoeing through tide pools trying to catch crabs or marveling at periwinkles with their parents. If you come with me to Black Point in the wintertime, though, we may be the only people there.
Black Point, Rhode Island
Black Point is where my high school friends and I went to talk and do nothing, as teenagers do. It’s where I’d walk my dog when she was younger and more nimble, but now her snout has gone gray and her quivering hind legs can’t handle the uneven terrain.
This is where my high school sweetheart and I would have picnics and plan our future together. It was “our” spot. It’s where we went post-break up, when we hoped to still be friends. I brought my best friend from college there and she cut her foot up while hopping around on the rocks, but she was pre-med, so, she just patched herself up and recalls Black Point fondly.
I brought my current boyfriend there when we first started dating. It was almost a test: If he likes Black Point, he likes Rhode Island. If he likes Rhode Island, this relationship has staying power.
He likes Black Point.
This spot has changed over time – there’s more graffiti now than when I first visited. But this is still where I go when I go home. To feel at home.
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Emma Holliday is a freelance writer and travel blogger who likes drinking tea, petting puppies, and analyzing representations of women in media. When she’s not busy wishing she were a polyglot, she’s backpacking Europe, working on an organic farm in Hawai’i, or planning her next misadventure. Read more of Emma’s writing on her blog, An Opportune Moment.