If you’re like me and always thirsting for new experiences, sometimes it can feel like summer in Rhode Island consists of the same old things: arguments over the best frozen lemonade, a trip to the beach, sitting in traffic for the beach, etc. But have no fear, fellow lovers of all things Rhody, I’ve been working on expanding a list of things to do this summer that’s outside the box.
First and foremost, let’s get wet. While we all have our own favorite beach, there are other ways to participate on or in the water without going to the ocean. First and foremost, rent a kayak from Providence River Kayaks and cruise down the Providence river and get up close and personal with the city. Bonus points if you can talk about how Buddy Cianci uncovered the rivers with anyone who will listen. But, remember, if kayaking isn’t your thing and you’d rather have someone else drive the boat, La Gondola is back and booking tours now. You can even bring your own food and drinks. Also, I have to give a shout-out to the Providence-Newport Ferry, which is returning for the 2021 season, and also, I know it’s a weird thing to brag about if you’d lived in Rhode Island for “forever” and never been to Block Island, but if you haven’t, go. The ferry is truly a delight, and the island itself is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. Plus, you can sing the song and get it stuck in everyone’s head around you. Sail away on the Block Island Ferry~
For those of you who want to stay outdoors, Rhode Island has some wonderful hiking trails. My personal favorite is the Rome Point Trail at the John H. Chafee nature preserve, and of course, Cliff Walk, but you’re welcome to find your own. There are multiple online resources (Alltrails.com) and a wonderful book for beginners called Best Easy Day Hikes in Rhode Island by Steve Mirsky, and it’s sold at a number of local booksellers, Amazon, and REI in Cranston. Another alternative idea is the Tri-State Marker, which is located where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island meet. It’s a small hike in Burrillville, but you can say you’ve been in three places at once. Bonus/Not bonus depending on who you are: The woods are apparently haunted. Enjoy! And speaking of haunting, if you want to walk with a purpose, Providence Ghost Tour is returning for the season and features spooky tales about buildings in Providence you probably pass daily.
I’ve got two nominations for your summer outside the box and that involve weird transportation, and they both happen to take place in Newport. The first is the Newport Helicopter Tours. Ever been in Newport and see a red helicopter flying around? You can rent them! These excursions can show you the best of Newport, all from the sky. There’s also the Rail Explorers, which puts you on a pedal-powered “rail explorer,” which allows for you to tour Newport on a train track. But don’t worry, no trains are currently running.
For those of you like me who are indoor kids in the summer, I’ve got a few things for you, too. First – Axe Throwing. Seriously. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds and it’s so much fun. You’re given a bunch of smaller hand axes and you chuck them as hard as you can at a piece of wood. The catharsis is one of the best I’ve ever had. There are a number of places to do this, but I highly recommend our friends over at RI Indoor Karting (use our coupon code for a discount). There are also 25 breweries or brewpubs currently in Rhode Island, and the RI Brewers Guild has an app called the RI Brewery Passport, which allows for you to get stamps and collect prizes just for drinking beer. It’s so incredibly fun and you might just find a new local spot to hang out. Favorites of mine: Crooked Current, Tilted Barn, Buttonwoods and Whalers.
Now, let’s talk about once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The things you probably never thought you could do, but absolutely can, and I’d name these pretty “luxury.” There’s Shark Fishing, which, yes, is legal, and can be done through a number of companies in Rhode Island. You charter a boat, grab your besties and head to the ocean. This is not a cheap one, but can you imagine reenacting Jaws, much to the dismay of your Captain? You’re gonna need a bigger boat.And I bet you didn’t know you can get all the way to Hobbiton in Rhode Island. Maker’s Mark (yes, the bourbon) has a private Hobbit hole that can be rented in Richmond, Rhode Island. Called, Maker’s Mark Hobbit Houses at the Preserve, this includes a four-course lunch or dinner, and basically looks just like Bilbo Baggins’ house. The food is prepared for you right there, and there are plenty of drinks to keep things cozy. This one doesn’t run cheap either, but is at the top of my Rhode Island bucket list.
There’s just a few ideas for your non-stereotypical Rhode Island summer, but there are plenty more out there. Get to looking, you never know what you might find!