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Rhody Art & History Immersion

Rhode Island is a wonderful destination for both the history buff and art lover. Explore our past and experience the arts and architecture on your visit to the Ocean State.

BLACKSTONE VALLEY

Start off north of Providence, at St. Ann’s Art & Cultural Center in Woonsocket for a look at North America’s largest collection of fresco paintings. Italian artist Guido Nincheri used members of the community as models for the 475 faces you’ll see on the walls and ceiling.

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On your way to Providence, stop off in Pawtucket for breakfast or lunch at Modern Diner. Even if you don’t try their award-winning and famous Custard French Toast, you can still enjoy the ambiance of this 1930’s-1940’s-era Sterling Streamliner, the first diner to be accepted on the National Register for Historic Places.

PROVIDENCE

Next, make your way to the state capital and visit the John Brown House Museum, the first mansion built in Providence. Its original owner, John Brown, was one of the early benefactors of Brown University, as well as a merchant and slave trader. You can explore the museum’s collection of furniture, artwork, silver, textiles, maps, and more; as well as explore Rhode Island’s role in the American Revolution and its participation in slavery and the slave trade. While in Providence, consider touring Benefit Street’s Mile of History or a self-guided Black History Walking Tour. You can also check out Providence’s public art on an Avenue Concepts Tour. For more art, visit some of the city’s galleries.

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SOUTH COUNTY

Head to the southern part of Rhode Island, and stop off in Coventry at Spell Hall, The General Nathanael Greene Homestead. Home to George Washington’s #2 in the Revolutionary War from 1770-1776, this house museum features eight display rooms of period furnishings and Greene family memorabilia.

Next up, pay a visit to the Gilbert Stuart Museum, in Saunderstown. Gilbert Stuart was one of the United States’ master portrait artists of the 18th century and is best known for his portrait of George Washington seen on the one-dollar bill. The museum includes a restored home from 1750, a working gristmill, gardens and woodland trails, and more.  

While in South County, you can check out local art galleries as you make your way to Quonset Point to take a Lighthouse Tour with Rhode Island Bay Cruises. You’ll sail past sixty miles of coastline and view ten islands, ten lighthouses, wildlife, Fort Adams, and more!

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NEWPORT COUNTY

There are plenty of attractions in Newport and the surrounding area that fit the bill for art and history enthusiasts. Visit the grounds of Touro Synagogue, a National Historic Site, and enjoy history presentations in the park about Newport’s Colonial-era Jewish community. Next, you can visit the Newport Colony House, which is the fourth oldest statehouse still standing in the United States. It served as the primary statehouse of Rhode Island from its completion in 1739 until 1901.

Of course, no visit to Newport would be complete without a trip to the Newport Mansions. Plan a day to visit several of these magnificent Gilded Era homes and soak up the history, design, architecture, and splendor on display. Rosecliff is hosting Back in Bloom, A Ballroom Floral Fantasy from June 18-20, featuring an indoor, self-guided tour of floral design exhibits and garden vignettes. Explore the history of tennis at The International Tennis Hall of Fame, and automotive history at both the Audrain and the Newport Car Museum. Before leaving Newport, be sure to visit the Newport Art Museum and Museum of Newport History to view their collections.

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BRISTOL COUNTY

Next, head over the bridge to Bristol for a visit to Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum. Tour this 33-acre summer estate that features a 45-room mansion filled with heirlooms, a series of unique gardens, and a collection of rare and unusual plants and trees. For an interesting look at boating history, head to the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Dedicated to preserving the accomplishments of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, the museum houses more than sixty significant boats, 500 models, as well as changing exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia – including the Defiant, built in 1992 for the America’s Cup (which it successfully defended). While in Bristol, pay a visit to Coggeshall Farm, a 48-acre coastal farm, and experience a day in the life of tenant farmers on a salt marsh farm in the late 18th century. View historic structures, heirloom plants and gardens, heritage-breed animals, and live interpretations of farm life in the 1790s.

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TOURS YOU’LL LOVE

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