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WaterFire , held on select evenings along the rivers that converge in the heart of Providence, is a soul-stirring work of art. Sculptor Barnaby Evans has been the creative force behind this installation since its inception in , and this fusion of fire, water, and music has become the city's signature.

It's New England's most romantic experience and the region's best free event. As bonfires crackle and sparkle, they cast a shimmering glow on the water.

Evans changes the haunting soundtrack each time WaterFire is staged, which adds to the magic. When you see Providence from the water, you'll feel as if you're touring a European—not a New England—capital city. This is especially true if you book an excursion with La Gondola.

The charming gondoliers who steer authentic Venetian gondolas along the city's rivers even sing to passengers, who may bring their own wine or champagne aboard. Both of these boat tour operators book reservations months in advance for WaterFire nights, so plan ahead. Seeing WaterFire from a boat is unforgettable. Providence's Italian neighborhood, Federal Hill, is home to restaurants old and new, plus gourmet tours, a cooking school, a ravioli shop, and more indulgent attractions. Don't miss the braciola and other favorites your Italian nonna used to make at Angelo's Civita Farnese , where some menu items haven't changed in more than 90 years.

And Chef Walter Potenza will teach you how to prepare authentic Italian fare at his cooking school here. Bakery for Italian cookies. It's known as the "Mile of History," and whether you explore on your own or join one of the Rhode Island Historical Society's guided Benefit Street walking tours offered mid-June through October, this architecturally significant stretch is a Providence must-see. Colonial business owners began building homes along Back Street in —now Benefit Street—and you won't find a larger concentration of houses from the pre-Revolution period anywhere else in America.

The street also has excellent examples of Federal and later architectural styles. Fans of horror writer H.

Providence's colleges and universities operate many impressive museums. And don't overlook Brown University's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology , particularly if you want something free to do in Providence. Exhibits feature highlights from the museum's collection of more than one million artifacts from around the world.

What you might not realize if you've only seen photos of this iconic spot is that this is also where Williams' remains are parked. You'll be able to shoot panoramic pictures of the Providence skyline, or simply spread out a blanket or claim a bench and picnic on a sunny day.

Providence brands itself "The Creative Capital," and there are art galleries, performance venues , and cultural organizations galore—far more than you'd expect to find in a small city. So hideous they're adorable, the giant, wearable "puppets" that come to life inside Big Nazo Lab have become a city signature and an international sensation. Don't miss the chance to gawk at the creatures displayed in the windows.

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You can wander inside to observe if artists are at work, or check their website for special appearances. With nearly stores and restaurants and a screen cinema, Providence Place is more than a mall—it's a destination. Here's something you may not know: Providence is also home to America's oldest indoor shopping mall: The Arcade. Built in , this National Historic Landmark was renovated and reinvented in and now houses boutique shops, eateries, and micro-loft apartments.

Providence is also famous for its vintage and consignment shops, where you'll find creative garb and other stylish finds. Look up! Head to the W. Russell Blake Planetarium, where you can sit back and let the experts show you how to identify planets, bright stars and constellations. The planetarium also has regular weekly features including a Big Bird adventure for the kids and an exploration of the natural world below the skies.

In Hooksett, tackle the hole Fire Tower or Cave courses then let the winner buy cones at the ice cream barn. Feeling competitive? Want to learn about naval activities in the Narragansett Bay area in colonial times? Or how the science of naval warfare has changed from the time of the Greeks and Romans through the Civil War, both World Wars to today?

Then head to the Naval War College Museum, free and open to the public, where naval battles and strategies come to life via changing art collections, exhibits and documents.

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  7. Starting Dec. Sims and the U. Navy in the First World War. Reservations required in advance for those without base access. Due to its remarkable location, weather and history, the Mt. A trip on Mt. Washington Auto Road is a one-of-a-kind experience offering ever-changing weather extremes, panoramic views and the opportunity to pass through four distinct climate zones as you climb to the highest peak in the Northeast.

    The constantly-changing weather adds to the allure and mystique of the famous peak, often allowing visitors to experience high winds and dramatic cloud formations. No matter the weather, the entire family will love all there is to do on the legendary Auto Road. Planted in on an island hill overlooking the Rhode Island Sound, Newport Vineyards has grown to include 60 vineyard acres, two restaurants and a busy tasting room.

    But some things, like the complex flavors of its wines and its family feeling, have never changed.

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    Or tour the vineyards and go behind the scenes of the wine-making process. Other activities include yoga, wine and cheese classes and live music. Learn about the Connecticut River — or sail on it! Peruse farm-based and other local products go for the cider at the delicious farm market or pick your own produce, from berries, peaches and pears in the summer to apples and pumpkins in the fall. Adults will love wine tastings and tours at the winery. And everyone will want to take a crack at the corn maze.

    End your day with some Fly Fishing Fudge ice cream at the famous creamery stand. Special events include a Halloween Parade and Paint and Sip sessions. After breakfast, head to the rivers for world-class whitewater and breathtaking scenery. You can continue the dino theme at the manmade Raptor Bay, the obstacle-filled T. Even Splashpad, the water playground, has dinosaur water cannons. And you can dig for dino fossils at the Discovery Depot. In , the citizens of Massachusetts, including over school children, banded together to save the battleship USS Massachusetts from being scrapped, and bring her to the waterfront of historic Fall River on June 12, Over the years, she has been joined by the destroyer Joseph P.

    Kennedy, Jr. Guests can enjoy inventive drinks and fresh fare throughout the year in the Cloister, a secluded garden patio that features a clever tin-to-table menu with an upscale twist on caviar. The new Champagne Salon is open Fridays to Sundays, 3 to 11 p. How hard would it be to get kids involved in games and explorations of this piece of artwork, speaking to them across 26 centuries? This glorious mosaic floor, excavated from a home in Antioch that was destroyed by an earthquake in AD, is a centerpiece exhibit at Worcester Art Museum in Worcester and also the topic of a Family Guide exploration.

    A brochure invites kids to count animals and sketch the mosaic. Can you think of a better way to get your kids loving art and history? Pickering Farm Quilt Shop celebrates country primitive Penny quilts? You will find bolts of percent cotton, notions and supplies of all kinds, and hundreds of antique reproduction fabrics from to the s.

    Also: wool for penny rugs, books and patterns, and a fabulous gift line. Fun and inspiring! Open year round Thursday-Sunday, 10 a. Many exhibits explain the fascinating geology, flora, and animal life of the Cape, and the Salt Marsh Room offers a wonderful vista of the adjoining salt marsh. Downstairs is a small but satisfying aquarium. Just outside the back door is a self-guided walking trail of the marsh. Also, in the summer, naturalists offer guided treks of the marsh known a Mudflat Mania.

    A great way to see the fecund life of the salt marsh up close.

    Rhode Island Vacation Bike Tour

    Open year-round; seasonal hours. Backroad Discovery Tours is a guided tour service based in Manchester. A local guide will show you the sights: mountain and valley vistas, country roads, a visit to a woodworking factory and retail kitchen store, and the oldest marble quarry in the country. Taste and buy Vermont-made cheese and maple products. Reservations are required.

    Tours usually depart from 21 Bonnet Street in Manchester Center.

    Rhode Island events calendar

    Johnsbury has many great daily activities for adults and kids who want to explore the life of the mind. One example is the Frist Wednesdays series, where experts ramble about interesting topics. Masterpieces of Cartoon Art in Greenwich Starting January 26, , the Bruce Museum at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich will display more than original works of cartoon art, including comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, magazine cartoons, caricature, illustration and animation. The pieces on display will include an early editorial cartoon by the legendary political cartoonist Thomas Nast, a spectacular Prince Valiant Sunday page by Hal Foster, and a witty New Yorker gag by Peter Arno, as well as classic Peanuts, Doonesbury, and Calvin and Hobbes comic strips.

    Entire State

    Open daily except Mondays, 10 a. Each piece is wheel-thrown and crafted from stoneware and hand dipped in a scratch-resistant and organic milk glaze. Gift registry, too!