Newport History Tours is well-known for small-group offerings, which make its tours a fitting activity while visiting the Ocean State in the era of COVID-19. Expert guides have five centuries’ worth of stories to share about the city, and they lead participants through Newport’s Old Quarter. Tours cover themes like African-American heritage, Colonial history, and cemeteries.
The Holiday Lantern Tour is an evening walk that sheds light on early American holiday traditions and how Newporters did (and didn’t) observe them. Rogues and Scoundrels takes visitors through Rogue’s Island, a community where pirates lived and criminals faced their punishments. Another option is the Historic Tour for Curious People, a 90-minute walking tour of historical Newport focusing on the intriguing stories surrounding gravestone carvers, rum distilleries, and other 1700s-era commerce.
Rhode Island is also home to several beautiful and deeply historical homes, including Bristol-based Linden Place and Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, and the 44,000-square-foot Belcourt of Newport, which was built with a ground floor designed to hold horse stables and large carriages.
To get a feel for the fare in the capital city, groups can take a walk with Rhode Island Red Food Tours through Downcity Providence, an area that has a nationally recognized food scene. Guides highlight a variety of flavors inside lesser-known eateries as well as hot spots, like Parisian-inspired cafés, traditional Greek restaurants, German-themed places with made-from-scratch snacks, and pubs with authentic brews. The tours dig into the restaurants’ beginnings, and participants are also enlightened with local tales and up-close looks at the city’s architecture, arts, and culture.
A trip to New England, though, is not complete until one has enjoyed freshly caught and locally farmed seafood. At the Matunuck Oyster Farm, visitors can learn about local and global aquaculture and fisheries and even wade into the seven-acre shellfish farm in Potter’s Pond while seeing the cultivation process firsthand. Group tours and lunch packages are available, but the educational opportunity for participants to gain a better understanding of aquaculture provided by passionate farmer Perry Raso is the cherry on top.
Top photo: Linden Place
Photos by visitrhodeisland.com