NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.— With most of the state within a 45-minute drive from one another, Rhode Islanders have easy access to explore all corners of the Ocean State, and now a North Kingstown author has a guide to experience some of the best the state has to offer for your next “Rhode trip.”
Robert Curley is the author of “100 Things to Do in Rhode Island Before You Die,” a new book that’s part of a national series exploring 100 notable different sites, events, restaurants and museums in a given area.
For Curley, a freelance travel writer who’s been featured in several publications across the space, his edition of the series came from his love of his adopted state, Rhode Island, and the variety of people, places and things it has to offer.
“It’s a small state, obviously, but even for being so small there’s a lot of diversity,” Curley said. “Certainly you have the beaches, you’ve got hiking trails and big areas of forest. You’ve got Newport, which is one of the top vacation destinations in the world. You’ve got Providence, which is a great food city with a lot of culture. We even have a ski area, so there’s a lot to do in a very small package.”
A native Long Islander, Curley relocated to the area 20 years ago and says he quickly fell in love with the Ocean State’s mix of access to both city life and small town New England living.
“One of the things about New York that was different was that everything tends to get plowed under every few years, it’s not a place that really values its history that much, while in New England there’s a lot of continuity,” Curley said. “You’ve got houses that are 300 years old, 400 years old, people tend to preserve their small towns care about the place that they live, so a big part of coming up here was that you had some of the things that I liked about where I grew up. You have the city (Providence), even if it is a small city, you still have some nightlife and great restaurants, but on the other hand, you can go drive through the countryside and go up to Scituate or Chepachet and find real quaint New England towns and lots of open space and things pretty much being the way they were 200 or 300 years ago.”
As for the South County area, which features frequently in his book, the beaches are among his favorites.
“You always have to start with the beaches, which are some of the best on the east coast as far as I’m concerned,” Curley said.
Some of his favorite South County spots include the Ocean Mist in Wakefield, which he calls a “great beach bar,” Paddy’s Beach Club in Westerly and the whole Misquamicut Beach area and the South County Bike Trail.
As for those in South County looking to explore more of the northern part of the state, Curley particularly encourages taking a trip up to Woonsocket where, even though it didn’t make the book, he recommends visiting the Museum of Work and Culture to learn about the history of mills and factories in the area, taking a trip through the Blackstone River Bikeway and dining at Ye Olde English Fish & Chips, a family-owned restaurant which has been serving the classic English dish to patrons since 1922.
“Even though it’s far from the coast, probably some of the best English-style fish and chips you’ll find,” Curley said.
If seafood isn’t your thing, Curley also recommends trying Hartley’s Original Pork Pies in Lincoln for English-style meat pies.
“100 Things to Do in Rhode Island Before You Die” is available in most local bookstores as well as Barnes & Noble and can be purchased online on Amazon or through the book’s Facebook page of the same name, where signed copies are available.