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Rhode Island may be small in size, but the state is huge in appeal. Its cultural diversity and historical heritage lends it a sense of mystique. That Rhode Island sports five recognized nicknames―Ocean State, Little Rhody, Plantation State, Land of Roger Williams, and Southern Gateway of New England―underscores the difficulty even its residents have in properly characterizing it.
In Rhode Island, cobbled streets lined with Colonial structures, stretching mansions built by 19th century industrialists, and winking lighthouses perched atop ocean-sprayed bluffs are the norm rather than the exception. Attractions are so plentiful that some say Rhode Island averages more tourist declarations of "Oh my gosh, will you look at that?" per square mile than any other state.HANDY LINKS FOR NEW RESIDENTS
Summer is the superstar season. But, like a true celebrity, it always arrives late and exits early. Winter, on the other hand, could be ticketed for loitering!
July rates as the state's warmest month, with average temperatures in the 80s. January, the state's coldest month, averages in the 30s. Approximately 45 inches of precipitation falls annually.
Inland is warmer in the summer, but cooler in the winter. The coast is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Rhode Island is known for its contributions to art and culture. The Newport Jazz Festival, which began in 1954, continues to be a vital musical showcase. The Rhode Island Philharmonic provides year-round enlightenment. Also, Providence's Tony award-winning Trinity Repertory Company enjoys national acclaim for its live theater.
The Rhode Island School of Design attracts art and design students from across the globe, making it an international lodestar for innovative thought. Alumni such as David Byrne of Talking Heads fame, director Gus Van Sant, and actor/comedian Martin Mull confirm the school's creative reputation.
The state's coast takes top attraction honors by combining ocean views with historical and monumental architecture. Some of the more popular attractions include:
- Block Island: This is Rhode Island's answer to Martha's Vineyard. Only 12 miles from the mainland, the island features miles of coastal trails perfect for biking and accessing beaches, bluffs, and lighthouses.
- Newport's Ocean Drive: This could easily be called the gape-and-gawk tour. Mansions large enough to apply for statehood furrow this ten-mile stretch, making it look like something out of the Great Gatsby.
- Providence Athenaeum: It rates as one of the oldest lending libraries in the world and once served as a favorite hangout of Edgar Allan Poe.
- Roger Williams Park Zoo: Located in Providence, it shelters more than 900 species of animals and is championed as one of New England's top zoos.
- Rhode Island ranks second in the nation for population per square mile.
- Jerimoth Hill is the state's highest point at 812 feet.
- Rhode Island is only 30 miles wide and 40 miles long, yet offers 400 miles of coastline.
- Its real name is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."
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