Yes. That is its official name. The longest of any American state. It’s one of the original 13 colonies of America and the first to declare independence from Britain. It’s the home of the fourth largest unsupported marble dome in the world, on top of the state house. It was the first state to abolish slavery. State Judge Darius Baker was the first person in America to jail someone for speeding, in 1904. The offender was going at an absurd 15-miles-per-hour. It’s the home of Pelham Street, in the city of Newport, the first street in America to be illuminated by gaslight. And in 2000, this state made Mr. Potato Head the official family travel ambassador. Yes. Seriously. Today, we’re in the Ocean State, Rhode Island.
The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is a state in northeast America, bordered by Connecticut and Massachusetts, plus the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest state at just over 1,200 square miles, with the 43rd largest population with just over one million people. The 13 stars on the flag symbolise the 13 original colonies, and the anchor symbolises hope. ‘Hope we have as an anchor of the soul,’ Hebrews, Verse 6:18-19. The early colonists of this state were fleeing religious persecution in Massachusetts due to their Christian beliefs. The state motto is, as you’d expect, ‘Hope’. The shortest state motto.
Rhode Island is an extremely tolerant and diverse state, a melting pot of many cultures, beliefs and ideas. A historic state with a rich culture. Generally, Rhode Islanders are welcoming, friendly and polite people, sadly hit hard by a poorly run state.
The state is mostly flat, with the odd hill here and there. There are many beautiful sandy beaches and bays, along with large expanses of countryside. It’s also famed for its amazing ocean and lakes. A truly unique landscape.
There are sights to see such as Pawtuxet Village. It’s so serene. A little village nestled on the water’s edge. Surrounded by trees and impeccably kempt gardens. And flowers of a thousand varieties, too. Intriguingly idyllic. Then there’s the Trinity Repertory Company, a theatre in the beaux-arts style, built in 1913 and opening as a theatre 1963. The ornamental facade is so cute. All the little touches combine to create an artwork of the highest craftsmanship and artistry, the stone detailing creating a tapestry of loveliness. And inside, a popular theatre performing regularly in front of sell out crowds. A gem. There’s also the state house, a massive neoclassical building with all the grandeur of a stately home. It bursts out from the landscape, almost with pride and glory, sitting atop its perch. Exquisitely detailed and sumptuously gorgeous. And then there’s Mohegan Bluffs. Large clay cliffs with a beach below. Isolated and remote yet they feel warm and inviting. One really could be at the end of the world. It feels alien, calming and ethereal. A vista of empyrean origins.
But I think the best sight of this state is St. Ann’s Church Complex in Woonsocket. A wonderful and pristine marvel, radiating an Italian vibe with its renaissance style. Built in 1913, it closed in 2000 and reopened as an arts and culture centre. It doesn’t feel American, but equally, it doesn’t feel out of place in the city. It belongs and dominates. A prelapsarian and pulchritudinous masterpiece. And inside, it’s a palace. The frescos and the marble combine to create something amazingly unearthly. The crescendo of a building of the utmost beauty and grace. A breathtaking icon indeed.
Rhode Island. The state of tolerance, beauty and Mr. Potato Head.
Images: The flag of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (credit: wikipedia.org), 2) St. Ann’s Church Complex [exterior] (credit: wikipedia.org), 3) St. Ann’s Church Complex [interior] (credit: tripadvisor.com)
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