Rhode Island - Rough Guides Professional Review and Guide
"Rhode Island is the smallest state of the Union, at a mere 48 miles long by 37 miles wide, and tends to be overlooked as a destination, even if it is home to more than twenty percent of the nation’s historical landmarks. It was established by Roger Williams in 1635 as a “lively experiment” in religious freedom. He had been expelled from Puritan Salem for his radical ideas (including the notion that Indians should be paid for their land and that there should be a complete separation of church from state), and the Massachusetts Puritans liked to call the state “Rogues Island.” Despite its size, Rhode Island has over four hundred miles of coastline, hacked out of the Narragansett Bay; it is, in fact, made up of over thirty tiny islands, including Hope and Despair.
Today, although still heavily industrialized, the state’s principal destinations are its two original ports: well-heeled Newport, yachting capital of the world, with good beaches and outrageously extravagant mansions, and the colonial college town of Providence. Block Island, about thirty miles south of Newport, has a popular state beach, while the rest of Rhode Island is largely made up of sleepy small towns and fishing ports."