Rhode Island Ramble
Relive American history and stay in the six-room Reynolds House Inn (956 Hope St.; 401-254-0230; 800-754-0230; $89-$149). If you're interested in visiting over July 4 and taking in the parade, just be sure to book far in advance.
Independence Park is the starting point for the East Bay Bike Path (www.riparks.com/eastbay.htm). This unique passageway is about 14 miles long, beginning in Bristol and ending in Providence. The first portion runs along Bristol's harbor and Hope Street/114, and is a nice way to discover the area. Rent bikes at Ocean State Adventures (www.kayakri.com; 401-254-4000). The company also rents out kayaks and provides training for first-time paddlers. You can take a two-hour guided kayak tour of Bristol Harbor or a four-hour excursion around the Poppasquash area that includes lunch at Colt State Park.
Built in 1908, Blithewold (101 Ferry Road; 401-253-2707; www.blithewold.org) is a 45-room mansion that has a lawn the size of a football field. It can be found just down the way from the Mount Hope Bridge. The house and gardens are open for tours from April 15 through October 14, Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gardens are a carefully sculpted maze of 2,000 woody plants where you'll find elaborate birdbaths, sculptures of mischievous cherubs, and stone archways. They're open year-round, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on the national byways program, go to www.byways.org or call 800-429-9297. Because the local scenic byways programs vary from state to state, those interested in local roads should contact the regional Department of Transit.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication