‘Tis the season to do everything wintery! Rhode Island is full of holiday and winter activities for all ages, no matter what part of the state you live in. Here are a few of our favorite holiday activities we’d like to share.
See a Christmas Carol
Seeing Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas play, A Christmas Carol, has been a tradition for many Rhode Islanders for nearly four decades. This Trinity Rep show is great for all ages, but the ghosts may be a little scary for some children. You can see the show until December 31 at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence.
The Granite Theatre & The Renaissance City Theatre Company in Westerly also has their own interpretation of the play, as well as Stadium Theater in Woonsocket. Check out their websites for more information.
Spend an Evening with Donner and Blitzen
Donner and Blitzen are together again for their annual variety act! Head over to the The Contemporary Theater Company for a hilarious, jolly good time. Shows run until December 23, check the website for performance dates and to buy tickets.
Go Ice Skating
There are now two Alex and Ani Skating rinks in Rhode Island — one in Providence, the other in a waterfront location in Downtown Newport. Both the Providence and Newport rinks are open seven days a week, just check out the websites before heading over to see the hours.
Hop on the Polar Express and head on over to the North Pole! The Blackstone Valley Polar Express is a three-hour event that includes a 90-minute train ride with storytelling, sing-a-longs, games, and yummy goodies. Santa even delivers gifts to every child! The train is located at 1 Depot Square in Woonsocket. Make sure to get tickets ahead of time!
Go Out For a Date Night
On December 18, head over to Blithewold Mansion for a Horse-Drawn Holiday Carriage Ride & Holiday Photo Shoot. Enjoy some old-fashioned holiday fun on a horse-drawn carriage ride down their wooded Lover’s Lane, then across the Great Lawn. Register early, it’s first come first serve!
At the Towers in Narragansett on December 22, spend a night enjoying festive music, caroling, and cocktails. Buy your tickets for the Christmas Cocktail Cabaret here.
Following Providence’s selection as the nation’s #1 market to watch by Realtor.com this past December, there was plenty of optimism surrounding the Rhode Island real estate industry heading into 2016. Despite the already high expectations, the state’s housing market has managed to outperform its lofty projections and is currently on pace to break its all-time record for single family sales.
The initial rise began in 2015, when the Rhode Island market saw a 9% increase in single family sales from the previous year. However, through October of this year, not only has that rate of growth continued, but it has actually increased to 12.5% compared to the same time period in 2015.
So far this year, the market has already set records for single family home sales in both the first and second quarters, compiling 1,906 and 2,795 sales, respectively. Rhode Island also set a new personal best with its busiest month of September on record, amassing a total of 1,053 single family sales.
With such a historic start to 2016, the state is now poised to break it’s all-time high of 10,025 single family sales set back in 2004. Through the end of October this year, Rhode Island has already seen 9,185 single family sales, outpacing the 8,453 sales compiled over the same time period during the record-setting 2004 campaign. Considering that current MLS data already shows an additional 1,311 pending single family sales, it’s looking more and more likely that 2016 becomes the state’s new high water mark.
Inevitably, these numbers lead us to wonder about the underlying reasons behind such a hot market. The obvious factors that jump out are affordability and location. Despite prices rising 13% since 2012, the average single family sales price for Rhode Island homes is still nearly 15% lower than it was during its peak in 2007. The availability of reasonably priced homes located within close proximity of the ocean and cities such as Boston and New York offers a unique opportunity for buyers.
Rhode Island has also received plenty of buzz and free publicity as of late. Providence was named “America’s Favorite City” by Travel + Leisure Magazine in October of 2014, and was also selected as “America’s Coolest City” for 2015 by GQ Magazine, while Cranston has been included on Wall Street 24/7’s list of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live” for each of the past three years. Some of the factors influencing these accolades have been the state’s celebrated restaurants, upscale hotel lounges, craft beers, specialty coffee shops, and emerging technology scene.
Whatever the reasons may be, Rhode Island homes continue to sell at an impressive rate, with the statewide average days on market dropping by nearly 30 days since 2012.
For more information regarding Rhode Island real estate, please visit ResidentialProperties.com – ranked among the top 25 real estate sites in the entire country.
If you’re looking for some of the best fall foliage in the Northeast, you don’t have to go very far. Rhode Island is beautiful this time of year, so save the gas and instead of driving further up north, check out some of our state’s gorgeous parks, walking trails, farms, and historical sites to enjoy the changing autumn scenery!
The East Bay
Seaside Bristol is beautiful year round, and Colt State Park is no exception. With 464 acres of beautifully manicured lawns, four miles of biking trails, groomed fruit trees, and gorgeous plantings, this park is perfect for viewing the fall foliage.
Just three miles down the road from Colt State, the historic Blithewold Estate is 33 rolling acres featuring a mansion and breathtaking gardening. Visitors are welcomed to enjoy the several gardens, plantings, pathways, lawns, and stone structures of the Estate. Read more about the Blithewold Gardens and grounds by visiting their website.
Providence and the East Side
There are several picturesque spots on Providence’s East Side to enjoy the fall foliage, however two worth highlighting are the Brown University campus on College Hill, and historic Benefit Street which actually has walking tours during the fall by the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS). Check out the schedule for Benefit Street walking tours on the RIHS website.
One of the (many) great things about the Creative Capital is its mix of city and nature. On the outskirts of the city is Roger Williams Park, with 435 acres of land including over 100 acres of ponds and miles of trails weaving through both open and wooded areas. The Roger Williams Park Conservancy also conducts Fall Tours, where visitors can learn a bit of the history, environment, and infrastructure that makes the park unique.
The northern part of the state has many lush, wooded areas – but one that sticks out is hidden within the 4,000 acres of the George Washington Management Area. The 100 acre Pulaski Memorial Recreation Area has a little over a mile of hiking trails and is great for a leisurely stroll, or a little educational outing for the kids.
Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield is your one-stop-shop for everything fall. Pick apples and pumpkins, and take a fall tour through the farm. The tours are geared more towards the kids, but visitors without kids can request a tour for the adults, or explore the grounds on their own.
We couldn’t leave out Arcadia Management Area, which spans through Richmond, Exeter, Hopkinton, and West Greenwich, making it the state’s largest recreational area. According to the DEM, Arcadia’s forest cover is its dominating feature, with 64 percent deciduous forest and 36 percent evergreen cover, principally white pine. With over 14,000 of mostly forested acres, Arcadia has countless trails to explore – each with a more wonderful view.
The mix of the ocean and foliage views in the City by the Sea is something arguably unique to Rhode Island. A notable spot is the 300 acres and seven miles of hiking trails of the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Walk through a variety of habitats such as forest, fields, ridges, and beaches all in one place – which is sure to offer diverse, albeit fabulous views.
Newport’s Fort Adams State Park is also known for its fall foliage, spanning over 80 acres with panoramic views of the Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor peeking through the trees.