What You Need to Know Before You Move To Rhode Island

by Rana WaxmanJune 20, 2018

Rhode Island is the smallest state in land area within the United States and boasts a housing market that is hot and not to be overlooked. In April 2018, the Rhode Island Association of Realtors reported that the median price of single-family home sales increased 9.7 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to $252,250.

Located on the east coast, Rhode Island is neighbors with Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. RI also shares a small maritime corner with New York. Location, location, location!

In itself, Rhode Island is less than 50 miles long and 40 miles wide. The state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island is Providence. But there are other municipalities to consider such as Warwick, Newport, Pawtucket and Cranston that lend to Little Rhody’s big personality.

Primary Housing Styles in Rhode Island


One of Rhode Island’s architectural traits is its wide variety of historic home styles both inland and through its coastal communities. Some would say the region has a New England charm, and you could find a range of homes in style options from cottage to condo to luxury estate. Buyers could look for cul-de-sac homes, new construction, outdoor pools, country, waterfront, or beachfront properties. It just depends on your price point.

Look for These Historical Housing Trends in Rhode Island

Do you see yourself sipping ice tea on an expansive porch? Would you like to be in walking distance from a waterfront pier? Are you tired of stairs and looking for an open floor plan? Take a look through some of the historical housing trends in R.I. and see what fits your personality.

  • Cape Cod: Think low and broad, symmetrical, with a gabled roof, large central chimney and cozy-cottage vibe. Typically, the main floor serves as the living area, so you might have chill-time sofa, dining room seating and kitchen counters in one place. A single bedroom is often found on the main floor with extra bedrooms on the second floor. In R.I. some of these lovely Cape Cod-style homes have horse farms and private country road access.
  • Colonial: This style originally referred to the houses of the 17th-century European colonists who settled in what would become the United States. Look for stone and brick (Dutch), and clusters of cottages (English). Rhode Island has some pretty colonial style homes with exquisite perennial gardens and might feature lovely French doors, a stone fireplace, cathedral ceilings and more. Definitely upscale!
  • Ranch: If you prefer spacious and open floor plans, ranch-style homes are also common in Rhode Island. Some may have yards attached to garages, sliding glass doors, and huge picture windows. Look for an older one with a retro vibe and update it or a move-in ready one-level ranch with hardwoods and a fenced yard. Could be perfect for a family with young kids.
  • Victorian: Take your coffee and dog and watch the world go by from one of the for-sale Victorian style homes known for their signature, generous front porches. Also referred to as “Queen Anne Style,” Victorian homes – even the modern ones – might feature turrets, steeply pitched roofs, dormer windows, and medieval influences. Could be an ideal way to bring your enthusiasm for travel abroad home with you.

DID YOU KNOW? The Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in North America. Built in 1763 the synagogue houses the oldest Torah in North America.

9 of Rhode Island’s Iconic Homes

Did you know you could tour the homes of Rhode Island’s elites? Newport’s mansions inspire house lust, that’s for sure. We’ve included some of these as well as a few iconic R.I. homes with really cool histories. Here are a few on the radar:

  1. Edgehill Manasion (Newport) – built for philanthropist and U.S. representative, George Gordon King. Changed hands a few times then was sold to a nonprofit that worked with people with disabilities.
  2. Ohana House (Newport) – Look for a gambrel style roof at this mansion designed by Newport architect Gregory Yalanis. You will spot a blend of traditional New England design with modern, nautical elements.
  3. The Breakers (Newport) – former Vanderbilt summer residence, need we say more?
  4. Snuff Mill (Saunderstown) – a restored 1750s home, this is the birthplace of Gilbert Stuart and the site of the first snuff mill.
  5. General Nathanael Greene Homestead (Coventry) – A National Historic Landmark that was built in 1770 and was home to the legendary Revolutionary War general.
  6. Kingscote (Newport) – A great example of Gothic Revival style architecture from the mid-1880s.
  7. The Elms (Newport) – This home was inspired by the 18th-century Parisian chateau d’Asnieres.
  8. Governor Sprague Mansion (Cranston) – Built in the 1770s, this is presently the home of the Cranston Historical Society.
  9. White Horse Tavern (Newport) – the oldest tavern in continuous operation in the country.

What’s Hot, Hip, Healthy, Trendy and Hi-Tech in Rhode Island?


via Visit Rhode Island

As you might imagine, Rhode Island is a spectacular state for summer living, but it still has plenty of hot, hip, trendy, hi-tech-infused cities replete with things to do.

  • Providence – Hipster vibe which means great cafes, craft brews, whiskey, and yes, vinyl. Check out Olympic Records (for non-CD lovers) and get your drink on at Pour Judgement. And, since GQ rated Providence the “coolest city” be advised there is a really upscale food scene mixed in with vintage stores, and a very velvety lounge at the Dean Hotel.
  • Bristol – Home to the oldest 4th of July parade! Linden Mansion is the place to be if the spirit of the Kentucky Derby moves you. Also here you will find Colt State Park with its beautiful water views perfect for picnics. Situated on the tip of the East Bay Bike Path, Bristol also attracts cyclists, boaters and visitors to the Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, which is located just outside of downtown. Pack your runners.
  • Newport – Craving oysters with your cocktails? Apart from lavish historic mansions, Newport is home to lovely beaches, and some of the best dining on the East Coast. Head to the Newport Lobster Shack for lobster after you tour luxury estates, or just spend an afternoon under a shaded umbrella on the Lawn at Castle Hill Inn. Newport also has a Gallery Night, children’s museum, outdoor markets and modern folk music scene among other great attractions. Don’t jump off, but there is also a 3.5-mile cliff walk if you want peace and panorama.
  • Warwick – Warwick is one of Rhode Island’s major manufacturing zones. It is home to textile factories, metal fabrication centers, and electronic plants. Some feel that finance and hi-tech industries are gaining a foothold in the area. You’ll also find some great historical spots like the Aspray Boat House, The Bank Café and Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum.

What businesses are located in Rhode Island?

If you are addicted to bangles, you would probably love to know that Alex and Ani is located in Cranston. Here are a few other businesses that are located in Rhode Island.

  • New England Airlines
  • Playskool
  • American Tourister
  • Upserve
  • Coastal Extreme Brewing Co.

Beyond that, 180,000+ people in tech and related fields live within an hour commute of Providence. 98.9% of firms in R.I. are small businesses that employ 53.5% of the workforce. Rhode Island is also the first state in the nation to have free community college and computer science education in all K-12 Schools.

5 Other Fun Things to See and Do in Rhode Island

  1. Check out Bermuda of the North – take a ferry ride to Block Island
  2. Eat all that you can at the Nordic Lodge buffet (Charlestown)
  3. Get in line to sip suds at Tilted Barn Brewery (Exeter)
  4. For live music and food on a skewer head to Askew (Providence)
  5. Eat – great foodie scene. Basta was named Best Restaurant in the State of Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly magazine, or try the Awful Awful at Newport Creamery.

List of Rhode Island Cities to Check Out

U.S. census data (2017) has the population count in R.I. at 1,059,639. Here are some of the cities they might live in… and you might too!

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About The Author
Rana Waxman
Rana Waxman parlays years of work experience in several fields into web content creation aligned with client needs. Rana's versatile voice is supported by a zest for research, a passion for photography, and desire to provide clients with a purposeful presence online. In her non-writing hours, Rana is a happy yogini, constant walker, avid reader, and sometimes swimmer.