Kingstown Bowl makes it easy to while away an afternoon or evening, encouraging visitors to stick around and shoot some pool, play some Wii Sports, or grab a drink between frames. Automatic scoring systems track the in-game action, and on Saturday nights, Rock-N-Bowl plunges the concourse into a nightclub atmosphere as a DJ spins requests and multicolored pins glow beneath concert-style lighting. The pub gives players a place to relax with bar food, free wireless Internet access, and the occasional U2 concert. The technicians at the pro shop offer advice on gear and perform services such as plugging and re-drilling finger holes.
Bright lights gleam off of the newly renovated synthetic lanes that grace Old Mountain Lanes and Walnut Hill Bowl. As part of Rhode Island’s storied duck pin lineage, these premier alleys train one eye on 10-pin history and the other on modern day amenities, including LCD scoring monitors, automatic bumpers for kids, and laser-guided bowling ball retrievers. Cosmic bowling is de rigueur on weekend nights, and strike-less players on-strike can enjoy pool tables, video games, and air hockey at the arcade. Though both alleys have on-site pubs, only the Woonsocket location pours frothy mugs of Narragansett.
When the Newport Historical Society and the Newport Restoration Foundation joined forces, the result was Newport History Tours. Founded to celebrate the region’s rich and vibrant history, Newport History Tours designed more than a dozen tours that explore the city’s landmarks, historic sites, and more than 300 pre-Revolutionary War–era buildings. The tours touch on just about every aspect of the city’s past, with themes that range from the colonial era and Golden Age to prohibition smuggling, historical criminals, and lantern-lit holiday strolls.
The splendor of the Gilded Age emanates from Vernon Court, a turn-of-the-century French chateau–style mansion outfitted with marbled columns, a spiral staircase, and sunken gardens. But inside the building is another kind of treasure: the National Museum of American Illustration, which houses some of the country’s most revered illustrated works.
Hanging on the museum’s walls are original paintings and drawings from 145 renowned American illustrators, including Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, all created between 1895 and 1945. Maxfield Parrish was known best for his book illustrations, filled with a particular shade of intense cobalt that became known as Parrish Blue. His whimsical paintings feature fairytale characters, such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, amid fantastic settings, such as lush gardens or neon-lit dance parties. Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings, meanwhile, told stories of everyday life, some humorous and others heartwarming, appearing in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines.
Since 1954, Meadowbrook Lanes has encouraged visitors to don appropriate footwear and participate in duckpin-style bowling, which employs smaller balls to decimate pintsize pins. The leisure-sport emporium maintains a vintage aesthetic with wood paneling and purple and teal gutters. After pummeling 10 pins, bowlers can unwind in a lounge replete with cold beer and flat-screen TVs or explore the edible possibilities of the alley's snack bar, Bishop's Grill, which fills stomach vacancies with pizza, calzones, and grinders. Meadowbrook Lanes also hosts parties, providing revelers with tables, chairs, and streamers made of low-hanging cirrus clouds.
Named as one of New England’s top five public gardens in Yankee magazine, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum spans 33 acres of lawns, gardens, trees, and historic stone structures. Through October 3, Blithewold is celebrating the seasonal color scheme with Autumn Splendor, a festival that includes access to colorful grounds (daily) and the more than a century-old mansion (Wednesday–Sunday), plus free children’s story time for children to read encyclopedia entries to each other (Friday at 11 a.m.).
From its unobstructed perch directly on the bay, the Herreshoff Marine Museum showcases a vast sampling of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s historic fleet of power and sailing yachts. Herreshoff helped usher in the early 20th-century's golden age of yachting, building eight consecutive America’s Cup winners before constructing the first torpedo boats for the U.S. Navy, which until that point had relied on splashing the enemy’s vessels whenever the lifeguard wasn’t looking. A family membership grants two adults and up to four children free year-round access to 60 classic yachts, plus steam engines, fittings, photographs, and memorabilia. Members also get to wander the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors the inductees of yachting’s premier competition.