Ann and Michael Martini have long shared a love and familiarity with Rhode Island's culinary landscape. Ann left her post at Rhode Island Monthly to work with chefs, restaurants, and food events, and Michael, a professional chef, has let his knives fly at upscale Rhode Island eateries for more than 25 years. Together, they bring outsiders into New England's culinary gems to sample signature dishes, tour kitchens, meet chefs, and get lucky guests’ tongues autographed. Ann coordinates each tour, then sends Michael off with up to a dozen people to receive insider access to restaurants, gourmet shops, and other palate-pleasing stops. For two hours, groups cover about 2 miles of ground at a leisurely pace. There are treats to sample at each stop—although, according to the Sun Chronicle, "What's almost as good as the food is the fact that the chefs welcome tour guests into their kitchens, which in many cases have sous chefs and other personnel beginning to prepare for dinner service."
Travel Leaders RI's professional agents help day-trippers explore exciting destinations for business and pleasure. The bus trip includes a full day in New York City, with plenty of time to explore the Big Apple and the Feast of San Gennaro itself, where an expected one million people celebrate Italian-American culture, the splendor of good walking shoes, and the patron saint of Naples. The 55-passenger air-conditioned bus, which plies passengers with a restroom and reclining seats, rolls out of the Cranston at 6:00 a.m. for a nonstop 3.5-hour journey to New York City and its non-hot-dog-related spoils.
With everything from wings to mussels, the eclectic Ciara Restaurant and Lounge helps satisfy any number of cravings. Grilled pizzas, sandwiches, and pasta round off the menu, with plenty of hearty offerings to keep bellies full. Live music on the weekends accentuates the feasts.
Eco Pedicab melds eco-friendly travel with engaging urban tours. Its squad of cyclists and city guides usher riders along city streets in pedicabs that eliminate the release of harmful emissions produced by cabs or buses. Knowledgeable guides share the sights and tastes of the area during tours of historic locations, chic eateries, or local breweries. The bike pilots are also on call throughout the week to take riders for quick trips around town and to save them from having to track down a taxi or weightlifters willing to give out piggy back rides.
The sight of an 80-foot pilot schooner sailing as it nimbly navigated the water of Newport Harbor was a much more common sight in the 19th century than today. Sail Newport celebrates the majestic spirit of this bygone era by welcoming passengers aboard the Adirondack II, a wooden-hulled, turn-of-the-century-style schooner that wouldn't look out of place 100 years ago—even though it was built in 1999.
The original pilot schooners were built for speed, and the creators of the Adirondack II honored this legacy while still implementing a number of modern touches—including rigging held in place with kevlar shrouds—to better create a swift, safe, and comfortable ship. On days with high winds or an above-average number of people sneezing, the Adirondack II can reach speeds of up to 10 knots as its sails catch the breeze.
For each voyage, as many as 57 passengers can explore the vessel's mahogany-trimmed teak decks as it sets out into the harbor. Cruises can provide guests with stunning views of sights such as Newport's waterside mansions, numerous lighthouses, and a 19th-century fort.
The creative culinarians at Aspire dish out a delightful variety of breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner fare. Guests can start their day on a savory slipper with a plate of classic eggs benedict and home fries ($14), or they can opt for a sweeter climb back to consciousness by sending their fork to scale a stack of cinnamon-brioche french toast ($10) as they slurp a cup of coffee ($3). The lunch menu sports soups (cups starting at $3 and bowls starting at $6), fresh salads ($6–$7), and inventive sandwiches ($6–$10, $2 extra for unlimited toppings), paving the way to the dinner list, which swaps out sandwiches for a selection of mussels, clams, and oysters ($1.50–$12), small plates ($10–$17), and large plates ($21–$34, with a lobster feast at market price). Treat your table to an order of Korean barbecue pork eggrolls to share ($10) or a bowl of New Bedford–style mussels, swimming in perfect synchronization with chorizo, kalamata olives, and sweet peppers ($12). Grilled swordfish ($21) is one of Aspire's headlining hunger tamers, served with a summertime blend of orzo, couscous, quinoa, and split peas and topped with spicy green-papaya salad.