Rhode Island is the country’s smallest state, just 48 miles long and 37 miles wide. It was nicknamed the Ocean State in the 1970s because its squiggly shoreline in the south runs 400 glorious miles along Narragansett Bay, which features 21 working lighthouses. It’s not actually an island, but its territory includes between 40 and 108 islands, depending on who’s counting.
Everyone in “Little Rhody” lives no more than half an hour to the sea, so the community’s widespread love of sailing comes as no surprise. Newport, where lavish Gilded Age mansions still stand, likes to call itself the “Sailing Capital of the World.” Unsurprisingly, the city hosted the America’s Cup for over a decade, and the U.S. Navy still trains here.
A state with a flavor all its own, Rhode Islanders prefer their food and drink the Rhode Island way. They take their clam chowder “clear,” and the official state drink is “coffee milk,” made since the 1930s by mixing coffee flavored syrup into milk. The favorite summer treat is Del’s Frozen Lemonade, sold all over the state and brought here in the 40s by an Italian immigrant.
It was on the banks of the Blackstone River that thread was first commercially produced in this country, making domestic textile mills possible. Quiltfolk honored the centuries of Rhode Island quilting by seeking out some of the state’s oldest quilts as well as its most dramatic, newest ones.
The state motto is simply “Hope.” And we at Quiltfolk hope that you’ll be as dazzled as we were by the grand landscapes and remarkable quilts we saw.
Writers for this issue: Meg Cox, Diane L. Murtha, Frances O’Roark Dowell, Sharbreon Plummer, Carmen Schell, Teresa Duryea Wong and Jennifer Lopez
Photographers for this Issue : Melanie Zacek and Jennifer Bakos Photography
Photo Stylist: Kimberlee Zacek