6 Notable Things About Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Massachusetts & Rhode Island: We spent a whirlwind couple of months rolling through the New England territory trying to absorb as much as we could during very short durations in each state. Having spent some time working our way through Massachusetts and into Rhode Island, here the 6 notable things we noticed during our short stays in both states:

Diagonal crosswalks

Traffic light patterns in Massachusetts definitely differed from what Cay and I are used to. We are accustomed to having to wait to cross with our flow of vehicle traffic, but this changed throughout much of Massachusetts. Here, pedestrians would have to wait while all 4 ways of traffic proceeded, in their respective turns, and conversely, all 4 ways of traffic would have to wait as pedestrians from every direction crossed the intersection in whatever pattern they desired. Often, the quickest way to cross was diagonally through the entire intersection, which was not simply tolerated, but openly encouraged much of the time with diagonal cross walk lines. It took some time to get accustomed to not crossing in 90 degree angles, but we soon succumbed to the efficiency of a diagonal cross and stopped fearing we would receive a jaywalking ticket in the process.

Good luck with camping

Rhode Island is small, yes, we knew this. However, we did not know how truly difficult it was going to be to find urban campgrounds near cities. Particularly near Newport or Providence, finding a legitimate campground was near impossible. As we do not have a tow vehicle, proximity to our desired location is critical. We found a community park in the Newport area, with a “bargain” rate of $85 per night, which is astronomical when you consider the fact that you are bringing your own “hotel room”.

Clams over mussels

Massachusetts has a lot of great seafood, so we didn’t pass on an opportunity to sample as much as we could during our stay. Whether it was just the wrong season or a bad year, we ordered mussels a few times, and each time, they were far tinier than any other mussels we have seen. Disarmingly so, as the shells were normal size, with almost no meat inside. Clams, on the other hand, were large, meaty and flavorful. So our working rule of thumb while in Massachusetts is “leave the mussel, take the clam”.

Smallest, but not smallest

While Wyoming dwarfs Rhode Island several times over in terms of land mass, it has the smallest population. Vermont, not a huge state, but larger than Rhode Island, boasts the smallest State Capitol Building. Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the nation, but that doesn’t mean it is the smallest in everything, as it maximizes what it can within its confined borders!

Fire hydrant flags

While in Massachusetts, we noticed that fire hydrants had tall flags secured to their sides by metal rods.  Speculating as to what this was for, we finally decided it must be because Massachusetts gets a lot of snow in the winter, and this makes hydrants locatable when they are buried. That’s our theory anyway…

Victory Day

Rhode Island is the only state that celebrates the “National Holiday” of Victory Day, which falls on the second Monday in May. How do we know? Because we had the unfortunate timing of being there during this day and in need of a library to work from and found a lot of closed municipal services.

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