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Bristol, RI, Travel Review

Bristol, RI: The All-American New England Small Town

A quiet, quaint bay town offers visitors history, preservation, shopping, seafood dining, recreation and relaxation

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Downtown Bristol, RI

Downtown Bristol, RI  (photo by Eric H.)

If you're looking for that proverbial "All American town," then Bristol is the place to go.

Known as the "most patriotic town in America," Bristol abounds with American community spirit with American flags displayed throughout town and a red, white and blue median strip in its downtown. The oldest Fourth of July celebration in America, beautiful historic and incredibly well-maintained Colonial homes (one after the other on Hope Street), town buildings, bed and breakfasts and museums only augment the All-American" town look perhaps more than any other town we've visited in New England.

Bristol -- located on the east side of Rhode Island, 20 minutes from Providence -- has a distinct advantage of being located on scenic Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays. You can get pleasing glimpses of the water from the downtown, even better views from waterfront restaurants like the Lobster Pot (we love their seafood selections), and Quito's Seafood Restaurant (people we've talked to rave about their seafood selections), and incredible panoramic views going over the majestic Mt. Hope Bridge.

Downtown, you'll find the local coffee, book, toy, photo and other specialty shops that, unlike other towns, aren't in business to show off and rip you off. Rather, the shops, in all their festive storefront colors, faithfully serve the community and also happen to catch the interest of visitors. There's a peaceful aura downtown, almost like the way life was before mega development in the suburbs (Rhode Island is so small that every town in this state seems like a suburb of Providence).

On the outskirts, you'll find golfing and boating opportunities, but perhaps the best drawing card attractions are Colt State Park and the East Bay Bike Path. Colt State Park offers 464 pristine acres of a true nature's paradise with sweeping views of Narragansett Bay, open lands, picnic areas, and places to walk. The East Bay Bike Path -- a 14-plus mile bike path with many water views running from Providence to Bristol -- is accessible through Colt State Park . Next to Colt State Park is a town beach with nearby playing fields, a snack bar, and a playground complex for the kids.

It's hard to imagine a more pleasing town than Bristol, as its American spirit, community pride, historical preservation, peacefulness and things to do make it a top choice as a small-town to visit when visiting New England.

Visit the Bristol RI Web Site for more information

Click here for more information on Bristol's Fourth of July Celebration

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