We’ve all heard of curb appeal, but deciding where to live goes way beyond pretty landscaping. To determine some of the most desirable roads to live on in Rhode Island, we consulted realtors and residents, then drove all around the state considering factors such as attractiveness, proximity to amenities including libraries, parks, restaurants, shopping and beaches, and looked for value.
We found plenty of contenders in a range of communities and prices. And we also learned that some of what makes a street stand out is the neighborhood spirit of the people who live there.
1. Blackstone Boulevard, Providence.
One of the best-known streets around, the Boulevard is home to some of the most diverse architecture in the state, from condos in brick buildings to Victorians with wraparound front porches to modern new construction. The bike and walking paths are busy with cyclists, runners and strollers. Lippitt Park regularly features events and a popular farmers market, and the street is close to the shopping and restaurants on Hope Street.
2. Barnes Street, Providence.
With Prospect Street on one end and Thayer Street on the other, residents of this East Side street are bookended by both the history of Brown and RISD and the current student bustle. Lined with historic buildings in a palette of yellow, green, pink and beige, the street includes single-family houses, condos and apartments. It’s also near Brown Street Park, which hosts a community garden and events like a Halloween parade.
3. Arbor Drive, Providence.
This beautifully landscaped area was once home to an all-girls school and later developed into Elmhurst Arboretum. The gently curving street features unusual trees and plants for Rhode Island and modern townhouses in shades of gray, yellow and beige in the $155,000 range. Just off Smith Street, Arbor Drive is a quick trip to downtown Providence and close to Roger Williams Medical Center.
4. Parade Street, Providence.
Located on Providence’s West Side, this street showcases some of the successful revitalization that has gone on in the neighborhood. The details and splashes of color on the updated Queen Anne and Victorian houses reflect the creative spirit of the area. The street overlooks Dexter Park, which is home to many community events and a farmers market, and it’s a short walk from the shops and restaurants on Broadway and Westminster streets.
5. Wellesley Avenue, North Providence.
Part of the historic Fruit Hill neighborhood, this short street is dotted with renovated homes. The colonials and bungalows, which can list for about $175,000, make the street a good choice for first-time buyers. It’s also convenient: Located off Smith Street, it’s close to shopping in North Providence and a quick drive to downtown Providence.
1. Second Street, Newport.
Where else can you hear history in the tolling of church bells but also stroll to the Tall Ships Festival at Bowen’s Wharf? Look no further than Newport’s Point neighborhood. Tucked just off the bustle of America’s Cup Avenue, it’s been home to fishermen and diplomats alike. Many of the understated colonials have been restored and the neighborhood is dotted with secret gardens. Residents are just a quick walk from glistening Newport Harbor and can catch the sunset over the Pell Bridge from waterfront Storer Park.
2. Indian Avenue, Middletown.
Multimillion-dollar waterfront estates with beautiful landscaping populate one side of Indian Avenue, with some more affordable houses in the $500,000 range on the other side. Residents protect their privacy — they once fought to keep out an MTV reality show — and bicyclists and walkers enjoy breathtaking views of the Sakonnet River. The nearby Norman Bird Sanctuary adds to the bucolic feel. They’re also minutes from First and Second beaches and a ten-minute drive from downtown Newport.
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