It is one of the ironies of history that the smallest state in the Union has the longest traditional name: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Located in the eastern region of New England, Rhode Island was one of the original 13 colonies. Rhode Island declared itself independent of British rule a full two months prior to the Declaration of Independence, but was the last original state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, facts that argue for the independence of spirit that permeates the tiny state to this day.
About 14% of the total area of Rhode Island consists of inlets and bays. This partially explains why the state's nickname is "The Ocean State," but another reason for the name is the prevalence of ocean trades to the state's economy. Fishing has always been important here, and tourists staying in holiday homes in Rhode Island will want to taste some of the area's particular specialty, such as the quahog, a large clam often used in chowders but also sometimes ground, mixed with stuffing, and baked in its own shell in a dish called a "stuffie."
Rhode Island Clam Chowder is a specialty all its own; unlike the white New England variety, this variant uses tomatoes in place of the milk, an innovation proposed by Portuguese immigrants to Rhode Island. Squid is another dish commonly served as an appetizer in fine restaurants in the state; the most common preparation involves slicing it into rings and frying it.