RHODE Island is one of America’s best kept secrets. Its capital Providence satisfies the needs of the eager city sightseer while its resort of Newport gives tourists a taste of the US seaside.

Founded in 1636, Providence is one of America's oldest cities and was discovered by Roger Williams, who was a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named it in honour of God, whom he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers. A statue of Williams watches over Providence to drill home the idea that he's still watching.

My favourite Providence neighbourhood is Little Italy which has a European feel and some of the best restaurants. We had lunch at Trattoria Zooma in Federal Hill where you can watch staff make fresh pasta. It was lovely to witness Rhode Island's tribute to the "old country".

The Patriarca mafia family, who became infamous internationally through the podcast Crimetown, ruled New England from this very neighbourhood and many locals will have a story or two to share about Providence's criminal history.

On a more positive note, Providence is also well-known for its student population and you can tour the Ivy league Brown University and admire its impressive buildings. I'd recommend the RI Discover Providence Tour which gives you a brief introduction to the city, its history and people and you get to see all the important sights.

The people of Providence seem to be proud of Rhode Island and shout about it from the rooftops. It is that sort of enthusiasm that made me love the city of Providence.

Still on Rhode Island, I visited Newport which is best known for attracting political glitterati and former presidents John F Kennedy and Dwight D Eisenhower owned summer homes here. While Providence is charming, Newport could be best described as its glamorous sister. I was struck by the extravagance of the resort, which is why it was chosen as the location for movies including the 1974 version of the Great Gatsby. The blue sky almost smiled at me as I sat for brunch at the Clarke Cooke House. A piano played in the background as I was served eggs benedict and mimosa, while I took in the magnificent sight of the yachts docked at the marina.

Afterwards a cruise in the classic motor yacht Rum Runner II allowed me to see Newport's landmarks including Hammersmith Farm, which was the site of the Kennedy wedding reception in September 1953. Newport gave me a taste of the American seaside but it also showed me it was possible to combine a city break with a visit to the coast.

Rhode Island has its own style and deserves a visit.

Fares with Norwegian airlines start from £138 one way, £220 return. For more information, visit www.norwegian.com or www.visittheusa.co.uk.