Alternative Black Friday Activities in Rhode Island

It's one of those great American ironies: filling our shopping carts just one day after giving thanks for what we already have. If crowded stores and frenzied parking garages aren't part of your to-do list this year, here are a few ideas to get you away from the malls and ushering in the holiday season in Rhode Island.

Celebrate "Block Friday"
Block Island's 26th Annual Holiday Shopping Stroll may be three days of sales, but it offers more options for individuals and families looking to avoid the typical Black Friday melee. Galleries will open their doors, the Island Free Library will host an indoor farmer's market and visitors can stop by to view the giant colorful lobster pot and buoy Christmas tree on Water Street. Spend the night or explore for a day, but make sure you check the ferry schedule since you can't drive off the island.
Block Island, RI | Stroll runs from 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 27 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29th

"Trot" with Turkeys
It's the day after Thanksgiving, so how about a walk to burn off that meal? Join volunteers from The Charlestown Land Trust for a 4-mile round-trip wildlife walk around the Ninigret Wildlife Refuge and Ninigret Pond, the largest coastal salt pond in RI. Maybe you'll get lucky and catch a glimpse of a turkey that survived the holiday!
Ninigret NWR and Potato Point, Charlestown, RI | 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. |

Get a History Lesson by Lanternlight
Have you ever wondered how the early Americans celebrated the holidays? Well, the Newport Historical Society is here to tell you! Beginning on Black Friday (and continuing on Fridays and Saturdays until December 26), learn how colonial Newporters recognized the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in the nation's smallest state. Enjoy hot mulled cider and hors d'oeuvers. Reservations are suggested as space is limited.
Brick Market: Museum & Shop, 127 Thames Street, Newport, RI | 4:30 p.m. | For reservations call (401) 841-8770

Watch Illuminated Boats at Bowen's Wharf
In one of the area's most anticipated annual traditions, boats, illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights, will float down the Newport harbor competing for best holiday decorations. The parade, which begins at 6:15 p.m., is open to the public and can be viewed from various locations around the harbor. After the parade, the awards ceremony will be held at the Newport Yacht Club, where visitors can enjoy some light refreshments.
Bowen's Wharf, 53 America's Cup Ave, Newport, RI | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Questions? Call (401) 845-5815

Meet the Man Himself
Ring in the holiday season in the most festive way - with Santa, of course! The man of the hour, as well as his elves and reindeer, will arrive via firetruck to greet children young and old. Sweet treats and photo opportunities will be provided. In case of inclement weather this event will take place at The Westerly Armory.
Downtown Westerly, 5 High Street, Westerly, RI | 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Questions? Call (401) 596-7761

Hillary Federico is a writer, editor and photographer born and raised in New England. In her search to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, Hillary journeyed to New York to try her hand as a writer for reality tv, jetted to Nicaragua where she launched a non-profit foundation, and spent hours in the kitchen contemplating quitting it all for culinary school. Follow her continued adventures on Instagram @hfederico or on her blog