RHODE Island is one of America’s best kept secrets. Tourists visiting the East Coast will always cling to the European charm of Boston or the bright lights of New York City but the state of Rhode Island offers much more than the two combined.

Its capital Providence satisfies the needs of the eager city sightseer while its resort of Newport gives tourists a taste of the US seaside. If you are clever with your planning, you can take advantage of Rhode Island’s transport links to visit both Boston and New York.

My trip to America’s biggest little state began by flying with Norwegian airlines into Stewart International Airport, which is in New York’s Orange County. This ex-military airport offers tourists a cheaper way to visit New York.

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Norwegian is flying from Edinburgh Airport to three airports on the East Coast which offer good access into Boston, New York and New England. The new link has low cost fares and a no-frills approach but the flight was just as comfortable as any other.

For this trip, I headed away from the city, and into upstate New York. My first countryside stop was the idyllic The DeBruce, in Livingston Manor. This beautiful guest house was the welcome hug I needed after a long flight and I was treated to a meal, despite arriving shortly before midnight, which would turn out to be the best of my entire trip.

The kitchen staff kicked things off with a simple salad before a mushroom gnocchi which could rival the best I have tasted in Italy. Dessert was a warm apple pie which set me up nicely for a good night's sleep.

In the morning, the mist fell across the Willowemoc Valley and the view was breathtaking – I can understand why many native New Yorkers escape to their places in the countryside at the weekend.

I set out for the nearby site of the original Woodstock Festival after binge watching YouTube videos of Jimi Hendrix. The site is now a tourist attraction with a centre for the arts, which gave me an insight into the size and cultural legacy of Woodstock.

It attracted more than 400,000 people in 1969 and standing on the site I could sense how magical it must have been. The museum is like a time capsule giving an insight into that period when hippy values shook the establishment.

More magic was on offer elsewhere in New York state at the Walkway over the Hudson river in Poughkeepsie which is popular with walkers and joggers. It offers a picture perfect moment at the top where you are able to take in the spectacular views. Sunset has to be the best time to visit – the burning orange sky setting with the backdrop of the river is breathtaking. Sometimes a simple view can be the best tourist attraction.

I journeyed on to Rhode Island's Providence. 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.