I never want to leave Rhode Island, it’s true. Many people will bash the smallest state in the entirety of the United States of America, but for me it will always be home and the place I will always return.

Last weekend, I took an overnight trip to Boston, MA and found that the one thing that gives me the most comfort in the entire world is seeing the “Welcome to Rhode Island: The Ocean State” on the Pawtucket/Attleboro line on I-95. If you have never lived in the state or think it’s part of New York I will give you a short briefing on my favorite place in the world.

To begin with, I should probably say that Rhode Island is a tiny state, only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long. It is sandwiched between Massachusetts and Connecticut and boasts a long Atlantic coastline and some of the best beaches on the East Coast. The colony of Rhode Island was founded by religious leader Roger Williams in 1636, when he was banished from nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony for heresy. He wished to create a colony of religious freedom, and today many diverse religions survive along with their colonial meeting places.

Rhode Island became the 13th state of the Union in 1790 and ratified the Constitution. It boasts a rich colonial history including the American Revolution battle of the burning of the Gaspee ship in Warwick. Rhode Island went on to become famous for its jewelry manufacturing center in Providence and its mill town of Pawtucket. In addition, Rhode Island has historically been in national news for a history of political corruption and scandal.

1. The Ocean

My favorite part of my state is the waterfront. I never have to drive more than 5-10 minutes to see the beautiful coastline. I live near East Greenwich Bay and grew up on the water. Not being able to see the water is not breathing in my state.

2. Everyone reads the same newspaper

No matter where you go in Rhode Island, everyone reads the same newspaper, The Providence Journal. Since 1829 when it was first published, everyone has a opinion on the Journal. Some love it and others love to hate it, but everyone talks about it. No other state has a paper that covers every activity in every city and town, even if it may be completely slanted one way or the other. Just bring up a Journal article in conversation and see what happens…

3. Snow Freak Outs

Since the Blizzard of 1978 (a decade before my birth), everyone in Rhode Island freaks out about snow. Five snowflakes can fall, and every single private, public, catholic and charter school will close as well as 75% of businesses and state offices. Snow freaks people out more than global warming or tornadoes or any other more threatening natural disaster.

4. The People (Most Importantly My Family and Friends)

Almost everyone I know lives in my state and I never want to leave. I grew up here and will always live here unless something truly life shattering happens.