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A Tank Away

You can win even if you don’t play

Beyond the gaming at Twin River Casino, this Rhode Island town has a lot to offer

The Blackstone River Bikeway offers 17 miles for riding. The Blackstone River Bikeway offers 17 miles for riding. (Matt Taylor for The Boston Globe)
Globe Correspondent / May 4, 2011

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LINCOLN, R.I. -- If most people have heard of Lincoln, R.I., they generally know it as home of the Twin River Casino, but this town just north of Providence offers much more than slots and virtual blackjack machines. Visitors can enjoy historic landmarks, classic 17th-century homes, and numerous outdoor activities while admiring the rolling hills, rushing rivers, and tree-lined streets that give Lincoln its distinct natural charm.

STAY

While there’s plenty of lodging in and around Lincoln, there isn’t much variety. The Courtyard Marriot (636 George Washington Highway, 401-333-3400, www.marriot.com, rates from $129) features spacious rooms, an indoor pool and spa, fitness center, outdoor fire pit, and a 24-hour market. Two miles down Route 116 from the Marriot is the Quality Inn Smithfield (355 George Washington Highway, Smithfield, 401-232-2400, www.qual ityinn.com, rates from $104) offering a free continental breakfast, outdoor pool and spa, and fitness center.

DINE

Lincoln offers some excellent dining options, including the Asia Grille (622 George Washington Highway, 401-334-3200, www.asiagrille.com, entrees $7-$17). Voted Best Asian Restaurant in the Blackstone Valley by Rhode Island Monthly magazine for three straight years, Asia Grille offers an extensive menu, large portions, and their sweet, savory chicken wings are a can’t-miss appetizer. Enn Restaurant (600 George Washington Highway, 401-333-0366, www.ennri.com, lunch, $9-$13, dinner $12-$28) offers authentic Japanese dishes and fresh, flavorful sushi. If you want to check out a variety of dining options without having to run around town, the Twin River Casino is for you. Feel like indulging a hankering for prime beef? Venture upstairs from the gaming floor and enjoy a prime cut steak from Fred and Steve’s Steakhouse (100 Twin River Road, 401-475-8400, www.twinriver.com/fredandsteves.php, entrees $31-$50). Former NFL players and media personalities Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie joined forces and opened a restaurant that offers thick, tender steaks and succulent seafood creations. Want to grab a bite without missing the game? The Wicked Good Bar (100 Twin River Road, 401-475-8600, www.twinriver.com/wick edgood.php, entrees $8-$17) offers reasonably priced, sports-themed pub food and local creations such New England clam cakes and chowder, and the Bar Bourque pulled pork sandwich, with Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. (Get it? Ray’s and Bourque?)

DURING THE DAY

With the weather warming up, Lincoln has many options for those who want to get outside and enjoy spring. Located between routes 146 and 123, Lincoln Woods (2 Manchester Print Works Road, 401-723-7892, www.riparks.com/lincoln .htm; open sunrise to sunset) is Rhode Island’s first state park, with more than 600 acres of hiking and biking trails, ballfields, two freshwater beaches, fishing and boating facilities, horseback riding trails, and even an Eastern Mountain Sports kayak school. There are no entrance fees at Lincoln Woods, although facility fees for canoe and kayak rentals, picnic shelters, and ballfields apply. One of the best ways to enjoy this peaceful park is to plan a picnic or barbecue and pay $2 for a site with a table and fireplace. Be sure to check out the covered bridge at the entrance off Breakneck Hill Road. It is one of a handful of these structures still remaining in the Ocean State. Bicyclers should spend some time on the Blackstone River Bikeway (www.riparks.com/blacksto.htm), a 17-mile neatly paved path with several entrances in Lincoln. The path winds through the historic Lincoln villages of Lonsdale, Albion, and Manville. It also has informational displays at various points that tell the story of the Industrial Revolution in the Blackstone Valley and the role of mills powered by the river. Located along the trail is the Captain Wilbur Kelly House Transportation Museum (open April-October, www.nps.gov/blac/plan yourvisit/valley-sites-lincoln.htm), which features exhibits on the Blackstone Canal as a key mode of transportation in the area in earlier days. Perhaps the most historic area of Lincoln is the Great Road Historic District. Located on Route 123 are several significant Rhode Island houses including the Eleazor Arnold House ( 487 Great Road, 401-728-9696, www.historicnew england.org/historic-properties/homes/arnold-house-1/arnold-house,) and Hearthside House (677 Great Road, 401-726-0597, www.hearthsidehouse.org). Hearthside hosts various events including afternoon teas, antique fairs, and a Civil War reenactment. Adjacent to the Hearthside House is the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop (www.hearthsidehouse.org/hanna way) which holds turn-of-the-century blacksmithing demonstrations and classes on weekends.

AFTER DARK

Twin River (100 Twin River Road, 877-827-4837, www.twinriver.com) hosts most of the nightlife in Lincoln. Concerts and boxing matches are often held in the events center. If gaming is your thing, Twin River has over 300,000 square feet of space containing 4,700 slot machines and virtual blackjack and roulette games. Catch a Rising Star (www.twinriver.com/catchrisingstar.php, tickets start at $10) features comedians every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sapphire Restaurant and Lounge (www.twinriver.com/sap phire.php) has two dance floors, a 500-square-foot bar, and offers private balcony service. If you want to enjoy a drink outside in the warm weather, head to Effin’s Last Resort (325 Farnum Pike, Smithfield, 401-349-3500, www.effinsri.com) in neighboring Smithfield. Effin’s features an outdoor pool, full-service tiki bar, beach volleyball, and live bands.

Matt Taylor can be reached at MattTaylor0403@msn.com.