I spent a good portion of my childhood in RI. Some 'negatives': Rhode Island is the most densely populated state, housing prices are quite high, taxes are high, development has not been very tightly controlled (until recently- land trusts and conservancy organizations are growing to try and preserve what little 'open space' there is) and getting there from NY (particularly NYC and in the summer) is MISERABLE! Historically the state has been very corrupt, Providence being the New England mob headquarters.
That said, there are still areas with a beautiful rural quality, I think the state has the most miles of shoreline relative to area, so it has some amazing beaches. There are a couple of towns/villages that I think are about the most beautiful and nice places on the planet (but a house there which went for $50k in the 70s will now cost you a couple million). Newport is pretty awful in the summer (congested, noisy party houses, etc.), but offers a lot of water activities, restaurants, arts, performances and is quite nice the rest of the year. Providence really is a great little city- very 'liveable.' Housing is pricey, but with all the schools there you get a tremendous amount of cultural offerings (top notch theater, the RISD museum, etc. etc.). Weather isn't bad- maybe a little sunnier on average than NYC, the ocean keeps winter fairly mild.... though the state does have a history of being hit by hurricanes!