Quahog, R.I., does not exist in real life. It thrives on TV, however, as the fictitious hometown of the dysfunctionally funny family Griffin in the hit animated Fox series, "Family Guy," created by R.I. native Seth McFarlane in 1998.
The fake Quahog -- and real Rhode Island -- gets its tourism due May 5, when the ninth annual Tour Rhode Island rolls out on more than a dozen buses jammed with people eager to learn more about the nation's smallest state, a very popular annual event that sells out quickly, state tourism officials said.
There are 15 tours in all this year, including the return of, by popular demand, "The Family Guy Tour," which includes more than a dozen sites in Pawtucket, Providence, Johnston, and Cranston that are known, or are suspected to have inspired the Emmy-winning series. There will also be a "Family Guy'' celebration lunch at Walt's Roast Beef on Airport Road in Warwick, where a "Family Guy'' version of Trivial Pursuit will be played.
The Tour Rhode Island lineup, other than the Family Guy trek, will take people all over the literal Rhode Island map, with things like "Rhode Island Myths & Mysteries: Shades of Revolutionaries and Romantics," "Hidden Gems of the Blackstone Valley" and "Geocaching Adventure: A Treasure Hunt for Grownups."
New this year is "Independence Trail and Taste of Rhode Island," a three-mile walk that takes in more than four centuries of state history. The one-year-old Providence Independence Trail celebrates its first birthday with its founder, Robert Burke, who is the tour's host and guide, showing tour takers key spots in state history, including where the first shot was fired against English rule in Rhode Island and the spot where President Lincoln spoke.
There are also tours this year for the more physically active, including kayaking the Blackstone River, hiking land-trust trails and bicycling the East Bay Bike Path.
Ticket prices vary, from $24 to $55 for the day-long tour, and most include boxed lunch - but sorry, no quahogs.
For information, visit www.tourrhodeisland.org, or call 401-724-2200.