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Little Compton, Rhode Island: A Peaceful Small New England Town That Hasn't Changed Much At All

Little Compton is a small, peaceful town in Rhode Island.
Church and cemetery in downtown Little Compton.

by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Aug. 19, 2017.

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Quaint New England towns with no traffic lights in the business district usually pique our interest, giving us the "green light" to explore the area.

In an increasingly developed commercial, residential and industrial New England, how refreshing it is to discover relatively unspoiled communities like Little Compton, R.I. With a pretty town common (rare in Rhode Island), cemetery, a few stores and fueled by peace and solitude, Little Compton never subscribed to the expanding suburban way of life.  It is very quiet here, a true small town wonder.

“We like to keep it little,” said Richard Sisson, of Little Compton. “It’s a beautiful place.”

The lifelong resident who owns a lawn and garden business added, “We like a quiet place. There are no traffic jams, no stop lights, no Walmart. We don’t want to be known as Newport.”

As part of what is known as the FarmCoast region, Little Compton wonderfully combines the sea with farm land...

Sea and farm land come together in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Flowers, farm land at the coast.

The outskirts like Sakonnet Point, at the end of Route 77, afford beautiful views of the ocean...
Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, Rhode Island
Sakonnet Point in Little Compton.

A nice, off-the-beaten path swimming beach can be found at South Shore Beach (125 South Shore Rd., and open to non-residents for a fee)...
South Shore Beach in Little Compton Ri is an off-the-beaten path beach.
South Shore Beach.

Fishing on a cooler day at South Shore Beach in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Fishing on a cooler day at South Shore Beach.

Plant life perfectly co-exists with the sea...
Flowers and sea perfectly co-exist in Little Compton, RI
A beautiful scene near Sakonnet Point.

When visiting the blink-of-an-eye downtown,
we recommend getting out of your car and walking this charming small neighborhood. You'll find the old-fashioned C.W. Wilbur General Store (50 Commons, 401-635-2356) with a retail shop, supermarket and deli counter. A classic, historic New England general store, the Wilbur General Store dates back to 1893 and remains, to this very day, the "anchor store" of tiny yet beautiful Little Compton...

Wilbur General Store in Little Compton RI.
Wilbur General Store in Little Compton.

The Commons Lunch Restaurant (48 Commons 401-635-4388) is a local gem where everyone seems to know each other. The Commons — open for breakfast and lunch — is famous for its delicious johnnycakes. A Rhode Island culinary staple dating back to colonial New England, johnnycakes have a distant relation to pancakes but could be described better as a cornmeal flatbread.

The Commons Lunch in Little Compton, Rhode Island is a local legend specializing in Johnnycakes.
The Commons Lunch restaurant is a local landmark in Little Compton.

Johnnycakes with eggs and bacon from the Commons in Little Compton, Rhode Island
Johnnycakes with bacon and eggs from The Commons Lunch.

Also definitely worth checking out: Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards (162 West Main Road, 800-919-4637) has its business roots going back to 1975 and offers tours and daily tastings, as well as “international award-winning wines” for sale in an idyllic vineyard setting.

There might not be a lot to do in Little Compton, but that's the point. In this beautiful small town, you can get back to a way of life that we once knew before the bombast of expanding suburbia became commonplace. So, if you like virtually unchanged New England destinations, Little Compton comes up big!


Book a hotel at the lowest rate near Little Compton

Rhode Island has few town commons, but this town green in Little Compton is a gem.
Town common in Little Compton.

Related articles:

How to enjoy a day trip in Warren, Rhode Island
Take in the scenic wonders of Ocean Blvd. in Newport
Wickford Village: A hidden, historic coastal village in Rhode Island
Visiting beautiful Bristol, R.I.
Riding a coastal bike path in Rhode Island

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Books by VisitingNewEngland.com Publisher Eric Hurwitz

Massachusetts Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions: town commons!

The Best Diners in New England -- If you love classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on 50 top local diners.


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