Historic Wickford Village: Hidden Small Town Charm in Coastal Rhode
Wickford Village, R.I.
by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/28/16
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Most New Englanders I've talked with have never heard of
Wickford Village, R.I. Therefore, in my ongoing unofficial, casual
poll, Wickford Village can be considered a certified hidden travel gem.
Tucked away by the harbor in North Kingstown, Wickford Village --
established in 1709 -- embodies
everything that is good about New England and what many people expect
this region to look like. The beautiful harbor views with boats and a
sense of serenity, the tree-lined streets with old homes from the 1700
and 1800s, stately churches, outdoor waterfront cafes (try the Beach
Rose for some delicious chowder and a lobster roll) and an unassuming
but wonderful mix of shops (remarkably, more than 50 owner-operated)
make Wickford Village a perfect place to spend a day or extended
vacation. Although Wickford Village's downtown is relatively small, the
shopping scene includes, clothing, books, jewelry, crafts, galleries,
gifts, as well as the Kayak Centre at 9 Phillips St. when in the mood
to navigate beautiful Wickford Village harbor. What's more, the
seasonal events are tremendous: the Christmas season when lights and
designs give Wickford Village the look of a cute, little toy village;
Wickford Art Festival in July; and Daffodil Days in the spring.
There's even a beach a few blocks over. I'm probably not supposed to
say this since it is a town beach, but if you walk there (10 Beach St.)
from the downtown and are on your best behavior, no one is porbably
going to hassle you (results may vary, though).
Town Beach in Wickford Village.
I found Wickford Harbor to be a great coastal walking town full of
scenery with churches, gardens, the residential streets, and the
beautiful harbor with all those colorful boats in the water. It is a
friendly place where people stop to say "hello," and that really counts
for a lot -- that is, to feel welcomed. If you took away the cars and a
few other examples of modern leanings, I feel like many aspects of
Wickford Village reflect what life was like 150 years ago. Not that I
was around then, but I do read books on New England history!
Historic tree-lined street in Wickford Village.
My plan for the day was to see as many Rhode Island towns as possible,
but after feeling a sense coldness (not talking about the weather) in a
nearby town, I decided to return to Wickford Village. I stayed here for
the rest of my visit to coastal Rhode Island. When the feeling of
quintessential New England resonates so strongly in the charming
waterfront streets, it's best to stay
put. Log onto
the Wickford Village site for more info
Small town charm in Wickford Village.
Editor's note: there are no places to stay in Wickford Village, but you can book a room in nearby Newport.
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