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Chepachet, R.I. - New England My Happy Place Photo of the Day

Discovering a Hidden Gem: Chepachet, Rhode Island

Historic Chepachet, Rhode Island.
Historic Chepachet.

Article, photos by Eric Hurwitz created for on 2/20/2022 @newenglandinfo

One of the most satisfying aspects of New England travel is discovering interesting places that don't get mentioned much in the mainstream travel media. Too bad about the lack of mention, as these imperfectly perfect destinations have as much to do with the beauty and authenticity of New England as the highly promoted tourist spots.

Not that small communities like Chepachet, R.I. can hold a colonial candle (bad historic New England pun) to the most popular places in the six-state region in terms of things to do and places to eat and stay. You won't find brochures of annoyingly, airbrushed precious couples sitting by the sea with phony smiles over a $200 meal. No high-end mini golf courses, pretentious stores essentially selling overpriced junk or tacky souvenir shops are to be found anywhere. An endless continuation of gas stations, fast food places and motels leading to the town center does not exist.

Walking through the historic district in the village of Chepachet, R.I.
A walk through quaint Chepachet.

While Chepachet --
-- a small village established in 1639 within the northwest Rhode Island town of Glocester -- simply does not fit the "must-see" heavily-marketed and glossy travel narrative, it is a community well worth talking about and visiting. The town center -- not much more than a block on Route 44 -- features a high concentration of colorful historical buildings. Antique shopping is the main draw with stores like The Town Trader (1177 Putnam Pike), Old Post Office Antiques (1178 Putnam Pike), Old Stone Mill Antiques and Treasures (1169 Putnam Pike) and Sideways Down Antiques and Gallery (1133 Putnam Pike).  Be prepared to spend at least a few hours at these wonderful, unpretentious locally-owned shops.

Old Stone Mill Antiques in Chepachet, R.I.
Old Stone Mill Antiques.

Additionally, Chepachet is home to Brown & Hopkins Country Store (1179 Putnam Pike) -- one of the oldest continuously country stores in the United States, dating back to the early 1800s. What a charmer, in the traditional New England sense!

Brown & Hopkins Country Store in Chepachet, Rhode Island.
Brown & Hopkins Country Store.

Brown & Hopkins is the picture-perfect prototype for a traditional country store with creaky wooden floors and familiar and hard-to-find merchandise packed within a modest space. Home accents, candles, sweets, gourmet specialties, and unique gifts highlight this beautiful little country store.

The village has only a few places to eat including the historic Tavern on Main (1157 Putnam Pike) which features a quaint, cozy historic setting and a big menu of delicious comfort foods. The restaurant structure -- built in the early 1700s -- fits in perfect with Chepachet. Also be sure to check out DePetrillo's Pizza and Bakery (1153 Putnam Pike) for two categories of our favorite types of food -- pizza and sweets!

As you have gathered by now, Chepachet is not one of those slick, all-inclusive travel destinations. You're more likely to see neighbors chatting with each other on the peaceful streets. Store merchants seem to want to build relationships with customers rather than simply take their money. The town center looks unlike any other as opposed to a contrived place that neatly and conveniently fits into a generic mold.

Antique store in Chepachet, R.I. The Old Post Office Antiques Store.

What's more, the village population at around 1,600 and a very low crime rate lend the feeling of a close-knit community where one can feel safe. Plus, Glocester's dedication to prioritizing historical preservation rather than rampant commercial and residential development keeps the Chepachet's innate beauty intact.

All in all, this is the type of New England community that I and many others feel most comfortable with -- genuine, pleasant, interesting and without forcing tourism down our throats. Visiting Chepachet is probably best for those who love antique shopping, a good old-fashioned country store, walking a historic district and a place to grab a bite without breaking the bank. If that fits the most important travel narrative -- yours -- then Chepachet is definitely your place!

Not too far from Chepachet:
A&W Root Beer Stand
Putnam, Connecticut
Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, Conn.

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