2017’s Best of Rhode Island!

Editors and readers name their picks for the state's best spots for food, shopping, fun and beauty.


Shopping: Sweet Summer Frocks, Cute Doggie Rainwear and Quirky Posters are just some of our New Must-Haves.

New Pet Store
Purrs and Woofs

bestThis cute pet emporium caters to pampered pooches and felines, with safe American-made toys, food and treats, as well as accessories including colorful doggie life jackets and snuggly cat beds. We have a four-legged friend who’s especially fond of the Puppy Scoops ice cream in carob, peanut butter or vanilla. 68 Cliff St., East Greenwich, 398-7448, purrsandwoofs.com

Old-School Paper Goods
The Third and Elm Press

What took us so long to make this gem a regular on our Newport circuit? Now that we have, it’s become a steadfast favorite for one-of-a-kind notecards and other paper gifts. Artist Ilse Nesbitt and her late husband, Alexander, opened the shop, which houses two nineteenth-century printing presses, more than fifty years ago to showcase their love of block cutting, paper making and printing, and Ilse continues to practice the old-school art today. 29 Elm St., Newport, 846-0228, thirdandelm.com

Reclaimed Furniture
Christian Thomas Designs

“Local. Reclaimed. Handcrafted.” Those qualities are the benchmarks at CTD, which specializes in distinctive tables, vanities, desks and other gorgeous pieces made from recycled wood and repurposed materials. Christian Thomas Descoteaux, a third-generation woodworker, has been plying his trade since he was twelve; his creations are timely and timeless. 244 Oak St., Providence, 378-8328, christianthomasdesigns.com

Vintage Shopping in the Village
Lane’s on Broad

This lovely little space and one-time flower shop is now a quality, but reasonably priced consignment and vintage boutique. Think Loft, the Gap, Talbots and Coldwater Creek, with a mix of new items with a more boho vibe, as well as home accessories. Once we spied the Del’s lemon scented soy candle, we knew we were home. 2165 Broad St., Cranston, 383-5459, facebook.com/lanesonbroad

Vintage Shopping in the City
Carmen and Ginger

We never tire of popping into this Arcade-based store whenever we are in Providence. On separate visits we’ve spotted a Liberty of London silk scarf, a Coach purse and loads of fun jewelry and home accessories. Sorting through the racks is like going on a fashion lover’s treasure hunt: We never know what we are going to find, but it’s always good. 65 Weybosset St., Providence, 274-1700, carmenandginger.com

Doggie Rain Gear

When the weather outside is frightful, outfit your favorite canine in a stylish Electric Houndstooth rain jacket from Cleverhood, the Providence company that makes rain capes for humans. Fashioned in Fall River, these all-weather togs, in 3M reflective glen plain fabric with cozy Berber fleece, come in five sizes that fit Yorkies to Rottweilers and promise to keep four-legged friends dry as a bone. cleverhood.com

Unified Guitar Works

Bill Paukert worked for fifteen years as an industrial designer at Hasbro before he set out to combine his innovative skills with his love of music. Paukert crafts his unique guitars, featuring a bamboo core and aluminum exteriors, at his shop in Warren. Each model — the Arbiter, Maven and Zephyr — is custom-made and embodies Unified’s motto: “Unexpected Materials, Classic Attitude.” 32 Cole St., Warren, 440-0057, unifiedguitarworks.com

New Home Store
Home Imagined

The city’s West Side is home to the latest project by That Guy’s Guy Lemoine and his wife, Kristen. Along with the cutest retro gifts and That Guy’s custom wood pieces, the store also hosts regular DIY workshops and 
offers interior design services. Big or small, if a boho home upgrade has been on your mind, this is the one-stop shop to make it happen. 265 Broadway, Providence, 219-4663, facebook.com/home

Olive Oil: In the City
The Olive Tap

If an entire store devoted to olive oil and balsamic vinegar seems like a limited repertoire, then just sample the wares. Rows of shiny metal containers line the walls with freshly pressed olive oils in knock-out flavors including roasted garlic, Sorrento lemon and their all-time hit, Tuscan herb. The balsamic vinegars range from classics like Modena to sublime dark chocolate; regular tastings and cooking demos expand culinary possibilities far beyond dipping with bread or anointing a salad. 485 Angell St., Providence, 272-8200, theolivetap.com

Olive Oil: In the ’Burbs
Nectar de la Vida

Wander in to sample the various delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars; stay for the equally tempting extras to eat in or take out. Depending on the day, the menu includes roast chicken paninis, strawberry whoopie pies, coffee cake muffins, chocolate treats and salads, many using the oils in the store as ingredients. There are those who say olive oil should be part of every meal. After stopping here, we think they’re on to something. 460 Main St., Warren, 694-0776, nectardelavida.com

Kayak Centre

This emporium hits all the requirements for kayaking fans. Almost 130 kayaks and standup paddleboards? Check. Rentals and classes for all skill levels? Check. Gentle tours along the coast or in the evening? Check. Spacious new pondside location in the historic Ryan’s Market space? Check and check. We can’t think of a better way to de-stress. 70 Brown St., Wickford, 295-4400; 562 Charlestown Beach Rd., Charlestown (seasonal), kayakcentre.com

Eclectic Antiques Upstate
Chamonix Antiques

Jess and Nick Rochefort are idiosyncratic curators. Their diverse shops boast an engaging selection of mid-century modern furnishings and collectibles, plus an array of rugs (from Persian runners to a “Turkish Groovy Trip Shag”), pop culture posters and time-travel curios. You’ll discover singular treasures at their large store in the wilds of North Scituate and their homey nook in the Arcade. 985 Chopmist Hill Rd., North Scituate; Arcade, 65 Weybosset St., Providence, 999-8899, chamonix

Old-School Home Goods
Flashback Vintage Emporium


Cool vintage furniture can be found at Flashback Vintage Emporium in Warren.

This new addition to Warren’s retail landscape carries all the wares of the beloved former Podsnappery (now the Galactic Theatre) as well as several other local vintage dealers. The abundant inventory includes everything from bikes and comic books to clothing. But it’s quickly become our favorite place to shop for all things home related: retro movie posters, lamps, side tables and cabinets, all with the one-of-a-kind patina and style guaranteed to make a room pop. 450 Main St., Warren, 338-8163, facebook.com/flashbackvintage

Eclectic Antiques Downstate
Nick Haus Shop

Tucked away in a cottage off scenic Water Street, this relatively new antiques store is chock full of funky pieces all chosen by the trained eye of owner and designer, Nick Heywood. Fun finds will add a dose of quirk to your home, like a vintage tennis racquet coaster set or a bronze alligator nutcracker, alongside more straightforward discoveries like decorative ceramics and candlesticks. 51 Broad St., Warren, 903-2005, nickhaus.com

Boutique with a Beach Theme

Salt nods to a perpetual summer vibe with its line of comfortable, bohemian and nautical-inspired women’s clothing, quoted signs and jewelry. We’re especially fond of the cute frocks with a nautical look, bottle openers shaped like mermaids and the pretty seaglass accessories, if, ahem, anyone’s looking for inspiration. 3845 Main Rd., Tiverton, 816-0901

Surfing Gear
Island Surf and Sport

Besides being the ultimate place for wetsuits and surfboards (rent or buy) for the growing number of surfing enthusiasts around the state, Island Surf and Sport also embraces the surfing culture with hippie and beachy clothing, bathing suits and the paraphernalia to go with it. Island sports children’s toys and gear, Billabong, Patagonia and Roxy clothing brands, an enormous selection of sunglasses and more. You will find a token that reminds you of Newport, or opt for a SUP or surfing lesson for a memory instead. 86 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown, 846-4421, island

Olivia Rodrigues

To say this Providence-based personal shopper and stylist is going places would be an understatement. Since starting her biz, Rodrigues has been featured in Marie Claire, hosts styling and shopping events locally, and regularly posts fashion advice and videos to her website. Her services include wardrobe revamps, bridal styling and shopping assistance, all with an eye toward making you look your very best. olivia-rodrigues.com

Style Blog
Jess Ann Kirby

We had to do a double-take when we stumbled upon this uber-popular blog and realized it was set right in little Rhody. Founder Jess Ann Kirby uses her Newport-based platform to showcase the latest trends, her travels, favorite hair and makeup products and even some local hotspots, and has 
secured partnerships with national brands like Sealy and Lou and Grey. It’s quickly become one of our go-to reads for seasonal style inspiration. jessannkirby.com

Designer T-Shirts
Robin B. Clothier

We were lured here by the cute and functional togs, with labels like Indigenous and Lola and Sophie, but it’s the soft, eco-conscious Essential Ts, fashioned of modal in chic, basic black, that keep us coming back. When owner, Robin Barrett Wilson, couldn’t find a good-quality, reasonably priced basic T, she decided to design it herself. The result is one of our favorite staples, and we’re confident it will remain in the collection when the store moves to Benny’s Plaza in the coming months. 175 Main St., East Greenwich, 885-9400, robinbclothier.com

Affordable Artwork
The Flying Shuttles Art Studio

We always find something to covet in the collection of colorful paintings, table runners, rugs and placemats at this amazing nonprofit studio. The eclectic styles range from naturalistic to abstract and graphic so there’s something for every taste and decor. Even better, proceeds support vocational training for the artists, all of whom have intellectual or developmental disabilities. Home base is Pawtucket (watch for their holiday open house) but they also sell at farmers markets and art shows around the state. 250 Main St., Pawtucket, 365-1751, flyingshuttlesstudio.blogspot.com

Running Gear
Run Newport


Aquidneck Islanders now have their own go-to shop for all things running. Stocked with top brands, including Brooks, Asics and Mizuno, along with clothing, accessories and the expert knowledge to help you make the right choice of brand and fit, you’ll be in, out and ready to run in comfort and style in the time it takes to finish a five-K. 16 Long Wharf Mall, Newport, 846-1036, facebook.com/runnpt

New Kids’ Boutique

When the original owners decided to move on, Teddy Bearskins’ longtime manager Robin Silva took over the space. While her boutique still caters to the kiddo crowd, Silva has given it a facelift and freshened up inventory. What hasn’t changed? Toddlers can still roam the premises while grownups pick out duds for newborns to kids’ size sixteen, or scour the store for birthday gifts and party favors. 290 County Rd., Barrington, 245-1839, piccoloforchildren.com

Kids’ Consignment Finds
Luca Boutique

Designer togs for little ones might seem unattainable, unless you shop here. The children’s couture consignment shop procures gently used luxe labels and sells them for a fraction of the original cost. Check out
the new Luca First Look Facebook page to stake your claim on items before they even make it to the racks. 193 Water St., Warren, 289-2251, luca-ri.com

Kids’ Discount Gear
Teddy Bearskins Warehouse

Keeping kids in new outfits can be a budget buster when they seem to outgrow them in about a nanosecond, but this small outlet offers a solution. Last time we were there, we spied well-known brands including Ugg, Kenneth Cole and Playskool, all at 50 percent off original prices. Don’t miss the back room where everything from shoes to cute undies is just $5. Open Fridays, alternating occasionally with Sundays. 135 Frenchtown Rd.,
East Greenwich, 295-0282, teddybearskins.com

Bike Store

The all-things-two-wheels resource in Olneyville provides socially conscious pedal-power to the people. Learn how to build, refurbish and maintain bikes in the new space, and share tips and quality time with fellow enthusiasts at RAB’s weekly programs, including Open Shop, Wrenching Wednesdays and W.T.F. (Women, Trans, Femme) Nights. 1911 Westminster St., Providence, 525-1822, recycleabike.org

Dress Boutique
Kristina Richards

There’s always something to crave here, from on-trend duds to luscious leather bags and shoes. Now Kristina Richards has moved her collection of fashionable clothing, home decor and accessories to a new whitewashed location that lends a sunny backdrop for her wares. 108 William St., Newport, 848-5284, kristinarichards.com

Gift Boutique
Rhody Craft

This whimsical store has moved across the street to bigger digs, with more room to browse the deeper inventory. Pick up a fun Rhode Island Red T-shirt, sample some delicious soap or drool over the jewelry. It’s all on display and created by local artists. 769 Hope St., Providence, 626-1833, rhodycraft.com

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