The Story Behind Wicked Tulips in Johnston

Rhode Island's first tulip farm is open just a few short weeks in spring.

Where to Eat

D. Palmieri’s Bakery
This bakery, now known for its custom pizza art, has every taste bud covered from Italian desserts, pizza pies and beyond. The staff has been hand-rolling dough since Domenico Palmieri opened the bakery in 1905, so authentic food is what you get. In addition to Rhode Island classics like cold pizza strips and miniature calzones, the bakery also has a full deli, a prepared foods section and a large lunch menu. 624 Killingly St., Johnston, 621-9357, dpalmierisbakery.com.

Friskie Fries
With both food trucks and brick-and-mortar locations in Johnston, Providence, Barrington and Newport, Friskie Fries is Rhode Island’s ultimate french fry destination. Choose from a variety of both savory and sweet options including signature favorites like the Friskie fries covered in beef chili and cheese or the S’moresome fries slathered in chocolate, marshmallow fluff and graham cracker crumbles. 751 Hartford Ave., Johnston, 919-5489, facebook.com/friskiefries.

Pat’s Italian Restaurant
Pat’s Italian, considered one of New England’s authentic Italian restaurants, was originally a tribute to owner Christine Steven’s father, Frankie Saia, who always dreamt of opening an Italian-style deli. The menu includes all-natural meats and other fresh ingredients for dishes including chicken or veal parmesan, pappardelle Bolognese, homemade lasagna and more. Don’t dismiss the apps; you can’t go wrong with the arancini or fig and prosciutto flatbread. 1200 Hartford Ave., Johnston, 273-1444, patsitalian.com.

A short drive away
Blackie’s Bull Dog Tavern
From paleo options and juicy burgers to freshly grilled pizzas, cheesesteaks and a variety of tacos (just to name a few), Blackie’s delivers twists on some of your favorite comfort foods. Visit for brunch too, and munch on breakfast bites including chicken and biscuits, banana cinnamon paleo pancakes, a steak and egg hoagie and more. It’s a five-napkin kind of joint. 181 George Washington Hwy., Smithfield, 231-4777, blackiesbulldogtavern.com.

Trattoria Romana
Arrive with an empty belly and experience an authentic Italian meal with beautiful decor and painted murals as a backdrop. Begin your meal with pasta e fagioli, a classic Italian soup made with cannellini beans and pasta. Stay for one of several pasta dishes (our favorite is the rigatoni alla zingara: homemade pasta sauteed with sweet Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms and black olives in a San Marzano tomato sauce with a touch of cream and Romano cheese) or a chicken, meat or fish dish. 3 Wake Robin Rd., Lincoln, 333-6700, trattoriaromana.com.

GottaQ BBQ
Named by MSN as one of the top fifty barbecue joints in the country, GottaQ cooks up authentic wood smoked pork, tri-tip and beef brisket, baby back ribs and pulled chicken. Don’t skimp on the sides like mac and cheese, barbecue pit beans, brisket chili and more. This is classic barbecue done right, but you’ll have to taste it to believe it. 2000 Mendon Rd., Cumberland, 475-1296, gottaq.com.

Where to shop

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Sources: Via city-data.com, census.gov and Wicked Tulips.

Salisbury Farm
Take a trip to Salisbury Farm, owned and operated by the Salisbury family since the 1800s, for a day of family fun on the farm. Throughout the summer months, pick your own strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peas, or head over to the farm stand for other hearty and delicious fruits and veggies from May to October. See the website for picking schedules. 11 Peck Hill Rd., Johnston, 942-9741, salisburyfarm.com.

Midway Antiques and Collectibles
Midway Antiques boasts more than 900 square feet of antiques and other collectibles for your home. Pick up a few vintage band T-shirts or sell some pristine action figures. Plus, one-of-a-kind finds include bowling alley furniture and vintage Coca Cola merchandise. 1428 Hartford Ave., Johnston, 454-8444, midway-antiques-and-collectibles.business.site.

Fabulocity
Find a new dress, scarf or necklace at this upscale consignment shop. If you’re up for some spring cleaning, bring in your own haul for consignment and see what your closet is worth. 269 Greenville Ave., Johnston, 231-5900, fabulocityri.com.

A short drive away
Ryco’s Trimming Co.
If you’re crafty and love textiles, Ryco’s is the place for you. Equipped with every fabric, thread and sewing tool imaginable, the shop has the right supplies for beginners and experts alike. Take some classes on sewing, quilting or design. Whatever your project, whether it be a quilt or a teddy bear, you’ll find resources and inspiration. 25 Carrington St., Lincoln, 725-1779, rycotrim.com.

Gift Shop at Wright’s Farm
This 4,000-square-foot shop runs the gamut; there is a little something for everyone. Pick up a toy or other child’s item in the children’s department, peruse the fashion accessories including clothing, handbags and jewelry or snack on homemade fudge or your favorite treats from the candy corner. If you shop often, be sure to join the rewards program and earn a point for every dollar spent. 84 Inman Rd., Harrisville, 765-5745, wrightsfarm.com.

Stillwater Antiques
Housed in a repurposed mill building, this antiques emporium reflects the history of the surrounding town. Check out cabinets full of vintage memorabilia, Victorian-era furniture and just about everything else from the near or distant past. If you’re an old-fashioned audiophile, Stillwater also has an impressive collection of vinyl, from jazz to rock. Looking to sell some of your own forgotten treasures? Bring in your goods for consignment. 711 Putnam Pike, Greenville, 949-4999, stillwaterantiques.net.

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Courtesy of Wicked Tulips / Hallie Jade Pictures

Where to Explore

Snake Den State Park
Go for a walk in Snake Den State Park, located off Route 6 (across the street from Wicked Tulips Flower Farm). Open year round, the park boasts 1,000 acres of undeveloped property with self-guided walking trails, beautiful flora and more. Plus, a working farm run by generations of the Dame family is also open to the public. (Their sunflower fields, which bloom in July, are spectacular!) 2321 Hartford Ave., Johnston, riparks.com.

Verde Vineyards
A visit to Verde Vineyards will take you down a country road to Jim Verde’s farm. Verde grows, ferments and processes the grapes himself at the environmentally friendly vineyard. After taking a tour of the grounds, settle into the tasting room for wine pours plus a lesson on pairing wines with different food options. 50 Hopkins Ave., Johnston, 934-2317, verdevineyardsri.com.

RI Reds Game
Root for the home team at a Rhode Island Reds soccer game. Established in 2012, Rhode Island Reds is a semi-professional adult soccer club committed to maintaining a professional competitive environment. This month’s game is scheduled for May 19 at 7:30 p.m. Johnston High School, 345 Cherry Hill Rd., Johnston, 233-1920, riredsfc.com.

A short drive away
R1 Indoor Karting
R1 Indoor Karting lets customers zoom around a go-kart track at blistering speeds. Equipped with the latest in kart technology, the electric vehicles have the power of a racecar without the fumes. Its asphalt track is specifically designed for karting, meaning you’ll have a fast experience all around. Grab a bite at the onsite Fuel Restaurant and Sports Bar afterwards and try your hand at axe-throwing, too. 100 Higginson Ave., Lincoln, 721-5554, r1indoorkarting.com.

Lincoln Woods State Park
Lincoln Woods State Park is an oasis for any nature lover. Visitors can enjoy peaceful hiking and biking trails, freshwater fishing or even a canoe ride on the water. Pack a blanket and some snacks and enjoy a sunny spring afternoon overlooking the scenic views. 2 Manchester Print Works Rd., Lincoln, 723-7892, riparks.com.

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