Wickford is More Progressive Than It Looks

The quaint seaside village set the bar for inclusiveness more than two centuries ago.
Photography by Chris Vaccaro

Great Places for Foodies

The Impressed Olive
An artisanal olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sauce shop, the Impressed Olive welcomes visitors to come in and sample its large variety of products from all over the world. The shop’s knowledgeable and approachable staff offers a better understanding of artisanal oils and sauces to curious cooks looking to expand their palate. 4 Brown St., Wickford, 295-5757, impressedolive.com.

Beach Rose Cafe
Any dog lover knows that it doesn’t get any better than being able to bring your pooch everywhere you go, so make a point to take your four-legged friend to this casual waterfront cafe. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the cafe serves up savory clam cakes and a lobster roll. Live music and open mic nights are part of the scene. 85 Brown St., Wickford, 295-2800, facebook.com/beachrosecafe.

A Short Drive Away
Mews Tavern
“No crap on tap!” It’s hard to argue with that. This dynamic pub is well worth the drive if you like comfort food mixed with an extensive drink menu. The interior alone is enticing and will keep you occupied, whether you’re sitting in the treehouse room (complete with a giant tree) or in the “dog house.” Make sure to try the “High Gravity” cheese tater tots or indulge in one of the mac ‘n’ cheese plates. 456 Main St., Wakefield, 783-9370, mewstavern.com.

Great Places for Shop

The World Store
This creative shop features an array of Rhode Island-themed souvenirs, funky T-shirts, out-of-the-box birdfeeders and plenty of other gifts and toys for children including science kits and crafts. 16 West Main St., Wickford, 295-0081.

Different Drummer
If you’re someone who has always marched to your own beat, then this is the place for you. The store is crammed to the rafters with products and works by local artists, including distinctive handcrafted jewelry, pottery, artwork and paper goods. 7 West Main St., Wickford, 294-4867, differentdrummerri.com.

The inventory is unusual and creative, showcasing a variety of local works by the owners themselves. Check out the Rhode Island-made products including pet supplies, gift cards, wall decor, jewelry and more. 3 Main St., Wickford, 486-5532, serendipityri.com.

Great Places for Explore

The Kayak Centre – A Best of Rhode Island winner!
Ensconced in the former Ryan’s Market, this 2017 Best of Rhode Island winner for best kayaks also offers canoe and kayak rentals, as well as classes and group tours. One of the largest independent specialty kayak and stand-up paddleboard retailers in the northeast, the Kayak Centre often hosts a variety of events throughout the summer, including a Full Moon Paddle and Wickford Harbor Sunset Paddle. 70 Brown St., Wickford, 295-4400, kayakcentre.com.

Smith’s Castle
Known as Rhode Island’s “hidden treasure,” Smith’s Castle is located on preserved land that is open for exploration. The historic site has gardens and landscaped grounds that visitors (and leashed furry friends!) can walk through. If you miss the Castle’s harvest festival, there are also guided and group tours. 55 Richard Smith Dr., North Kingstown, 294-3521, smithscastle.org.

A Short Drive Away
The Fantastic Umbrella Factory
This place has something for everyone, including gardens, shops and a cafe, in case you get hungry while exploring the grounds. Meander through the bamboo forest surrounded by friendly farm animals; if you have little kids they will be certain to love this adventure-filled spot. 4820 Old Post Rd., Charlestown, 364-1060, fantasticumbrellafactory.com.


Sources: wickfordvillage.org; Wickford brochure; wickfordart.org/about-history.html; Google Maps.

4 Places To Go

Wickford Village Antiques and Collectibles
Located in the center of the village, this quirky antiques shop is home to
everything from historic art pieces to vintage kitchenware, jewelry and more. The pieces found here are both eclectic and quaint. 93 Brown St., North Kingstown, 294-1117.

Lafayette Antiques
In business since 1992, the inventory at this Art Deco-inspired shop includes many decorative lamps, wall furnishings and furniture. The owner has more than forty-five years of antiquing experience and has filled the shop with everything from ornate lamps and chandeliers to vintage record players and stained glass windows. 814 Ten Rod Rd., North Kingstown, 295-2504, decoscavenger.com.

Wickford Antique Estate Liquidators
The offerings at this home decor and furniture shop include baroque tables and chairs, wooden chests and garden supplies. Passersby have spied everything from rare vintage Coca Cola paraphernalia to the front end of a 1941 DC-3 airliner sitting out on the shop’s front lawn. 35 West Main St., North Kingstown, 294-9705, waeliquidators.com.

The Book Garden
The historic Gregory Building in Wickford is now home to this antiques shop and bookstore, which holds vintage home and garden decor for customers with a green thumb. It also sells stained glass, vintage books, antique signs and urns. If you’re lucky, you may even find beautifully crafted Chinese ginger jars adorned with the Chinese character for happiness. 99 Brown St., North Kingstown, 294-3285, facebook.com/thebookgardenwickford.


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