With its quiet, sandy beaches and curious wooded spaces, Charlestown offers some of South County’s best natural scenery.
Books on the Pond (289 Narrow Ln.) is a treasure trove of books, games, toys, gifts, and more inside an adorable shingled building with a reading room and outdoor patio. Looking for a bottle of wine to enjoy back in your hotel or bring for a picnic on the beach? Choose from a wide selection, plus beer and spirits, at Charlestown Wine & Spirits (4625 Old Post Rd.). And if you forgot any travel essentials or are looking for a snack, find everything you need – from toiletries to lotto tickets to fresh produce – at Charlestown Mini Super (4071 Old Post Rd.).
Contrary to its name, the Fantastic Umbrella Factory (4820 Old Post Rd.) does not make or even sell umbrellas. This whimsical destination defies description, but is a great place to spend a few hours. Since 1968, the 19th century farmyard has been a sort of artist collective and international bazaar where you’ll find everything from penny candy to local art. The expansive property, reopened with restrictions, is filled with flowers, sculptures, and places to sit and take everything in. The Umbrella Factory Gardens is an on-site greenhouse that sells unique plants and florals. There’s a bamboo maze and a barnyard filled with emus, goats, and chickens.
After you’ve explored the Umbrella Factory, head on over to The Breachway Grill (1 Charlestown Beach Rd.), which offers a huge menu – pizza, burgers, steaks, and day-fresh seafood in a casual patio environment, plus Vintage Cigar Club & Lounge on the upstairs deck. Gemelli’s Bistro (2 Falcone Ln.) also offers prepared food and Italian cuisine through a uniquely convenient drive thru. The Cove (3963 Old Post Rd.) is a family-friendly restaurant with a huge menu filled with pasta, seafood specialities, burgers, and more. The Nordic (178 Nordic Trl.) is a lakeside restaurant known for bringing in customers by the busload, literally, to get a taste of their legendary seafood; they’re currently open for outdoor seating with a reservation. Dave’s Coffee (5193 Old Post Rd.) serves their own roasted blends in their cafe, and also sells its beans by the bag. The gourmet shop also makes and sells its own coffee syrup – used for making Little Rhody’s official state drink – coffee milk!
Ninigret Park (5 Park Ln.) is a 227-acre park with a playground, ball fields, bike path, tennis and basketball courts, picnic areas, and freshwater pond with a beach. Inside the park, Frosty Drew Observatory (62 Park Ln.) offers nighttime stargazing and an educational nature center. The Charlestown Art Gallery (5000 South County Trl.) is a must-stop for contemporary American art and A Shore Thing (2183 Matunuck School House Rd.) is a beautifully renovated 1830s farmhouse now home to accommodations and a gift shop.
The Watchaug Pond Trail is a favorite among birders for its many migrating, resting, and nesting songbirds. After some R&R at full-service, upscale hair salon Jennifer’s (4259 Old Post Rd.), pamper your pet with acupuncture services from Atlantic Animal Hospital and Wellness Center (5001B South County Trl.).