SO Summer: The East Bay

July 2022

Posted

SHOP

From farm stores to arts and gift purveyors, eclectic shops dot the East Bay. Kick off your jaunt in Warren along Route 114 with a visit to the massively fun Imagine Gift Store (5 Miller St.), which is also New England’s largest gift shop, and on bustling Main Street is one-of-a-kind locally made pieces from the Made in Warren Artist Cooperative (476 Main St.). Head to the water to discover more shops, including The Peyton Company (246 Water St.) for organic bath and beauty products. In Bristol, Caron Jewelers (473 Hope St.) has a stunning collection of fine jewelry, and browse local artisan gifts at Hotpoint Emporium (39 State St.). Find flowers, accessories, and more at daisy dig’ins (123 Maple Ave.) in Barrington, or cross over the Mount Hope and Sakonnet bridges for an all-day, quintessential New England shopping experience at Tiverton Four Corners (Main Rd.), with a diverse variety of antique, artisan, boutique shopping, and galleries. In Portsmouth, Cory Farms Past & Presents (3124 E Main Rd.) lives up to its name, purveying unique antiques and gifts. 

Sweet Berry Farm (915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown) is a lush, conserved 100-acre estate that includes a market cafe and pick-your-own fruit. A small family farm, Sakonnet Farm (4042 Main Rd., Tiverton) offers free-range eggs, fresh produce, and homemade jams and pies. Wishing Stone Farm (25 Shaw Rd., Little Compton) is a regular at markets, lynchpin in the East Bay’s farm-to-table dining scene, and even dishes up prepared foods from their farm kitchen. 

Newport Vineyards (909 E Main Rd., Middletown), New England’s largest grape grower, is a major destination that offers wine tastings and tours. Greenvale Vineyards (582 Wapping Rd., Portsmouth) hosts wine tastings, food trucks, and live jazz shows on their picturesque coastal farm, and Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards (162 West Main Rd., Little Compton) is a dreamy space with award-winning wines sold by the bottle along with grab-and-go foods to enjoy on the property. 

DINE

Find Southern-inspired, veggie-forward cuisine at Hunky Dory (40 Market St.), creative small plates at The Revival Craft Kitchen and Bar (50 Miller St.), and Insta-worthy brunch at Uptown Food & Spirits (437 Main St.) in Warren. There’s seafood classics with nautical vibes abound at Thames Waterside Bar & Grill (251 Thames St.) in Bristol. In Middletown, don’t miss long-standing legacy Flo’s Clam Shack (4 Wave Ave.) and its sister location with a drive-in in Portsmouth (Park Ave., Island Beach Park). Discover locally produced goods from Hope & Main (691 Main St., Warren) makers at their weekly Schoolyard Markets every Wednesday, featuring live entertainment, meal pick-ups, and more. 

Over in Portsmouth, check out 15 Point Road Restaurant (15 Point Rd.), an upscale-meets-
casual dining destination, and just a minute down the road, Thriving Tree Coffee House (706 Park Ave.) serves hot cuppas, pastries, and more – both on the shoreline. More water views can be found at beloved neighborhood seafood joint Bluewater Bar + Grill (32 Barton Ave., Barrington) and gourmet creperie and coffee shop Cafe Water Street (279 Water St., Warren). Rejects Beer Co. (124 Aquidneck Ave.) and Diego’s (116 Aquidneck Ave.) in Middletown are great choices for cooling off with an ocean breeze over delicious brews and bites. 

Explore

Though this charming waterfront town draws locals and visitors for its hopping downtown dining and shopping scene, Bristol is also a destination for historic sites. Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum (101 Ferry Rd.) is an impeccable property that includes the 1890s summer cottage of Augustus and Bessie Van Wickle. Tours of the mansion and gardens are offered throughout the year, along with programs ranging from tea and scones on the porch to nature drawing and outdoor yoga. On 48 acres of coastal farmland, Coggeshall Farm Museum (1 Colt Drive) lets guests experience firsthand 18th century life for tenant farmers with immersive events and tours of the grounds. Overlooking Narragansett Bay, Mount Hope Farm (250 Metacom Ave.) is another historically significant property that dates back to early American settlement. In fact, some historians believe that the first Thanksgiving feast was held here – be sure to visit on a Saturday morning for their outdoor market. Linden Place (500 Hope St.) is also steeped in history as one of the grandest examples of Federalist architecture in New England. Today the museum mansion offers community educational programs, tours, and events. 

Consider a scenic drive to Little Compton where you’ll find Wilbur’s General Store (50 Commons), the Art Cafe (7 South Of Commons Rd.), honor system farm stands, and stretches of Farm Coast charm. Or, use that drive to discover new artists in every kind of medium through the self-guided South Coast Artists Open Studio Tour (SouthCoastArtists.org) that runs the weekends of July 16-17 and August 20-21. 

Play

Colt State Park (Hope St. Route 114, Bristol) is a gorgeous public space with panoramic views of the coast, impeccably manicured lawns, four miles of bike trails, hundreds of picnic tables, and a small town beach. Nearby, the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium (1401 Hope St., Bristol) offers visitors interactive exhibits about marine and wildlife – including Free Family Fun Days the first Saturday of each month – and leaves its grounds open for long walks. Bristol Historical (48 Court St.), offering exhibits and walking tours, is located right off the end of the East Bay Bike Path, a 14.5-mile paved and scenic trail that spans from Bristol to Providence. Norman Bird Sanctuary (583 Third Beach Rd., Middletown) has seven miles of well-preserved hiking trails on its educational campus. 

Of course, it isn’t summer in the East Bay without the Fourth of July in Bristol. Often referred to as the “most patriotic town in America,” this waterfront community is home to the nation’s longest running Fourth of July parade. The Bristol Fourth of July Celebration is a multi-week series of events culminating with the renowned parade. Check out FourthOfJulyBristolRI.com for a full calendar.

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