SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Home to the quaint village of Peace Dale, the funky shopping neighborhood of Wakefield, the oceanfront area of Matunuck, and the sprawling campus of the University of Rhode Island — not to mention a plethora of places to enjoy the outdoors — South Kingstown has a little something for every taste.
South Kingstown has its share of motels and chain hotels, but there are some charming inns and bed-and-breakfasts here as well. Eden Manor
(154 Post Road, 401-792-8234, www.edenmanorbandb.com
, spring rates begin at $125, including breakfast) is an 1840 Victorian mansion with 12 guest rooms and beautiful grounds just off Route 1. Silver Lake Cottage
(361 Woodruff Ave., 401-782-3745, www.silverlakecottage.com
, $165-$195 including breakfast) sits on 3 acres overlooking its namesake lake, with five guest rooms and a library available to visitors; the huge windows in the dining room provide a great view of the water. Sugar Loaf Hill Bed & Breakfast
(607 Main St., 401-789-8715, www.sugarloafhillbandb.com
, rates starting at $100). Of course, if you prefer staying at a chain, there’s always the Hampton Inn
(20 Hotel Drive, 401-788-3500, www.hamptoninn.com
, rates starting at $119), which has a pool and fitness area.
Dine The Pump House
(1464 Kingstown Road, 401-789-4944, www.pumphouseri.com
, entrees $16-$24), a local institution that occupies a gorgeous old stone building on a pond in Peace Dale, serves up a solid menu of such favorites as scrod Provencal, scallops Nantucket, New York sirloin, and a surf-and-turf combo. Down by the ocean in Matunuck, Cap’n Jack’s
(706 Succotash Road, 401-789-4556, www.capnjacksrestaurant
, $7-$24) offers a quintessentially New England menu featuring fish-and-chips, a variety of fried seafood plates, pasta dishes, and baked stuffed lobster. In the heart of Wakefield, Italian Village Restaurant
(195 Main St., 401-783-3777, www.italianvillage-ri.com
, $3-$19), serves a range of Italian classics like chicken marsala, stuffed shells, veal parmigiana, gourmet pizza, and grinders. The Mews Tavern
(456 Main St., 401-783-9370, www.mewstavern.com
, $9-$20) is the area’s best pub, featuring a whopping 69 beers on tap and a huge menu that includes four styles of calamari and 10 varieties of wings as well as a vast array of Mexican dishes, pizzas, calzones, burgers, and other sandwiches.
During the day
This town is heaven to folks who enjoy ambles through the woods, and spring is a great time to get outdoors and work out those winter kinks. Great Swamp Management Area
(off Route 138) in Kingston has 5 miles of trails in a picturesque setting, though some people prefer to explore it by canoe. Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
(1040 Matunuck Schoolhouse Road, 401-364-9124, www.friendsnwr-ri.org
an attractive area for birders, offers 3 miles of trails near the ocean. Right nearby is East Matunuck State Beach
(950 Succotash Road, 401-789-8585), which is popular with surfers and has the benefit of being a few miles away from the more crowded (in summer) beaches in Narragansett.
South Kingstown has a number of architecturally interesting historic buildings, including Kingston Station
(1 Railroad Ave., www.trainweb.org/kin
), an Amtrak stop that is on the National Register of Historic Places and contains a small museum with limited hours. The Hazard Memorial Building
(1057 Kingstown Road, 401-783-4085, www.skpl.org
), a large Romanesque stone structure, houses the Peace Dale branch of the town library, and the Kingston Free Library
(2605 Kingstown Road, 401-783-8254, www.skpl.org
), at the entrance to the URI campus, occupies a beautiful 1775 building that was originally a courthouse. The town’s commercial center is Wakefield, but if you want to shop be sure to get away from the bustle of the major intersections and head to Main Street
, home to a plethora of noteworthy shops such as The Glass Station
(318 Main St., 401-788-2500, www.ebenhortonglass.com
), which sells hand-blown glass, and Jennifer’s Chocolates
(102 Robinson St., 401-783-1673, www.jenschocolates.com
), which sells delectable handmade creations.
With more than 14,000 undergraduates, the University of Rhode Island
is a good place to look for entertainment. A comprehensive listing is available at www.uri.edu/news/calendar
; campus events include concerts and films as well as student recitals, theatrical productions, and, naturally, sporting events. Wakefield’s most happening spot is Casey’s Bar & Grill
(191 Old Tower Hill Road, 401-789-9714, www.caseysgrill.com
), which is popular among URI students for its weekly karaoke, trivia contests, and DJs spinning tunes. Also popular with the students is the Matunuck nightclub Ocean Mist
(895 Matunuck Beach Road, 401-782-3740, www.oceanmist.net
), featuring live music all weekend by Rhode Island stalwarts such as Neutral Nation and Two Guys & Another Guy. One of the finer places to catch a play is Theatre by the Sea
(364 Cards Pond Road, 401-782-8587, www.theatrebythesea.com
), whose season gets cooking in the late spring with “A Chorus Line.’’
Steve Greenlee can be reached at email@example.com.
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