There’s something pleasantly old-fashioned about this quiet town on the Sakonnet River. Just 15 miles from Newport, it has none of that city’s glitz, staking its claim instead on walkable tracts of open space and a meandering shopping district with galleries, crafts, and fine foods.
The wide porch of Ferolbink Farms Bed & Breakfast
(993 Neck Road, 401-624-6384, $75-$150, spring through fall) offers a great view of the Sakonnet and Narragansett Bay in the distance. The 19-room Victorian is on a 550-acre working farm. Raymond and Nancy Lundgren rent a private cottage on their property, Bonniebield
(531 Neck Road, 401-624-6364, $100-$150), with a living room, dining room, kitchenette, and bath on the first floor, and a bedroom upstairs. Guests have access to a pretty, landscaped yard and tennis court. In nearby Little Compton, Stone House
(122 Sakonnet Point Road, www.stonehouse1854.com
, 401-635-2222, $245-$625) offers upscale lodging. Frugal travelers will find several budget to midrange hotels in nearby Middletown.
We thought Evelyn’s
(2335 Main Road, 401-624-3100, www.evelynsdrivein.com
, $3-$17/market price) was best known for stuffies — baked quahogs filled with a spicy blend of chopped clams and chourico — but a young server informed us that its newest claim to fame is lobster chow mein. This is the dish the Food Network’s Guy Fieri showcased on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.’’ Thanks to three walls of windows, nearly every table has a water view at the Boat House
(227 Schooner Drive, 401-624-6300, www.boathousetiverton.com
, $11-$34). The menu includes seafood classics, steaks, and creative concoctions such as Hall of Fame chowder, a slightly spicy, creamy blend of baby shrimp, chourico, and corn. A French flag marks the entrance to Le Moulin Rouge
(1403 Main Road, 401-624-4320, $17.75-$31 dinner only), which serves French standards such as escargots, frogs’ legs, duckling, and scallops St. Jacques. For homemade Italian fare to eat in or out, try Nonni’s Kitchen and Pasta Shop
(1154 Stafford Road, 401-624-3087, www.nonnispastashop.com
, $6-$16) in the Tiverton Marketplace. Nonni’s makes pasta daily, and you can watch the big, square sheets being fed through a machine that cuts them into the familiar shapes. Cool off with a cone (or a “box,’’ Rhode Island lingo for cup) from the highly awarded Gray’s Ice Cream
(16 East Road, Four Corners, 401-624-4500, www.graysicecream.com
, cones $3.50 and $4.50), where everything is made on site. Coffee is the most popular flavor, but we liked the spicy ginger.
DURING THE DAY
The observation tower at Fort Barton
(Lawton Avenue and Highland Road, www.tiverton.ri.gov/recreation/FtB_TrailGuide.pdf
), where you can see the remains of a Revolutionary War redoubt, or earth mound defense, offers panoramic views of the Sakonnet River, Mount Hope Bay, and the Portsmouth and Bristol shorelines. There are three miles of trails through Fort Barton Woods. Trails through Weetamoo Woods
(South Entrance on East Road, half a mile from Tiverton Four Corners, www.tiverton.ri.gov/government/forms
%20and%20notices/10_08_WWandPGmap.pdf) cross several stone and slab bridges to the site of an old sawmill, with remnants of the raceway and dam. Historic Tiverton Four Corners
), celebrating its 300th anniversary as a village, is the center of a half-mile-long shopping district that highlights artists and craftsmen. Donovan Gallery
(3895 Main Road, 401-624-4000, www.donovangallery.com
) exhibits paintings by more than 50 artists in a building that dates from 1750. Nearby shops feature the works of jewelers, weavers, knitters, potters, wood and metal workers, floral designers, and more. At Provender
(3883 Main Road, 401-624-8084), you can buy gourmet sandwiches and old-fashioned sweets such as gingersnaps and lemon squares, all homemade. Milk & Honey Bazaar
(3838 Main Road, 401-624-1974, www.milkandhoneybazaar.com
) sells 120 cheeses from a dozen countries, and owner Jennifer Jansen will let you sample before you buy.
This fall the Four Corners Art Center
(3852 Main Road, 401-624-2600, www.tivertonfourcorners.com/artscenter
) will host a series of live interviews and panel discussions by satellite in conjunction with the “Live From NY’s 92nd Street Y.’’ Next up is former British prime minister Tony Blair discussing his recently published memoir on Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. At Brantal’s
(91 Crandall Road, 401-624-1990, www.brantal.com
), a function facility that doubles as a restaurant and pub, Gary Farias offers classic rock covers on Wednesday nights. Otherwise, residents and visitors head for a wide menu of after-dark choices in nearby Newport or across the border in Fall River.
Ellen Albanese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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