travel :: Rhode Island

I always get emails from people about travel in Rhode Island and I have never had as much to say about it as I do now, so I figured it was time for a blog. I don't know if you noticed but our tiny state is having it's moment with the Ocean House (in Watch Hill, RI) on the cover of Traveler Magazine and I just got an email saying that Travel and Leisure listed it as one of the top five places in the WORLD... go RHODE ISLAND!

We live in a small community called Matunuck and while it's a terrific place, because of schools, nature, pond-ocean-pool trifecta it's not a hot-spot for lots going on... it's more of a place where you would rent a beach house, hang out at your house or the beach and visit the Ocean Mist for an occasional bar-on-th-beach type thing. We also have a nice pizza place (that doesn't have regular hours but if they happen to be open it's a terrific pizza place!) called La Strada - which is also on the beach. And we also happen to have a good surf spot which I think I am supposed to keep quiet (email me!). Our most-busy spot is the Matunuck Oyster Bar, you may have tried the oysters at fancy restaurants in the city, but you can get them FRESH here in Matunuck!

We are lucky to have an abundance of favorite places to go... it wasn't always like this and in the last couple of years there have been terrific things popping up here and there that I just can't wait to get back to!

Castle Hill Inn lawn

NEWPORT, RI - The first time I went over the bridges to get to Newport I fell in love with Rhode Island and I knew we were going to stay here. They are so beautiful it makes the drive delightful every time, we sing the "lighthouse keeper" song and it's just breath-taking. We have our old favorites like 41 North - which is a hotel, where you can sit outside and have cocktails with heavy hitters of the boat world (I like to take my Swedish cousins here because it's always a bit crazy with the big boats!). But a new favorite, which just opened is the Midtown Oyster Bar - we had a wonderful dinner and the newly built restaurant is a really nice structure, soaring ceilings and decks everywhere - it gets crowded so go on the weekdays or make a reservation.

Castle Hill Inn

Just a step out of Newport is Castle Hill Inn on Ocean Drive (take the drive for gorgeous views and beautiful homes). Castle Hill Inn is our new favorite spot, with deck chairs outside (with drink service!) lawn games, cliffs and a really beautiful bar and restaurant with amazing food. If you want a real New England picture perfect holiday this is your place! You can stay in the Inn or rent out a cabin, there are quite a few options and all have authentic, beautiful details! If you hear people talking about this place - believe whatever they say.. it's gorgeous! (I like it better for a visit than the Ocean House, it's more contained and has a rustic charm that is true to Rhode Island). If you are in Rhode Island for the weekend come to Castle Hill Inn for Sunday Brunch (live jazz and views forever!) don't bother planning anything for the rest of the day, this is all you need!

Cottages at Castle Hill Inn

I really like the Tennis Hall of Fame as well, they have lots of events going on so if you are in town see if it's going to be open for anything - grass court tennis at it's best! Recently, the GOOP website put up a post on Newport which was very good - I agree with all her suggestions Newport makes for a great trip.

JAMESTOWN, RI - On your way to Newport you will travel through another island called Conanicut where you will find Jamestown - we love a simple place in Jamestown called Slice of Heaven it's the perfect place for simple and excellent food for breakfast or lunch, in the style where you place your order and get a number and find a table.. but seriously good food, try the fish nanwich - I will drive miles for this sandwich! You can even take a boat that will drop you off in Newport, just in case you are dying to get yourself in the water. Don't miss your chance to climb on some rocks and burn some energy at Beaver Tail (if you look across the water you will see Castle Hill Inn-you may need binoculars!). Also great in Jamestown is the Village Hearth Bakery and the pizza on Sundays (from 4-7) perfect for home made sandwiches and great coffee or try their home made Chai - but the greatest pizzas! (only on sunday)

medelise is the best surf coach in Rhode Island and my new (old) board

NARRAGANSETT, RI - The Narragansett beach is a terrific beach and kids love it for it's shallow easy water for kids and great for making sand castles (some beaches have the big waves that crash on top of you - like our Matunuck Beach). We like to go very early in the morning to miss the crowds (8am) and do some surfing. Part of this beach is marked off for surfers and most often has a nice break. On your way from Jamestown to Narragansett you will pass by Casey Farm, they have a great farmers market (seriously the best in the area) on Saturdays from 9-12:30 - we surf and then go for the amazing tacos by Tallulah on Thames tacos! yum!

Traveling South from Narragansett to Watch Hill you will pass by Daves Coffee... BEST Coffee! (by far, there is no one else who can make coffee in Rhode Island, trust me!) so if you need your java this is your spot, and the only spot!

beaches forever! Watch Hill Beach

WATCH HILL, RI - I have written a few times about my favorite place the Olympia Tea Room, and this year it was even better (maybe new chef?) have a great dinner and then make your way over to the dunes for a great photo-op - if you are friends with me on Instagram you know what I'm talking about.. you will get yourselves the BEST photos ever! This quaint little town is also home to The Ocean House - which is a grand hotel, newly rebuilt, and it's absolutely grand! Large decks, a beach that is one of the most beautiful I have seen and an authentic "Library" for cocktails. Across the street visit the church - the interior is amazing! and last but not least one of the oldest merry-go-round in existence.

If you are looking for good antique shops you can come to our town, Wakefield - our favorite is Verdigris (next to the Alternative Food Co-op) or if you want a top rate liquor store (also a good one in Charlestown) - Wakefield Liquors.

Then there is the town of Westerly, which isn't on my radar at the moment... so we don't go often. But come and enjoy Rhode Island this summer - it's sure to not disappoint you! and email me if you want any specifics, I love to talk about Rhode Island!


Judit Markarian said...

We just got back from a week in Charlestown and LOVED it there. We have spent lots of time in Rhody over the years (visiting family in Portsmouth, going to a wedding in Watch Hill and doing lots of touring of Jamestown, Bristol, Providence, Westerly, Block Island, Narraganset, Newport and many more cities). My husband's family is from Providence so we have strong ties to the state. I feel so fortunate to have been "introduced" to Rhody over 10 years ago! We would love to spend every summer in Rhody…believe me! The winters…well, I am not sure I'm cut out for New England winters, but I think we will make our annual pilgrimage to Rhode Island as long as possible.

Judit Markarian said...

I commented yesterday on good old Rhody, but I forgot to say that we tried to go to Matunuck Oyster Bar at 7 PM (ha!) but we were turned off by the crowds. Instead, we ended up a couple of night later at the Sea Goose in Westerly where we had amazing oysters and littlenecks! The Cooked Goose is a nice "sister" restaurant as well in Watch Hill.