We’re driving away from the bustling seaside village of Newport and towards the Farm Coast of Rhode Island. The rolling landscapes and farmhouses make us feel like we’re driving back into history. Ever heard of the Rhode Island Farm Coast? That’s where we’re headed. Just an hour drive from Newport, Boston, and Providence, it’s very different from it’s neighbor. The area got the nickname Farm Coast, because its named after a small group of local businesses looking to promote local food, farms, art, and sustainable culture. It’s as local as it gets, it’s the real Rhode Island, the raw and authentic rural version. And remember, that’s what my goal at Svadore is: to share with you both the stereotypical and iconic destinations, like Newport, as well as the more raw and authentic. This is the latter.
The Farm Coast is made up of 4 coastal villages: Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport, and Darmouth. For my 28th birthday, following a day trip to Newport, we decided to spend the night in Tiverton and Little Compton. This is the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway if you’re looking for a change of scenery and quaint and earthy vibes. Moving away from the commercial next door and into a welcoming and unique local community.
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On the way in we stopped by The Boat House at Tiverton for my birthday dinner. On a warm day, the hydrangeas here bloom creating a magnificent entrance that paves the way to the restaurant on the Mt. Hope Bay Sakonnet River. It was voted by OpenTable as one of the top 100 most scenic outdoor dining locations in the country, so it’s not just the food that’s amazing here. Come when the suns still out to get the full view. That night we stayed in an Airbnb in Tiverton.
The next morning we hopped on our bikes and headed to Tiverton Four Corners historic district. Tiverton Four Corners is a quaint, functioning New England village with historic charm. It’s a countryside coastal region in Rhode Island with a small number of businesses, art galleries, antique stores, and farms. It’s rich in history and listed on the National Register for Historic Places. It made the list because of its shaker-style building, some new and other old, dating back to the 18th century.
We enjoyed an AMAZING breakfast at Groundswell Cafe + Garden. Located in the old A.P. White General Store from circa 1750, the café embodies the old retro vibe with hints of French influence. Think quiche Lorraine, almond croissants and baguettes, lattes, and more made from scratch using ingredients all sourced by local markets and farms. The scents of new cedar shingles and freshly mowed hay overlapped with the scent of warm croissants while French café’ music wafted through the air. You can sit inside or choose to sit on the wrap around porch. On this warm and stunning spring day in May, we chose outside. I love myself a good pastry and GOD, was Groundswell’s pastries good. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
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We then browsed a few contemporary boutiques, art stores, and antique shops. Some of my favorite included The Cheese Wheel (exactly what you think you’ll find – charcuterie and local cheeses), Peters Attic Antiques (everything and anything antique), and Groundswell’s Garden and Home Store (from ceramics, glassware, skincare products, to garden finishing and furnishings).
For my birthday Pat bought me a bag I’ve wanted forever. It may sound silly, simple, and cliché, but I’ve always wanted those knit bags for grocery shopping or shopping at farmers market. Very French indeed. So he got me one from Groundswell Garden and Home!
Following breakfast, we started biking towards Little Compton. While Tiverton is more of the historical, cultural side of the island, Little Compton although also rich in history, is a popular summer vacation spot great for cyclists. It’s full of lots of long, winding roads and farm stretches with interesting spots to stop and relax. We spent the afternoon biking through rolling hills, glimmering shorelines, farming landscapes, and stonewall-lined streets.
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The dichotomy between the scenic farms, barn gables, and woodlands on one side and Cape Cod-esque coastal waterfront and rising sailboats and cottages on the other makes it quintessentially New England. We biked the back roads for miles and stopped by one of the many local wineries, Sakonnet Vineyards, and tasted some local wine in their outdoor barn stable. We continued along the way, biking by roadside farm stands and greenhouses where we picked up some farm fresh foods from Walker’s Roadside Stand (in my new bag, may I add!) to take home for the week.
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We biked all the way down to Sakonnet Point where we could see Sakonnet Lighthouse. This is where the area began to feel more like the New England you may know from the coast. Private beaches, yachts, golf courses, and lobster fresh boats galore. The area is a mecca for artists, which is why there are art galleries sprawling throughout. You may think you don’t see them…but look hard enough and you’ll find them hiding behind the old shingle-style buildings. If you can, on the way down you should stop by The Commons Lunch for local Johnnycakes, or sweetened cornmeal flatbreads.
On the way down we biked by Art Café, a perfect statement of what the Farm Coast and Little Compton is all about. It’s a perfect blend of art and historical farm life. The small café is located in a tiny bar where you can enjoy delicious coffees, espresso drinks, and pastries while perusing the small art gallery jutting out of the café. But the list of galleries goes on and each has a unique art form to showcase. For example:
- Rich Perry’s Gallery at Four: A photographer who restores 100+ year old glass negatives he bought online
- Carmen & Ginger’s Gallery: A cat and dog themed vintage store with mid-century vibes, costume jewelry, round screen TVs, and antique cat and dog figurines of course
It was time to head back home. We biked up to our Airbnb, picked up our car and headed back to CT. But not without a quick pit stop along the way at a local rest stop area where we found some quirky memorabilia – a coonskin cap. Don’t worry, we didn’t buy them. But I was definitely tempted! It was a quick weekend getaway, but we were so happy we extended our trip from Newport to the Farm Coast of Rhode Island. It’s a very special part of the State that deserves it’s story to be told.
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