Things to Do in Rhode Island - Historic Wickford Village
Historic Wickford Village
One of my favorite things to do any time of year, but particularly in the spring, summer, and fall, is visit Wickford. I was born in Rhode Island, and have lived here the vast majority of my life, but Wickford is still a place that amazes me. In my opinion, there is no place better in Rhode Island to enjoy a warm, sunny day. If you want a fun and relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of the city, read on and be sure to visit Historic Wickford Village.
Historic Wickford Village, located in Wickford Harbor in North Kingstown, Rhode Island was settled as a trading post in the mid-1600's. Although settled nearly four centuries ago, Wickford is still a thriving town and tourist attraction.
To many, Wickford's appeal is its quite harbor setting, its local, unique shops and restaurants, as well as the historical value Wickford holds. As seen in the picture to the right, many of the houses in Wickford Village are historical sites, having been built in the late-17th/early-18th century. Similarly, Wickford Harbor and Shipyard remain in near-Old-World form.
Things to Do
So, I'm going to break down all of the great things you can do. I'll give a brief outline here, and go into more specific detail a little ways down the page.
Wickford Village offers a number of unique shopping options. Shop in any of the locally owned boutiques, home décor stores, personal care/gift shops, or even a bookstore and pet supply store.
Don't just stop at shopping. Wickford is also home to several art galleries that are open to the public daily. Art not really your thing? That's cool. Because of Wickford's waterfront location, there are a number of recreational activities that you can do while there. You can rent a kayak for a portion of the day and get out in the harbor, or you can rent an electric bike and cruise around the village. Regardless of your preferred activity, Wickford will have something for you.
No Money? No Problem!
If you are looking to spend a day out, but not spend any money, no problem. I cannot count the number of times I have spent the day in Wickford without spending a dime. Sometimes I just enjoy walking around the village. Weird? Perhaps. But, it is free and it is always a friendly environment. The shops are great, but the location of the village itself is ideal for picnics and walks. The village has a large parking lot that leads to benches and docks. The views are amazing and the benches offer the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack.
Hit The Beach
No seaside village is complete without a beach. Of course, Wickford doesn't disappoint. Roughly a mile from the main village is the town beach. Now, keep this one quiet because it is small and nestled in the heart of an established Wickford neighborhood. During the season (traditionally Memorial Day to Labor Day), only North Kingstown residents can procure a beach pass at town hall that will cost roughly $10. However, you can still visit if you are not a town resident. If you were to go out of season, near dawn, or after dusk, you can enter the beach for free. Having gone during these times, I can honestly say that it is still a great experience. The sun is still out, the weather is still warm, and the beach is far less crowded.
The beach is on the small side, but it is perfect for families with children. The beach offers a playground, public restrooms, and outdoor showers. Also perfect for young children is the fact that the beach has little or no waves because it is tucked in the harbor. No waves means no undertow. If you were to go out of season, or before and/or after beach operating hours, be sure you are paying attention. No lifeguard will be on duty.
Historic Wickford Village
What would you do in Wickford Village?
Let's be honest. I'm a guy. I'm not a huge fan of shopping, especially in clothing stores. But, there are a number of shops that I always visit when I'm in Wickford.
1. Bookstore. There's an awesome bookstore called The Book Garden. What's great is the fact that it is a used bookstore. The prices are fantastic, and there is a great selection of books there. Also, the owner is extremely friendly and will always help you find what you need. If you enjoy reading, I highly recommend visiting this bookstore before you leave.
UPDATE: Recently, The Book Garden has gone away from selling books, and is now selling antiques. The owner said she is still selling rare and older books.
2. Pet Shop. The pet shop, cleverly named Shaggy Chic, is a great place to stop if you have pets. There are a number of pet necessities there, as well as a number of other unique and fun accessories. Like the bookstore and most shops in Wickford, the owner is extremely friendly. In the warmer weather, she leaves a bowl of water outside the shop for dogs to quench their thirst.
3. Beauty Shop. Yes, I'm a guy, but that does not mean I do not have to go into shops with my wife. Beauty And The Bath is a great shop to go for gifts, or to visit with your girlfriend/wife. They boast a wide selection of name-brand bath items, as well as a number of other unique items that you may not be able to find in most other places. Of all the beauty and bath shops in the village, my wife loves this one most.
4. Toy Store. Don't worry parents, there is something for everyone here. There is an amazing store called The World Store. It isn't limited to children's toys, but there is still a great selection of them. If you are looking for a store that sells nature items, souvenirs, or toys, this is the place.
Places to Eat
You have several dining options when you visit Wickford. I will mention them all, but in my mind there is only one place to eat there, which I will get to after.
Beach Rose Cafe. The Beach Rose Cafe is great because they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can sit right on a deck on the harbor. The location is fantastic and the food good.
UPDATE: The Beach Rose Cafe closed for a short period of time, but now appears to have reopened under new owners/management. The restaurant now has a more modern/updates feel. I have yet to try the food under the new management, but the coffee is as good as ever.
Tavern by The Sea. Like the Cafe, the Tavern by The Sea offers harbor-front dining. To be honest, I have never eaten here, but I can say I have always seen quite a crowd for lunch and dinner.
Not that the above two options are bad options, because they are not by any means, but this next restaurant takes the cake, well technically, takes the pizza.
The Place. The Place is, well, a place, that serves pizza, calzones, salads, and more. The prices are great for the serving size. Thanks to a fellow Hubpages user, we now know that The Place accepts credit/debit cards, and I have since confirmed this, having been several times recently. Be warned, there is minimal seating inside. However, there are a number of great places to take the pizza to sit and enjoy the views, as well as the food. Also, the Rite Aid that is literally thirty yards from The Place has an ATM. Please, do not let that stop you from going here. Any time I am in Wickford and plan on eating, we go to The Place. Don't expect to find a better pizza place in North Kingstown.
UPDATE: Thanks to a reader, we now know The Place accepts credit cards. I have also confirmed this myself as we order pizza from the place biweekly, if not weekly.
Places to Stay
Unfortunately, there are no hotels in Wickford Village. Never fear, there are accommodations nearby. Within roughly ten minutes of Wickford are a number of hotel options, including TownePlace Suites, Wickford Motor Inn, or in the neighboring South Kingstown, Holiday Inn. Looking for a bed and breakfast, check out Hamilton Village Inn, Mount Maple of Wickford, or Crosswinds Little Farm Bed and Breakfast.
Being a native Rhode Islander, I have never stayed at any of these establishments. That being said, do your research if you need a hotel. If you do not mind driving ten to twenty minutes, you open up four options.
Enjoy All Four Seasons in Wickford
Wickford is great in the late spring, summer, and early fall, but don't hesitate to go there in the winter. There may be snow on the ground, but Wickford is still up and running. Wickford is still quite a site to behold in the winter. As always, its harbor location gives great views. The streets are lined with decorative Christmas lights, and every year the village performs a ceremony for the lighting of a large Christmas Tree that remains lit throughout the holiday season.
I have been to Wickford year round, and I promise that it never disappoints. There is always something new and interesting going on, and the shops are always offering new and unique products.
Rain and Partly Sunny Days
50-70, usually around 60
Mostly Sunny Days, Occasional Rain
70-90, usually mid-80's
Mostly Sunny Days
40-60, usually 50's
Mostly Sunny Days, Occasional Snow
15-40, usually 30's
Historic Wickford Village is pretty simple to find. The Wickford Village is located in North Kingstown, RI. It is only about about a 20 minute drive down I-95 South to get from TF Green Airport to Wickford Village. If you manage to find yourself in Providence, the state's capital, you will need to drive about 25-30 minutes down I-95 South. If you decide you'd rather take a more scenic route, you can take Post Road/US-1 to US-1A, which will lead you into Wickford Village. Don't worry, there will be signs.
Enjoy yourself while you are in Rhode Island. The state may be small, but there is a lot to do if you know where to look. I promise that Historic Wickford Village will not let you down. Feel free to take my recommendations, but please do your own research as well.
DISCLAIMER: While I hope my blog helped you, do not take my word for anything, especially those involving prices, weather, etc. I take no responsibility for anything that may go wrong on your trip (although hopefully all will go well).
A lot has changed in Wickford since I first published this article. Some stores have left and some stores are coming soon. Keep an eye out for a follow up article detailing all of the changes Wickford has seen, as well as some seasonal events that weren't mentioned in this article.
© 2014 Jay C