From walking through wooded trails to discovering a local artist, to ending the day enjoying a locally sourced meal, a trip to the South Coast has all the elements of a day full of amazing sites and …
From walking through wooded trails to discovering a local artist, to ending the day enjoying a locally sourced meal, a trip to the South Coast has all the elements of a day full of amazing sites and scenes. Ahead are ways to enjoy the rural landscapes and shorelines of Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Padanaram; spend time in one area or pick destinations à la carte (breakfast in Tiverton, a hike in Westport, dinner in Padanaram); all options won’t disappoint.
Tiverton Four Corners has become a big draw in the last few years for its inviting New England village charm. From shops and art galleries to grabbing a bite outdoors, this quaint spot has it all. And if a hike appeals, Weetamoo Woods trails are right down the road
Groundswell Café + Bakery
Relatively new to Tiverton Four Corners, Groundswell Café + Bakery is housed in an old general store, built c. 1876. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a French café, enjoying a freshly made chocolate croissant or a homemade quiche du jour with seasonal ingredients. Their Garden + Home and Table + Provisions shops next door are also worth a look. www.groundswellcafegarden.com
The Cheese Wheel Village Market
Don’t expect to dash in and out of The Cheese Wheel in Four Corners when you walk in the door. The selection of artisan cheeses, including over 175 choices from California, Iowa, Vermont, Italy, Ireland and Switzerland, is second to none, and samples are given freely.
Specialty oils, olives, vinegars, cookies and breads from both local and international sources fill the shelves and they have all you need for the perfect charcuterie board from cheeses to crackers to fruits and jams. www.thecheesewheelri.com
Lindsey Epstein Pottery
Each piece Lindsey creates is hand-made on her potter’s wheel, and no two are exactly alike. Her functional glazed pottery tableware is lead-free and microwaveable and takes about two weeks for a completed piece.
From nautical-inspired mugs (think pirates, whales and compasses) to berry bowls with airflow holes, to Raku horses which demonstrates her love for exploring animals in art, Lindsey’s work with clay is masterful. www.lepottery.com
Weetamoo Woods trails
Pick up Weetamoo Woods about half a mile from Four Corners on East Road, where hikers can enjoy seven miles of trails with another two miles on the adjacent Pardon Gray Preserve.
Well-marked trails (yellow, red, blue, green, orange) loop over Borden Brook, through sawmill remains, past High Rock and other local highlights on these combination flat trails with gentle slopes along with some rocky, rooted paths. Bring bug spray. www.exploreri.org (for a map)
One of the South Coast’s oldest and most untouched areas, Little Compton is also one of its most bucolic. While not necessarily a destination for dining or shopping, taking a ride through its historic Commons with a centuries old cemetery, then down to Sakonnet Point by bike or car is well worth the trip.
Dundery Brook Trail/P.T. Marvell Preserve
North of the Little Compton town center, accessible next to the tennis courts, the Dundery Brook is an open meadows and forested wetland trail system with an elevated boardwalk with views of the swamp below and a cut cart path that winds around a pond. Under two miles, this is a great grass and dirt trail for bird watching and foliage identifying.
The Marvell Preserve near the beach’s entrance on South Shore Road is on 11.5 acres of mowed trails through open fields with wide ocean views. Both are protected by the Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust (LCACT) www.lcact.net
Biking in Little Compton
Bikers find Little Compton irresistible when the weather is nice. Pedaling past stone walls, cows grazing in pastures and coastal views is a great way to spend a few hours. Little Compton Adventures offers bike and electronic bike rentals as well as 2-to-4-hour tours which can take bikers to Sakonnet Point, or on a morning coffee ride from the Commons in LC to Groundswell in Tiverton and back. A sunset bike tour is also available as well as private tours. www.littlecomptonadventures.com
The Art Café
Getting coffee has seldom been as cool as it is at The Art Café in Little Compton. Set up in a tiny barn, it also serves as a gallery for local artists with its walls and shelves lined with paintings, jewelry and other handmade pieces. Set back in the trees down a stone path, walk in to an old oriental carpet on the floor and mismatched chairs to plop down in; it’s rustic and inviting.
Wednesday is Art Day, when they offer art projects for all ages; outside seats and tables are sprinkled on the yard, and payment is cash only.
Driving through Westport feels like a trip through an English countryside, with rolling hills, farms and picturesque views. And with wineries, restaurants, historic spots and beaches to visit, it’s a beautiful destination.
Part of the Coastal Wine Trail, a self-guided wine tour that includes half a dozen South Coast vineyards, Westport Rivers offers tastings inside and out on their property, as well as food trucks and music nights. Firepits can be reserved as the weather gets cooler, and look for hayrides and pumpkin carving in the fall. www.westportrivers.com
Wood’s Farm Ice Cream
Summer isn’t over yet, but at Wood’s Farm they’re gearing up for cooler weather with pumpkin ice cream on the menu. Celebrating 20 years with premium ice cream sourced from Gifford’s in Maine, their generous portions at this roadside farm stand are a big hit.
Favorites include peanut butter pie, cotton candy or a banana split (and add on a pup cup for your pet). Enjoy a cone or cup and say hi to the goats in the pasture over the fence.
Head of Westport Walking tour
A self-guided walking tour of Westport Point and the Head of Westport will take you on a walk through history, past historic architecture, from pre-revolutionary to 19th century Greek Revivals and Victorians to a War of 1812-era Powder House. Download the Westport History Tours app for their Archaeology and Head of Westport walking tours. www.wpthistory.org (for a walking tour map)
PADANARAM (South Dartmouth)
Across the appropriately named Padanaram Bridge and tucked away in South Dartmouth, the village of Padanaram sits on a harbor and is filled with small walkable shopping and eating options.
Farm & Coast Market
This popular spot just over the bridge dubs itself ‘Padanaram’s front porch’ and is a culinary delight. A café/market/bakery as well as a full-service butcher and craft beer and wine seller, Farm & Coast is a great stop-over to grab a bite before exploring the village. Order at the counter or eat at tables inside or out. Also great take-out options for grilling, hitting the beach or for provisions on the boat. www.farmandcoastmarket.com
Featuring seafood and a rotating menu of seasonal plates, handmade pasta, natural wines and craft cocktails, Little Moss is one of Padanaram’s best farm to table options. Their menu includes ingredients from local farms and fishermen.
Check with them for their jazz nights, grab a refreshing cocktail and try their green curry lobster frites, fresh oysters, or spaghetti with Rhode Island Littlenecks and nduja (their menu changes daily). www.littlemoss.com
Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust hiking trails
The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) land conservation program has worked to protect more than 5,500 acres in Dartmouth and offers several trails for hiking. Destruction Brook Woods, their largest reserve at 280 acres, features walks along what was once the old Duff estate’s bridle paths, mature woodlands and unusual rock ledges covered with ferns and lichens.
The Knowles-Padanaram Reserve, at just under 30 acres, is an open salt marsh habitat with low bushes and small trees and provides a yearlong refuge for wildlife. www.dnrt.org