Arts and culture play an important role in South County. From art galleries to mansions, landscape and architecture, South County has long been recognized as a cultural center of the state.
Start the day with a delicious breakfast at the Sea View Station in North Kingstown, 401.295.8666, located in the friendly New England village that was voted one of the Top Ten Best Main Streets in the United States! Established in 1665 and nestled along the waterfront of Wickford Harbor, Historic Wickford Village offers a taste of New England life as it was a century ago. With it's 1700's historic homes, churches, gardens and over 50 shops to choose from, including Green Ink , you will want to return again and again. For more information, call 1.877.295.7200.
The South County Trolley takes off on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in July & August. Step aboard, close your eyes for just a moment and imagine the town of Narragansett between 1888-1920. This narrated tour will take you there, through the town - to it's past, present and future. Gaze at St. Peter's by the Sea Church stained glass window, where John Wilkes Booth used to prepare for his plays. Narragansett, also called, "The Pier," was ranked one of America's most prestigious resorts for the wealthy and famous. Starting at the old Narragansett Pier Casino (designed by McKim, Mead & White, landscaped by Fredick Law Olmstead), which is now called, "The Towers," you will learn how it was the social centerpiece of the area, now restored, reviving the romance of the past. For reservations or more information, call 401.783.0154. For special events or more information on the Towers, call 401.782.2597.
Enjoy lunch in Narragansett at either Trio, 401.792.4333 or Coast Guard House, 401.789.0700 before heading to Historic Downtown Westerly. Stroll the town, take the time to explore it's unique architecture and great shopping experiences. Stop at Wilcox Park, a beautifully landscaped park which is a miniature replica of New York City's Central Park. The park has unique species of trees, a dwarf conifer collection, and perennial and annual flower beds.
Next, visit the Babcock-Smith House, open May-October, Sat. 2-5 p.m. and July & August on Fri. and Sat. from 2-5 p.m., or by appointment, 401.596.5704. This two-story, Georgian-style home has six fireplaces, furniture dating back 200 years and toys from the 1890's, and a landscape including a Colonial garden and culinary herb garden. Dr. Joshua Babcock was Westerly's first physician, a postmaster, the Chief Justice of Rhode Island and also a friend to Benjamin Franklin. Orlando Smith discovered granite on the property in 1846, which led to Westerly becoming one of the country's leading granite centers.
Before or after dinner at The Shelter Harbor Inn, 401.322.8883 or The Old Wilcox Tavern , 401.322.1829 in Westerly and Charlestown, stop by The Charlestown Gallery at 5000 South County Trail. Open April-Jan., 401.364.0120.