In the summer, tourists flood South County to enjoy the abundant beaches, waterfront dining and coastal attractions. The rest of the year, though, those things are all ours to enjoy. Take a day trip and enjoy some off-season exploring.
The Main Street stretch of restaurants, salons and shopping in East Greenwich has a sophisticated city feel. Blueprint 5 (631 Main Street. 401-885-2500) sells upscale men’s clothing and custom-tailored suits, and Therapy (235 Main Street. 401-884-3130) recently relocated its ladies clothing, including hard to find denim, from Wakefield to this bustling city center. Sports and More (99 Main Street. 401-714-0485) sells collectible sports memorabilia.
Over on Post Road, grab something sweet from Sweet Twist (5707 Post Road. 401-885-7579), whether that’s chocolate or jewelry, and a bottle of wine from The Savory Grape (1000 Division Street. 401-886-9463) for perfect hostess gifts. Next door, Le’s Isle Rose (1000 Division Street. 401-885-8391) has unique floral arrangements and memorable gifts.
A village of South Kingstown, Wakefield is home to South County’s only mall - but don’t overlook these independent merchants in favor of the big box. Just off of Route 1, there’s a cluster of small businesses, including Zero Wampum (161 Old Tower Hill Road. 401-789-7172), which sells lovely gifts and unique cards and wrapping paper, and Feet First (153 Old Tower Hill Road. 401-783-8074) which specializes in brands like UGG, Birkenstock and Dansko and carries hard-to-find sizes.
Heading into downtown Wakefield, stop at Seaside Style (343 Main Street. 401-284-1551) for fashionable finds for ladies and coastal-inspired gifts. Up the street, Purple Cow (205 Main Street. 401-789-2389) has been a mainstay in the community for years, selling eclectic and fun gifts and clothing. Benny and Jack (237 Robinson Street. 401-360-2258) has everything your four-legged friend has ever dreamed of. Nearby in Peace Dale, Comfort and Joy (1220 Kingstown Road. 401- 783-5300) sells innovative, super comfy pillows, chairs and toys.
On your drive into downtown Narragansett, don’t miss Crosswynds Traders (1175 Boston Neck Road. 401-782-1110), which sells name brand and designer clothing for significantly less than mall prices.
Don’t be fooled by the expanse of ocean – Narragansett is open year round, with all of the same delicious restaurants and none of the tourists taking your tables. In Pier Marketplace, a year-round shopping hub, there are lots of options. If you need to refuel before you shop, stop at Maharaja (1 Beach Street. 401-363-9988) for authentic, perfectly prepared Indian food.
Then, walk off your meal by strolling the Pier. Simply Natural (24A Pier Marketplace. 401-782-3400) focuses on local, organic, sustainable gifts. Curiosity and Mischief (4 Pier Marketplace. 401-782-1992) is your stop for booklovers – stock up on cards, stationery and bestselling books. If you’re feeling creative, stop in at Create Color Art Studio (5 Pier Marketplace. 401- 363-9511) to make unforgettable handpainted gifts. Stop into nearby Critter Hut (91 Point Judith Road. 401-789-9444) for all of your pet supply needs.
In Hope Valley, Hack and Livery (1006 Main Street. 401-539-7033) is a good old-fashioned general store, where you can find everything from toys and clothing to candles and edible gifts. West Kingston’s Jules Antiques and General Store (320 Kingstown Road. 401-539-2925) is an emporium of housewares and gifts you never knew you needed.
In Charlestown, The Fantastic Umbrella Factory (4820 Old Post Road. 401- 364-1060) is a destination unto itself. Plan to spend an afternoon browsing its art gallery, greenhouse, petting zoo, cafe and gift shops.