25 THINGS TO DO… Hot Spots and Hidden Treasures

1. Visit Vineyards and Taste their Wine

Sample the classic, dry Vidal Blanc, the signature wine of Sakonnet Vineyards, New England’s oldest winery. With fifty acres of many Vinifera varietals including Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, Sakonnet Vineyards hosts private functions and summer concerts. “Sakonnet,” in Narragansett Indian, means “where the geese land.” Open daily for tours and tastings. 162 west Main Rd., Little Compton, RI. 401-635-8486. www.sakonnetwine.com.

New England’s largest vineyard, Westport Vineyards and Winery, is eight miles away, owned by the Russell Family, who also founded Buzzards Bay Brewing. Westport wines include traditional method sparkling wines, Chardonnay, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Riesling and other Alsatian varietals.

Sakonnet Vineyards

162 W Main Rd. Little Compton, RI
(401) 635-8486

Westport Vineyards

417 Hixbridge Rd., Westport, MA

2. Travel Back in Time

Visit the Past at the Little Compton Historical Society, located in the Wilbor House, whose inhabitants spanned eight generations. on land purchased from the Sakonnet Indians in 1673. The original house, built by Samuel Wilbor in about 1690, comprised only two rooms, one on top of the other, and a cramped stairway. Original architectural details include beamed ceilings and feather-edge boards. Throughout the year, the museum is open by appointment. July through Labor Day, it is open Thursday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Last tour is at 4 p.m. Adults, $5. Children, $1.

Little Compton Historical Society

548 West main Rd., Little Compton, RI
Tel: 401-635-4035
Web: www.littlecompton.org

3. Give Tribute to the Deceased

Give tribute to the deceased with a visit to Little Compton’s Old Commons Burying Ground, in the town center. The earliest of the tombs dates to the 17th century, and the cemetery includes a number of slate markers, both vertical slabs and ledger stones. The burying ground is home to the headstone of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie, the first white child born in New England (1623). Unusual messages on ancient headstones include: “In memory of Elizabeth who should have been the wife of Mr. Simeon Palmer who died August 14 1776…. in “

4. Walk in the Woods

Meander along the loop dirt road in Wilbor Woods, Swamp Rd., Little Compton. Trout Creek flows through the verdant paradise. There are fire pits for picnics and literary inspiration hanging from the trees.

5. Collect Sea Shells & Construct Sand Castles

Visit Little Compton’s town beach, South Shore Beach, near the banks of Tunipus Pond. On a clear day, there are views of Cuttyhunk and the Elizabeth Islands. Parking, $9 weekdays; $13, weekends.

6. Catch Sight of Snowy Egrets and Glossy Ibis’s

Go birding at the Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge, part of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. 50 acres of woods and salt marsh with trails overlooking the Sakonnet River. Jack’s Island, a peninsula that extends into the Sakonnet River, is home to breeding Ospreys. Seaport Avenue, off of rte. 77 South, in Tiverton.

7. Get a Bird’s Eye View

Observe FarmCoast’s landscape with Balloon Adventures of New Bedford, based in South Dartmouth, MA. The aerial adventure costs $275-$300 per person; $175 per child. 2-6 adults per trip. 508-636-4846.

8. Elephants and a Chinese Tea House

At Gallery 4 in Tiverton Four Corners you can find paintings made by elephants. Yes, and certified!, learn the story. Also, there is a 175 year old Chinese Tea House located behind the Soule-Seabury House, an historic house built by a Sea Captain from the China Trade. For more information visit Bob Smith at Gallery 4 in Tiverton Four Corners. 401-816-0999.

9. Explore an Oak-Holly Forest

Discover Weetamoo Woods and the abutting Pardon Gray Reserve, originally settled in 1696. Once the home farm of one of Tiverton’s original colonial proprietors, the 230 acres were purchased for preservation in 1997. (Rte. 77), Tiverton.

10. Wake up with Freshly Roasted, Hand Blended Coffee

Coastal Roasters is a micro-roaster with a conscience. The cozy waterfront shop features specialty coffees and teas, including the Ethiopian Longberry Harrar and Guayaki, a smoky and fire roasted caffeinated herbal tea. Locally made pastries include the tasty oatmeal raisin chocolate chip and coconut cookie. Now that’s a mouthful!

Coastal Roasters

1791 Main Rd. Tiverton, RI
Tel: 401-624-2343
Web: www.coastalroasters.com

11. Hook up!

Go saltwater sport fishing for bluefish, striped bass and yellow fin tuna, among others, with Finesse Fishing Charters in Buzzards Bay. Home port in Padanaram. Captain Bob Demello leads full day (7 hours) and overnight trips, depending on the tide, to the ledges of Buzzards Bay, the Sow & Pigs reef off Cuttyhunk Island, the holes of the Elizabeth Islands, and along the white sandy beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard. www.finessefishingcharters.com. 508-979-5657.

12. Eat Locally Grown Produce and Seafood

Eat locally at the Back Eddy. Kick off the meal with some local oysters and little necks, followed by apple wood bacon wrapped giant New Bedford scallops with spring succotash and garlic seared spinach. End with Mary’s Morning Glory Farms tiramisu.

The Back Eddy

One Bridge Rd., Westport, MA.
Tel: 508-636-6500
Web: www.thebackeddy.com

13. Kayak with the Birds

Observe New England’s Largest Concentration of Breeding Osprey: while kayaking along the Westport River. Rent a kayak from Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures. All levels are welcome.

Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures

489 Old County Rd., Westport, MA
Tel: 508-636-0300.
Web: www.ospreyseakayak.com

14. Explore FarmCoast by Bike

The Village Bike Shop, located in Westport and in Padanaram, offers guided tours, bike sales and rentals and personalized bike-fitting consultations.

The Village Bike Shop

678 Main Rd., Westport
Tel: 508-636-0525
354 Elm St., Padanaram
Tel: 508-992-1199
Web: www.villagebicycle.com

15. Watch the Sunset

from Atop The Nubble, a steep and massive rock that is great for climbing. A perfect biking destination. Across the river from Horseneck Beach. There is very limited parking, so it’s best to bike there.

16. Host a Party or Special Event

Invite your guests to the Meeting House, a timber frame structure on an acre of land in the midst of Tiverton Four Corners, a restored 18th century village. A small knoll, a seasonal pond and a sculpture garden create an atmosphere of elegant seclusion.

The Meeting House

Web: www.themeetinghouse.info

17. Capture Wildflowers, Permanently!

Visit Salt Marsh Pottery to see their lines of fine pottery made using local wildflowers. Their creative touch can also imprint your children’s feet or make a customized Commemorative Wedding Bowl. Housed in an old schoolhouse in Russells Mills Village.

Salt Marsh Pottery

Web: www.saltmarsh.com

18. Take a Glass Blowing Class, or just Watch!

Visit Fried Glass Studio and meet glass artist Ian Silvia. Explore the process of creating objects from molten glass. Paperweights, drinking glasses, vases, and sculptural glass.

Fried Glass Studio

Web: www.friedglassstudios.com

19. Learn about an Anagama Kiln

Using an ancient Japanese method of wood firing, Ceramic Artist Chris Gustin invites ceramic artists from around the country to join in this special event. 2-3 times per year.

Gustin Ceramics

231 Horseneck Road, S. Dartmouth.
Web: www.gustinceramics.com

20. Sculpture Set Amongs the Trees

Each summer the Arts Center hosts an exhibit of New England sculptors set among the lawns and trees of The Meeting House. The 2008 Exhibit, curated by James Montford of the Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College, features the works of Norma Anderson Fox, Susan Shutan, Gabriel Warren, Troy West, and Claudia Widdiss. Open during daylight hours at The Meeting House, Tiverton Four Corners. For more information, see www.fourcornersarts.org.

21. Visit a Monument to a Chicken!

In “Downtown” Adamsville you will find a monument to the Rhode Island Red Rooster. The stone was dedicated in 1925 to commemorate the “Rhode Island Red Breeding Fowl”. First bred in Adamsville in 1854 by John Macomber and Captain William Tripp, the breed spread around the world and contributed greatly to the economic prosperity of this area in the 19th century.

22. Buy Fresh!

Buy Fresh Flowers, Local Produce from Farm Stands. Young’s Family Farm Stand, 260 West Main Rd., Little Compton, RI. Open daily from 9-5. Down the road, find sandwiches, bakery, deli, and outdoor seating at The Last Stand, 374 West Main Rd. 401-592-0400.

23. Cheese Shopping

From Asiago to Westcome Cheddar, Milk and Honey Bazaar, in Tiverton Four Corners, features more than 100 varieties of cheese. This specialty foods market also carries terrines, oils, wine jellies, mustard, duck foie gras, charcuterie, flat breads and customized gift packages.

Milk and Honey Bazaar

3838 Main Rd., Tiverton, RI
Tel: 401-624-1974
Web: www.milkandhoneybazaar.com

24. Surf the Wind, or Just Watch!

Local Wind Surfers Head to Fogland Beach, Tiverton’s town beach. The peninsula extends into the Sakonnet River with a rocky southern shore. The northern face of the beach is a sandy, calm cove perfect for families and picnics. There is a playground and a snack bar, too. Parking $5 weekdays, $10 weekends.

25. Learn to Weave

Visit Handweaver Amy C. Lund, at her Tiverton Four Corners studio, which also features antiques and locally crafted ceramics, jewelry and furniture. In a two-day workshop on a preset loom, beginners learn to make a scarf or table runner for $180 plus materials.

Amy C. Lund Handweaver

Tel: 401-592-0099
Web: www.amyclundhandweaver.com