I grew up going to Charlestown, Rhode Island every summer until I was about fifteen. My grandparents, Grace and Howard Sweet, had a beautiful home near East Beach and Shelter Harbor. They hosted extended family and friends almost constantly during July and August. I loved these summers. I really miss spending time in Charlestown and the surrounding area, but still try to hit some of my favorite places each season. Here are my top picks:
Henry’s Fruit Center
5319 Old Post Road ~ Charlestown
Henry’s has been around forever. My little brother and I used to walk here to get ice cold Coke bottles out of the metal cooler and peaches for my grandmother.
It is so old fashioned and has hardly changed a bit in 50 years. I hope it never does!
5193 Old Post Road ~ Charlestown
Dave’s Coffee is a new addition to the Charlestown area, at least in my book.
Dave’s is a family owned craft coffee business, right here in little Rhody.
Stop in and have their fresh baked goods and amazing coffee, which they roast by hand. Totally worth it.
East Beach Road ~ Charlestown
How many hours of my life did I spent on East Beach? It was an all day affair for the Sweet family. We were packed for the beach and out of the house by 10 am.
Trudging up the boardwalk with all of our umbrellas, rafts and coolers.
The three miles of East Beach on Quonochontaug Neck are gorgeous. On a clear day, you can see the outline of Block Island from your towel. Bonus.
The Hitching Post
5402 Post Road ~ Charlestown
No day at the beach is complete without clam fritters from the Hitching Post.
My father would drop everyone at my grandparent’s after the beach and head to the Hitching Post. He would buy dozens of clam fritters for the gang. Hot, salty and delicious.
This little red building has been around since 1950 and is still going strong. Don’t miss it.
Shelter Harbor Inn
10 Wagner Road ~ Westerly
There are a lot of beautiful place to stay in South County, Rhode Island. But I am loyal to the Shelter Harbor Inn.
It is a lovely, restored farmhouse with 24 guest rooms. My family has celebrated many, many events here. Definitely one of my favorite places to stay, complete with a divine complimentary breakfast.
Sandy’s Fine Food Emporium
15 Post Road ~ Westerly
When I was a kid, Sandy’s was just a fruit and vegetable stand. I used to head there on Saturday morning with my grandmother to buy all of the produce she needed for the weekend to feed the piles of people at her house.
Sandy’s is MUCH more than a fruit and vegetable stand now.
They carry specialty foods, gourmet groceries, freshly made soups, salads and entrees.
But my absolute favorite thing at Sandy’s is their fresh Strawberry Rhubarb pie…….
Flying Horse Carousel
151 Bay Street ~ Watch Hill
The Watch Hill Merry-Go-Round is a classic. Built in 1867 and left behind in Watch Hill by a traveling carnival in 1883, it is the only continuously operating and surviving flying horse Merry-Go-Round in the country.
I have been going to Flying Horses my whole life. First as a child and then with my two children. A gem.
St. Clair Annex
141 Bay Street ~ Watch Hill
What is summer without ice cream?
Head to the St Clair Annex for their amazing homemade ice cream. My favorite flavor, Black Raspberry. Oh, and the lobster roll here is to die for!
The Candy Box
14 Fort Road ~ Watch Hill
Another stop on my hit parade, The Candy Box. The sweetest little candy store you have ever seen.
Watch Hill Harbor
Come and sit in the park by the Harbor and gaze at all the beautiful scenery. So pretty.
2 Jerry Brown Road ~ South Kingston
These days, I am usually racing to get to the Block Island ferry and don’t have time to shop at my favorite places. Luckily, we have discovered Whaley Farm. A quick jog off of Route 1 on the way to the boat.
I love this little place. It opened in 1940 and is still run by the Whaley family. Stock up on everything fresh, including flowers, eggs and pesto.
And, of course, local Rhode Island Yacht Club Soda!!!
East Beach Memories
Mom and I (left) and little brother at the helm.
The gang post-beach (left) and burying some small child with my friend Charlie.
the wry home