I’m spending a week in Charlestown, RI with my wife and 2 boys. I know the state is small, but likely won’t venture as far of Providence. Anyone have suggestions for spots in or around Charlestown (likely Watch Hill, Jamestown, Kingston, Gansett, etc?) I’m only willing to do takeout or patio dining at this point.
Given my kids are younger, I’ll avoid Ocean House (too fancy for them…) We are going to Matanuck one night, but open to other suggestions for all meals. I plan on hitting Aunt Carries and to get the boys Del’s.
Any fav spots for clams, stuffies, pizza strips, breakfast, dogs, lobsters, or things a bit nicer.
Our anniversary falls while we’re there so if anyone has ideas for a nicer spot that wouldn’t be overwhelming for kids, greatly appreciate that as well.
As a native Rhode Islander, I say COOL! Sounds like you have been to this corner of the world before. The last time I was in South County was 2 years ago so it’s been a while for me. I’ll try to list things as you head south (but you may be coming from the west?). We’re on Block Island at the moment and started out with a decent pub meal at Mews Tavern in Wakefield before the ferry. They have plenty of outdoor seating, but we chose inside so our 5-year old could check out the Treehouse Room and the bar with all dollars hanging from the rafters. Wakefield is a cute tiny town, with a surfer-hippie vibe and Wickford to the north is also cute. Non foodwise, check out Nico Scout in Wakefield and Fantastic Umbrella Company in Charlestown if anyone in your family likes small indie shops. You know Matunuck Oyster, which is our favorite in the area. It must be crazy busy in there this summer. I used to love Turtle Soup in Narragansett but haven’t been in years. Chair 5 is the new fancy boutique hotel with prices to match, but this being RI beach country, it’s sure to be on the casual (albeit pricey) side. Our last trip to Aunt Carrie’s 2 years ago was disappointing - I felt like they were phoning it in. Watch Hill is lovely as it sounds like you know. The restaurant scene I’m sure is 90% different from what I remember. St. Clair Annex (for lobster rolls and ice cream) and Olympia Tea Room are both Watch Hill icons (although the latter may be too sedate for your kids, depending on how old they are). If you are looking for an excursion, it’s about 30 minutes to Jamestown. Beavertail Park is one of my favorite places on earth - I grew up going there. The kids would surely love hanging out on the giant rocks, looking for the abandoned bunkers. Enjoy your stay. We leave Block Island today after a great week.
Edited to add: I see that Jamestown is on your potential itinerary. Village Hearth Bakery is a place near-and-dear to my heart. I’ve been going there since they first opened, saw a lovely young couple have kids, and grew into a lovely older couple who are still rocking it out.
Also wanted to add that everywhere we’ve been, businesses are taking a lot of precautions. As for the tourists walking around, I’d say it’s about 70%-30% masks to no-masks. But with the ocean breezes, we think it’d be tough to transmit the virus outdoors.
Thanks for this report. The recommendations, especially Beavertail Park, which I’d never heard of , but also the last paragraph. I was wondering about Rhode Island after reading about the large teen parties on Block Island earlier in the summer. We love the South County area and hope to go later in September. It seems like how Mass. residents enter RI and return to Mass. has changed several times about whether testing and/or quarantine are required. We’ll check again, of course, before we start planning.
You have some great trips this year! Thanks for reporting!
Just to add to this for anyone visiting the area. We had a wonderfully unexpected meal at Nana’s in Westerly post a beautiful beach day yesterday. The vibe is casual and simple, and they have done a very nice job with the small exposed brick dining room and adjacent patio. It reminds me of a neighborhood vibe in Barcelona.
All the food we had was thoughtful prepared and delicious. Anyone which actually serves ripe and fresh seasonal veggies, rather than just paying them lip service, gets my vote every time. The honey roasted veggies were so good even the kids asked for more. Tomatoes in the Greek salad were still warm off the vine, and the local feta was wonderful as well. The tuna crudo ate more like an elevated sashimi dish. The calamari a la plancha was cooked just right and had a great spicy kick.
Pizzas are a featured item at Nanas. We tried a few of the thin crust round pizzas, but they do offer a thicker crust sheet pizza as well. There sourdough crust is done very well, and the sauce has a nice kick to it. We enjoyed their New Haven style tomato pie with fresh sweet corn. The margherita pizza, which we tried to get a yard stick on the place was very good as well, again utilizing fresh local cheese.
The table next to us had a burger which looked wonderful. One of the members of our party enjoyed their house made kombucha, and that had a very nice beer and wine selection. Neither the drink or food menus are huge, but they have clearly paid attention to each individual item. It looks like they do coffee tea and pastries during the day as well.
They told us they had only been open since March but seem to be hitting on all cylinders. Apparently they have another location in Mystic which is been open for a few years. Slightly over $100 for 4 people to feast had me wishing we had more places like this in Boston. We will definitely be hitting Nana’s again as a post Beach meal when in South County Rhode Island.
Sounds lovely. Made our annual pilgrimmage to Al Forno over the weekend. Though it’s no longer the hottest ticket in Providence, it’s still turning out simple, fabulous food, and offering interesting Italian wines. The Pizza Magarita sets the standard. And we left saying we wish we had a place like it in Boston ;-).
Al Forno has really stood the test of time, when most of it’s era have gone downhill or fallen by the wayside. I was worried post the passing of George Germon, however I think he’d be proud of hod Al Forno is enduring. I haven’t been there post Covid, but this is a good reminder that it is time to do so.