Southern Rhode Island: Water, Woods, and… Wine-Tasting?

a rocky beach in rhode islandSunday was Devin’s birthday—and the weather was gorgeous—so we headed down to Rhode Island for a day trip. Other than the occasional trip to Providence and Newport, we don’t make it to “Little Rhody” much, despite the fact that Devin’s family is originally from Westerly. So when I came across a deal for a wine-tasting excursion in this southwestern Rhode Island town, we knew we had to go.

And boy, is there so much more to the littlest state than just those stately Newport Mansions!

With our wine-tasting tour scheduled for 11 a.m., we had about an hour to poke around Watch Hill, Westerly’s historic district. Devin was pleased to see that much of the area had gone unchanged since his childhood—including the Flying Horse carousel, rumored to be the oldest in the country. We got a bite to eat and enjoyed the view of the harbor until it was time to…

Watch Hill Rhode Island Flying Horse Carousel

No grownups allowed: the Watch Hill Flying Horse carousel, complete with brass ring.

red sailboat in Watch Hill, Rhode Island

A sailboat in the harbor near Watch Hill.

…pack up and drive down scenic Route 1A to the Langworthy Farm Winery. Having been to Napa and Sonoma, I knew that a New England winery would be very different. And I was right—but not in a bad way. The owners have been in the wine business for just 10 years, but have an impressive amount of knowledge. We took a tour through the small vineyard and facilities before being treated to a 4-glass tasting, complete with cheese tray. Thumbs up on the reserve chardonnay!

Lamgworthy Farm Winery in Westerly, Rhode Island

The vineyard at Langworthy Farm in Westerly.

chardonnay grapes

Chardonnay grapes in the vineyard.

Next, we drove past some very ritzy mansions and along the Misquamicut Beach strip before stopping at another, rocky (and practically empty) beach. Although the many tidal pools didn’t yield all the creatures I’d hoped, the pebble beach, crashing waves, and cool, salty water made up for it. Soft sand is great, but sometimes it pays to think outside the box!

A beach in Westerly, Rhode Island

A rocky beach in Westerly, Rhode Island.

rocky beach in Westerly, Rhode Island

A beautiful beach day in Little Rhody.

colorful beach umbrella

The woman under this colorful umbrella was one of the few people we saw on this wonderfully empty beach.

We were heading north to I-95 (and home) when we happened upon the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in Charlestown, Rhode Island. With my love of ruins, I was pretty excited to discover that the refuge is the site of a World War II Naval Auxiliary landing field and still contains remnants of runways and such. Devin and I enjoyed an amble through the forest and desert-like fields, although we didn’t see any of the 250 bird species said to make the refuge home.

a former runway trail at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

Part of an abandoned runway at the refuge.

path through the forest in Rhode Island

A woodsy path at the refuge.

dandelions on the water at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

End of the trail: dandelions on the water at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.

As it turns out southern Rhode Island has a lot to offer, and even on Labor Day weekend, it never felt too crowded. We’ll be back!

What local gems have you discovered? Leave us a comment!



3 thoughts on “Southern Rhode Island: Water, Woods, and… Wine-Tasting?

  1. Pingback: A Sidetrip to Watkins Glen, NY | Have Baggage, Will Travel

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