Exploring Westerly and Charlestown, RI

My parents vacation on the southwestern portion of Rhode Island right along the border of Connecticut every summer. This year while I was road tripping along the coast I decided to stop and see what it’s all about, checking out all of their favorite spots and adding in a bit of my own flair. Quaint, laid back, and quirky – I can definitely see the appeal to the area.


Fantastic Umbrella Factory, 4820 Old Post Rd, Charlestown, RI 02813

fantastic_umbrella_factory_rhode_islandI did see a bamboo maze, three emus, and a make your own sand art station. I did not see one umbrella. This is a strange and wonderful menagerie. There are a collection of funky shops to browse.

fantastic_umbrella_factoryA café. The garden is sporadically scattered with interesting sculptures.

fantastic_umbrella_factory_charlestownChickens run amuck and if you make your way to the petting zoo you’ll see goats, and the emus – including one male named Lily.

fantastic_umbrella_factory_riListen for the bizarre tapping noise they make. Nearby is the entrance to that mystical bamboo maze, which is dark even if it is sunny, and holds treasures just waiting to be discovered.

fantastic_umbrella_factory_charleston_riNinigret National Wildlife Refuge, 50 Bend Rd, Charlestown, RI 02813

ninigrit_national_wildlife_refugeThe song remains the same of this summer season is, buggy. Put on some spray to enjoy the day. The quiet woodsy trail was full of singing birds and bunnies as the sun was starting to set. There are just under 5 miles of trails in the preserve, but we only had time for the Foster Cover Nature Trail, just under 1 mile – an easy and tranquil walk.


Misquamacut Beach, 257 Atlantic Ave, Westerly, RI 02891

misquamicut_beach_rhode_islandThe beach was clean, water was warm enough to swim, and waves were mild perfect for body surfing. It was a bit more crowded than I am used to and the entrance fee was a bit pricey on the weekend, but I am always happy to add a salty element to the day.

Malted Barley, 42 High St, Westerly, RI 02891

Craft beer and soft pretzels are the name of the game. The ambiance is lively, but casual. You can find salads with pretzel croutons, pretzel sandwiches, and dessert pretzels.

the_malted_barley_westerly_rhode_islandYou know what you really want, though, is a true soft pretzel. They come in all kind of variations including mozz & tomato stuffed with pesto on the side and chipotle pepper & smoked gouda stuffed. We went with the jalapeno & cheddar stuffed.

malted_barley_westerlyThe dips are a whole other topic. On two completely different ends of the spectrum we went for spinach & artichoke dip + apricot butter. They were both impeccable. There is also a location in Providence, RI. Be prepared to wait at prime time!

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2 Responses to Exploring Westerly and Charlestown, RI

  1. julieovaltrades says:

    It’s a wonderful area, one I’d love to go back to again!

  2. Don Reed says:

    Delighted that you discovered the Malted Barley. We’d stay at the Ocean House and then go into town to the MB for pretzels. The sight of the small river going by their back porch (elevated over the water) and the friendly service added up to a perfect afternoon.

    In all, Westerly has done a good job recovering from the economic collapse when all the manufacturing jobs disappeared, but they still have a ways to go, a path made more difficult evidently by the quite wealthy residents not altogether pitching in their fair share to renovate run-down downtown buildings that could look superb with some work and love.

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