Where can you enjoy saltwater fishing, horseback riding, and nine holes of golf, followed by a lovely DIY dinner at dusk? It might sound like we’re describing a fancy country club but we’re talking about Goddard Memorial State Park. This waterfront gem on the shores of Greenwich Bay and Greenwich Cove in Warwick is open from sunrise to sunset and is the ideal setting for savoring some take-out in the great outdoors (especially after the first frost when pesky bugs are no longer an issue). The recreation area has many picnic tables for the taking on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are sites you can reserve for a low fee that also include a fireplace, or covered shelters for larger groups at a moderate fee. Find similar set-ups at Burlingame State Park Picnic Area, Colt State Park, Lincoln Woods State Park, and Pulaski State Park & Recreation Area (RIParks.RI.gov). With a bit of shopping and foraging, hosting an enchanting autumn gathering is as easy as a walk in the park.
Elevate a simple picnic with table linens, serveware, candles, and faux florals. For these and more, take a field trip to the northern part of the state to Brown & Hopkins Country Store, a general store that’s been in continuous operation since 1809. Let the russet tones of October provide the colorway for your fall fête as you wander their two floors of goods, selling everything from old-timey candy sticks to gourmet foods, unique gifts, apparel and jewelry, textiles, and more. The dining room display on the second level is sure to inspire!
Fill a pitcher with an apple cider mocktail, a perfect choice as parks have a no-alcohol policy. Custom-decorated cookies from Sophie’s Sweets are sure to delight, as are cider donuts
from Dave’s Marketplace. For pumpkins and more, shop the Goddard Park Farmers Market (Friday mornings through mid-October) and pick the perfect gourds from Chris and Kristina’s Market Garden stand. Pumpkins work double-duty as centerpieces and tablecloth weights; consider packing Sharpies in your stash for a fun Jack-O-Lantern decorating sesh.
With all the rough surfaces and dark hues, glassware adds a bit of shine. Stemless wine glasses from Honey Gallery in North Kingstown lend elegance without being fussy. By early evening the temps may begin to drop, so be sure to bring along some cozy blankets, which can also be used to soften the wood benches while seated, and spread on the ground for additional picnic space.
A handy list of brands, shops, and makers featured in this article:
Featured: Fleece blanket
Available at The Kayak Centre in Wickford
North Kingstown | @aucoindesigns
Featured: Candles, faux florals, home decor, serveware, paper goods
Chepachet | @brownandhopkinscountrystore
Don’t miss the shop’s Spook & Sparkle
event October 6-9
South Kingstown | @chrisandkristinas
Featured: Cider donuts
Various | DavesMarketplace.com
Featured: Blankets, stemless wine glasses
North Providence | @honeygalleryri
Featured: Infinite Fall apple cider
Warren | @kristiskraftails
Featured: Specialty cookies
Cranston | @sophiessweetsri
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