It’s hard to think of a better summer afternoon than drifting lazily on the water in a boat – or set up on a blanket on the grass – with good company, breathtaking views, and a warm breeze. Rhode Island is filled with picnic-perfect destinations, and a trip to Bristol and Middletown easily provides essentials for an elegant meal on the go.
Directly across from Independence Park in Bristol is Fenwick & Oliver, a homegoods shop curated by owners Lisa Newcity and Don Ruest, an industrious couple with a knack for entertaining. Inside, find leveled-up paper goods, boat-friendly plastic wine glasses, and the pièce de résistance – the Convertible Picnic Table Basket by F&O, handcrafted by Ruest himself. Functional, sturdy, and beautiful, load it up to carry along and then open the latches and it becomes a raised surface perfect for setting up your soiree.
Anchored at an Aquidneck Island marina? With three days notice, the folks at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown will deliver bagged lunches, platters, cookies, cupcakes, and more to you from their To Go Boat Menu. For landlubbers, picnic provisions are aplenty, including fruit and veggie platters, baked goods, meals, and more, plus bagged lunches that come with a sandwich, chips, fruit, cookie, and drink. This all happens inside a post-and-beam market cafe on over 100 acres of farmland owned by Jan and Michelle Eckhard.
There are many places to buy wine, but why not go to the source? Five minutes from Sweet Berry Farm is Newport Vineyards, a popular spot for dining and drinks. Crowd pleasers include their Great White and Island White, which can be purchased along with Vidal Blanc as their Spring Sweets Trio. These sweeter white wines pair nicely with cheeses, fruits, and desserts. Place your pick in a fanciful wine bag with matching cocktail napkins for a fun centerpiece.
A handy list of brands, shops, and makers featured in this article:
Featured Products: cocktail napkins and wine bag
North Kingstown | @aucoindesigns
Fenwick & Oliver
Featured Products: convertible picnic basket, paper products, plastic wine glasses, Turkish towel
Bristol | @fenwick.and.oliver
Featured Products: Great White Wine, Island White Wine
Middletown | @newportvines
Sweet Berry Farm
Featured Products: blueberry loaf, gluten-free crackers, packaged sandwiches, and tabouleh
Middletown | @sweetberryfarmri
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