If you live across the state from Little Compton, there’s a good chance you’ve never been to this historic town or perhaps only visited Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard. You travel like you’re going to Aquidneck Island via 195E and 24S; however, the fun begins when you exit the highway in Tiverton at Fish Road and begin to explore scenic Route 77. From your vehicle, you’ll see what makes this unspoiled area so special.
Little Compton has a historic district known as The Commons, surrounded by Greek Revival and Victorian buildings. This is the heart of the town. There’s the Congregational Church, which dates back to 1835, and the Old Commons Burial Grounds, a large Colonial cemetery containing several graves that date back to the American Revolutionary War. Want to learn more? The Little Compton Historical Society has a guide book of over 40 historic cemeteries. While the LCHS office is currently closed to the public, they are available by email, Zoom, or phone, and book orders can be arranged for curbside pickup via LittleCompton.org.
No visit to The Commons is complete without a stop at Wilbur’s General Store. Inside there are speciality foods and provisions, but enjoy exploring room after room of gifts, toys, clothes, paper goods, and more. Across the road, another must is the Art Cafe, a former Rhody Gem and eclectic coffee shop that used to be a corn crib and is now the local fave for a hot drink, pastries, and displays of art. Less than 10 minutes away there’s Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard – the tasting room is closed for the season but online ordering is available for shipping and curbside pickup.
If you see a sign for Gray’s, stop the car: you’re in Adamsville, a small village settled in 1675. Today, Gray’s is an antique and collectibles store but back in 1788 it was a general store, and it’s one of the oldest in the US. Along with a few other small businesses, there’s The Barn, a charming spot for breakfast inside – you guessed it – an old barn. Make sure to stop by The Rhode Island Red Monument which commemorates our state bird, and fun fact: some of the first large egg-scale poultry businesses around started right here, hence the town became known as the poultry capital of the world.
Minutes away from The Commons is South Shore, a small, rocky beach with great ocean views. We’d recommend the John C. Whitehead Preserve/Dundery Brook Trail System. It’s currently closed to the public because boardwalks prevent proper social distancing between walkers, but like most everything else in 2021, we have hopes for it to reopen.
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