A Tank Away

Warwick, R.I.: Perfect spot to park and recreate

A view of Narragansett Bay from a beach along the Rocky Point walking/biking trail.
Paul E. Kandarian
A view of Narragansett Bay from a beach along the Rocky Point walking/biking trail.

Warwick, the state’s second-largest city after Providence, is widely known for T.F. Green Airport, the Warwick Mall, and a busy stretch of Route 95 that cuts through it. Get off the beaten path, however, and you’ll find an abundance of history (the burning of the British ship Gaspee happened here in 1772 and is robustly celebrated). This city with 39 miles of coastline has parks and beaches and a variety of places to stay and eat.


One of the newest lodging options is NYLO Hotel (400 Knight St., 401-734-4460,, from $119) with boutique loft-style rooms and eco-friendly design: It’s the first hotel in the state to run with 100 percent renewable energy credits in partnership with Peoples Power & Light. Also relatively new is the cozy 3 Royal Waterfront Suites (3 Royal Ave., 401-323-3290,, from $139), with three luxury suites affording 180-degree water views, private deck or open porch, free in-room breakfast, Internet, premium cable stations, on-demand movies, and impressive sunrises. The city’s largest hotel is the 266-room Crowne Plaza Hotel (801 Greenwich Ave., 401-732-6000,, from $154). It’s near the airport, with free Wi-Fi, a park-and-fly program, heated indoor pool, and is centrally located about 10 minutes from Providence.


Start your day at Jefferson Diner (175 Jefferson Blvd., 401-739-4125,, breakfast from $2.35), which has been in the Bridge family since 1969 serving breakfast fare and lunch that includes meat loaf, chili dogs, corn bread, flame-broiled burgers, and its notable grape-nut pudding. Hot any time of day is Iggy’s Doughboy and Chowder House (889 Oakland Ave., 401-737-9459, www.iggysdoughboys
, from $2.99), right on Oakland Beach and serving doughboys, chowder, clam cakes, fish and chips, and all manner of seafood. The food is so good that lines routinely snake out the door toward the beach. Take lunch in the heart of historic Pawtuxet Village overlooking the cove at O’Rourke’s Bar and Grill (23 Peck Lane, 401-228-7444,, from $5.50), an Irish pub with signature “Irish Nachos,” hand-cut fries, fresh-made chowder, burgers, sandwiches, and seafood. O’Rourke’s has regular nightly musical entertainment as well. For upscale Italian, check out Sophia’s Tuscan Grille (1729 Warwick Ave., 401-732-6656,, entrees from $17), where chef Christopher Palios, who makes and packages his own rubs and does catering, presides over a menu including gnocchi, linguine with clams, Tuscan seafood stew, and homemade desserts. Also popular here is the Wednesday and Thursday three-course dinner for two for $39.95 and Sunday breakfasts. And you can bring your own wine ($2 cork fee). A long-time favorite is Governor Francis Inn (1251 Warwick Ave., 401-463-8227,, entrees from $8), offering wide-ranging fare that includes seafood, steaks, Italian dishes, lobster rolls, and more than 20 appetizers, including the popular Governor Francis stuffed mushrooms and antipasto platter.



The city’s biggest recreational jewel is Goddard Memorial State Park (1095 Ives Road, 401-884-2010,, free entry), with a huge beach on Greenwich Cove, massive lawns and fields, hundreds of picnic tables, a nine-hole golf course, 18 miles of bridle trails, 11 game fields, and a performing arts center in a renovated carousel building. The old and new blend at a just-opened 1¼-mile walking/biking paved trail at Rocky Point (Rocky Point Avenue,, 401-732-3100), which for generations was an amusement park, and where behind high fences you can see the crumbling remains of the shore dinner hall and midway entrance. If you’re around Pawtuxet Village June 8, check out the 48th annual Gaspee Days Parade (, part of a weeks-long celebration of Rhode Island colonists burning the British revenue schooner Gaspee in June 1772. Shopping abounds at Warwick Mall (Intersection of Routes 95 and 295,, 401-739-7500), the state’s first modern shopping center when it opened in 1970 and now with more than 80 stores, a dozen restaurants, and a 12-screen Showcase Cinemas. Empowering the state’s homeless and others in need around the world by selling the unique gifts they make is the mission of the nonprofit House of Hope Boutique (3190 Post Road, 401-463-3324, ext. 231,, which sells the creations of people who are learning workplace skills, including bags, jewelry, pottery, soap, candles, and carved bowls. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Sweet Indulgence (905 Warwick Ave., 401-228-7719,, a gourmet chocolate shop specializing in chocolate apples, cupcakes, and hand-dipped confections. Small but packed with consignment goods is Nostalchic (752 West Shore Road, 401-737-5559,, which sells antiques, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, and home decor items, as well as handmade jewelry by Karen Oliver Legg, one of the owners.


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A new offering awaits theater buffs at Ocean State Theatre (1245 Jefferson Blvd., 401-921-6800, www.oceanstate
, from $39), crafted out of a former Verizon headquarters, with “Legally Blonde” playing a run for two weeks in July, and a 2013-2014 slate that includes “Les Miserables,” “Lombardi,” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” All Stars Bar and Grille (685 Airport Road, 401-384-6002, is a place to watch all manner of sports on TV and join Saturday night trivia contests, Thursday night poker, free pool every Wednesday and sip $4.99 martinis. Fat Belly’s Pub (255 Lambert Lind Highway, 401-681-4905, has locations across the state. This is a smaller one but it offers regular Friday night music to enjoy with burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and salads.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at