When it comes to food, fall in New England guarantees you pumpkin spice and apple pie. But where in Rhode Island can you go for an experience unlike any other this autumn? From a brewery in a 19th-century farmhouse to a dairy farm for unique cheeses by the sea, these places to eat get you out of the city, and are worth a visit.
1. FROM AN 1890s FARMHOUSE, BAY VIEWS AT RAGGED ISLAND BREWING
Overlooking a Portsmouth landscape of farmland and woods with glimpses of the bay on the horizon, Ragged Island Brewing Company’s remodeled 1890s farmhouse offers a great meeting spot for a fall weekend day. Through October, the brewery has scheduled a string of stellar partnerships and pop-ups with local caterers and restaurants (Yagi Noodles, Broadway Dough Co., and No Joke Smoke BBQ to name a few), along with a number of events like the Rogue Island Comedy Fest, trivia nights, and opportunities to see live music. The breadth of the property off Bristol Ferry Road encourages customers to casually and freely move around while presenting seating options for every group: from the lush greenhouse that formerly housed the Island Garden Shop for over 50 years, to the views from the balcony out back and, of course, the Adirondack chairs and picnic tables scattered around the farm. It’s the perfect location to take in the crisp fall breeze emanating from the bay while drinking a rich stout, heavy IPA, or fresh farmhouse ale amidst acres of autumn leaves. — Colin Howarth
Location: 54 Bristol Ferry Road, Portsmouth, R.I., raggedislandbrewing.com.
2. FROM THE GRIDDLE, EVERYTHING BUTTERMILK AND APPLES AT COFFEE AND CREAM
I consider myself a breakfast person, and Coffee & Cream Restaurant has my kind of menu. Located in North Smithfield, the family-run diner has been serving home-made recipes in Rhode Island for over 30 years. Founded by Normand and Eva Branchaud in 1990, the restaurant was originally located down the road, but was destroyed in a fire in 2017. The restaurant reopened in 2020, and is run by Normand and Eva’s son, Jonathan Branchaud, and his wife, Heather.
The farmhouse-inspired dining space serves made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch items, such as buttermilk pancakes, fresh-baked cinnamon buns, grilled home fries, and crispy bacon. Seasonal specials include melt-in-your mouth French toast stuffed with apples and cream cheese, and topped with homemade apple crisp. Want to add another spritz of seasonal flair to your meal? Try the apple cider mimosa with cinnamon and sugar on the rim.
The diner is decorated with homespun, barn-inspired decor. Customers are often regulars, exchanging small-town banter with the waitstaff. — Brittany Bowker
Location: 900 Victory Highway, North Smithfield, R.I., coffeeandcreamrestaurant.com.
3. BY THE SEA, BETTER DAIRY AT SWEET & SALTY FARM
It’s hard not to gaze out the window while driving through the winding, hilly roads of the Farm Coast. On a recent trip to Little Compton, I met husband-and-wife team Andrew Morley and Laura Haverland, who left their jobs in New York City in 2011 to take over a Whimshaw Farm, a century-old dairy farm that hadn’t been operating in years. Fast forward to more than a decade later, and the pair raise Jersey cows for aged natural rind cheese and whole-milk yogurt on pastures that dip down to the sea. You can practically taste the sea salt in each bite, which they lean into. For example, try the “Little Mermaid,” which is a young, yeasty cheese sprinkled with kelp from Maine. Or “Little Doughnut,” which isn’t a pastry, but a soft and creamy cheese that has a brighter flavor than a traditional Brie. You can purchase cheese for pickup at various farmer’s markets, or at their farm in Little Compton.
Need something to go along with the cheese? Head to Wishing Stone Farm right across the street for all sorts of vegetables, and lettuce for delicious salads. — Alexa Gagosz
Location: 68 Shaw Road, Little Compton, R.I. sweetandsaltyfarm.com.
4. HARD CIDER AT AN ANTIQUE BAR AT SOWAMS CIDER WORKS CO.
You’re likely to try an apple you’ve never heard of before at Sowams Cider Works Company in Warren. At their tasting room on Child Street, owner Spencer Morris serves cider from their orchard, which has hundreds of trees and more than 80 varieties — including those that derive from Europe. While you can find their hard cider at a few liquor stores, it’s better to pull up a seat at their antique bar for a flight. — Alexa Gagosz
Location: 98 Child St., Warren, R.I. sowamsciderworks.com.
5. BAKERY AND SEASONAL DINNER EVENTS AT MAPLEVILLE FARM
Nestled between the tall pines on Victory Highway in the Burrillville village of Mapleville, the aroma of fresh-baked apple bread calls you to the converted blue greenhouse at Mapleville Farm. Inside, breadmaker Ben Ryan has fussed over the dough, using ingredients grown right on the farm, such as apples, pumpkin, basil, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, and tomatoes. He makes everything from pumpkin doughnuts to baguettes. You can also find other fresh produce, eggs, livestock, flowers, ornamentals, and handmade local products. Mapleville Farm has a community-supported agriculture program where people can buy shares at the beginning of the season in exchange for a weekly supply of produce. Farm-to-table events at the farm sell out quickly, like their Halloween Brew Night on Oct. 27 with gourmet wings and potatoes paired with beer by Bravo Brewing Company. And No-Tech Family Dinner on Oct. 29. “It’s a cross between rural and suburban,” said owner Mary Ryan. “Burillville has the most preserved forestry land in the state.” — Carlos Muñoz
Location: 544 Victory Highway, Mapleville (Burrillville), R.I., bensbakery.com/maplevillefarm.
6. HISTORIC FALL DISHES FROM THE BARN AT THE SPRING HOUSE
Every fall, chef Brian Hebert orders Long Island ducks for his menu at The Barn at the Spring House. The $46 entree combines a crispy duck leg confit with a seared duck breast, plated with sweet potato gnocchi, glazed carrots, and a black cherry port wine reduction. This dish also has a bit of history — both on Block Island and throughout America. The “Long Island duck” was a favorite poultry for restaurant chefs in the early 1900s. Treasured for its tender flesh, admiration for the bird came after the Pekin duck, which derived from China. If duck is not your thing, fear not. Order the native swordfish with roasted potatoes and a fig vincotto. Share the mushroom toasted with a marsala glaze and truffle oil drizzle with your table, or the Brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts and bacon lardons. Their charcuterie boards are also hefty, where meats and cheeses are paired with Block Island honey. The Barn itself is also a spectacle: The rolling hills that lead to the Spring House, a Victorian-era inn, have views of the Atlantic Ocean, and The Barn is surrounded by its own garden. — Alexa Gagosz
Location: 51 Spring St., New Shoreham, R.I., springhouseblockisland.com/the-barn.
7. WHILE LEAF PEEPING, A STOP AT THE VILLAGE BEAN CAFE
According to Rhode Island convention, this road trip requires a packed lunch. But you won’t need sandwiches where we’re going. A breakfast menu loaded with French toast, pancakes, and omelets, or a lunch menu with classic sandwiches and melts waits for you at the Village Bean Cafe. The restaurant is located off Route 102, known for being one of New England’s top fall foliage rides. At the cafe, seasonal specials include apple cider pancakes, caramel apple stuffed waffles, and a massive harvest burrito with eggs, sausage, apples, craisins, and a side of home fries. Their counter displays an assortment of muffins and cinnamon buns. When you’re finished, stroll through the village and visit one of the country stores or antique shops just past the roundabout on the Great Country Road, also called Putnam Pike. — Carlos Muñoz
Location: 15 Money Hill Road, Chepachet (Glocester), R.I., facebook.com/villagebeancafe.
8. PUMPKIN POP TARTS AND HOT APPLE CIDER AT QUONNIE FARMS
When the crisp autumn breeze hits just right way, you can feel a pinch of salt in the air blanketing Quonnie Farms from nearby Quonochontaug Pond and the Atlantic Ocean just beyond, and unlike many local farms, the barn market here opens early — 8 a.m., right in time for breakfast. There’s plenty of fresh, flaky pastry, including pumpkin pop tarts, and heartier options, like avocado toast with two eggs, microgreens, salted avocado spread, and scratch focaccia.
With hundreds of pumpkins to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for carving into a scary (or sweet!) Jack-o’-lantern while sipping hot apple cider — or take home a gallon or two of cold cider from Jaswell’s Farm in Smithfield. They have live music through October on the weekends, and the warm, scratch apple cider donuts are well worth the indulgence. Have an appetite? The Sunset Drive sandwich is a Thanksgiving teaser with turkey, cranberry mayo, spinach, and cheddar on crusty pain de campagne. — Andrea E. McHugh
Location: 16 W. Beach Road, Charlestown, R.I., Facebook.com/QuonnieFarms.
9. ALL THE FLAVORS AT WHO CUT THE CHEESECAKE
David Silva, a Worcester EMT, dabbled in the cheesecake business in high school before life got in the way and he put his pans away. When the pandemic struck, he created a YouTube channel: “Dave’s Home Cooking.” He featured a pumpkin cheesecake he perfected in high school, and the video went viral. He brought back his old business plan and worked with local businesses to meet demand for his desserts. He opened Who Cut the Cheesecake in 2022. His store in Chepachet offers mini- and full-size cheesecakes, and cakes, in flavors like caramel apple, pumpkin spice latte, peach cobbler, s’mores, blueberry cobbler, funfetti, and tons more. — Carlos Muñoz
Location: 1195 Putnam Pike, Chepachet (Glocester), R.I., whocutthecheesecakellc.com.
10. ALL KINDS OF SQUASH, AND MORE TO PICK AT SWEET BERRY FARM
Amid 100 acres of conserved farmland in the heart of Aquidneck Island, Sweet Berry Farm has long been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Throngs of folks come for the farm’s popular pick-your-own offerings, which currently include more than 10 varieties of ripened apples and flowers blooming in the fields ideal for DIY bouquet-making. But just as many come for the farm’s post-and-beam market and café, where this time of year, the aroma of freshly baked apples wafts through the air.
Seasonal sweets include house-made apple pie, crisp, and doughnuts; pumpkin cheesecake; and pumpkin bread. Still craving ice cream? Opt for a scoop or two or pumpkin ice cream before warming up with a cup of hot cider. And while the refrigerators are stocked with plenty of prepared meals, home chefs can experiment with the half dozen varieties of squash grown here including honeynut, spaghetti, delicata, buttercup, butternut, and acorn. Try this Globe recipe: Stuff roasted honeynut squash with prosciutto and egg. — Andrea E. McHugh
Location: 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown, R.I., sweetberryfarmri.com.
11. A SEASONAL HARVEST AT THE FARMER’S DAUGHTER
You’d be hard pressed to find a garden center in New England more enchanting than The Farmer’s Daughter. What started in 1998 as just one greenhouse and a small shop has grown into a destination with seemingly endless nooks and crannies peppered between picture-perfect seasonal vignettes. They have rows of pumpkins and gourds, including unusual heirloom varieties in varied hues. The Fall Harvest Festival unfolds on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 29, featuring autumnal activities including hayrides, a corn “maize,” a scavenger hunt, obstacle course and toss games. — Andrea E. McHugh
Location: 716 Mooresfield Road, South Kingstown, R.I., thefarmersdaughterri.com.
12. WINE AND CHRISTMAS TREES AT LEYDEN FAMILY FARM
Don’t be a pumpkin-spice-drinking, flannel-wearing poser. Leash up your furry best friend and head out to the forests of West Greenwich for miles of hiking, followed by a rewarding stop at a nearby family-run winery. Start by exploring the trails at Tillinghast Pond, a Nature Conservancy preserve on Plain Road that’s the heart of the largest forest between Boston and Washington, D.C., and arguably one of the quietest places in Rhode Island. Then, drop by the Leyden Farm Vineyard & Winery a few miles away and enjoy a tasting of locally made (in some cases, locally grown) wines. The Leyden family, known for its Christmas tree farm — you can pick out yours while you’re there — expanded to making wine in 2010. The farm grows their own riesling, vidal blanc, merlot, and cayuga grapes. Other fruit wines such as the American cranberry and Apple Jack Russell carry the flavor of the autumn season. Wine tastings are daily from noon to 4 p.m., and visitors can sit inside the wood-paneled winery, with a fireplace roaring on chilly days, or stroll the grounds. Visitors may bring a picnic and their leashed, well-behaved dogs, but are asked to leave the children behind. — Amanda Milkovits
Location: 160 Plain Meeting House Road, West Greenwich, R.I., leydenfarm.com.