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The quiet artistry of Tiverton, R.I.

A reminder of Tiverton’s farming heritage in Pardon Gray Preserve.Lauren Daley for The Boston Globe

TIVERTON, R.I. — A bridge away from storied Newport, R.I. — and from the maddening crowds — the historic farming town of Tiverton is an overlooked coastal gem. Smack in the middle of the Farmcoast, the town’s idyllic winding Main Road and historic Four Corners district hides some terrific little galleries, boutiques, studios, and coffeehouses — not to mention farm cheese and ice cream to buckle your knees. About an hour south of Boston, it makes for a quaint off-the-beaten-path day trip. You may want to bring your walking shoes or bicycle, as most of the spots mentioned here can be pedaled easily — and would make for gorgeous ride.



Start at Coastal Roasters, a hip locals’ favorite cafe/artisan small-batch roaster with stunning water view. There’s something of a steampunk vibe about the artfully crafted patio and facade. Grab a latte and muffin, snag one of the colorful Adirondack chairs, and watch the seagulls fly (1791 Main Road, 401-624-2343).

For outdoor brunch with water view, head to Black Goose Cafe for ricotta-stuffed French toast with blueberry compote; margherita panini with egg, pesto, mozzarella, and tomato; or a huevos rancheros wrap with salsa, avocado, sour cream, tomato, and cheese (2160 Main Road, 401-816-0882, www.blackgoosecaferi.com).

Try lunch at Provender, a proud Victorian-era building sitting squarely in the center of the Four Corners district. On a sunny day, sitting outside on the wraparound porch with a Mamma Mia — turkey, provolone cheese, garlic and basil mayonnaise, roasted red peppers, tomatoes — or a Freudian Slip — Black forest ham, herb cream cheese, honey-cup mustard, spinach — and fresh cookies makes for an almost nostalgic, summer-lunchtime feel. Comfort deli food (3883 Main Road, 401-624-8084, provenderfinefoods.com).

In the mood for classic New England clam cakes? Head to Evelyn’s Drive-In. The retro,
local-catch, on-the-water, summer hot-spot serves up everything from New England oceanside classics — fried clams, fish and chips, lobster roll — to more creative takes on fresh catches, such as lobster chow mein, Mediterranean calamari salad, grilled shrimp with scallops, and sweet potato fries (2335 Main Road, Tiverton R.I., 401-624-3100, www.evelynsdrivein.com).


Lauren Daley for the Boston Globe

For dessert? Three words: Gray’s Ice Cream. Some of the best homemade ice cream (and coffee frappes) around. With dozens of flavors, from cookie dough to strawberry cheesecake, the award-winning shop can draw a heck of line on a hot day (16 East Road, 401-624-4500, www.graysicecream

For a sit-down dinner, you have a few solid options. Four Corners Grille offers staple fare from applewood chicken dinner to hand-cut ribeye steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and boatloads of seafood (3841 Main Road, 401-624-1510, www.4cornersgrille.com). The Red Dory, across from Grinnell’s Beach, boasts a raw bar, and extensive wine list. Par for the course: sautéed Rhode Island squid with bucatini with cauliflower, lobster, and littleneck stew (1848 Main Road, 401-816-5001, www.reddory
). The Boat House isn’t in the Four Corners neighborhood, but is worth the short drive; the view is outstanding and the atmosphere is Newport all day — with easier parking. If it’s warm, eat on the deck, a stone’s throw from the water. The bulk of the fare is local and farm-fresh. Sample plates: native littlenecks on ice, lobster fritters, or tuna tartare with avocado, Georges Bank scallops with corn polenta cake, Atlantic swordfish or braised lamb (227 Schooner Drive, 401-624-6300, www.boathousetiverton.com).



First, know that just walking the Four Corners area will bring you to many small boutiques and galleries. It’s best just to hit the ground and wander. You might start at Sakonnet Collective, a gorgeous little artist-run gallery and studio made largely of Gen Y talent, boasting a Brooklyn-hip meets New England coastal ascetic — think handcrafted furniture, mixed media art, handmade ceramics, and jewelry (3842 Main Road, 401-484-8141, www.thesakonnetcollective.com).

At Gallery 4 — you’ll know it by the life-size horse sculpture standing guard — you might find anything from handmade jewelry, Middle Eastern carpets, antique furniture, cashmere shawls, or stone garden sculptures (3848 Main Road, 401-816 0999, www.gallery4

Farmcoast Outfitters is a hidden gem of an outdoor clothing and gear shop, offering a wide selection of men’s, women’s and kids’ clothes — lots of Patagonia, Prana, and the like — along with books and unique gifts (3879 Main Road, 401-816-6766). Nearby, Salt boasts a curated selection of clothing, bags, jewelry, and gifts (3845 Main Road, 401-816-0901).

Cheese-lovers, head to Milk & Honey Bazaar for honey, chocolates, and some 100 cheeses, from dziugas — a Lithuanian cheese with a slight crunch that pairs well with nuts and Pino gris — to manchego, a toasty Spanish cheese that pairs well with a heavy, earthy red (3838 Main Road, 401-624-1974).

Tiffany Peay Jewelry boasts handmade gold, gemstone and pearl jewelry (3851 Main Road, 888-808-0201, www.tiffany
). Antiquers and treasure hunters, head to Peter’s Attic (8 Neck Road, 401-625-5912), where you’ll find a cluster of other unique shops. At the aptly-named Mill Pond Shops, you’ll find, amid the postcard-worthy shopping grounds, Courtyards, offering waggishly quirky garden art, handmade pottery, and eccentric artisan home decor and accents (3980 Main Road, 401-624-8682, www.courtyards


Lauren Daley for the Boston Globe

In the same lot, you’ll find Cutie Curls for upscale women and children’s consignment, where you’re apt to find gently used Coach clutches or designer jeans along with higher-end kids’ clothes and toys as well as small gifts (401-837-0777).


Weetamoo Woods and Pardon Gray Preserve combine for some 9 miles of well-marked trails that slice through forest and meadow, past farmland, and over streams. Throughout historic 650-plus acres, you may see historic sawmill remains, an old stone-arched bridge, historic stone walls, a wooden footbridge, ancient outcrops of rock, and, depending on rainfall, a babbling brook. The flat hike offers interconnecting trails, so you can, theoretically, make your hike as long or as short as you want. Bring your dog on a leash (various trailheads: East Road, Lake Road, Lafayette Road, Main Road, Tiverton, R.I.). You can also find miles of nature trails and observation tower at Fort Barton (Highland Road and Lawton Avenue).

Town Farm offers two playground areas, two baseball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis courts, and lighted walking/running track. You might want to bring your rackets or a frisbee (3588 Main Road).

The outdoor patio at Coastal Roasters cafe. Lauren Daley for the Boston Globe

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com.