Adventures Outside the Garden: Wickford, RI ~ Part 1

While I was visiting my family in Rhode Island last week, we took our annual trip to Wickford, a small village in North Kingstown that sits on Narragansett Bay. I never tire of walking the streets of this quintessential New England village. Named after a town in Essex, England, Wickford was founded in 1637 by Roger Williams (the founder of The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations – yes, a very long name for a very small state). He purchased the land from the Indians and built a trading post here. Gilbert Stuart, the painter of the most famous portrait of George Washington, was baptized in Old St. Paul’s Church, which still stands in Wickford. In fact, many of the pre-Revolutionary-War houses are not only still standing, but are still occupied. Wickford happens to have one of the largest collections of 18th century houses in New England. Come take a look.

When you first arrive on the main street of Wickford, you are greeted by the sea – and lots of sailboats. We ate lunch at the restaurant overlooking the bay.

Wickford restaurant by the bay

Wickford, RI – restaurant by the bay

Around the corner from the restaurant, on the same building, is a sign showing the high water mark during the tragic Hurricane of 1938.

High water mark during the Hurricane of 1938 in Wickford, RI

High water mark during the Hurricane of 1938 in Wickford, RI

Look at this beautiful Victorian house.

Victorian house in Wickford, RI

Victorian house in Wickford, RI

Many houses pre-date the Revolutionary War. The Matthew Cooper house was built in 1750, and it’s still occupied! How would you like to live in a house that’s older than our country?

Matthew Cooper House, Wickford, RI

Matthew Cooper House, Wickford, RI

This house isn’t quite as old, but it’s close.

Heffernan & Williams House, Wickford, RI

Heffernan & Williams House, Wickford, RI

I didn’t take a full picture of Old St. Paul’s Church this year (though, I should have), but here’s the sign showing its age. It was built in 1707, then the building was moved to another location in Wickford in 1800. I wasn’t thinking about sharing these pictures on my blog, so I didn’t take more. (I’ll get more next year, though!) As a note, the docent told us that during the summer, services are still held inside the old church. That would be very nice to attend.

St. Paul's Church in Wickford, RI

Old St. Paul’s Church in Wickford, RI

This village by the sea wouldn’t be complete without a nautical weather vane. I would love to have one like this!

Nautical weather vane in Wickford, RI

Nautical weather vane in Wickford, RI

Between many of the old houses you can view the sea. What a way to wile away the hours on a breezy summer day in a backyard like this!

View of the harbor in Wickford, RI

View of the harbor in Wickford, RI

At the end of the main street, is a marina. I love the landscaping around the cove.

The cove in Wickford, RI

The cove in Wickford, RI

To the right of the view in the picture above is where many of the sailboats are anchored.

Wickford, RI harbor

Wickford, RI harbor

And what kind of coastal New England town would it be without these?

Lobster traps

Lobster traps

Although Wickford is small, it still has a boatyard and a yacht club. Hey, this is Rhode Island, the Ocean State. What do you expect?

Boatyard marina in Wickford, RI (the yacht club is the building on the right)

Boatyard marina in Wickford, RI (the yacht club is the building on the right)

While walking back to our car, I noticed that many of the doors of the old houses have beautiful nautical wreaths hanging on them.

Sea shell wreath in Wickford, RI

Seashell wreath in Wickford, RI

Seashell and straw wreath in Wickford, RI

Seashell and straw wreath in Wickford, RI

If you think these wreaths are gorgeous, wait until you see the gardens of Wickford! Click here for part 2.

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