Located just across the Massachusetts border but feeling like a return to another era, the farming town of Tiverton, RI, is prized for its quaint collection of shops and galleries surrounded by gray-shingled homes, winding stone walls, old barns, and water views of the Sakonnet River on its way to the Atlantic. Driving Tiverton’s back roads and strolling its historic center, Tiverton Four Corners, you truly experience the “country coastal” Rhode Island vibe.
Here’s a look at my recent early spring visit (my first!) to the 17th-century village of Tiverton Four Corners in Tiverton, RI. Armed with recommendations from a friend who grew up in Tiverton, plus some historical background from the
Tiverton Four Corners Walking Tour
, I fit as much into my brief overnight visit as possible — as I think you’ll see.
Exploring Tiverton Four Corners in Tiverton, RI Welcome to the Tiverton Four Corners Historic District in beautiful Tiverton, RI. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker My Tiverton hotel experience came in the form of the most charming rental ever: this c. 1800 schoolhouse, one of the farm stays offered by the kind folks at Sakonnet Farm. Learn more about them in the 2019 Yankee feature “ One Nail at a Time.” Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Inside, the decor was modern and spacious, with lots of thoughtful little schoolroom touches. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker You know you’re staying on the Rhode Island farm coast when… there are complimentary fresh eggs for breakfast. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker After a night of thunderstorms and torrential rain, I started my morning exploring with a walk around town. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Next to the schoolhouse is the Sakonnet Farm farmstand, offering seasonal products including eggs, jams, and meats. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker During my early-April visit, there were pussy willows for sale, too. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Tiverton Four Corners shows off weathered shingles to their best effect. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker I loved the pop of red here at the c. 1800 Preserved Tripp’s Wheelwright Shop. From the Tiverton Four Corners Walking Tour: “A two-and-a-half-story wood shingled building, set gable end to the road. It was originally built as a wheelwright shop by William Pitts Bateman. In 1868 it housed the library and Mrs. Preserved Tripp, who lived on the second floor, was the librarian. The building was used as a gas station in the early to mid-20th century.” Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Also loved the contrasting salmon paint here. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Antiques, anyone? Tiverton, RI, has plenty of places to pick up new and “new to you” items. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Even the homes are swoon-worthy rustic coastal chic. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker There’s nothing like a sunny day in early April to make you feel invigorated after a long New England winter. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker This scene reminded me of an English country village… Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker …complete with gently roaring rapids coming from the c. 1850 A.P. White Grist Mill. From the Tiverton Four Corners Walking Tour: “This one-and-a-half story masonry building with stuccoed stone sides has a central double-door entry in the gable end. It was originally built by William Pitt Bateman, who purchased the land around the brook from Joseph Taber and built the grist mill, store, and wheelwright shop. The area was thereafter known as Pittsville. The gristmill was sold to A.P. White in 1876 and it continued to ground corn for johnnycakes until after WWII.” Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Milk & Honey in Tiverton, RI, offers a heavenly assortment of cheeses and other gourmet food items. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker The c. 1868 Union Public Library in Tiverton, RI. From the Tiverton Four Corners Walking Tour: “The Union Library is a simple one-story, wood shingle building and is the oldest library in Tiverton and the second oldest in Newport county. The Library Society was founded in March 1820 when a group of young men wanted to establish a social library. The original constitution of the society stated that only ‘fair and honorable’ company could be members and any person guilty of disorderly behavior could be expelled. The location of the library in Four Corners changed several times before the society purchased this Temperance Hall in 1914 from the Independent Order of Good Templars.” For lunch, I was strongly advised by my Tiverton friend to visit Provender — a winner for “Best Picnic Provisions” in 2012 —for a gourmet sandwich and cookie. Also pictured is Tiverton’s sole traffic light. Yankee Editors’ Choice Award From the Tiverton Four Corners Walking Tour: “The store was built by Andrew Peregrine White, who lived upstairs above the store. White was a direct descendant of Peregrine White, who was born on the Mayflower and is acknowledged as the first child born to the Pilgrims in the New World. … For a while the building served as a post office. White also ran the mill and ice house at nearby Pittsville. This building was restored in 1982.” Sadly, Provender closed its doors in October 2019. Note: Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Inside sunny Provender in Tiverton, RI. During my visit, it was all decked out for Easter. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker I figured I might as well have dessert — and no visit to Tiverton Four Corners (or Tiverton, RI, for that matter) is complete without a stop at Gray’s Ice Cream. If you go in April, this is the kind of line you have to wait in. Note: According to its website, Gray’s is open 365 days a year! Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker A few minutes later, I had my reward. Since they were out of Grapenut, I ordered a cup of maple walnut ice cream instead. At Gray’s, it comes topped with a complimentary shower of walnuts. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Searching for great restaurants in Tiverton, RI? For beautiful water views and delicious food (I’ve heard the chowder and lobster fritters are terrific), the Boat House in Tiverton, RI, located just a short drive from Tiverton Four Corners, gets top marks. I drove over to have a look before they opened for the day. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Diners love the Boat House for its views of the Sakonnet River. But even if you’re not a customer, you can stroll down to the water — just watch out for seagulls! Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Sunny April skies in Tiverton, RI. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Need a jolt of caffeine in the morning? I do. In Tiverton, RI, head to Coastal Roasters and enjoy your latte with sparkling river views. Again, this is a short drive from Tiverton Four Corners. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker A busy Friday morning at Coastal Roasters in Tiverton, RI. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker Also nearby, Evelyn’s Drive-In is a Rhode Island seafood institution. You’ll find it on Yankee’s list of the 10 Best Clam Shacks in New England; it was also a winner for “Best Clam Shack” in 2017. Alas, my visit was about 10 days too early to enjoy a plate of fried clams or lobster chow mein. Yankee Editors’ Choice Award Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker All too quickly, my time in Tiverton was up. So long for now, Tiverton Four Corners! I’m hoping to make a return visit this summer so I can fully enjoy this coastal town’s seaside delights. Photo Credit : Aimee Tucker
Have you ever visited Tiverton Four Corners in Tiverton, RI? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.