Rainy Days & Nights in Wickford Village

Published: September 3rd 2013
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On Sunday morning, after a night of spectacular thunder and lightning, the weather people confirm their current gloomy prediction. The Labor Day week-end will be a total washout.

When conditions get like this, we prefer to be at a dock. So we run down to Wickford, where Brewers Wickford Cove find us a space on their nice brand new docks. We manage to make the trip down to Wickford between downpours, passing a big ship making her way upstream to Providence in the main shipping channel.

This time, the forecasters are right. For the next three days, we get rain, thunderstorms and more rain.

We have not docked in Wickford since we bought Pavane three years ago, because East Greenwich, where we store Pavane, is just a few miles up the coast. But, if you are stuck in port in the rain, Wickford Village is a pleasant place to be stuck.

The main street in Wickford Village is Brown Street and it is a great street for window shopping, with a wide variety of shops. You can buy a kayak or an electric bicycle at one end of the street, a secondhand book at the other and just about anything else you want (except groceries) in between.

Wickford Marketplace still sits on Brown Street but it has been closed for over a year. Also closed is the amazing little gourmet store that used to hide around the corner. So we make the not-too-long trek to Dave’s Marketplace on Route 1 for supplies. This is a perfectly fine supermarket, but we miss the food stores on the waterfront.

For a place that gets so many visitors, dining here is a bit of a disappointment. “Tavern by the Sea” has one of the most attractive locations in town and we dine there a couple of times. Jerry Seinfeld had a famous episode about “The Soup Nazi”. In past years, service at Tavern by the Sea was routinely both abrupt and inept, so that we began referring to the place as “the Food Nazis”. Service this year is a bit friendlier but the place is still very odd. We had lunch there on Labor Day. Yes, most of the tables are outdoors and yes, it was raining on and off. But they had no bartender, had closed half the restaurant and were actually turning away customers, one assumes because of lack of staff. Our meals there were adequate but totally uninspired.

There are at least three other places to eat on Brown Street and there is a big old seafood place called Duffy’s Tavern on Route 1. We have eaten in all of them but we eat in them because we are here; we do not come here because of the restaurants. It is all quite strange.

Wickford Village is separated from Route 1 by several large saltwater ponds on which you can take kayaking lessons. These ponds empty into Wickford Cove via a river in which Brewers moors boats using a curious arrangement that involves tying your boat fore and aft between two poles. I have stayed on these “moorings” a couple of times in the past. Getting “hooked on” is quite an interesting exercise, particularly if you are sailing single-handed. On this visit, fortunately, Brewers had dock-space available for us.

One benefit of being at the dock for three nights is that my blog has caught up with “real time”.

Wickford Village is a part of North Kingstown.

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