Narragansett is a picturesque seaside resort in New England in Rhode Island and an ideal getaway for Northeastern residents looking for a road trip. Narragansett draws travelers from New York City, Boston and other driving destinations, and is known for its clean beaches and walkable downtown with lots of shops and culinary delights. Active adventure enthusiasts will find it all here: cycling, hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing and sailing. There is plenty to see and do in a fun weekend.
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Shore House, a boutique hotel, enjoys a prime location in the heart of Narragansett, overlooking the water. It is just a short walk to The Towers at Narragansett, Narragansett Beach literally just steps away from the sea. Shore House reopened after a complete renovation and name change (it was formerly the Ocean Rose Inn).
The historic property dates back to 1901, when it was built as a private residence. It then became a speakeasy in the 1920s, where the vacationing elite would come for fun under the radar. There were secret passages in the basement and the bedrooms were turned into small games rooms. As the years passed, the property became a hotel.
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Today, the Shore House consists of three buildings: The Shore House, the largest inn that houses nine newly renovated rooms; Oceanside, which houses 18 unique and newly renovated rooms that evoke a surfing feel by the sea with art on the surfboard and retro-chic mini-fridges (plus, the rooms have either a patio or balcony); and The Shore Cottages, a traditional New England cedar lodge offering four king-size rooms, including two ADA-compliant rooms.
In total, the property has 31 rooms, which gives it a very intimate and cozy feeling. The modern yet nautical design pays homage to the area through the vision of leading interior designer David Ashen, founder of Dash Design.
The aim of the renovation was to evoke relaxed elegance through a well-thought-out reimagination of the retro beach hotels found in coastal towns across the country. The property is upscale, yet inviting without feeling pretention. It attracts guests from all over New England including couples and groups of friends traveling together.
In the living room, right next to the reception, there is tea, coffee and water all day as well as a number of board games for the guests. It’s an ideal place to chat or relax with friends; it has antique tables, wicker chairs and Chesterfield sofas. A continental breakfast is served daily in this room and includes freshly brewed coffee, oatmeal, muffins, fruit, cereals and yoghurts.
The library downstairs is worth a visit; it has wooden floors in oak that support shelves filled with a wide variety of books, some with a release date as old as the hotel.
The terrace by the sea and the garden often have live music. It is a great place to enjoy a bite to eat or a cocktail in happy hour. Hotel facilities include free WiFi; Keurig coffee in the room; luxurious linens and pillow top mattresses; Frette Kimono bathrobe and slippers; as well as Apothia Wave bath products.
Rooms at The Shore House are fitted with king-size beds, rain showers with glass walls, wooden floors and marble vanities. The rooms combine a connection between past and present and have upholstered, antique furniture in a whimsical background of whimsical wallpapers, from beautiful botanical plants to illustrations of the sea as well as colorful walls and bed frames. An example of this is the Orange Room, which pairs eye-catching pops of orange with wicker chairs. The bathrooms are clad in neutral tones and the floor with shiny marble.
The guest rooms in the Oceanside building draw inspiration from Narragansett and the coast and radiate elegance by the beach and a natural simplicity with light wood, both as floor material and in unique shapes, including art on surfboards hanging over beds. The hotel maximizes its location as each room in this building has sea views; Rooms on the first floor have private terraces, and rooms on the second floor have self-contained balconies.
The Shore House recently opened its on-site restaurant, Sea Craft. Like Shore House, it is sophisticated yet relaxed. The locals waited anxiously for the opening as the stunning view of the water was a big draw. The restaurant was designed by interior designer Libby Slader. Slader’s vision for Sea Crafts’ design concept is a beachy, yet sophisticated design that leverages the best of classic, iconic beach destinations, including Palm Beach, the Hamptons and, of course, the nearby coastal scene of Narragansett, Newport and other New England water coast icons. With dark woods, golden accents and colorful colors, the design feels fresh and coastal.
Narragansett is famous for its impressive selection of fish restaurants, and Sea Craft will definitely be a popular choice on this list. The menu has an expansive raw bar as well as classic seafood dishes from New England, but with a unique spin that brings something new to the Narragansett dining room. Popular dishes include lobster roll, locally caught boat boats and creative ceviche and crudo plates. Sea Craft is also a popular place for drinks with handmade cocktails and a good selection of wine and beer.
While Sea Craft is currently only open for lunch and dinner, it will soon serve outdoor brunch on weekends as well as private dining for up to 12. The restaurant is also intended to offer hotel guests a special “Beach Fair” continental breakfast as well as pick-up service. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and fireboxes are a good touch for cooler temps.
What to do in Narragansett
The Shore House has free bikes on site, which is a great way to get around. The four stylish Shore House Cruisers from Priority Bicycles are light, specially designed and ready for an adventure. These bikes are available from 6 to 6 p.m. 20 on a first-come, first-served basis. The hotel also offers free helmets and day locks. Travelers can cycle to Point Judith Lighthouse and Black Point Ruins. Hikers will enjoy climbing along the Black Point Trail.
Narrow River Kayaks offers a two-hour round-trip sunset tour that explores the lower reaches of the Pettaquamscutt Watershed, commonly known as the Narrow River. It is the ideal time of day to explore the peaceful John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge at Pettaquamscutt Cove as the sun goes down, the tempestations are cooler and the beach birds are active and feeding along the salt marsh. The guide explains the area’s ecology, geography and diverse history as you navigate around the estuary with your kayak. This trip is especially good for beginners and families and the water is calm.
For something a little unique, book a helicopter charter for two with Heliblock Tours. Watch Hill Experience is an introductory tour lasting just under ten minutes. The pilot flies over Watch Hill Point and then down the west coastline past Misquamicut Beach, Taylor Swift’s estate, Weekapaug and Ocean House.
Where to eat in Narragansett
George’s of Galilee is a staple from Narragansett. Overlooking Block Island Sound in the picturesque Galilee fishing port, the restaurant has been a favorite of the town since it opened in 1948. The menu offers a wide selection of fresh local seafood, a new sushi menu, lobster specialties and hand-cut fresh rib-eye steaks.
The Matunuck Oyster Bar is busy almost every night and with good reason. They use local ingredients along with farmed and wild-caught seafood. Of course, people come everywhere for their signature raw bar, which includes Rhode Island oysters, crisp cherries, a little neck mussel and jumbo shrimp. In fact, Matunuck oysters are grown in Potter Pond right by the harbor. In addition, many of the herbs and vegetables found in their dishes come from the organic vegetable farm at the north end of Potter Pond. There are three levels of seating with great views from every vantage point. Couples, families, groups celebrating special occasions – all seen at the always crowded Matunuck Oyster Bar.