Welcome to Neighborhood Walk, where I focus on discovering the people, places, and culture of Rhode Island. This morning’s walk found me in the picturesque seaside village of Pawtuxet. Located at the mouth of the Pawtuxet River, bordering Cranston and Warwick, Pawtuxet Village offers visitors beautiful views of Narragansett Bay and Pawtuxet Cove. I must confess, Pawtuxet Village—“The Village”—is very special to me, personally. I spent my early years there; it’s where I landed my first job, and where I formed friendships that still exist today.
On today’s visit, my wife Melissa and I arrived as the sun began to rise over The Village. There is something special about the smell of summer in the morning; the sun burned the dew from the trees and heated up the ocean, which mixed with a gentle breeze. We parked by the Pawtuxet River Bridge, the dividing line between the two towns, and took some photos of the boats before walking toward the Cranston side, which is home to many businesses. Breakfast was on our minds as we strolled past Little Falls and The Waters Edge Cafe—two great shops that offer delicious pastries and coffee. The Village has several options—and I do love a good muffin! We were looking for some healthy fare, so we landed at a new establishment called Fit and Fresh Guiltless Gourmet and Deli.
Established seven months ago, Fit and Fresh focuses on healthier food options in a deli-style environment. The mainstay for Fit and Fresh is their lunch and catering business, with interesting options for both carnivores and vegans. We sat in a couple of bistro-style stools by the front window. Breakfast was hearty and delicious and the staff was very friendly.
We had some exploring to do, so we headed down the road toward a sign that caught our eye: “The Gallery is Open”. We discovered a small boutique, flower, and gift shop, The River’s Edge Flowers and Gifts. What a fantastic find this turned out to be! We walked in and immediately noticed the incredible aroma of fresh cut flowers, complimented by hand-made candles, displays of art work, hand-made jewelry, and gifts created by more than 60 local artists. The owners, Jim and Nikki Bradley, were incredibly inviting and knowledgeable, and we found ourselves in a fun conversation, realizing we had mutual friends. After a while, we said our goodbyes and headed out.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with scattered puffy clouds gliding across the blue sky and the warm sun peeking around every corner; it was weather to be enjoyed. We walked down to the area of Ford and Seaview Avenues, which sit directly on the ocean, and appreciated some of the beautiful oceanfront homes that I’ve admired since I was a kid.
We stepped back onto the main road in search of a great iced coffee, and settled on The Water’s Edge Café, (which for me growing up used to be Village Video) a wonderful bakery and treats shop. We chose a table outside and enjoyed our iced coffees while planning the rest of our day and checking out some of the pictures we took on Melissa’s iPhone and my “fancy camera”.
One part of the Village that I want to be sure to mention is the Warwick side, which is largely residential but equally interesting and beautiful. In fact, my brother and his wife were married at the Gazebo in Pawtuxet Park. It’s also home to the starting line for the annual Gaspee Days Parade, which is a huge local tradition.
As our morning adventure drew to a close, I realized how much I’ve enjoyed being back in the place where I grew up, by looking at it through a different lens. I’m now able to share stories and this special place with my wife. That brings me so much enjoyment. I’m glad I got to go home for my first Neighborhood Walk.
Photos by Bob Black