7 Best Bike Rides, Including Little Compton, Rhode Island

bike Rhode IslandSouth of Route 195 and the gritty mill towns of Fall River and New Bedford lies countryside so fertile you’ll feel like you’re in Vermont. Stretching from Dartmouth, Massachusetts, to Little Compton, Rhode Island, the area is known as the Heritage Farm Coast. It has the sunniest and most temperate climate in New England and thus the longest growing season. Dairy farms, corn fields, even vineyards, border the Sakonnet River as it washes into the Atlantic.

For a good 20-mile loop, take Route 77 south from Tiverton Four Corners to Sakonnet Point and return on backcountry roads past the village green of Little Compton. Tiverton Four Corners is a rural village that dates from the 17th century and is now home to artisans like jeweler Tiffany Peay (3851 Main Road), who uses brightly colored gems to create bracelets and necklaces with contemporary flair. Or energize with an ice cream cone at the legendary Gray’s (16 East Road), which serves my favorite black raspberry in New England. The stretch of road heading south from Tiverton Four Corners is a beaut, with views of rolled hay leading to the shores of the wide Sakonnet River. When you finally reach Little Compton, you’ve earned those Johnnycakes (fried cornmeal) at The Common’s Lunch. But first, get a feel for the history of this quintessential New England village by walking across the street to the white steeple, village green, and cemetery. Stubs stick out of the ground and if you peer closely, you’ll notice that the first settlers are buried here, with dates of death registered as far back as 1711.

This entry is excerpted from my latest book, New England in a Nutshell. The book/ebook is slated to published on July 2nd and you can pre-order now at Amazon. The ebook includes all hyperlinks to listings. The paperback includes front and back cover illustrations from Manhattan-based artist, Sarah Schechter, and a small sampling of photos from Lisa, who accompanied me on many of my assignments, resulting in published work for the Boston Globe.