Home to one of the oldest continuous working waterfronts in New England, Warren, Rhode Island, on east bank of the Warren River, is as rich in history as it is in small-town charm. Sixteen miles of shoreline cater to the marine industry: boat yards, boat building, boat repairs and the bustling Blount campus, a family-run seafood company in business since the 1800s. Don’t be surprised to find yourself at the lunch counter at The Uptown Restaurant and hear the server ask your neighbor, “The regular?”, or for shopkeeps to quickly greet you and speak proudly of their hometown and its Rockwellian charisma. On my most recent visit, I experienced a Warren rite of passage I won’t soon forget…Lured by authentic, timeworn prescriptions, age-old remedies, and a hand-written sign teasing soda pop in the window, I wandered into Delekta Pharmacy, a Warren landmark since 1858. Tiled floor, built in shelves, glass cases– not much has changed since generations before patronized this spot, and even though it was barley lunchtime, I just had to try their signature drink: a genuine, Rhode Island coffee cabinet. Behind the counter, neatly aligned sliver pumps held sweet coffee syrup–a homemade recipe served up there for at least 35 years–which was blended with Hood milk and Rhode Island-made coffee ice cream to create 22 ounces of decadent greatness. In my opinion, an outing to Warren is incomplete without this arguably national treasure.
Bella Yarn, 476 Main St., 247-7243: Super cute hand-woven sweaters and hats, looms, yarns for hand-knitting and crochet including Araucania, Berroco, Cascade, Debbie Bliss, Ella Rae and Frog Tree Alpaca, knitting supplies, books, patterns and more.
Dana Interior Design, 450 Main St., 247-2510: The home base for designer Dana Welshman.
East Bay Picture Frame and InArt Gallery, 450 Main St., 245-0690: Custom picture framing service and a fine art gallery with fabulous prints including local vistas, marine paintings and prints by Erica Hopper, Domine Vescera Ragosta, Paul James, Mindy Reasonover, Anne Boucher, John Mecray, Jose Van Gool, Anne Packard, Keith Reynolds, Christine Rocco and Gary Wilson.
Gob Shop, 465 Main St., 245-4800: This soccer, lacrosse and field hockey retailer with bathing suits, sweatshirts, flip flops, local team gear, and more has been an institution since 1950.
In Your Ear, 462 Main St., 245-9840: “A stalwart ally of the serious music buyer,” In Your Ear, with other shops in Boston and Cambridge, carries an assortment of CDs, DVDs, LPs, new and used, and even, vinyl.
Jamiel’s Shoe World, 471 Main St., 245-4389: Rhode Island’s largest family-owned shoe retailer since 1937 with great kicks by Clarke’s, Dansko, Eliza B, Sperry, Tevas and more.
Main Street Fitness, 480R Main St., 289-2886: This fitness center offers one on one and group training, TRX Suspension, circuit training and more.
Nancy’s Hobby, 350 Main St., 247-0288: A full service, old-fashion hobby shop with boat models and fun finds around every corner.
The Picture Place, 504 Main St., 301-6353: Home to photographers Lane Poor and Pam Marsden, featuring framed, matted and plain prints.
Samsonite Company Store, 95 Main St., 247-3301: At the base of the company’s factory is this bargain basement shop with deeply discounted Samsonite luggage, garment bags and travel accessories.
The Selective Eye, 460 Main St., 245-0812: For nearly 20 years, this shop has carried great gifts, jewelry, toys, candles, comfortable clothes and accessories.
Weddingbelle NYC, 486 Main St., 289-0904: Gorgeous wedding gowns by Anne Barge, Agusta Jones, Carmela Sutera, Casablanca, and Paloma Blanca, plus dresses for bridesmaids and flowersgirls.
Warren Nutrition, 458 Main St., 289-2788: Smoothies, teas, health products and more.
Don’t miss these other Main Street spots: Corlis Farmer’s Market every Monday, 4-7 p.m., Federal Hill Pizza, The Coffee Depot, The Restaurant & Cafe, and The Warren House of Pizza, a family business since 1974.
Mercier’s Hardware, 193 Water St., 245-8964: A great little hardware shop with a little bit of everything.
Summerwood, 57 Water St., 855-1751: Teak furniture, international treasures, stone and bronze statuary, wood carvings, drums and masks from around the world- amazing finds.
Don’t miss these Water Street spots: The Bount Seafood Market, Stella Blues, Scolari Photography, The Keating House (early American primitive antiques), and Finder’s Keepers Consignment Boutique & Home Décor.
The Cheese Plate, 54 State St., 245-3932: Soft, stinky, creamy, and crumbly cheese from around the world can be savored here with wine pairings. “More than a plate of cheese, it’s a total experience.”
Camp Passage Outfitters, 251 Thames St., 245-5100: Canoe, kayak andrips on the Warren and Taunton Rivers, camping and snowshoe trips, boat and bike rentals.
Whimsies, 4 Church St., 289-2404: “Funky furniture & fluff” including colorful furnishings, hand-painted stained glass, wine glasses, frames and more.
Warren Art Spot, 6 Child Street, 245-0190: A studio hosting classes and workshops for children ages 4-15 years.
Blue Horse Tack Shoppe, 30 Child Street, 245-6655: Although a full-service tack shop with new and used riding gear, the Blue Horse has interesting finds and quaint gifts.
IMAGO, A Gallery of Art and Fine Craft, 36 Market St., 245-3348: A co-operative gallery committed to showcasing and supporting local artists.
Anissa’s Children’s Shop, 4 Market St., 245-5309: Great, unique clothing for kids.Don’t miss BeBop Burrito (Market Street), and closer to the East Bay Bike Path., The Fruity Cow (Turner Street).
Imagine, 5 Miller St., 245-4200: Unmistakable with its enormous, colorful façade, Imagine is the kind of store you need warm-up stretches for, because it’s sheer size, many floors and seemingly millions of finds will take a long time to get through.
THE MARKET AT CUTLER MILLS
The Yoga Loft, 16 Cutler St., 245-0881: Yoga for all ages, levels, and every body.
Valerie’s Gallery, 7 Cutler St., 289-2424 and The Brass, 16 Cutler St., 289-2894: Showcasing local artists who work in a variety of mediums.
Mudstone Studios, 30 Cutler St., 297-9412: Ceramic sculpture studio with classes for kids classes, wheel throwing, and workshops.
The Game Den, 16 Cutler St., 237-0336: Board games, tournaments, game events and more.
Altamira Lighting, 79 Joyce St., 245-7676: A beautiful showroom of every lamp you can think of, plus finials, pillows, accessories and more.
Do you have a favorite spot in Warren we missed? Tell us about it at email@example.com. **Photos by Jim Sattel