You don’t need to drive far to find quaint, picturesque places to stroll and shop. Take a break from your usual errands to shop small this season (because no good Saturday has ever been spent at big box stores on Route 2).
Garden City and Chapel View
The West Coast, where warm, sunny days happen all year round, is rich in outdoor malls that make shopping a relaxing and pleasuarable experience, even for the most reluctant of shoppers. In Rhode Island, the closest we have is Garden City, an outdoor mall where it’s dangerously easy to stop in for an errand and end up staying a whole afternoon. Between the delicious restaurants like Bistro 22 (22 Midway Road, Cranston. 401-383-6400) are Rhode Island’s only outposts of retailers like Anthropologie (56 Hillside Road, Cranston. 401-275-0205) and The Container Store (150 Hillside Road, Cranston. 401-868-4140). Barrington Books just opened a second location in the center. Stop in at Sweenor’s Chocolates (43 Hillside Road, Cranston. 401-942-2720), where they’ve been making some of Rhode Island’s most delicious edibles for four generations.
Across the street is Chapel View, another large development with a lot to discover - especially when it comes to pampering. Chapel View is home to high-end men’s barber Gents Barbershop and Spa (1000 Chapel View Boulevard, Cranston. 401-654-4700) and swank nail salon Cosmo Nails (1000 Chapel View Boulevard, Cranston. 401-464-4447). Stop in at Massage Envy (1000 Chapel View Boulevard, Cranston. 401-275-4900) to treat yourself, or pick up a gift certificate to treat someone else.
Nearby on Oaklawn Avenue, Perfect Touch Interiors (690 Oaklawn Avenue, Cranston. 401-944-4440) is a design showroom with a flair making for creative spaces. Eden XO (705 Oaklawn Avenue, Cranston. 401-275-2077) is a chic, minimalist destination for great hair.
Straddling the line between Cranston and Warwick, Pawtuxet Village is a scenic waterfront area that is full of New England history. Its claim to fame is a Revolutionary War moment of historic significance commemorated every year by their huge Gaspee Days celebrations. Any day of the year, head to Pawtuxet Village for a bite or a bit of shopping. At Twice Told Tales (2145 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-785-9599), shop for books, cards, jewelry and gifts. Old is new again at Village Art and Antiques (2145 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-781-5226), selling lovely vintage items and art by local artists. Fine Malt Vintage (1986 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-421-4721) specializes in men’s and women’s clothing.
If you’ve got a gourmet sensibility, come hungry to Pawtuxet Village. The Elephant Room (2170 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-461-2170) offers tea and crepes in a zenlike atmosphere. Edgewood Cheese Shop (1828 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-941-2400) is a gourmet shop where you can sit and enjoy a cheese board. Take something home to sip from Edgewood Wine and Spirits (1992 Broad Street, Cranston. 401-785-2286).
Neighboring Warwick’s expansive footprint means there are some shops worth driving to. Place Jewellers (3228 Post Road, Warwick. 401-738-0511), in Apponaug Village, specializes in estate jewelry. Alexander’s (1 Lambert Lind Highway, Warwick. 401-654-6500) carries comfortable clogs that still look chic. Check out Alpine Ski and Snowboard (105 Chestnut Street, Warwick. 401-781-4444) for gifts for the snow bunnies in your life.