Rhode Island is known for many things, from its status as the smallest state in the U.S. to the fact that it has pioneered several delicious dishes, including Rhode Island-Style calamari to Rhode Island clam chowder.
We could list dozens of reasons to visit Rhode Island, but one of the state’s biggest selling points, in our opinion, is Route 77.
Route 77 is a 14-mile highway that connects the towns of Little Compton and Tiverton. It might only be a short drive from one end of Route 77 to the other, but there’s no shortage of things to stop and do along the way. Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or a history buff, Route 77 is the place to go when you’re next in Rhode Island.
We’ve mentioned that Route 77 spans the distance between Tiverton and Little Compton and that it’s 14 miles long, but let’s take a moment to contextualize the geography of this highway a little further.
Rhode Island itself is located on the East Coast and is one of 6 states that comprise the New England region. The state shares a border with New York.
Route 77 runs North to South and is situated East of the Sakonnet River.
One of the main areas of appeal when it comes to Route 77 is the scenic nature of the route.
Starting at Tiverton and ending your drive at Little Compton is the best way to fully appreciate the scenery.
If you look West while driving in this direction, you’ll be able to see the Sakonnet River.
A few miles down the highway, you’ll come across the picturesque Nanaquaket Pond and the traditionally-built farms surrounding it.
The Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Refuge is a stunning woodland area with areas of salt marsh and plenty of wildlife to observe. It’s beautiful to look at in passing, but we recommend stopping here if you can to truly take in the experience.
For a more oceanic view, you can find Fogland Beach by making a right turn on Pond Bridge Road.
One of the reasons why Rhode Island has garnered so much tourist attention is its historical significance. Route 77 offers a window into Rhode Island’s fascinating past.
The history of Rhode Island dates back to 1636, and this state was the first American colony to declare independence. Rhode Island’s inhabitants were actually responsible for some of the catalytic events leading to the American Revolution.
On Route 77, you can appreciate the beautifully preserved historical architecture of the Tiverton Four Corners, which dates back to the 17th century.
Towards the end of the route, in Little Compton, you can stop at the Wilbor House Museum, which is based in a cottage built in the 1690s and provides a comprehensive overview of the area’s history and culture.
Architectural history lovers will be in for a treat at the end of the drive because Sakonnet Point is the home of Sakonnet Point Lighthouse, which was originally constructed in 1884.
In addition to being one of Route 77’s most prominent historical sites, the Tiverton Four Corners also provides some of the best recreational opportunities in Rhode Island.
There are several art galleries to peruse here, including Cedian Painting Studio-Gallery and Arch Contemporary Ceramics.
Tiverton Four Corners is the perfect location for retail therapy, with plenty of shops selling everything from women’s clothing to furnishings and souvenirs.
Tiverton is also home to The Rhode Island Baseball Experience, which features a baseball field, playground, and snack bar. Tiverton Town Farm is another great recreation spot, with baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, a walking track, and a playground.
Food and Drink
You definitely won’t have to worry about bringing food along for the drive if you’re traveling on Route 77. That’s because there are so many great spots to stop for meals and beverages!
Again, Tiverton Four Corners is a popular dining spot, housing Groundwells Cafe and Bakery as well as Four Corners Grille and the Cheese Wheel Village Market, where you can buy organic, locally sourced produce.
To enjoy some of Rhode Island’s famous seafood dishes, we recommend Boat House Waterfront Dining or the Sakonnet River Grille, which serves both Original Recipe New England Clam Chowder and Rhode Island Style Calamari.
Alternatively, seafood lovers can drive all the way to Sakonnet Point, which marks the end of the scenic route, and buy fresh lobsters for a home-cooked meal.
For any wine enthusiasts reading, the Sakonnet Vineyards provide an excellent tour as well as a wine tasting experience – just make sure you have a designated driver!
If you want to prolong your Route 77 adventure for more than a day, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Luckily, there’s no shortage of places to rest your head along the highway, so there’s no need to cut your exploration time short.
Tiverton is home to some lovely hotels, including the Boat House, which is a luxury cottage on the waterfront with stunning views of the ocean.
The Old Tiverton Four Corners Schoolhouse is a 2-bedroom vacation home that marries the original 19th-century building to modern comforts for the ultimate Tiverton experience.
You can also choose to spend the night at the other end of the route, in Little Compton, where highly-rated hotels such as Stone House deliver comfortable rooms, beautiful scenery, and continental breakfast.
Route 77, Rhode Island, may only be a short highway, but as you can see, there’s easily enough to do in the vicinity to fill a whole day, if not longer.
If historical buildings, gorgeous views, and mouth-watering food are your thing, Route 77 should go straight to the top of your list of places to see in Rhode Island.
Don’t forget to stop at Tiverton Four Corners for an authentic and eye-opening picture of Rhode Island history and culture, and remember to bring your camera to capture the natural scenery!