Richmond (Rhode Island)
Richmond is a town in Washington County, Rhode Island, 35 miles south-southwest of Providence. It is bordered to the north by the town of Exeter, to the west by the Wood River and to the south by the Pawcatuck River.
Richmond was incorporated as a town by the General Assembly of Rhode Island on August 18, 1747. The name of the town is said to derive from that of Edward Richmond, the state's colonial attorney general from 1677 to 1680. Tradition holds that the first settlers of Richmond were a married couple, John Babcock and Mary Lawson, whose son James was the first non-Native American child born in Narragansett territory. (The story is likely a later invention.)
Richmond's economy was based on textile manufacturing from the mid-1800s through the 1960s. Today the town serves mainly as a bedroom community for commuters working in Providence, Warwick and eastern Connecticut.
There are several routes that pass through Richmond.
There is an Amtrak located in downtown Westerly, near Route 3. From here, if you choose not to rent a vehicle, see the Bus travel section for instructions on bus routes into Richmond. Otherwise, there are two options to make the short 15 minute drive into Richmond. Take Route 3 north through Hopkinton, and either continue for 10 miles into Richmond, or hop on Exit 1, and follow the car instructions. The highway is quicker, but Route 3 is a scenic drive though historic and rural Hopkinton, which has a small town center, and will appeal to sightseers.
There are a few lines that run from Westerly to Richmond, the 95 Westerly Park-n-Ride line and the 301 Westerly-Hope Valley Rural line. Both of these lines stop at the Park-n-Ride in 138, across from McDonald's and in the plaza of Wildwood Liquors. Unfortunately, travel from northern RI is hampered by the lack of bus support. For more information about bus routes, visit RIPTA.
TF Green Airport (Theodore Francis Green State Airport) is in Warwick (despite tickets often saying Providence). From here, you'll want to grab a rental car, and head south on 95 and follow the car instructions.
Richmond is sibling to the nearby town of Hopkinton, and the small commercial area blends between Hope Valley (Hopkinton) and Wyoming (Richmond). Still geographically quite large, Richmond comprises several villages: Arcadia, Alton, Kenyon, Shannock, Usquepaug, Woodville and Wyoming. As such, visiting Richmond will require a motor vehicle, though the main strip can be walked in an hour. It is also part of the Chariho (Charleston, Richmond, Hopkinton) area, and all three towns are intrinsically linked.
When navigating in Richmond, remember that Main St (the main Wyoming strip) is the same as Kingstown Rd, and is also 138, turning into Route 3 at the intersection at the end of the strip. Route 3, whose north end continues into Exeter, is also called Main St in Hope Valley, and continues south into Westerly.
Easy places to get to from Richmond, RI:
University Of Rhode Island : Head north on Route 138 past Stop & Shop, and then bear left at the fork across from the Richmond Elementary School, and a short 20 minute drive will take you directly to URI, and the greater Wakefield/South Kingstown Area.
Hopkinton: If desiring to visit old Hopkinton, or visit the nearby Whispering Pines Campground, just head south on 138, and at the end of the Wyoming strip, you will be in downtown Hope Valley. To get to the campground, take a left at the Fire Department onto Spring St, or continue straight into historical Hopkinton.
Westerly: Either head south on 138 until it merges with Route 3 at the end of the strip, or hop on 95 South. From here, get off at Route 1 and either continue straight through Ashaway into downtown Westerly, or take Route 91 into uptown Westerly.
Much of Richmond is still untouched by development. Indeed, Richmond is one of the last few enclaves that perpetuate the simple pleasures of Rhode Island.
The local DEM is very active, and keeps the local wildlife and woodlands in good shape. As a result, there are many ponds and rivers where the nature enthusiast can enjoy fishing or kayaking. There are many hiking paths and trails through the hills of Richmond, and nearby Whispering Pines Campground in Hopkinton provides a useful staging grounds for the intrepid woodsman. Crawly Preserve, a nature retreat, is located in Richmond. The North-South Trail runs through Richmond, with marked trails. It is a hike that can be as long or as short as you desire.
Arcadia Management Area is a nice place for bike rides, hikes, walking dogs, kayaking, hunting, and fishing. The small rivers and ponds throughout the area are stocked with trout every spring. Arcadia consists of 14,000 acres with cleared trails and a few different large ponds, the largest being Break Heart Pond. It is an undeniably beautiful area and a perfect retreat for outdoorsy people.
Carolina Management Area is also a nice place to enjoy the outdoors. It consists of 2,359 acres of public property. The main access is located on the left hand side heading west on Pine Hill Road. It can be most easily accessed from Rt 112, which is the main road that goes through the tiny hamlet of Carolina. This area has cut trails as well as a portion of the North-South trail going through the management area. Recreational activities include hiking, bird watching, hunting and fishing during the legal seasons (details can be obtained from the RI DEM website), horse back riding, and cross country skiing in the winter. (Camping is not permitted in any season, however.) RI 91 runs along the back side of the Management Area, with several unmarked accesses. There are fields, swamplands, and stands of pine that you can hike through.
Nearby Charlestown is also a wonderful area to camp in.
The Town Hall Website is up-to-date on the latest events and goings-on in town.
During the month of August, Richmond holds the annual and much anticipated Washington County Fair. For a week many gather to listen to live music, ride rides, play carnival games, buy and sell unique goods and merchandise, take place in 4H competitions, and watch truck pulls. The Washington County Fair is Richmond's biggest event, followed by the lively Farmers' Market in front of the town hall, and attracts visitors from all over the state and surrounding area. The traffic to and from routinely shuts down travel in the area for its duration.
With an abundance of rivers and streams, there are also plenty of good fishing spots in and around town. Supplies can be bought at the local bait and tackle shop in Hope Valley, a mile or so down Route 138 from the Town Hall.
There are a number of useful shops and service businesses in Richmond.
Richmond's culinary scene features many of the usual suspects, with a smattering of local spice.
Following RI 138 East leads to the University of Rhode Island. You can also take a right on 138 at the Richmond Town Hall onto RI 112, bringing you south into Charlestown.
If you take RI 138 West, the intersection at the end of the Wyoming strip, merges into Route 3, which leads to Hopkinton (south), or Exeter / West Greenwich (north).
You can also take US 95 North (to Providence) or 95 South (to Westerly/Connecticut).