The Maxwell House is located along the waterfront of Warren village. It is owned and operated by the Massasoit Historical Assn. The house dates to 1752 and 1756, the oldest brick dwelling in Warren. Distinguished by its distinctive Flemish bond pattern of brickwork and its large central chimney, the house and organization seeks to educate and entertain its guests. There are events throughout the year plus being open for free tours every Saturday from 10 am til 2 pm.
The Maxwell House volunteers offer down hearth cooking and foodways program. Once or twice a year you might be lucky enough to get a ticket for this wonderful event where everything is cooked on the open hearth or the brick oven and served in the antique house by candlelight. Tables are set to educate guests about 18th century dining customs.
Many things to be learned from the herb garden in back of the Maxwell House. The guide likes to call it the CVS of the 1700's. Not just for cooking, the herbs had many medicinal uses as well.
Christmas Open House, Spring Fair, or just a regularly scheduled Open House on Saturday....you can enjoy the 18th century architecture of this lovely home. Efforts continue as they restore the second floor of the building. The simplicity of this period is especially fetching to me. The blue room is used as a dining room when the historical group has an open hearth dinner evening. There is a second brick oven at the back of this fireplace. Simple panelled wall above the fireplace and wide board floors....nearly all the windows are 9 over 9 sash.
My favorite is on Water Street and it's called Meeting House Antiques . The shop is full of early period antiques and reproductions which are arranged beautifully so that you can really enjoy your shopping. Favorite customers are invited to the annual Christmas party where the owner treats everyone to cider, wines, and a wonderful buffet of snacks and treats. Wonderful way to start the holiday shopping.
The shop owner, Doreen has just been in Pennsylvania on her big buying trip. There are several artisans who make old style red ware, wooden pieces, or hand woven fabrics ... and she will soon have an exciting new supply of more things that we will have to choose from. I always want to take the whole shop home.
Different shops specialize in different periods... and Antiques & Decorating Warehouse is no exception. One partner is a decorator and so the shop always looks great. Their vintage is later... usually 1800's and soon to be mixed with contemporary. We saw some great stained glass in there today... and there are usually some nicely framed art pieces as well as oriental rugs. There is some renovation going on right now, but the shop remains open.
The Cheese Plate has caught my eye more than once as I wheeled through Warren. Today I decided to stop and investigate. I decided to buy a treat to take with me to a friend's house. Wow. Am I ever glad I did that.
I chose their Pear Walnut Torte, which they warmed and boxed for me. When we sat down with our coffee and this superb treat, I was really amazed at how delicious it was. I believe they roasted the walnuts in butter and sugar before adding them with some sort of poached pear and glaze - and then they topped it with a delicious crumbled cheese which was softened from the warmth.
I'll be going back for one of their cheese samplers paired with wine. It was simply splendid!
Oh... the torte for two was $10.00.
Here is a good stop for a stiff cup of coffee. They have comfy furniture scattered around like a reading room....some books for sale...local art...and there are pastries for your sweet tooth. Friday nights are open mike nights...with a featured guest. Usually country or folk music...but it varies.
Andy is a member of a trio called White Squall. They perform in Warren from time to time, but are also heard at other local spots around the state. I feature Andy here cause I think he's one of the better fiddlers I've heard in a long time. He's really excellent.
On Friday night the coffee house offers the microphone to whichever music artists happen along...but they also feature an artist or group that has been a favorite at the venue. Last Friday night the group was White Squall....a trio consisting of fiddler, guitarist, and percussion...and the voice of Alice, who earlier studied opera but now enjoys the celtic and bluegrass tunes. Lots of original music...they also play for contra dancing in a number of locations over a 3 state area. Friends of ours from Pawtuxet Village, we wanted to see and hear their performance, so we spent the evening in Warren. Good foot stompin stuff with an amazing fiddler, Andy. Ned on the guitar also does his share of singing with the group. Combined, they are well worth listening to...and I'm sure they'll be back at the coffee house again and again.
A new market (2006) on Child Street in Warren. Do take the time to visit and pick up some fresh and wonderful produce, meats without hormones, baked goods, prepared foods, elegant cheeses and other delicacies. Even if you only want a cold drink or an espresso...they can accomodate. There is seating at the front of the market if you would like to choose to sit for a snack or lunch. It's done beautifully...clean and complete.
UPdate: Unfortunately the market on Child St didn't survive the downturn in the economy.
This bike path was developed where there once was a train track travelling from East Providence...not far from the center of Providence.....through Barrington, Warren, and ending in Bristol. It's a gorgeous path to ride or walk or jog. The views of the marshes and the coves along the way are just amazing. You have to be careful not to choose a day with a headwind from the bay. I had a great ride going south and near died on my way going back. Of course you are no doubt in better shape than I was when I did it. :-)
Favorite thing: You can sort of tell what a town is like by looking at their town hall....or in some cases, what it USED to be like. In the case of Warren, their town hall gives us the indication that the town developed most of the way in the 1800's...altho there are 1700's homes as well as later examples. The main street isn't very long...the side streets shouldn't be missed. Lots of tiny streets with interesting gardens and unusual buildings scattered among period homes. Water Street is where you'll find the antique shops and restaurants. Just keep circling around and exploring.