One of my favorite parts of traveling through New England has been the obscure hybrid stores that are found by exploring the forests and small towns that surround the city. One interesting theme that I have enjoyed is the hybrid garden/farm/store that is held on a persons property. Down the street in Connecticut, we found the Book Barn, and here in Rhode Island, I discovered the Umbrella Factory, a hybrid farm/gift shop.
Originally operating as a farm in 1760, the Umbrella Factory has sure seen its host of operations, all of the farm hybrid variety. Currently, it operates as a bazaar, hosting international stores of a variety of natures, each in its own barn. A short wander through the property will bring you everything from glass blowing, to costumes to foods, all created and grown by local artists and farmers.
This current iteration has survived 40 years and a fire yet still manages to be one of the best hidden gems in this small state.
I encourage you to take a couple of hours to just relax and enjoy the place. Every turn around every corner opens up to a new discovery. My favorite part though is the plethora of animals that will become your friends for the day if you let them. I made best buds with a goat but maybe you’ll prefer the emu. I had never seen one in person before and experiencing one run up on me teleported me to prehistoric times. I felt like I was being chased by a dinosaur.
Make to take the time to fully explore all of the stores. It’s easy to dismiss them as you are walking by, but just like the Umbrella Factory, they really are all so unique, you might miss a hidden gem that you never knew you wanted. Like this guitar. I almost bought it but my travel space is limited. It gives me a nice excuse to come back though.
Closest Supercharger: East Greenwich RI 24 miles
1000 Division St, East Greenwich, RI 02818
The Umbrella Factory
4820 Old Post Rd, Charlestown, RI 02813