Learn more about Exeter

Exeter, Rhode Island – A rural paradise

Geographically, the town of Exeter, Rhode Island, is quite large, as it extends west to the Connecticut border and east to North Kingstown. It also borders East Greenwich, West Greenwich, Richmond, Hopkinton, and South Kingstown. In total, Exeter has 57.7 square miles of land, providing plenty of space for its 6,400 inhabitants.

Due to its large size and small population, Exeter features extensive woodlands, many of which are state parks featuring fishing, hiking, and wildlife-watching opportunities.

Despite its feeling of isolation, Exeter remains just 25 minutes from downtown Providence and 20 minutes from the beaches of Narragansett, so you’re never far from a livelier atmosphere, either.

Overall, Exeter provides a rural environment that makes it easy to relax in nature while being able to reach the city in less than half an hour.

Exeter, Rhode Island’s neighborhoods

Exeter – Much of the population in Exeter is on the eastern side of town in an area simply called Exeter. This neighborhood is more suburban in make-up than the rest of the region, as it features larger residential areas, but is also home to some farmland. The Exeter Country Club is in this section of town, as well.

Arcadia – Only the northern half of Arcadia is in Exeter, as the rest of this village sits in Richmond. The Exeter half is home to some farmland and rural properties, in addition to the Tomaquag Museum. Browning Mill Pond, one of the region’s top fishing sites, is in Arcadia, as well.

Liberty – The southeastern corner of Exeter is called Liberty, which is a residential area that features Oak Harbor Village, the town’s only shopping mall, and Yawgoo Valley Ski Area and Water Park, the state’s sole ski hill. Living in this part of town puts you close to two significant attractions and also just minutes from the University of Rhode Island.

Austin – The north-central section of Exeter is called Austin. The I-95 runs right through this part of town, so it gets a fair amount of traffic, but there are some quiet residential sections off the highway, too. Austin also has large rural properties and some historic graveyards, in addition to a surprising abundance of restaurants along Route 3.

Black Plain – Just to the south of Austin is Black Plain, and the two sections share many of the same features. Black Plains also has some commercial and industrial properties that sit just off the I-95.

Fisherville – Another sizeable residential area in Exeter is called Fisherville, which includes the downtown district. The thing about downtown Exeter, however, is it only has a few buildings – Town Hall, a church, and a library – so it isn’t what you’d expect from a downtown area at all. Fisherville also has a residential section to the south of Ten Rod Road and a wildlife preserve to the north of it.

Lewis City – Lewis City features Beach Pond State Park and extends to the Connecticut border. This village is mostly unpopulated but is a great place to do some hiking or fishing in the summer.

Millville – There isn’t much of a population in Millville, but it’s one of the only areas of Exeter that has waterfront properties. These houses sit around Boon Lake, making it a sought-after location to buy a home in Exeter.

The history of Exeter, Rhode Island

Exeter was originally part of Kings Towne, along with present-day North Kingstown, South Kingstown, and Narragansett, which was founded in 1674. In 1722, the town split, and Exeter remained part of North Kingstown until 1742, when it was incorporated.

The town is perhaps best-known historically for the Mercy Brown Vampire Incident in 1892 when a young woman’s remains were exhumed because she was believed to be a vampire. Folklore, at the time, stated that when multiple deaths occurred in one family, it was likely because of the undead, which was the reason for the suspicion.

When Mercy’s body was extracted, it still had blood in its heart, causing locals to believe that she, in fact, was a vampire.

Because of this story, Exeter is called the most haunted small town in Rhode Island and is a tourist attraction because of its reputation.

Activities in Exeter, Rhode Island

As you might expect, outdoor activities are plentiful in Exeter, RI, starting with Yawgoo Valley. Yawgoo is the state’s only ski area in the winter, and also has a snow tubing park that you can enjoy. Then, in the summer, it turns into a waterpark with pools, slides, and a picnic area.

Other locations for outdoor recreation include the Arcadia Management Area, Dawley Memorial State Park, the Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, and the Cuttyhunk Brook Preserve. Beach Pond is also popular with locals because it has a sandy waterfront area, in addition to a dock and boat launch.

For shopping, Oak Harbors is the place to go, although you’ll also find some stores and restaurants near the I-95. There is more shopping available in places like Richmond and Wickford, which are minutes from Exeter.

If you’re into history, you can visit locations like the Austin Farm Road, Fisherville Historic District, Hallville Historic District, Parris Brook Historic District, and Sodom Mill Historic District, all of which have well-known structures.

There’s also Queen’s Fort, which is the site of a Native American fort from 1676, and Simon Lillibridge Farm, a historic property from the early 1800s.

Buying a home in Exeter, Rhode Island

Once you buy a home in Exeter, you’ll get to enjoy a quiet way of life without moving far from the amenities that you need to make yourself comfortable. The town has plenty of rural and suburban areas, along with wooded parks that provide an escape from the bustle of the surrounding cities.

If you’re considering purchasing a property in Exeter, RI, give the experts at Compass New England a call. We can provide more information on this beautiful area, ensuring that you make an informed decision.