Westerly, Rhode Island was founded by John Babcock in 1669 and was the first town incorporated in the King’s Province and the fifth town in the colony. In 1686, its name changed from Westerly to Haversham but three years later, it was changed back. Early on, Westerly was the frontier town of the colony and home to many industries; however, it is best known for its granite quarries and stone-cutting.
Learn more about Westerly
The town of Westerly encompasses a land area of just over 30 square miles at the southwestern tip of Rhode Island, bordering southeastern Connecticut. It consists of a number of small villages, including Avondale, Bradford, Dunn’s Corners, Mastuxet, Potter Hill, Shelter Harbor, White Rock and Winnepaug, in addition to the popular summer tourist destinations of Watch Hill, Misquamicut and Weekapaug. Westerly is accessed by Route 3 from Interstate 95, Amtrak rail service, and the Westerly State Airport. The town’s business district is situated on the east bank of the Pawcatuck River, about six miles north of Long Island Sound.
Located in southwestern Rhode Island, Westerly is one of the best shoreline destinations in the state, thus attracting a thriving summer rental and vacation home market. In addition to seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches, the town is home to a vibrant downtown with a variety of shopping, dining and nightlife options. Visitors and summer residents also flock to the village of Watch Hill, home to the five-star Ocean House Resort, which sits next door to the summer home of singer, Taylor Swift. Westerly also boasts a variety of real estate built in the Victorian style and many historic landmarks, as well as outdoor activities such as golf, sailing, fishing, and hiking.
Westerly serves pre-K students with an Inclusion Preschool for children age three to five. Elementary school students attend Bradford Elementary, Dunn’s Corners Elementary, Springbrook Elementary, Tower Street Elementary or State Street Elementary. Westerly Middle School and Westerly High School serve middle and high school students, respectively. The town of Westerly is also home to a range of private pre-schools and St. Pius X Regional Academy.
Arts & Culture
Open since 1985, the Colonial Theatre produces entertaining and affordable professional theatre with a focus on Shakespeare, offering a free, outdoor Shakespeare Festival in Wilcox Park each summer. The United Theatre, which originally operated from 1926 through 1986, reopened in 2014 as a live performance space. The Granite Theatre/RCTI produces Broadway comedies and musicals in a handsomely restored Greek Revival Church. In addition to the arts, Westerly is home to the Babcock-Smith House Museum, a mansion elegantly furnished with Colonial pieces, and the People’s Museum at the Westerly Armory, which holds a wide variety of community and military artifacts. Independent artist studios, galleries and installations add to the town’s flourishing arts scene.
Points of Interest
Flying Horse Carousel
Watch Hill Lighthouse and Museum
Misquamicut State Beach
Westerly Armory/People’s Museum
Napatree Point Conservation Area
Atlantic Beach Park
Babcock Smith House
Langworthy Farm Winery
Olympia Tea Room
Winnapaug Golf & Country Club