Shop Watch Hill
It’s not only Lily Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines and tee shirt shops in Watch Hill anymore. You can spend a whole day happily ducking in and out of the boutiques lining Bay Street and Fort Road and find everything from on trend jewelry to electric bikes. I browsed around and here are a few old and new favorites.
HighPoint Home 6 Fort Road
If it’s a Palm Beach vibe you’re after, you’ll find it at Highpoint Home on Fort Road: crisp, piped sofas, glossy enameled tables, and everything to put on them, from bright pillows to trays, frames, and candlesticks. Owner Kaitlin Smith provides interior design services, so you, too, can have your environs looking as fresh and beachy as this place. The perfect hostess gift? A cache pot or two filled with citronella. Find them online here.
Christina Stankard Jewelry 100 Bay Street
Ten years ago you’d never see the tagline “Watch Hill – Brooklyn” for store locations but (hilariously) these days it lends the hip factor. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at this charming jewelry shop. Christina Stankard’s delicate strands for neck, wrist, ear and ankle make a sweet summer accessory. Crafted in sterling or 14K gold with semi-precious or precious gems, these lovelies are meant to layer. You’ll also find Rifle paper goods, Turkish towels, and pretty linen beach cover ups.
Huxter 147 Bay Street
Head straight to Huxter for all manner of goods and accessories for the well-turned out man or woman. Pick up a pair of Soludos espadrilles or Vans, a ridiculously chic Flagpole bikini, a Shinola journal for that novel you’re writing this summer, delicious layered Wary Meyers soaps for your host or hostess, and luxurious Lotus leather goods, plus their very own label in shirting and accessories. This highly curated shop stocks goods mainly from New England and you won’t walk away empty handed. Me, I tried to resist this rope beach backpack, but couldn’t. Love it here. (Top photo is Huxster, too).
J. McLaughlin 124 Bay Street
J. McLaughlin may look like it’s always been in Watch Hill, but this location just popped up here. Insane Insidewalk Sale regulars already have stacks of their tees and dresses in their trademarked Catalina Cloth, a machine washable, stretchy fabrication that is ideal for travel. I stuffed two of their dresses in my bag when I went to Paris last year, and I could have left the rest of the lot behind. You’ll find racks of easy dresses, those perfect tops, plus menswear that your guy will actually like. Lightweight cashmeres round out the mix.
Fans of Roberta Roller Rabbit will find racks of her happy printed beach cover-ups and caftans here, plus the de rigueur topper for daily sun bathing: a large selection of giant floppy hats by Mar & Sol.
Christina’s Ltd. 119 Bay Street
Christinas has been an anchor (pun intended) in Watch Hill for 25 years but they’ve managed to keep their inventory up to date and fresh with a preppy/beachy aesthetic featuring lines like Love Lilly, Mododoc and Free People. And those cool beach bags crafted from vintage linens and recycled jeans you see around town? Everyone gets them here. Me, I never leave without a stack of hilarious greeting cards and some friendship bracelets.
Ocean House Shop
Sure, you can get all sorts of high-end homewares and glamorous cover-ups at the Ocean House’s very own shop, but what really stuck out was their selection of charming children’s toys and oh-so-French striped or smocked dresses and playsuits for babies and kids.
Aviva Electric Bikes Bay Street
If you’re looking for a little help getting up the hill to the beach, rent a bike from Aviva on Bay Street. These power assisted cycles go up to 19 miles an hour (hey, that means I might be able to keep up with my bike-obsessed husband!), and come in a variety of configurations from mountain bike to trike. Take a tour of Watch Hill and oooh and aaaah at the architectural gems. Oh, and they’re for sale, too. Rentals are $35 for two hours or $60 for four. Bikes run from $1600 to $2000.
10 Sandwiches 98 Bay Street
This freshly renovated sandwich shop is a welcome addition to the dining options in Watch Hill (not many!), and their concept is cool. Choose one of ten well-conceived combos, pull up a stool at the copper topped bar and sip your prosecco (or a local Rhode Island Yacht Club soda) through a straw. My turkey with brie, bacon, Granny Smith apples and cranberry mayo on ciabatta was an inspired mix of sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy. After 6pm, feast on small plates like devils on horseback, lobster sliders or smashed avocado toasts along with a raw bar and creative cocktail menu.
Three Islands 99 Bay Street
Our old friends at Three Islands always have something new up their sleeve…this year I’m in love with these 70’s inspired maxi caftans, the perfect apres-sun get-up. My mother always traipsed around in the Marimekko version after a day at the beach. In stock, too, in their hand blocked fabrics from Bali are men’s swim trunks, bikinis and boatloads of summery shifts and tunics.
Coastal 41 110 Bay Street
This new shop has an interesting selection of gift items from Sunny Life’s enormous swan pool floats to massive pressed tin plates, perfect for outdoor entertaining. They’ll happily monogram those handy Govino stemless wine glasses while you wait (another awesome hostess gift at 7.95 per), but what really caught my eye were these Peter Van Digstree fish prints in the Gyotaku style, the Japanese art of creating prints of real fish on paper (think taxidermy alternative!).
Candy Box 14 Fort Road
While taffy is traditional, I can’t leave Watch Hill without a few sea horse and lighthouse shaped barley pops and maybe a teeny bag of chocolate babies! This old fashioned candy store is the real deal, offering everything from home made fudge and boxed chocolates to penny candy since 1955.
If you’re in need of lots of gifts or souvenirs stop into one of two Lolo’s on Bay Street. Known for their vinyl on vinyl makeup bags and accessories, it’s also a fun stop for jewelry, cards, and souvenirs.
I’m not sure how long Small Axe has been selling Indian printed garb in Watch Hill, but certainly since I’ve been going. It’s still a good stop for inexpensive sun dresses and sterling jewelry.
Nearby and not to be missed: