My Favorite Rhode Island Airbnb: An Easy Weekend Getaway to Westerly

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Condé Nast Traveler

As many of my spontaneous weekend trips do these days, it all started with a text message: “Out of curiosity, whatcha up to the weekend of October 21…” Two days later, my friend and I had booked an Airbnb.

Even though we planned this trip on the fly, it had a very deliberate intent: celebrating Taylor Swift’s newest album drop. And we couldn’t think of a better place to ring in Midnights than near the singer’s storied beach home in Watch Hill, a coastal neighborhood at the most-southwestern point of Rhode Island (cue The Last Great American Dynasty). We planned to walk along the beach, wander around town, and eat exclusively at restaurants we may or may not have found in a ‘Taylor Swift guide to Rhode Island’ article. And conveniently, our girls’ weekend destination was located between New York and Boston, where we live.

After a fair amount of searching Airbnb for something that was cozy, cute, and easy to get to, we settled on an adorable bungalow in Westerly, a short drive from Watch Hill. From Penn Station, I could take a three-hour train ride on the Amtrak North East Regional. My friend was waiting to pick me up, having driven in. (We were happy to have a car that weekend, but there were Ubers available in town had we needed to grab one.)

From the train station, it was a five-minute drive to the house, which felt like it could’ve been designed as a guest home, but had more than enough room for two. We each had our own bedroom with a queen bed covered in a colorblocked quilt. In between, there was one bathroom and a large, open living and kitchen area. Another huge pro for city apartment dwellers like me: The kitchen housed a washer and dryer, and the hosts left detergent to use. 

The exteriors drew from a coastal blue and white palette.

Courtesy Airbnb

The beach is a skip away from the house.

Courtesy Airbnb

Once we arrived at the Rhode Island Airbnb, we set up shop on the couch under the cozy Woolrich blanket, chatting and watching YouTube videos on the smart TV. 

The home, built in 1918, was full of charm and quirks, and set up with everything we’d need for our weekend stay—towels, extra pillows, blankets. The renovated bathroom and kitchen had modern appliances and fixtures, and the space was very clean when we arrived, with decor that looks like an Apartment Therapy feature. I loved the wallpapered washroom, farmhouse-style sink, and chopping block kitchen island and countertops, and appreciated thoughtful touches like the local soaps from Newport and plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bottles. (My one qualm in the bathroom—the water pressure left something to be desired.) 

While we didn’t cook at the house, there was plenty of kitchenware and basic cooking supplies in the cabinets (spices, oils). Since it was a pretty quick trip, we sadly didn’t take advantage of the backyard, either, but there were idyllic porches in the front and back of the house, both with chairs and rugs, and a grassy fenced-in area out back with a loveseat and hammock if you fancy an evening drink or morning coffee outside. (A coffee maker and tea kettle were in the kitchen.)

The hosts have taken care to make the space feel homey but not cluttered, with beachy decor—California and Rhode Island-centric prints on the walls, a buoy on the closet doors in the bedroom. There’s a record player in the living room and a bin full of vinyls, plus design and architecture coffee table books. They left a bottle of wine for us in the fridge and a hand-written notebook of the best things to do, see, and eat in the area. They communicated with us efficiently, making it known they were there to answer questions or offer tips, without overloading us with messages. (They were also kind enough to mail back a jacket we left behind.)

We only had one full day in Rhode Island and a packed to-do list. Everywhere we wanted to go was no more than a 15-minute drive away. We started at the Cooked Goose for breakfast, then visited Napatree and Watch Hill Beaches, and finally spent an afternoon in downtown Westerly’s coffee shops, bookstores, and antique shops. For dinner, we ate the Olympia Tea Room, which has been open since 1916. Before catching the train the next morning, we stopped into Knead Doughnuts for chai lattes and, duh, doughnuts, which were delicious.

This Rhode Island Airbnb was the perfect home base for our girls’ weekend. The bright, sunny space offered plenty of room for two, but you could easily fit four here, as past guests have noted. The best part, though, was the ease of getting there—it makes a great weekend escape for New Yorkers and New Englanders looking to slow down for a few days.

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