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Trip Planner USA  /  Rhode Island  /  Washington County  /  Westerly  /  Watch Hill

Watch Hill

Beaches · Lighthouses · Historic Sites
Watch Hill is an affluent coastal village and census-designated place in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. It sits at the most-southwestern point in all of Rhode Island. It came to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th century as an exclusive summer resort, with wealthy families building sprawling Victorian-style "cottages" along the peninsula. Watch Hill is characterized by The New York Times as a community "with a strong sense of privacy and of discreetly used wealth," in contrast with "the overpowering castles of the very rich" in nearby Newport. Today, it is best known as the backdrop for the Ocean House, the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel in Rhode Island.HistoryThe area was occupied by Niantic Indians in the 17th century. Colonists used it as an important lookout point during the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War, hence the community’s name. Some landmarks in the village include the Watch Hill Lighthouse, the first of which was built in 1745; 1880's The Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest operating suspended-horse carousel in the United States and a National Historic Landmark; and the 1916 Olympia Tea Room.
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