Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Oldest Continuously-Running Country Store in the United States

Article and Photo by Eric H.

Vermont gets much of the press when it comes to old, country stores, but tiny Rhode Island actually features the oldest continuously running country store in the United States.

Brown and Hopkins Country Store, located in equally ancient Chepachet, RI, was established in 1809, and looks every bit the part. With 3,000 square feet of old wooden floors, beamed ceilings, a pot bellied stove, and creaky architectural nooks and crannies, Brown and Hopkins resonates with an old fashioned New England presence that seems to becoming few and far between in an increasingly modern southern New England. Brown and Hopkins is actually small compared to other New England country stores like the Vermont Country Store in Weston, VT, and the Old Country Store and Emporium in Mansfield, MA, but the owners pack a lot of heartwarming merchandise into this charming building. Penny candy, Vermont cheddar cheese, candles, furnishings, quilts, framed prints, and a significant variety of antiques are just a few of the items you will find within the historical building. Brown and Hopkins even takes a step into more modern times by featuring York, Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen gourmet specialties.

The feeling of visiting a historical landmark might quite possibly be more significant than the merchandise sold. That's not to slight the quintessentially country store items here, but knowing you're in a building that existed when the causes of the War of 1812 began to emerge means that you've certainly visited one of New England's true historical landmarks.

Brown and Hopkins Country Store
1179 Putnam Pike (Route 44)
Chepachet, RI 02814
Tel. 401-568-4830
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