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Jamestown, Rhode Island

by Sara E. Pratt

We've all experienced the euphoria that washes over you at the beginning of a vacation to somewhere new -- a little town or village tucked away in a sweet corner of the region. You pick up the real estate digests stacked at store entrances; you linger in front of the fliers posted in agency windows. At breakfast on the second day, you turn to your traveling companion and announce, "We should move here."

The spell usually wears off when you get home. But there are some exceptions to that rule, and one of them is Jamestown, Rhode Island, on Conanicut Island at the mouth of Narragansett Bay. This sleepy village presents a striking contrast to Newport, its bustling, high-profile neighbor to the east. With a population of 5,600 -- one of the smallest of the state's 39 towns -- Jamestown is both a residential community and a seaside resort that doesn't feel like one, even at the height of the summer season.