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Narragansett #22: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

 

Narragansett

This strandlike town on the Bay may be the closest thing to California surf culture anywhere in New England, much less Rhode Island. With two of the state's largest, most wave-driven beaches, Narragansett defines itself more than anything by surf, sun, and playing in both. From grand homes in Saunderstown to funky vacation cottages in Bonnet Shores, and with the old-style culture on the Great Salt Pond, this town of just under 16,000 is truly Bay-driven. And it moves up one spot in GoLocalProv's 2012 ranking, to #22.

What, then, of the year-round life here in Rhode Island's playground? Even during the lingering recession, Median Household Income rose in Narragansett, up to $57,906, and housing prices rose as well. But does this mean Narragansett is affordable? Hardly. Narragansett sits above only Westerly, Newport, and New Shoreham on 2012's Affordability ranking at #36. Unlike those expensive towns, however, Narragansett ranked #7 in its education performance in 2012 (still high, but a move down from last year's #5 ranking). Narragansett also moved up substantially in this year's Safety assessment, to #21 statewide.

Narragansett by the numbers

Established: 1888
Population: 15,868
Median household income: $57,906
Median housing price: $350,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 22
Affordability ranking: 36
Education ranking: 7
Economic condition ranking: 12
Safety ranking: 21
Arts & Culture ranking: 23
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 14

History in a nutshell:

Narragansett was incorporated as a town in 1901 after it was separated from South Kingston in 1888. And although the two towns were separated, their histories are intertwined. It was in this area that two warring tribes: the Narragansett and Niantic Indians lived, hunted, and fought. When Narrangansett was settled it was primarily a farming community before it developed into a fishing community and a summer resort. The popular beach town has never looked back.

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