Named for its location on the far end of the Rhode Island  coast, Westerly is one of those rare towns where the past and the present seem in perfect harmony. The downtown area is as picturesque as they come, with solid granite buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries built with stones from nearby granite quarries.
The granite made the little town rich, and its residents gained a rich appreciation for the arts, a tradition that carries on to the present day. Several downtown theaters and contemporary galleries still give the town a charming, sophisticated feel.
Westerly has many events throughout the year. Strangely one of the most popular is Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night (Misquamicut Beach, early Oct..., www.guyfawkesusa.com ), celebrating the obscure British holiday with an effigy burned in a raucous beachside bonfire.
Each spring, the arts are celebrated with the Virtu Art Festival (Wilcox Park, 401/596-7761), which features artists and musicians from all over the world. Smaller gallery nights are held the first Wednesday of every month.
The crowd-pleasing Granite Theatre (1 Granite St., 401/596-2341, www.granitetheatre.com ) showcases Broadway musicals and children’s plays in a beautifully converted Greek Revival church.
Somewhat more artistic fare is performed at the Colonial Theatre (Granite St., 401/596-7909, www.thecolonialtheater.org ), which stages dramas and comedies as well as the annual summer Shakespeare in Wilcox Park.
Misquamicut Beach comes alive with a twentysomething crowd that comes to party. One of the most popular spots is Paddy’s Beach Restaurant (159 Atlantic Ave., Westerly, 401/596-2610, www.paddysbeach.com ), which serves up potent cocktails with obvious names like Shark Attack and Hurricane.