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A tank away

There’s a taste for all palates in the Bay State’s Westport

Westport Rivers Winery Westport Rivers Winery offers tastings every weekend and live music on Fridays. (Michele McDonald/Globe Staff)
By Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / August 5, 2009

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WESTPORT - When you tell people you plan to visit Westport, prepare for their inevitable response: “Westport, Connecticut?’’ For some reason, people often forget there’s a Westport in our own Bay State. Locals in Westport, Mass., have theories about why. “I think it’s because Westport, Conn., is where Paul Newman lived,’’ says Chris Barnes, who works at Westport Rivers Winery. But Barnes is puzzled about why the town’s Connecticut counterpart gets all the attention, “It’s not even like [Westport] is near Foxwoods.’’ Barnes is happy to report that our Westport offers up vineyards, sun, and sand, clearly a great getaway for couples or singles. More important, it’s also more than 100 miles closer to Boston than Westport, Conn. Not that it’s a competition.

Stay
You can go one of two ways in Westport: quaint inn or chain hotel. The standard for quaint is the Paquachuck Inn (2056 Main Road, Westport, 508-636-4398, www.paqua chuck.com; $150 per night, two-night minimum in-season), which is as cute and scenic as it gets in New England. Imagine four-poster beds, wooden bookshelves, and a garden patio. The place even has its own dock. On the flip side are the chain hotels, including Hampton Inn (53 Old Bedford Road, Westport, 508-675-8500, www.hampton inn.com), where depending on the night, you can get a room for less than $120. Here, you swap quaint for a view of the highway, but there is a pool, free breakfast, and air conditioning - a treat on a hot August night.

Dine
For dinner, it’s the Back Eddy (1 Bridge Road, Westport, 508-636-6500, www.the backeddy.com), where ingredients are local, fresh, and used in the most delicious of ways. Split appetizers, steamers, and brews for a $25-ish per-person bill. If you’re comfortable spending closer to $50, try a mixed drink like the One-Eyed Jake (that’s Patron, Grand Marnier, and sour mix) and an entree like the lobster casserole, seafood covered in corn bread crumbs. In the morning, you’ll be off to The Barn (16 Main Road, Adamsville, Little Compton, R.I., 401-635-2985, breakfasts $6-$10), a cute, leisurely spot. For less than $10, you can get coffee and a stack of johnnycakes, which are thin cornmeal pancakes, filling and tasty.

During the day
The easy choice in summer is the water. Horseneck Beach State Reservation (Route 88, Westport Point, 508-636-8816, www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/ southeast/hbch.htm) offers up a great view of Buzzards Bay and good sand for castle-building. History buffs as well as marine biology enthusiasts should make the quick trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, 508-997-0046, www.whalingmuseum.org; $10 adults, $6 ages 6-14) to see old photos of Moby Dick-seeking types and a skeleton of a blue whale nicknamed Kobo (for king of the blue ocean).

After dark
Assuming you’re a grown-up and have proper ID, after-dark starts at about 3 p.m. That’s the best time to roll up to Westport Rivers Winery (417 Hixbridge Road, 800-993-9695, www.westportrivers .com), which gives tastings on the half-hour every weekend. Red drinkers, beware: it’s pretty much all whites here, but port fans will enjoy the vineyard’s fruity late-harvest offerings such as the Pineau de Pinot. After Westport Rivers, make a second stop at Sakonnet Winery (162 West Main Road, Little Compton, R.I. 800-919-4637, www.sakonnet wine.com), where you’ll find the red wine you’ve been missing and the tastiest palate-cleansing crackers. Both vineyards offer nighttime entertainment in the summer, so plan to stay late. On most Thursdays, the live music is at Sakonnet. On Fridays, the tunes are at Westport Rivers.

Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@ globe.com.