Ninigreat National Wildlife Refuge

Day 35 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast

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Day 35 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

I was blessed with another lovely day. After another neighborhood walk to the pond, we left Cape Cod and headed for Newport, Rhode Island. Reader’s Digest didn’t include Newport in the main scenic drive through Rhode Island. It was listed as an optional side trip. For my day, Newport was the highlight, and I would definitely come back for a weekend. I completed the 10 mile Ocean Drive loop past multi-million dollar mansions, beaches, and state parks.

Fort Adams State Park

Along Ocean Drive, I had cell service, so I went geocaching at Fort Adams State Park before I entered and left the state in less than 50 miles.  The cache coordinates took me to the other side of the harbor which presented a breathtaking view of the bridge across Narragansett Bay.  I climbed down the rocks, found the cache, signed the log, and dropped the Texas coin which I found in Maine.

bridge across Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island

Cliff Walk

From Fort Adams State Park we continued along Ocean Drive to Cliff Walk, a 3 ½ mile trail that runs along the bluffs behind the Bellevue Avenue Mansions.  The dogs and I walked about 1.5 miles of it, stopping at a viewing area with benches while picking up a nano cache.  A nano cache is a magnet about the size of a marble.  I sat looking at the view while fumbling around the metal slats of the bench until I found it.

Narragansett Pier and the Towers

After our time in Newport, we crossed the bridge and drove to Narragansett Pier to visit the Towers.  The Towers are the only remains of a lavish casino and hotel constructed from 1883-1886.  The resort was an extremely popular vacation spot for the wealthy until it burned to the ground in 1900.  Today the Towers house the visitors center, and they are also used for several events. 

The Towers at Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island

Point Judith Lighthouse

After a short visit to the towers and a salad at PJ’s Pub, I ventured five miles down the coast to Point Judith Lighthouse. The lighthouse has had three different light towers over its 200 year history.  It finally automated in 1954.  We stayed long enough to take a picture at the lighthouse as it is fenced off and used as an active Coast Guard station for national security.

Point Judith Lighthouse

Galilee

From Point Judith, I took a short side trip to Galilee.  It was a tiny harbor town full of fishing vessels and a seafood restaurant on every corner.  The coastal town had a quaint, yet colorful feel to it.  It would be an ideal destination for an afternoon lunch on a summer day.

Galilee, Rhode Island

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge

For a slight change of scenery, my final stop before pulling into the Westerly Walmart for the night was at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.  Trails cut through brush alongside a large saltwater pond home to shrimp, flounder, ducks, and egrets.  The refuge used to be the site of Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Landing Field or “Charlietown” to the young pilots who trained here during World War II.

The pilots primarily practiced landing Hellcats without lights and with little radar.   After four months of landing on simulated carrier decks known as “bounce drills” the pilots headed to the South Pacific for duty.  Additionally, former President George H. W. Bush learned to navigate the TBM-1 Avenger while stationed at Charlietown.  The base closed in the 1970s, and the land was transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Department to become a wildlife refuge.  What a historic place!  ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

Other Articles About Rhode Island That You May Like

Day 36 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast and Hartford, Connecticut

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

6 thoughts on “Day 35 – Rhode Island’s South County Coast

  1. Buck Lyon told your Dad to tell you to get “Travels with Charlie” by Steinbeck to read. Probably can’t find it at Walmart, but any bookstore!
    I’m off to Denver Thursday for Kent Denver Grandparent’s Day.
    All that area looks gorgeous.
    Have fun

  2. I don’t want to speak too soon but I hope you are getting to watch the Rangers up there. Bottom of the 6th and we are leading 5-3!!!
    We are loving the chance to keep up with your adventures. Your photos are great but they always are.
    We spent last weekend doing courthouses down I-35 on the way to a wedding. One woman stopped us to ask what we were doing and she was doing the same thing! Small world – first time that has ever happened!
    Take care! Jennifer

    1. I haven’t gotten to watch, but hopefully they’ll keep up the good play…beating the Yankees in the playoffs would be a first…Hope you enjoyed the courthouses.

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