Day 35 of Year Long Roadtrip Following Scenic Byways in the USA
I was blessed with another lovely day. After another neighborhood walk to the pond, we left Cape Cod and headed for Newport, RI. I missed getting a picture of the Rhode Island sign at the state line, and I think I completely failed to get a picture of the Massachusetts sign both times I came to the state, so if anyone has one or will be there, send one my way!
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 the day, I believe it may have been 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 before I entered and left the state in less than 50 miles. I stopped in at Fort Adams State Park. 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 I found in Maine.
Another stop on the Ocean Drive is 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 to pick up a nano cache. A nano cache is a magnet about the size of a marble. I sat looking at the view and fumbled around the metal slats of the bench until I found it.
Narragansett Pier and the Towers
Leaving Newport, we crossed the bridge and drove to Narragansett Pier and visited 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. One of the benches nearby is also home to a nano cache. After a salad at PJ’s, I pressed forward to Point Judith to see the lighthouse.
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. A side trip took me to Galilee. It was a tiny town with a harbor 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.
Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
My final stop before pulling into Walmart for the night was Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge for a slight change of scenery. 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. I’m headed to Connecticut tomorrow. ETB