Visiting Rose Island Lighthouse

Rose Island LighthouseOur last post revealed some of the best spots to watch sunsets in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the top places listed was the famous Rose Island Lighthouse located right in Narragansett Bay, along the span of the Newport Bridge.

The historic working lighthouse, built in 1869, sits on an 18-acre island off of the Newport coast, and is easily accessible via the Newport-Jamestown Ferry.  Guests may also visit Rose Island by their own boat if they choose.

Guests can enjoy the grounds around the lighthouse itself, walk the beaches below, and tour the historic lighthouse. From July to Labor Day, the lighthouse museum is open to the public between the hours of 10:00am-4:00pm. Visitors are welcome to bring their own refreshments and enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic tables.

Rose Island and the Lighthouse History

Rose Island has had an important history on Narragansett Bay due to its strategic location at the entrance to the Newport Harbor.  At the time of the American Revolution, both colonial and British troops occupied the island, at different times, to defend Newport.  During the First and Second World Wars, Rose Island was occupied by the US Navy and was used to store torpedoes, manufactured at the Newport torpedo factory on nearby Goat Island, safely away from the mainland.

The wood-framed Rose Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1869 atop the remains of the 18th century Fort Hamilton’s south gun battery, and was activated in January, 1870. Because of its proximity to Newport, Rose Island was more accessible than many other lighthouse stations of its time. Lighthouse keepers on duty there, still had to deal with extreme weather, creative provisioning, and isolation at times.

When the Newport Bridge opened in 1969, the Rose Island Lighthouse became obsolete and in 1971 Rose Island was deactivated. For a period of time during the 1970’s the lighthouse and Rose Island were under the stewardship of the University of Rhode Island and used for marine research.  Ultimately, however, the school was unable to maintain the facilities, and the badly vandalized lighthouse was returned to the federal government. In 1984, when the lighthouse was declared surplus property, the city of Newport took it over.

After several failed attempts by private investors to develop Rose Island as an island resort during the 1980’s, a local group was formed to protect and preserve the lighthouse and the history of Rose Island.  The Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, with support from both public and private funding, completely restored the lighthouse and in 1992 the lighthouse was opened to the public. In 1993 the landmark lighthouse was finally relit, becoming one of the only few operating lighthouses maintained solely by dedicated and passionate volunteers.

Lighthouse Tours

Throughout the summer season, guests are welcome to take a guided tour throughout the lighthouse grounds. The lighthouse museum allows guests to step into each fully restored room that looks and feels as if the keepers still live there.

Admission for the lighthouse tour is $5 for adults and $4 for children ages of 6-12 and seniors 65 and older. Admission is free for Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation members or children under the age of five.

If you’re looking to visit the lighthouse between September and June feel free to contact the lighthouse’s office to set up the appropriate arrangements.

The lighthouse does offer educational programs, overnight or weekend stays, and group tours for those interested.

Traveling to the Lighthouse

The best way to travel to the Rose Island Lighthouse is by the Newport-Jamestown Ferry. For a list of the ferry schedules see the Newport-Jamestown Ferry schedule to the Rose Island Lighthouse. *Tip: If you travel by ferry, you’ll receive a $1 discount upon arrival!

If you own your own boat you’re welcome to tie up at the dock. If you have a small sailing craft, canoes, or kayaks you can land on the beaches near the lighthouse.

Pack Your Bags

It would be a pleasure for us to have you stay at our Inn when visiting the historic and romantic Rose Island Lighthouse. The Cliffside Inn is located only a mile from the Newport-Jamestown Ferry stop.

Make sure to book your stay before the summer ends! We look forward to having you stay with us on your journey to the Rose Island Lighthouse.

Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of Barbara Eckstein

Purgatory Chasm — Another of Newport’s Hidden Treasures

purgatory_chasmAre you looking for something new to do while visiting Newport…something that is off the beaten path?  Summer is the perfect time of year to take a hike around Purgatory Chasm in neighboring Middletown.

The chasm was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers, and has been slowly eroded by seawater ever since. Today the chasm is about 10’ wide at the top, 120’ long, and over 50’ deep.

Upon arriving at the park’s entrance, you’ll take a short, 100 yard walk to the chasm area. And once you’re there, you can enjoy the beautiful view from the cliff overlooking Second Beach, the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and Sachuest Bay or walk to the small pedestrian bridge, allowing you a view straight down into the center of the chasm.

Purgatory Chasm Folklore

One of the legends about Purgatory Chasm describes a beautiful but giddy young woman, heiress to a large estate, who had for some time received special attention from a young man, in all respects her equal, and whose affection, notwithstanding her actions to the contrary, she warmly reciprocated in her heart. But her passion for mischief was so strong, that she could never resist the temptation to torment her admirer.

One day, as they stood together on the brink of Purgatory Chasm, and he was pleading, with impassioned eloquence, for some pledge or token of love from her, she said, “I will be your wife if you will show the earnestness of your devotion to me, and your readiness to obey all my wishes, by leaping across this abyss.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the young man sprang to the other side of the rock, and then, politely lifting his hat, he complimented her beauty, told her candidly what he thought of her character, bade her final adieu, and she saw his face no more. After this, as the tale goes, she went mourning for the rest of her life.

How to Get There From the Cliffside Inn

Purgatory Chasm is only a five minute drive from the inn. For those looking for a nice walk, you can opt to begin your hike right from the inn and arrive at the chasm in about 35 minutes on the two mile walk.

Whether you’re driving or walking just follow these simple directions:

  1. Head West on Seaview Ave. toward Cliff Ave.
  2. Turn right onto Cliff Ave.
  3. Turn right onto Memorial Blvd
  4. Slight right onto Purgatory Rd
  5. Turn right onto Tuckerman Ave.

For more detailed directions on how to get to Purgatory Chasm from the inn, check out the directions provided by Google Maps or ask the innkeeper.

Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of Paul Irish

Melt Your Winter Blues at the Newport Winter Festival 2014

It’s that time of year again for the annual Newport Winter Festival here in Newport, Rhode Island! Beginning February 14th, this 10-day winter festival is sure to heat up your winter spirits.

Make this winter one to remember by enjoying any of the 150 events happening in the romantic city of Newport.

As always, a portion of the festival’s proceeds will go to local charities and nonprofit organizations as well as local business and community programs.

Highlighted events will include the Children’s Fair, Chili and Chicken Wing Cook-offs and a concert by the cast of BeatleMania.

With events starting as early as 9:30am, you’re sure to find something to do. Here’s a list of some of the featured events happening during the 10-day festival:

February 14 – Start off with a Pillow Fight on the back lawn of The Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel and Spa, and then top the night off with a cold one at the Polar Pineapples ice infused bar.

February 15 – Head on over to the Newport Harbor Hotel to heat things up a bit with the 19th Annual Samuel Adams Chili Cook-off starting at 11:30am.

February 16 & 17 – Enjoy a refreshing cocktail and imagine it’s summer at any of the following events: Absolut Bloody Mary Competition, Newport Vineyeard WINE-ter-Fest or the Tropical Drink Contest. For the athletic types, you can check out the Beach Polo Series happening on Easton’s Beach at 2:00pm.

February 21 – Laugh away the winter cold at the Hyatt Regency, Goat Island with two nighttime comedy performances. Starting at 6:30pm, check out comedian and famous juggler, Bryson Lang’s comedy and juggling act. And then you can end the night with the Funny Girls Comedy Show featuring comedians Kerri Louise and Stacy Kendro.

February 22 – Eat to your heart’s content at the 4th Annual Chicken Wing Cook-off happening at the Hyatt Regency Newport Hotel beginning at 11:30am. Relive the revolution with the cast of Beatlemania at 9:00pm at the Hyatt Regency. Gather around and sing 29 renditions of the songs that will forever warm our hearts.

February 23 – If you’re daring enough, bid adieu to the festival by taking the Polar Bear Plunge into the frosty Atlantic Ocean with The Newport Polar Club at 12:00pm.

With over 150 events this year, the 26th Annual Newport Winter Festival is sure to be full of food, fun and music for all. Come stay with us here at The Cliffside Inn and enjoy one of Newport’s most loved winter festivals.

Popular Stops Along Newport’s Ocean Drive

Fall is the perfect time of year to tour Rhode Island by car, and there’s no better place to take a scenic drive than along Newport’s famous Ocean Drive.Sunset on Ocean Drive

The ten-mile drive is full of recreational treasures, including iconic mansions and estates, public parks, coastal walks and beautiful sunsets. Bring your camera or your canvas with you on Ocean Drive as you will want to capture the lovely coastal scenery to take home as one of the great memories of your Newport visit.

Here is a list of some of the most popular attractions you can visit and see:

  1. The Elms — Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Berwind, this National Historic Landmark is open to the public. Visitors can enjoy the remarkable architectural detail of the mansion, which resembles the mid 18th century French chateau d’Asnieres, located right outside of Paris.
  2. The Breakers — Going right along the drive onto Ochre Point Avenue, there are a number of historical estates that are now formally a part of Salve Regina University. At the end of this stretch you can see Newport’s grandest summer cottages, The Breakers. The Breakers is a grand symbol of the Vanderbilt family and their fortune, and visitors can now visit the mansion along with the stable and carriage house located only half a mile west of the home.
  3. The Marble House and Rosecliff — At the intersection of Ruggles and Bellevue Avenue you will drive right by “the temple to the arts,” the Vanderbilt’s Marble House and the garden retreat of Rosecliff. You may even recognize the Rosecliff from a few major motion pictures, such as “The Great Gatsby,” “True Lies” and “27 Dresses.”
  4. Brenton Point State Park – At the mid-point of Ocean Drive, at the tip of the island, is Brenton State Park, which is the perfect location for a fall-time picnic or to fly a kite while taking in the picture perfect views of the Atlantic and the iconic Castle Hill.
  5. Fort Adams — The historical Fort Adams is located towards the end of Ocean Drive where you will have the best view of Newport Harbor. You can walk around the perimeter of Fort Adams and take in over 180 years of American history.
  6. The Museum of Yachting — After visiting Fort Adams take a walk through the Museum of Yachting and discover the culture and heritage of one of Newport’s most popular attractions.

The ten-mile drive will land you back in downtown Newport where you can enjoy a delicious bite to eat or shop to your heart’s content. Then cap off your night by staying in one of the romantic and elegant rooms at Cliffside Inn.

Full of history and romance, our Victorian Inn is the perfect place to stay while visiting Ocean Drive. Book your stay at Cliffside today so you can experience fall while enjoying the best of Newport.