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

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge – a Hidden Gem for Newport Visitors!

Sachuest PointRhode Island is home to five natural wildlife refuges including the “our own” at Sachuest Point just 5 miles from the Cliffside Inn.

With nearly three miles of trails, the Sachuest Point offers visitors the chance to experience several environments where one can view a variety of animals and plants in their natural habitat.

A walk through the nature preserve is the perfect activity for any nature lover or photographer.

From Military Defense to Wildlife Protection

During the 1600s, right up to the early 1900s Sachuest Point was used primarily for farming and sheep grazing.

During the Second World War, the United States Navy used the point as a rifle range and a communications center.

After the war, Sachuest Point was acquired by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island and in the 1970s, the wildlife property was transferred back to the Federal Government and it became the Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge; a national wildlife park.

In 1984 the refuge was fully established to its current 242 acres of wildlife protection.

Bring Your Cameras and Binoculars

Ruddy TurnstoneWith more than 200 bird species to see, the refuge is the perfect place for any avid bird watcher. On the coastline alone, visitors are likely to see loons, elders, and gannets. The refuge is also home to other migrating birds, such as the peregrine falcon and even the snowy owl.

Before exploring the many sites throughout the refuge, be sure to stop in at the newly-renovated visitor center (open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm), and see the exhibits.

Popular Sites To See

  • Salt Marsh & The Sharp-tailed Sparrow: Sachuest Point includes 40 acres of marshlands and rocky shorelines along the perimeter of the refuge. Salt marsh is a natural habitat between the land and sea. It is defined mainly by salt marsh grasses and other plants that have adapted to root in the mud. The sharp-tailed sparrow makes its home in these marshlands, and visitors are likely to see this songbird during the spring and summer months.
  • New England Cottontail & Shrubland: The New England Cottontail is the only native cottontail species in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, their population has been declining due to a lack of safe natural habitats, and it is on the verge of becoming an endangered species. The refuge has been planting and creating natural habitats of native shrubs and brush piles in order to help preserve the endangered cottontail on its land.
  • Cobble Beach & Harlequin Duck: Cobble Beach is a great area to check out migrating birds and their nesting areas. The refuge offers great views of shorebirds in their natural habitats. Spectators will have the opportunity to see these shorebirds hunt for worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. Harlequin ducks can also be seen along the refuge’s coastline. Known for its vibrant clownlike plumage, this diving duck is rare to see along the Atlantic, but an impressive amount of Harlequins gather around off the shores of Sachuest Point.

Stay at the Cliffside Inn

Our inn offers a relaxing place to stay while visiting Newport and Sachuest Point. The refuge is a short ten minute ride from Cliffside along a breathtaking coastline.

Photo Credits: CC Images Courtesy of Dan Gray and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

SVF Foundation Annual Open House

SVF-Open-HouseOn Saturday June 14th, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the SVF Foundation is hosting its annual open house.  This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the beautiful grounds, built by Captain Arthur Curtis James as a Swiss village, and to look behind the scenes at the scientific process known as cryo-preservation to protect heritage species and genetic diversity.

The Cliffside Inn  is just a few minutes from the SVF grounds, and is the perfect place to call home for this once-a-year open house weekend.

Parking for the open house is available at Fort Adams State Park and a free trolley ride will provide transportation to the foundation’s grounds from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m..

What Is the SVF Foundation?

SVF_SignThe SVF Foundation is a non-profit foundation that focuses on protecting the food supply and genetic diversity by preserving rare and endangered heritage breeds of livestock. Through the process of cryo-preservation, SVF is able to reawaken a breed to its full genetic diversity by collecting 200 embryos and 3,000 straws of semen per breed. The foundation’s library of this frozen genetic material is vital to our world’s food supply.

The foundation’s land, formerly known as, Arthur Curtiss James’ Surprise Valley Farm (or Swiss Village to the locals) was built in 1916 by Arthur Curtiss James. In 2002, a renovation was made to the Swiss Village, and at that time the SVF Foundation began operating from the village grounds.

The doors to the foundation are usually closed to the public, but every June they are opened for one day to share the foundation’s mission, and to educate visitors about endangered breeds and cryo-preservation.

Annual Visitor Day Events

svf sheep sheeringThe event is free to the public, and visitors are welcome to enjoy the foundation’s 35-acre property as well as take part in the demonstrations and activities taking place throughout the day.

Here are a few of the activities that will be offered during the open house:

  • Self guided tour through the historic Swiss Village
  • Inside look into the SVF’s state-of-the art facilities
  • Meet and greet with SVF laboratory, veterinary, and animal care staff members
  • Visit with Chip, a rare Tennessee Myotonic goat
  • Live cryogenics and sheep shearing demonstrations

Make Your Reservation at Cliffside Today

The summer months are around the corner.  With its magnificent beaches and coastline, historic sites, and summer activities, you are sure to find something you’ll enjoy in Newport this summer.

Book your stay now and enjoy a weekend getaway to the City by the Sea!

Celebrate Cliff Walk’s Re-Opening with Author Ed Morris

Super storm Sandy left a portion one of Newport’s biggest tourist attractions, the CDog Friendly Newport Lodgingliff Walk, impassable.

Considered to be one of the top visitor destinations in Newport, this 3.5 mile long National Trail is scheduled to officially re-open on June 13, 2014 after nearly 16 months and several million dollars of repairs.

Tour Cliff Walk with Ed Morris

In honor of the Cliff Walk’s re-opening, Cliffside Inn will be celebrating the long awaited event on June 13 with the noted author of “A Guide To Newport’s Cliff Walk,” Ed Morris, at the Inn located just above the walk; at Cliff and Seaview Avenue.

Participants will be invited to take a guided tour of the Cliff Walk led by Morris himself. Walkers will have the opportunity to learn the history and significance of this National Recreation Trail and the history of Newport’s Gilded Era from one of our local noted experts.

Winding along some of Newport’s famous gilded mansions — such as Rosecliff, The Breakers, and Marble House — this beautiful and historic walk offers some of the most breathtaking views in Rhode Island.

Once we have completed the walk, we will be hosting a reception at the Inn for participants along with a book signing with Ed Morris. Those who participate in the guided walk and book signing will also get a first hand look into future improvements proposed for Cliff Walk.

New and Future Improvements

Trail markers throughout Cliff Walk are a part of the many future improvements that have been discussed. The new trail markers would include a QR code that visitors can scan with their smartphones to read more about the historic attractions that they are viewing.

The city council has also approved the trail’s first permanent restroom facility, which will be placed near the Forty Steps staircase.

Join Us On June 13

Join us on June 13 to be a part of this long-awaitedc re-opening of one of Newport’s biggest attractions. Enjoy this opportunity to travel the walk with one of Cliff Walk’s most well known experts and learn the history of the Cliff Walk and Newport’s Gilded Era.

 

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.