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

Our Favorite Spots to Watch Sunsets in Newport, RI

 

Sunset in Newport, RIHome to some of the most scenic and mesmerizing sunsets on the East Coast, Rhode Island is the perfect stop for that summer sunset you’ve been searching for.

Whether you’re at one of Rhode Island’s state parks or lighthouses, or on a cruise along Newport’s waterfront, you are bound to enjoy an unforgettable sunset.

In case you are looking for that perfect sunset photo-op, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots to watch the sunset in Newport:

  • Brenton Point State Park: Located right where the Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic, and midway along Ocean Drive, Brenton Point State Park is one of our favorite spots to watch sunsets along the East Coast. Easy parking, plenty of benches and picnic tables, and a large lawn for spreading out a blanket.  The park is located on the southwest tip of the island, on the  grounds of one of Newport’s former majestic estates.  Arrive before sunset and you will see a colorful array of kites, as this is also the best location in Newport for kite flying.
  • Fort Adams State Park: Fort Adams State Park is another picture-perfect location for enjoying views of the sun setting against the background of the iconic Newport Bridge and Fort Adams itself.  If you arrive before sunset, enjoy the Bay Walk, a 2.5 mile walking trail around the perimeter of Fort Adams State Park. The walk features stunning views of Newport Harbor, Newport Bridge, and Narragansett Bay. The parking is free and their are public restrooms for visitors.
  • Ocean Drive: Not to be missed, and if you enjoyed the drive during the day…make sure you return to take in the beautiful views before and as the sun is setting….soft lighting, long shadows and a sky full of color!  Bring your camera or your canvas to capture the lovely coastal scenery.
  • Rose Island Lighthouse: The lighthouse is perched on an 18-acre island just minutes away from Newport. Set about a mile into the Narragansett Bay, just south of the Newport Bridge, visitors can travel make their way there on the Newport-Jamestown Ferry or on their own boat. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Lighthouse Museum is open to the public between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Guests can walk the grounds, the beaches, and sit on Adirondack Chairs on the lawn below the historic lighthouse while the sun sets.
  • Castle Hill: When you stay at the Cliffside Inn during the summer, you will undoubtedly here us talk about “The Lawn” at Castle Hill.  It is such a lovely venue, they have “branded it”.  And guess what, The Lawn at Castle Hill is open to the public, not just guests at the inn, arrive early and relax in on of the Adirondack chairs…get out your camera and enjoy a glass of wine.  If you want to stretch your legs for a bit, take the 5 minute walk from the parking lot to the Castle Hill Light House.  Visitors are welcome to walk the paths around the lighthouse and enjoy the views of the bay.

Newport Sunset Cruises

Newport_SunsetSunset Cruises: Sailing or yachting in Narragansett Bay is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the colors of the setting sun. There are several public sailing opportunities from Newport’s waterfront, on beautiful schooners and classic wooden yachts, that we can arrange for you.  The evening sunset cruises are generally about two hours long, and guests enjoy complimentary champagne, a Dark and Stormy or a local brew while watching the sun set over the Narragansett Bay.

 

Visit Us Soon

As locals, and Newport insiders, we know the best spots that Newport has to offer (including our colorful sunsets). Give us a call, or book on-line, and we will do everything we can to help you get the most out of your Newport vacation.

Our bed and breakfast offers the romantic and classic Newport experience you’ve been searching for. Contact us today to book a room at our Newport Inn, and enjoy the best of Newport.

Photo Credit: CC Image of Boat Sunset Courtesy of claumoho

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!