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.

 

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.