Jamestown, RI 41° 29’ 44” N 71° 21’ 58” W
To take a break from all the action in Newport, we make the short hop across East Passage and get a slip at the very accommodating Conanicut Marina, also the site of the Jamestown-Newport Ferry landing. Although the building of the Pell Bridge in 1969 connected Conanicut Island to Newport and the western highway approach was upgraded to a four-lane bridge in 1992, Jamestown has enjoyed relatively light development. Even today there is a balanced proportion of modern architecture, historic buildings, farms, parks and marine facilities. Although we just left the Newport Boat Show with more new gear and gadgets, we found shopping at the marina’s chandlery, a 7,000 square foot store on Narragansett Avenue, irresistible. Whether its engine parts, hardware, nautical apparel or gifts, this store has it all – including a knowledgeable staff. After an excellent seafood dinner at Jamestown Fish on Narragansett Avenue, we begin planning the next leg of our cruise.
Watch Hill, RI 41° 19’ 10” N 71° 51’ 53” W
During our two month “Down East” cruise along the Maine coast, we rarely found sandy beaches, so we looked forward to visiting Watch Hill, where there is a large protected anchorage to the south of beautiful Naptree Beach. Getting into the anchorage, Little Narragansett Bay, is tricky. First we cleared the breakwaters of Stonington Harbor and then carefully followed the marked channel around Sandy Point. On weekends, this can be a maddeningly crowded spot, as locals like to hang out here for a swim and a walk along the beach. But this was a weekday, and we were able to stay in the channel without fear of running over an anchor line or hitting a swimmer. We find a perfect spot off Naptree Beach in 9-feet of water and drop our hook. A dinghy ride into Watch Hill Cove brings us to a public dinghy dock where we begin our exploration of this charming seaside town. Since it’s after Labor Day, the wonderful Flying Horse Carousel is not operating, but we find our favorite ice cream parlor, St. Clair Annex, still serving. Grand hotels and inns overlooking the ocean, surf and tackle shops, beach apparel boutiques, nautical gift shops, fishing charters, pizza parlors and fine seafood restaurants all add up to a friendly, old-fashioned seaside village.