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Jamestown (Rhode Island)

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Newport County : Jamestown
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Jamestown in Narragansett Bay, at just 1 1/2 hours from Boston and 3 1/2 hours from New York, is an ideal weekend getaway with lots to see and do at the relaxed pace of "island time".

Despite its tiny size—nine miles long and one mile wide—the island is packed with sights to see and things to do. Jamestown’s main commercial area is Narragansett Avenue, where there is an array of restaurants and shops. An attraction in Jamestown is that there are no chain restaurants or stores. The only duplicate stores in town are the two gas stations. Jamestown prides itself on its locally owned businesses. The town has a wonderful history and a welcoming demeanor that will make you feel right at home.

Understand

Jamestownwikiwidoff.jpg The island is rich in open space and a tour around it's rural roads reveals farms, salt marshes, and stunning water views. Jamestown is full of hidden treasures such as small beaches and winding trails. Beavertail Lighthouse juts dramatically into Rhode Island Sound from a rocky southern tip of the island.

Jamestown is home to three marinas and many residents and visitors are sailors. Narragansett Bay is ideal for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. The village center is Narragansett Ave. which runs from east to west with a marina at each end and is lined with restaurants and stores.

Locals and vacationers can find most of what they need but some things require a trip off island. Jamestowners are not anxious to spoil the small town ambiance with big box stores and chain restaurants and most businesses are owned or run by locals.

The island town also has an interesting historical background. In the early 1300's Native American's made their home on Conanicut Island and were the lone settlers until the 1600's. English settlers began arrived after making arrangements with the Narragansett tribe to use the land for grazing their sheep. In 1775 during the Revolutionary War, the British Navy arrived in Newport and shortly after invaded Jamestown. They attacked Fort Getty and Fort Wetherill. The island's history as a strategic defense point is still visible in the remains of these fortifications and others dating from the 18th to the 20th century.

For a complete history of Jamestown, [1]

Get in

By air

  • T.F. Green Airport (IATA: PVD) (ICAO: KPVD), Warwick, (Exit 13 off Interstate 95), Phone: +1 401-737-4000, ext 283, [2].

By car

Jamestown is an island that is accessible through two bridges.

  • The Jamestown Bridge connects to Route 95 via Route 138 and goes to South County.
  • The Newport Pell Bridge connects to Route 24 via Route 138, has a four dollar toll/EZ Pass and goes to Newport and Aquidneck Island.

By boat

  • Conanicut Marina, One Ferry Wharf, Phone: +1 401 423-7157, Fax: 401-423-7152, Dockmaster VHF: 71, [3].
  • Jamestown Boat Yard, 60 Racquet Rd. Phone: +1 401 423-0600 Fax: 401423-0060, [4]. A full service boatyard that handles mooring, docking, storage and maintenance of power boats and sail boats.
  • Dutch Harbor Boat Yard, 252 Narragansett Ave. Phone: +1 401 423-0630, VHF: 69 [5]. West Passage Marina equipped with wi-fi, showers and full-off season storage, along with The Shack which serves snacks and lunch.

Get around

  • Jamestown and Newport Ferry, Ferry Wharf, Phone: +1 401 423-9900 [6]The 45 passenger Jamestown-Newport Ferry is not only a great way to visit Newport without the usual parking problems. It's also an inexpensive way to spend the day exploring the bay with an all day ticket. You can get on and off in Jamestown Village, Rose Island Lighthouse, historic Fort Adams, the Museum of Yachting, Bowen's Wharf, and Goat Island. It's rarely crowded and there's a bar on board. Check the website for seasonal schedules and ticket prices.
  • Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) [7] has buses that travel around the state. Bus fare is $1.75, $.85 for seniors with identification, and free for children under five. It also costs $.50 to switch bus lines.

See

When you're not athe beach or on the water enjoying the ocean views, this small island town offers museums, art shows, concerts and sporting events.

Museums

  • Beavertail State Park and Lighthouse Museum, Beavertail Rd., Phone: +1 401 423-3270, [8]. One of the oldest lighthouses on the east coast, it now houses a small museum and aquarium. Museum open June-Labor Day 10AM-4PM. Free.
  • Beavertail Aquarium Beavertail Rd., Phone: +1 401 423-9941. A variety of sea life native to Narragansett Bay is located at the free to the public aquarium in Beavertail State Park. Occasional guided tidal pool explorations are available by request. Open from Mid-April to the end of October 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Watson Farm, 1796 North Road, Phone: +1 401 423-0005, [9]. Take a step into the past and get a glimpse of what farm life was like over two hundred years ago. Open June 1 through October 15, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. $4 for the general public, Historic New England / SPNEA members and Jamestown residents free.
  • Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum, 50 Narragansett Avenue. Phone: +1 401 423-0062, [10]. A museum for antique fire fighting equipment, including a Lafrance steam fire engine. Admission is free.
  • Jamestown Museum, 92 Narragansett Avenue. Phone: +1 401 423-2429. [11]. A museum housed in a small 19th century building originally used for a school and the town's first library, it features a collection of artifacts and photographs (digitized)relating to the island's history. Special exhibits every summer focus on one aspect of Jamestown's history and development. Open 1PM-4PM W-Su during July and August. Admission is free.
  • Jamestown Windmill, North Road. Phone: +1 401 423-2429. [12]. The town's orginal 1787 windmill is today a living museum with stunning views of the Newport Pell Bridge. The original framework is of hand-hewn chestnut timbers with shingled exterior. The mill is maintained in working condition. Grounds open year round, interior open weekends during July and August. Admission is free.

Events

  • Jamestown Penguin Plunge - January 1st, Noon, Mackerel Cove, Phone: +1 401 823-7411. Hundreds of swimmers take the frozen plunge into the water to raise money for charity.
  • Fool's Rules Regatta- mid-August, Begins at 9AM, East Ferry, Phone: +1 401 423-1492. A grand day for laughs and water. Each participant has to build a water craft from found objects and keep it afloat. The one who lasts longest wins!
  • Jamestown Classic Bike Race [13] A round the island ASCF sanctioned race popular with riders for the scenic beauty of the course that runs past farmland, marshes and beaches and ends up in the village just in time for lunch. Sponsored by the Jamestown Rotary Club, all proceeds aid their local, national and international humanitarian work.
  • Jamestown Annual Talent Show, Jamestown Recreation Center, 41 Conanicus Ave, Phone: +1 401 423-7260. This event usually occurs towards the end of August on a Thursday night at seven p.m. The talent show showcases the skills of Jamestown residents, visitors, and nearby residents. It is always an entertaining evening.

Do

  • Beavertail State Park, Beavertail Rd. Phone: +1 401 423-3270. New England's oldest lighthouse serves as both an active beacon and as a museum. The light also has a indoor, free to the public aquarium that showcases a wide variety of marine life commonly found in Narragansett Bay. The light offers a spectacular 180 degree look over Narragansett Bay including views of Newport, Bonnet Shores, and Point Judith. Jagged cliffs and coves provide excellent fishing and sheltered swimming areas. Paved paths provide beautiful walks and bike rides. Picnicking, kite flying, and hiking. Beavertail [14]


  • Fort Getty Recreational Area, West of Mackerel Cove Beach off or Beavertail Rd. Phone: +1 401 423-7264. Originally used as and observational look out and protection of Narragansett Bay during WWI and WWII, Fort Getty is now a park that offers a fishing area, boat ramp, hiking trails and is an overnight camp ground.
  • Fort Wetherill State Park, Ocean St., Phone: +1 401 423-1771. Situated on 100 foot high granite cliffs this former coastal defense battery and training camp is known for its spectacular view of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. Family and group picnicking, boating, fishing, and hiking.
  • Jamestown Country Club, 245 Conanicus Road, +1 401 423-9930,[15]. 9 holes, par 72, 6096 yards, rating 69.7, slope 110.


  • Jamestown Skate Park, McElroy Park. One of the best skateparks in RI, this is a concrete flow park. Not open during school hours.
  • Mackerel Cove Beach Beavertail Rd. Located on a narrow neck of land, Mackerel Cove is a public town beach perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Across the road from Sheffield Cove, and near the Fox Hill nature area, Mackerel Cove is where many residents and visitors spend the afternoon during the summer.
  • Conanicut Battery National Historical Park, Battery Lane on Prospect Hill south of Fort Getty on Beavertail Rd. Visitors are welcome to walk through trails that include remains of earthen forts built d in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. These forts were originally built by Rhode Island Colonists, but rebuilt and maintained British until 1779.
  • Spearfishing, Beavertail Rd.. Using snorkel, spearfish one of Beavertail's countless coves. Nutrient-rich waters are home to Tautog, Striped Bass, and Summer Flounder. Coves provide shelter from currents and waves for easy navigation underwater.
  • Hiking, Beavertail Rd.. Beavertail State Park is laced with numerous hiking trails that parallel the coastline. The dirt and rock trails meander down and around the cliffs to provide water access. Remains of anti-ship/submarine turret still stands facing Newport.
  • Birdwatching, Beavertail State Park. Bird Enthusiasts are privelaged with numerous bird species. Including seabirds such as Piping Plovers, terns, and gulls. Birds of prey such as Ospreys have been known to snatch fish right from the water. Commorants can be seen sunning on the rocks, flying, or chasing bait fish under the waves.


Buy

Except for gas stations, Jamestown does not host a single "chain" or non-local business. Don't expect to find a Wal-mart; every restaurant and property on the island is, if not owned directly by a local, probably run by one. Some things require a trip off island but there are many large chain stores within a short drive.

  • Baker's Pharmacy of Jamestown, 53 Narragansett Avenue. Family-owned full-service pharmacy selling toiletries, Over-The-Counter medicines, cosmetics, children's toys, greeting cards and other useful items.
  • Conanicut Marine, 20 Narragansett Avenue. Phone: +1 401 423-7158. Ships Store/ Chandlery offers sportswear, local interest gifts and marine books. Also a full line of nautical goods including boats, motors, engine parts, marine accessories, electronics and hardware.
  • Grapes and Gourmet, 9 Ferry Wharf. A store with a full service deli and food shop, along with selling wine and liquor.
  • Jamestown Designs, 17 Narragansett Avenue. An art gallery that sells cards and handcrafted jewelry.
  • Jamestown Hardware, 5 Narragansett Ave, +1 401 423-2722. A family-owned hardware store that stocks an amazing variety of household and hardware necessities. If they don't have what you need, they will order for you. If you don't need anything, it's worth a visit to see what hardware stores used to be. M-Fr 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-1pm.
  • Jamestown Liquors, 30 Southwest Ave. Phone +1 401 423-0100. Besides carrying a variety of wine and spritis, Jamestown gifts, souvenirs, specialty foods and t-shirts are sold.
  • McQuades Market, 6 Clarke Street. The only full line supermarket and video rental store.
  • Purple Door, 47 Conanicus Ave. Phone: +1 401 423-1231. A store specialization in bead making and offers classes for jewelry making. Also sells antiques and gifts.
  • Secret Garden, 12 Southwest Ave. Indoor and outdoor plants, floral arrangements, gifts and accessories.
  • Stearns Farms Organic Produce, 915 East Shore Road. A farmstand that offers locally-grown organic vegetables and herbs. Open Saturdays 9-1 and Wednesdays 2-6, from July to October.
  • Zeek's Creek, 194 North Main Rd. Phone: +1 401 423-1170. Local source for very fresh seafood as well as fishing supplies and equipment. Open seasonally.

Eat

Jamestown offers a great variety of restaurants so whether you are in the mood to splurge or just grab a bite to eat, you will be satisfied. Keep in mind, you will not find a Burger King or Chilis on the island.

Budget

  • Ace's Pizza, 5 Clarke St, Phone: +1 401 423-2824. Right next to McQuade's Market. Offers pizza, sandwiches, and pasta for eat in or take out.
  • East Ferry Deli, 47 Conanicus Ave., Phone: +1 401 423-1592. Sandwiches, salads, bakery items, soups and bagels. Patio seatings offers great waterfront views.
  • House of Pizza, 23 Narragansett Ave., Phone: +1 401 423-3060.
  • PAC Pub,[16] 138 Narragansett Ave., +1 401 423-9909. Lunch and dinner. Prime rib and fish & chips. Full bar in addition to seated dining.
  • Peking Garden, 34 Narragansett Ave., Phone: +1 401 423-0680. Chinese food to go or eat in.
  • Shack, Dutch Harbor. Phone: +1 401 439-9259. In season offers sandwiches, soups and salads along with a breakfast menus which food that is able to be taken out or eaten at tables beside Narragansett Bay.
  • Spinnaker's Cafe, 3 East Ferry Warf, Phone: +1 401 423-3077. Deli sandwiches, bakery items and great ice cream. Eat in or sit down outside and enjoy the view of the wharf area.
  • Theatre Family Restaurant, 34 Narragansett Ave., Phone: +1 401 423-0907. Basic lunch and dinner served.
  • Village Hearth Bakery, 2 Watson Av., Phone: +1 401 423-9282. Artisan breads and pastries fresh daily from hand-milled grains baked in a wood-fired oven. Brick Oven Pizza served Su eves. Th-Sa 7AM-4PM, Su 7AM-2PM.

Splurge

  • Bay Voyage Inn [17]. 150 Conanicus Ave, Phone: +1 401 423-2160 Fine dining located on the water offering great views of Narragansett Bay and the Newport Bridge.
  • Jamestown Oyster Bar, 22 Narragansett Ave., Phone: +1 401 423-3380. A large selection of fresh and local seafood is available to choose from.
  • Trattoria Simpatico [18], 13 Narragansett Av., Phone: +1 401 423-3731. Italian dining with samples of French and Asian fusion along make this restaurant a place to try. Live jazz, weather permitting on some nights. Dinner daily. Lunch F-Su.

Casual Night Out

  • Chopmist Charlies [19], 40 Narragansett Ave. 1+401-423-1020. Casual atmosphere offering New England Seafood.
  • Slice of Heaven Bakery and Cafe [20], 32 Narragansett Ave, 1 401-423-9866. European Style Bakery and Deli offering gourmet sandwiches and fresh soups. Also serving coffee and smoothies. Full Liquor license. Open year round.
  • Tricia's Tropical Grille [21], 14 Narragansett Ave. 1+401 423-1490. Casual dining offering Caribbean, Cuban and Southern specialties. Key West inspired.

Drink

  • The Narragansett Cafe [22] aka "the Narry" or "the Gansett", 25 Narragansett Ave Phone: +1 401 423-2150 Great bar with live music every weekend. The weekend crowd is a mix of locals of all ages; visitors, sailors and motorcycle clubs. Good basic bar food: burgers, chili, sandwiches. Very casual. Never a cover charge.
  • PAC Pub [23] 138 Narragansett Ave., +1 401 423-9909. Full bar in addition to seated dining. Friendly bartenders and patrons. Lottery/keno/shuffleboard/jukebox.

Sleep

You will not find any chain hotels, or large resorts in Jamestown. Instead, the lodging locations are mostly comprised of cozy bed and breakfasts, and small condos.

  • Bay Voyage, 150 Conanicus Avenue, phone: +1 401 423-2100. A historical hotel with modern accommodations, and Victorian charm, complete with an award winning dining room. A more romantic choice for those looking for a getaway with a loved one.
  • Captains Cottage, 12 Friendship Street, phone: +1 401 423-3182. Carriage house apartments that sleep four.
  • East Bay B&B, 14 Union Street, phone: +1 401 423-0330. A beautiful Victorian with four guest rooms, which features homemade breakfast. Located conveniently in walking distance from novelty shops and restaurants on the island, and steps away from the ferry to Newport County.
  • Newport Overlook, 150 Bay View Dr., phone: +1 401 423-1886. A time share condominium property, a more expensive choice for visitors to the island.
  • Fort Getty Campground, Fort Getty (opposite Mackerel Cove town beach), +1 401 423-7211. The campsites overlook the water in all directions. The park has a boat ramp, swimming beach, great fishing and picnic spots. RVer reserve early for the summer so plan ahead.

Get out

Newport makes a great day trip a ten minute drive across the bridge or by ferry in season. Providence is a 40 minute drive and offers a great cosmopolitan contrast.

North Kingston is right across the Jamestown bridge, about 10-15 minutes away, offers historic landmarks such as Smith's Castle and the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace.



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