Before the Pilgrims landed, Barrington was occupied by the Wampanoag Indians. In 1632, a trading post was established at Tyler Point near the present Barrington Yacht Club. What is now called Barrington was then called by its Indian names, Sowams and Pokanoket.
In 1653, the early Pilgrims purchased the land from the Wampanoags; Massasoit, a chief of the Wampanoag tribe, was paid 35 pounds in return. Myles Standish received much of the land in West Barrington north of the present Rhode Island Country Club, although he chose not to live there. Standish called the area "The Garden of the Plymouth Patent and the Flower of the Garden" because of its fertile soil and scenic location.
Barrington became part of Rhode Island in 1746, and was incorporated in 1770. In the 1790s, salt works were established here for evaporation of the waters of Narragansett Bay.
1. Haines Memorial Park
The 73-acre state park is ideal for boat launching, fishing, picnicking, and playing ball. Ample parking is available on both sides of the park, which straddles Narragansett Avenue. The boat ramp, in excellent condition, offers access to Bullock Cove, which has several full-service marinas. This is a good place to park for access to the East Bay Bicycle Path. No fishing is permitted from the dock.
Handicap access, picnic tables/benches, hiking/walking, toilets, trash receptacles
2. Allen Avenue
This public right-of-way is located at the end of Allen Avenue next to the Cove Haven Marina. Access to the water is obstructed by debris and marsh vegetation.
3. Bay Spring Avenue
Located at the end of Bay Spring Avenue, this public right-of-way overlooks Bullock Cove and has a boat ramp in poor condition that is used by shellfishermen. No parking is available.
4. Woodbine Avenue
A public right-of-way is located at the end of the avenue on Bullock Cove. There is no boat access to the water, but the site makes for a scenic picnic spot.
5. Latham Park
This small town park is open to the public until 9 p.m., when car traffic is prohibited. The park has a nice view of the entrance to Bullock Cove and has an open grassy field ideal for kite flying. Parking is available.
Picnic tables/benches, hiking/walking, wildlife observation, trash receptacles
6. Willow Way
This public right-of-way includes 500 feet of beach that is considered unsafe for swimming. Located at the end of Willow Way, the beach area overlooks upper Narragansett Bay. A wetland behind the beach provides excellent bird watching opportunities.
7. Annawamscutt Road
This road ends at the shore in a pleasant area of crushed shells and sand, with a grand view of upper Narragansett Bay. Roadside parking is prohibited. Water is unappealing and unfit for swimming.
8. Appian Way
Owned by the Barrington Land Conservation Trust, this site, though well disguised as a private drive, is a 50-foot dirt path leading to Narragansett Bay. There is a small point with a pleasant sandy area on one side and a wetland on the other. This site is great for bird watching. No roadside parking is available.
9. Nayatt/Daunis Road
This scenic right-of-way consists of a path along Mussachuck Creek that leads to a cobble beach on Narragansett Bay. There is no on-street parking.
CRMC ROW#: P-2
10. Elm Lane
A public right-of-way on the south end of Elm Lane, this site commands a nice view of Narragansett Bay and has a bulkhead well suited for fishing. No parking is available.
11. Watson, Clark, Bluff, and Waterway Extensions
These four street ends are parallel to each other and all lead to the extension of Barrington Beach. Watson, Clark, Bluff, and Waterway all have trash facilities, but parking is prohibited on all four streets.
12. Barrington Town Beach
This is a long, sandy beach with commanding views of Narragansett Bay. Lifeguard hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in the summer season. There are showers and restrooms at the site. During the summer, the municipal beach is restricted to town residents who have paid the permit fee. The beach is, however, open to anyone in the off-season. Parking is available.
Handicap access, picnic tables/benches, hiking/walking, trash receptacles
13. Barrington Police Station Boat Ramp
This boat ramp is located on the Barrington River just north of Barrington Harbor. Boat ramp and trailer parking are available for town residents with permit. The ramp is adjacent to the East Bay Bicycle Path. Fee.
Hiking/walking, trash receptacles
14. Veterans' Memorial Park
A 200-acre town park is located next to the YMCA and surrounds Brick Yard Pond. The pond is very shallow and only suitable for canoes, rowboats, and shallow-draft sailboats. The park is a great spot for such activities as fishing, jogging, and bird watching. Open from sunrise to sunset. Parking is available.
Picnic tables/benches, trash receptacles
15. Walker Farm
This 30-acre town park includes a boat ramp and a dock that is suited for fishing. It is located off County Road and overlooks the west side of Hundred Acre Cove. Parking is available.
16. Osamequin Nature Trails and Bird Sanctuary
Two to three miles of trails wind through the sanctuary adjacent to Hundred Acre Cove and bordering wetlands, making this an ideal place for observing migratory waterfowl and shore birds. No hunting, camping, fires, or swimming is allowed in this town-owned sanctuary. Parking is for town residents only, by permit.
17. Knockum Hill Reserve
This town-owned nature reserve is home to endangered bird species and diamondback terrapin, and therefore several restrictions apply: No vehicles, hunting, horseback riding, or firearms are allowed on the site. A quarter-mile walk down a dirt road leads to an overgrown wooded area that eventually leads down to the water. A number of trails make this a good place for walking and bird watching. Access may be gained from George Street on the Barrington/Swansea border. No parking is available.
18. Acre Avenue
Located on Hundred Acre Cove, this public right-of-way has an overgrown 50-yard path that crosses wetlands before reaching the water. The site is ideal for bird watching and shell-fishing.
19. Juniper Street
The end of this road is a public right-of-way and a shellfishing spot.
20. Wamsetta Avenue
Hand-carry boat hauling and launching only are permitted at this town right-of-way on the Barrington River. The launching site is not well marked; it is comprised of grassy and sandy patches leading to the water.
21. Belvidere Avenue
Located on the upper Palmer River, this town right-of-way has a nice view of the quiet river and its wetlands.
22. East Bay Bicycle PathBarrington Leg
The path is ideal for walking, biking, and rollerblading. The bridges over the Barrington and Palmer rivers are great locations for skipjack fishing. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the bike path. Parking is available at various locations along the path.
Handicap access, picnic tables/benches, concessions, wildlife observation, trash receptacles
The primary access to Brickyard Pond is through the town's Veteran's Memorial Park. There is a dirt road and walking trail, which winds through a deciduous forewst, along the edge of the pond, providing some lovely views of the water. The trail also provides access to the pond for fishing. This pond can have large flocks of migrant waterfowl from fall through early spring, especially canvasback, ring-necked duck, American wigeon, and scaup. The East Bay Bike Path skirts Brickyard Pond at one end, providing a view of the length of the pond
For more information, contact the Barrington Recreation Department, (401) 247-1925.
To Veteran's Memorial Park, take I-195 to Rte. 114 south and follow for 5.5 miles. Turn right onto Maple Ave., and follow 0.2 mile. Turn left onto West St., and follow park.
These 32 acres, owned by the Barrington Land Conservation Trust, border the Palmer River and are adjacent to several other open areas, including the Swansea, Mass., Land Trust's 38-acre Barney/Bell Preserve. The site offers a diversity of habitats, including woodland, freshwater and saltwater wetlands, and farmland. Several rare species of plants grow on the site, and osprey nests are occupied in the summer. The site may be visited only during one of the several public tours offered each year. Tour arrangements for groups, such as classes, may be made through the land trust.
For more information, contact the Barrington Land Conservation Trust, (401) 245-8467.
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