In early August of 1778, American forces attacked the 7,000 British, Hessian, and Provincial troops occupying the town of Newport. By the end of the month, with militia enlistments expiring and British reinforcements on the way from New York, the American commanders decided to abandon the siege lines and the island. At dawn on August 29, the British discovered the American lines were abandoned and troops had retreated to Portsmouth. Hoping to catch the 10,000 Continental and State troops, British General Pigot ordered British forces to advance from their defensive line at Newport.
Pigot ordered reinforcements from Newport to attack the American troops. However, the British forces were outnumbered and despite three attacks, they were unable to take control of the troops in Portsmouth. Americans retreated off the island unmolested, with the last troops departing just hours before thousands of British reinforcements arrived by ship into Newport Harbor.
P1. Mount Hope View Road
This site is located in the Common Fence Point area at Pole 56S, at the northernmost end of Anthony Road. The path starts between a picket fence and a fire hydrant. The trail winds through the brush about 500 feet to a rocky point surrounded by a cobble beach and intertidal areas. The point affords an excellent view of Mount Hope Bay, the surrounding coastal areas, and the Mount Hope Bridge, and it is a nice spot for walking and bird watching. This area is closed to shellfishing. A faded access sign is present. No parking is available.
CRMC ROW#: V-1
Picnicking, fishing, trash receptacles
P2. Narragansett Road
Located in the Common Fence Point area at Pole 40, this site is a right-of-way at a bend in the road near the northern end of Narragansett Road. A 30-foot dirt path leads to a sandy cobble beach that is well suited for a summer picnic. No parking is available.
CRMC ROW#: V-3
P3. Anthony Road
A 50-foot-wide grassy right-of-way at Pole 39 offers a shady place to stop and enjoy beautiful views of Mount Hope Bay and the Mount Hope Bridge. An opening in the rail fence indicates the right-of-way. No parking is available.
CRMC ROW#: V-2
P4. Gull Cove State Boat Ramp
Located off Route 24/138 North, just before the Hummocks Road and Common Fence Point exits, this state property is on a peninsula situated in the cove off the Sakonnet River. The facility has a single-width concrete slab boat ramp in fair condition and an extensive gravel parking area. There are other possible launching spots along the cobble shoreline of the peninsula. This well-protected cove offers boaters easy access to both the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope Bay. The area is also popular with quahoggers and bird watchers but is unsafe for swimming.
Picnicking, fishing, hiking/walking, trash receptacles
P5. Cedar Avenue
Located in Island Park at Pole 6, this right-of-way consists of a narrow path that extends northeast from the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Beach Street to a cobble area bordering the cove. A public access sign is present.
CRMC ROW#: V-4
Wildlife observation, hiking/walking
P6. Green Street
Located in Island Park, just off the Coral Street intersection, this very narrow right-of-way runs off Green Street to a grass path leading to a set of concrete steps to a salt marsh and tidal flat area at the south end of Blue Bill Cove. This site is marked by a blue shoreline access sign.
CRMC ROW#: V-6
P7. Stone Bridge Ramp
This state-owned boat ramp is located on the Sakonnet River next to Stonebridge Marina on Point Road. This ramp provides access to upper Sakonnet River. Suitable for boats up to 20 feet at half-tide and above. Parking is available.
P8. Teddy's Beach
Located at the end of Park Avenue on Point Road, just south of the Old Stone Bridge, this state-managed area has a small crescent of sandy beach with a sloping grassy area behind it. It is a nice spot for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and viewing the river and the Gould Island Refuge. No lifeguards are present.
Picnic tables/benches, wildlife observation
P9. Ivy Avenue
This right-of-way is located in Island Park at Pole 14, at the intersection of Ivy Avenue and Seaconnet Boulevard. The right-of-way is a grassy path leading about 20 yards between two houses to a small rocky bank on the Sakonnet River. A shoreline access sign is present.
CRMC ROW#: V-7
P10. Gould Avenue
This right-of-way is located in Island Park at Pole 9, at the extension of Gould Avenue off Seaconnet Boulevard. A steep, paved boat ramp provides access to the Sakonnet River. The site is marked with a blue shoreline access sign.
CRMC ROW#: V-9
P11. Island Park Avenue
This right-of-way, located at Pole 6 at the intersection of Island Park Avenue and Seaconnet Boulevard, is a grass strip leading to a stone wall bordering the Sakonnet River. There is a blue shoreline access sign.
CRMC ROW#: V-10
P12. Fountain Avenue
A right-of-way located at Pole 3 in the middle of Fountain Avenue, this site is a grass strip leading about 20 yards to a concrete wall extending south to a cobble beach bordering the Sakonnet River. There is no parking in the right-of-way. The site is marked with a blue shoreline access sign. Just west down the street is a concrete boat ramp with no available parking.
CRMC ROW#: V-12
P13. Aquidneck Avenue
Located near Portsmouth Park, this site is a right-of-way off Aquidneck Avenue. This narrow right-of-way is a grass path leading to a set of small concrete steps between two houses and to a cobble shore of the Sakonnet River. The site is marked with a blue shoreline access sign, and a crosswalk leads to the right-of-way.
CRMC ROW#: V-13
P14. Tallman Avenue
Located near Portsmouth Park, at the intersection of Tallman and Atlantic avenues, this right-of-way is a paved walkway leading to a concrete ramp and a set of concrete steps to a state-owned cobble beach on the Sakonnet River. The site is marked with a blue shoreline access sign.
CRMC ROW#: V-15
Picnic tables/benches, hiking/walking
P15. East Corys Lane
Located near Portsmouth Park, off East Corys Lane at the junction with Atlantic Avenue, this right-of-way is a 20-yard grassy path leading to a cobble shoreline bordering the Sakonnet River. The site is marked with a blue shoreline access sign. There is a view of the river from the road.
CRMC ROW#: V-14
P16. Child Street
Located in Portsmouth Park, this right-of-way is a paved road extension leading to a cobble beach bordering the Sakonnet River. A public access sign is present.
CRMC ROW#: V-16
P17. Morningside Lane
Located near Portsmouth Park, at the end of Morningside Lane off Water Street, this right-of-way is a grassy path with concrete stairs leading down to a cobble beach on the Sakonnet River. A shoreline access sign is present.
CRMC ROW#: V-17
P18. Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NBNERR)
NBNERR includes approximately 60 percent of Prudence Island as well as Patience, Hope, and Dyer islands. NBNERR facilities are concentrated at the south end of Prudence Island and include a learning center with exhibits on the flora, fauna, and history of the island, a water quality monitoring lab, and an indoor classroom. Just down the road from the NBNERR learning center, you will find the T-wharf, a popular fishing spot and seal haul-out location. There is a floating dock on the north side of the T-wharf and a dock at Potter's Cove at the north end of the island that can be used by boaters for loading and unloading only. Other access to the reserve is via the Prudence Island Ferry from Bristol. The NBNERR Learning Center is open June to September and is about 3.5 miles from the ferry landing. Due to a high population of deer ticks, camping is not allowed on any of the reserve properties. Parking is available.
Picnic tables/benches, swimming, fishing, hiking/walking
P19. Sandy Beach
Located off the main road west of the turnoff to NBNERR North Parcel, this is a beautiful, long, sand and cobble beach on Narragansett Bay with a pristine salt marsh behind the beach. This is a good spot for walking and birding, with a view of the marsh, the Bay, and Hope Island. Access via an unmarked, bumpy dirt road is difficult.
P20. NBNERR (North Parcel)
See P18 above for description.
P21. Melville Campground Recreational Area
Located off Sullivan Road, a right turn off Stringham Road, one-half mile from Route 114, this town facility has sites for 57 tents and 59 trailers and is open April through October. There is access to the shoreline of Narragansett Bay via a bumpy dirt road. Although overgrown, the shoreline provides opportunities for walking and viewing the East Passage of the Bay. On-site parking is available. Fee.
Picnic tables/benches, swimming, toilets, trash receptacles
P22. Weaver Cove Boat Ramp
Located off Burma Road, one mile south of Stringham Road, this concrete public boat ramp offers plenty of vehicle and trailer parking. A dock with handicap access is also available for use.
Fishing, hiking/walking, trash receptacles
P23. Sandy Point Beach
Located at the end of Sandy Point Avenue, off Route 138, this is a wide, sandy beach about one-half mile long, forming a point in the Sakonnet River. The beach has a dirt parking lot and a small bathhouse with restrooms. This is a well-protected beach for swimming and a nice place for walking along the shore. There is a parking fee for nonresidents.
Picnic tables/benches, fishing, wild- life observation, trash receptacles
P24. McCorrie Lane Fishing Area
At the end of McCorrie Lane, a large, sandy parking area offers access to an extensive cobble beach perfect for swimming, fishing, or hand-launching a boat. No parking is available.
Melville Nature Preserve
This former Navy land features over 4 miles of trails through varied deciduous woodlands, with paths leading to a pebbly beach on Narragansett Bay, and to several freshwater ponds. A walk to the Bay shoreline provides views of Prudence Island (directly opposite), and Hog Island and Bristol to the north. The site is part of the 92-acre Melville Recreation Area, which includes the town-operated Melville Pond Campground.
For more information, contact the town of Portsmouth, (401) 683-3255. For camping reservations, contact the campground, (401) 849-8212.
From Newport Bridge, take second exit, for Rte. 138. Turn left off ramp. Travel 1 mile to Rte. 138/114, and turn left. Travel 5.5 miles on Rte. 114 to turnoff for Melville Marine Center, and turn left. After 0.4 mile, turn right at sign for Melville Recreation Area. At end of road, turn left, then take first right to nature preserve.
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