Rome Point

Skipping rocks

Skipping rocks at Rome Point

A spring-like February school vacation day is meant to be spent outdoors. Friends were posting photos of their kids skiing in New Hampshire or ice skating on Boston Common.

We decided to go to the beach.

I left work early and drove over to Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, where I met my husband with the kids. Fog had rolled in, however, creating a chill. In Rhode Island, as they say, if you don’t like the weather, drive back over the bridge.

We headed to Narragansett, hoping to hike at Black Point. More fog. We turned around and headed north towards Rome Point. A lot full of cars told us we had finally hit a hotspot.

The John H. Chafee Nature Preserve in North Kingstown is tucked away behind that parking lot, and further hidden at the end of a one-and-a-quarter mile path is an expanse of rocky beach with a view of the Jamestown Bridge and—at the right time of year—harbor seals.

Today, the return path was well traveled by families and people walking their dogs. But by the time we got to the shore around 3:30, most of the crowd had filtered away, which gave us that pleasant feeling of having the place pretty much to ourselves.

On a boulder at Rome Point

Someone had posted online earlier that day that they had seen the harbor seals, which visit the area from late fall to early spring. Rather than walking north where seal sighting is supposed to be best, however, we walked south so the kids could climb out onto the boulders. Optimistically, they took their shoes off. A bare foot in the bay quickly reminded them that despite the 60-degree air, it was, indeed, still winter in New England.

After drying off, the boys scurried around, adding to their rock collection. In addition to stones of all colors, the beach was littered with slipper shells that crunched under our feet. After half an hour we set back for the parking lot, pockets full of rocks that, once home, will never look quite as beautiful as they did shining in the shallow water of Rome Point on a sunny winter afternoon.

Gathering rocks at Rome Point

Adding to the rock collection


Want to discover more places like Rome Point? Check out Know. Go.

Monica Allard Cox, Rhode Island Sea Grant Communications Director