The forecast projected another hot day, so we set out for the shore. Beavertail State Park, on Jamestown Island, Rhode Island, has changed dramatically since I first visited there in the 1970’s. It was not even a state park then, rather, it was simply a place along the shore where you could watch the waves crash onto the shore while hopping along the rocks, next to the lighthouse at the tip of the point. Now, there is not only ample parking, public bathrooms, and walking trails alongside the cliffs on both sides of the peninsula, there is also a museum, an aquarium
and a tower that is open to the public seasonally. We happened to be there on a day when the museum, aquarium, and tower were open.
We opted not to climb the tower for an even better view than was available from the rocks, but many lined up, offering donations to the museum for the privilege of enjoying the view.
We also checked out the seasonal aquarium, a small building next to the lighthouse that houses multiple fish tanks,
with a “touch tank” for curious children (and adults!) to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the aquarium.
The trail on the west side of the peninsula is more extensive than on the eastern side of this spit of land, and offers multiple places where you can access the rocks below the trail. Relatively flat and surprisingly free of rocks, this trail is an Easy Walk in a place you might not expect to find one.
Despite faithfully undertaking many and various forms of physical therapy, I have found the most effective treatment to relieve the nerve pain in my shoulder I’ve suffered this summer is, wait for it…walking, using my walking sticks. Each step I take, putting some weight on each walking stick in turn, feels like the most amazing massage, and the relief after a forty-five minute walk lasts for hours. The trails at Beavertail felt tailor made for helping me get the exercise I needed, at a steady pace, with an amazing view to boot!
We brought a picnic lunch and after our walk and museum tour we found a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the water. We saw few birds on this trip–in the winter we often spot rafts of birds floating just off the shore, but this day offered little in the bird viewing department. We did, however, see loads of butterflies–monarchs? flitting about among the late summer flowers and other shrubs near the lighthouse.
The park is open year round, but the museum is open May to October. Fall is here, and winter is coming. In the colder weather we’ll return to enjoy the winter birds that find shelter just off shore at Beavertail.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.