We headed for the shore in the aftermath of a substantial storm that downed trees and hit some coastal areas with near hurricane winds. We figured the waves at Beavertail State Park would be impressive, but we were a little surprised at how cold those winds made us feel. The temperature registered around 39 degrees F, but it felt so much colder it fairly took my breath away. Good thing we had down jackets and warm hats and gloves.
Once at Beavertail, we stayed right along the point, avoiding the woodland trails on this western side of the spit of land that juts out into the ocean. These trails can often be muddy, and after the recent rain we figured it would be quite messy. We saw few birds on the western side of the park, but enjoyed watching waves collide from both east and west as they met and exploded right near the lighthouse.
On the eastern side of this state park, we found one large “raft” of birds, lots of eiders, many surf scoters, some harliquin ducks, and some odd ducks we were not familiar with. We are not bird experts, but we enjoy spotting birds, finding ones we know, and looking up ones we don’t know.
While we were watching the birds, we heard hammers pounding next to the light house, and realized workmen were laboring to replace the metal roof that had blown off the night before from the museum building next door to the light house. We did not envy these workers having to be up on a ladder in that wind!
The day was getting later, but we thought we mght have enough time to head across the Newport bridge to see what was on the opposite shore from Beavertail Point. We usually avoid Newport in summer because of the congested traffic one must deal with. But in February we breezed through the downtown, followed the coastline and found ourselves at Ft. Adams State Park.
The fort and museum buildings are closed to visitors in the winter, but the walkway along the shoreline is open and offers very easy walking, as well as great views of the Newport Bridge. Once we got to the west side of the fort we had a clear view of Jamestown’s coastline.
And as we walked farther, we spotted, in the lowering daylight, the same lighthouse we had just walked around at Beavertail Point, shining its light for mariners.
As we came back around to the east side of the fort to end our walk, we took in the pink glow of the sky and the full moon just rising. Some hooded mergansers were busy feeding just off shore. And as the light lessened, the moonlight sparkled on the waves.
Winter can be a great time to visit the shore, and since we have had some warm temperatures, we had little or no ice to deal with, a real positive when looking for Easy Walks. There’s no telling what the coming weeks will bring, but we were glad to have gotten out to stretch our legs, despite the cold. Happy Trails!
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.