Beaches get so crowded in summer that it is tough to find a quiet spot to take in the water, the horizon, and the sounds and smells of the ocean. We normally avoid going to the beach in warmer weather for these, and other reasons.
We ventured to Wickford, RI on an errand, and on our way back north encountered Wilson Park, on Roosevelt Ave., North Kingstown, RI just off Rt. 1A. The main portion of the park was jammed with summer visitors. Children climbed on playground equipment, while others picnicked, played basketball, baseball, soccer, or simply lay out in the sun. We hurried past the noisy main park and found ourselves at the Long Point boat ramp, part of Wilson Park. As opposed to most places with shoreline access, this area was surprisingly uncrowded.
A paved walking path (about 1.5 miles) offers a short, level place to wander through the woodlands adjacent to the shoreline. One footpath down to the water had a sign directing visitors to an easy spot to launch kayaks. This, and other trails leading to the water from the boat ramp area were very walkable. The only other visitors we encountered were those pulling boats out of the water at the boat ramp, and two kayakers, returning from a paddle around the multiple coves at the edge of this western side of Narragansett Bay.
Having no kayaks with us, we contented ourselves with a meander along the shoreline. A well-worn path led us right alongside the water’s edge. The tide was heading out, so we had no concern about our footpath becoming flooded, which may happen at extremly high tides.
One small crab skittered in front of us. The track we followed was peppered with small drill holes, presumably made by shoreline dwelling creatures that were not in evidence, other than that solitary crab. We followed in the path others had blazed out to a large rock outcrop, and found the remains of multiple clam or scallop shells. The seagulls have found this to be an ideal dinner prep spot. Once dropped and their shells broken, the mollusks have no protection from the birds that soar down and scoop up their feast.
We spent some time perched on the rocks, taking in the sights, scents, and sounds of the sea. One boat owner rowed his dinghy out to his moored sailboat waiting just offshore. An osprey nest stood on the opposite shore, but since we’d neglected to bring our binoculars we were unable to see if any parents were actually watching over a growing brood of offspring.
Some mud from the shore found its way home in the soles of our boots but after a quick session knocking out the dirt, we swept up what had been tracked inside and settled in for the evening. What had begun as an errand that took us (multiple times!) through a very crowded downtown Wickford (in winter this charming spot is almost deserted) eventually brought us to a place of solitude, a respite from summer crowds. May your find your places of quiet in this noisy world we live in. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks, Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.
She has written for numerous local, regional, and national publications over 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.