Jamestown occupies Conanicut Island, the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. of course, this is Rhode Island, so don’t let “second biggest” mislead you: Conanicut island is only nine miles long by one mile wide. Jamestown retains much of its rural character and quiet charm, providing a peaceful retreat from some of the more booming beach towns. Those who like to explore on foot or by bicycle will find Jamestown a perfect place to spend a relaxing day outdoors. Car traffic is light. There are great parks, plenty of unspoiled beauty, lots of historic sights and lovely water views just about everywhere.
Where To Go
Enjoy some food, music and art on your trip across the bridge.
Stroll Downtown Jamestown
Unlike bustling Newport, Jamestown’s commercial district, centered on the intersection of Canonicus and Narragansett Avenues, is the perfect size to spend an afternoon strolling, shopping and eating – without dodging big crowds. Browse unique shops like Fair Trade Winds (47 Conanicus Ave. 401-560-0564, fairtradewinds.net) and The Purple Door (47 Conanicus ave. 401-423-1231), and get outfitted for your adventures at Jamestown Outdoors (34 Narragansett Ave. 401-924-2885, jamestownoutdoors.com). If all that makes you hungry, stop for a bite at East Ferry Deli (47 Conanicus ave. 401-423-1592, eastferrydeli.com) or A Slice of Heaven (32 Narragansett ave. 401-423-9866, sliceofheavenri.com) and take your food to go to the beach.
Blues, Bloodies and Brunch
The Narragansett Café is a local favorite for food and live music. The best time to visit is on Sunday from 1-4pm when you can enjoy live blues and swing, creative Bloody Marys and Mimosas, their signature Benedict varieties and getting to know the locals. 25 Narragansett Ave. 401-423-2150, narragansettcafe.com
Jamestown Arts Center
This multi-disciplinary, all purpose arts and cultural hub is both gallery and event space, hosting art openings, film screenings, theatrical performances and classes. 18 Valley St. 401-560-0979, jamestownartcenter.org
What To See
Jamestown is more about enjoying nature than any man-made excitement.
Beavertail State Park is Jamestown’s best-known attraction, and home to the Beavertail Lighthouse, an active beacon. Its 153 acres are great for hiking, picnicking and fishing, with great views all around. Beavertail Rd. 401-423-9941, riparks.com
A former military installation, Fort Wetherill rests on 100-foot high cliffs, providing a prime vantage point for boat races and events in Narragansett Bay’s east Passage. It is also a popular jumping off point for scuba divers. Fort Wetherill Rd. 401-423-1771, riparks.com
Fort Getty Park, another piece Jamestown’s military history, is a popular campground, with 25 tent sites and 100 trailer sites. It also offers a fishing area. 913 Fort Getty Rd. 401-423-7211, jamestownri.net
Watson Farm has been in operation since 1796. Its 265 acres are open for the public to explore on self-guided walking tours of livestock, wildlife and traditional farm life. 455 North Rd. 401-423-0005
Located on 17 acres of premium farmland, Jamestown Community Farm grows approximately 15,000 pounds of fresh produce each season to supply nonprofit agencies and food pantries. They welcome visitors Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm to dusk and Saturdays from 9am-noon. 231 East Shore Rd. 401-423-0910, conanicutlandtrust.org/farm.htm
A 22-acre historic site, Conanicut Battery National Historic Park includes several earthen fortifications dating back to the Revolutionary War built by Rhode island colonists and British troops alike. It is traversed by well-marked trails with information on the site’s history. Battery Ln. jamestown-ri.info/jri_recreation.htm