Just a bridge away, Jamestown is Rhode Island’s hidden gem. This island has gorgeous, unspoiled nature to explore, some of the state’s best food, and a fraction of the crowds of other tourist destinations.
For an island with a little over 5,000 residents, Jamestown has a lot of impressive dining options. Simpatico Jamestown (13 Narragansett Ave.) serves an eclectic menu that blends classic Rhode Island foods with worldly flavors. J22 Tap and Table (22 Narragansett Ave.) is a great example of keeping things small and doing them right; the restaurant is cozy, the small menu changes often, but ingredients are local and at the peak of freshness, and everything – down to the cocktail sauce – is housemade. New to the street, Tallulah’s Taqueria (35 Narragansett Ave.) brings Providence cult-favorite counterserve tacos, nachos, and burritos, plus an outdoor patio. IslandDish Fresh Market To Go (40 Narragansett Ave.) will be a brand-new “groceraunt,” bar, and cafe.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Slice of Heaven (32 Narragansett Ave. #1166) is a European-style bakery that serves breakfast and lunch, plus coffee, pastries, and cocktails. Recently purchased by two women from Atlanta, Village Hearth Bakery & Cafe (2 Watson Ave.) still cooks up wood-fired artisan breads and pizzas made from scratch and baked on-site in their rustic, cozy cafe. East Ferry Deli (47 Conanicus Ave.), open for breakfast and lunch daily, is known for their specialty sandwiches and sweeping waterfront views.
The Narragansett Cafe (25 Narragansett Ave.), aka The Ganny, has changed ownership, but will still be hosting some of the area’s best live music during the summer. Bands range from jazz and blues to rock, and are always danceable. Find the same food staples you know and love, including a brunch menu of signature Benedict varieties, Blood Marys, and mimosas.
Beavertail State Park (Beavertail Rd.) is notably one of the most beautiful pieces of scenery in New England. The rocky coastline offers views of Newport and the Atlantic Ocean from any of its four overlooks and from the hiking trails throughout. Beavertail is also home to a lighthouse and a small aquarium with exhibits on local sea life, hours still pending at this time. Director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) was so taken with Beavertail that he filmed scenes from Moonrise Kingdom there. Spend an afternoon exploring, or enjoy their environmental interpretive program with guided excursions.
Jamestown is only nine miles long and one mile wide, but there’s a lot of history on the island. Fort Wetherill (3 Fort Wetherill Rd.), an abandoned military fort, is a must-see destination. Besides the fort itself, which has become something of a graffiti art museum, the views from the cliffs of this 100-foot vantage are stunning. It’s also a popular spot for scuba divers.
Conanicut Battery National Historic Park (Battery Ln.) is home to several earthen fortifications dating back to the Revolutionary War, built by both colonists and the British. Explore the trails, which have information on the park’s history. Fort Getty Park (1050 Fort Getty Rd.), another piece of Jamestown’s military history, has fishing areas and a campground.
Watson Farm (455 North Rd.) has been in operation since 1796, and offers self-guided tours of livestock, wildlife, and farm history. The Jamestown Historical Society (92 Narragansett Ave.) is a hub for all of the island’s historic preservation, including the Jamestown Museum, Meetinghouse, and Jamestown Philomenian Library. Be sure to see the windmill, located on North Road near Weeden Land, open weekends or by appointment (JamestownHistoricalSociety.org). Plus, be on the lookout for the Jamestown Arts Center’s (18 Valley St.) special Outdoor Arts installations across the island!
Skip the Newport traffic by taking the Jamestown Newport Ferry (1 East Ferry Wharf Unit 2) or tour the harbor aboard Coastal Queen. Jamestown Outdoors (35 Narragansett Ave.) offers a variety of unique kayak tours such as the Full Moon Wine and Cheese Tasting Tour, Sunset Tours, and Eco Tours. See JamestownOutdoors.com for dates and locations.