To Atlantic City and ATL, Part 4: First Lights of Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island. Scituate, Massachusetts. (Map)

Summer 2016


Going to bed early and feeling restless from so much driving yesterday, I was then up early and went for a walk. Coming to another camping area of this flat state park, there was an incongruous hill to my left that I soon realized was man-made.

This is Battery 109 of Fort Greene, which defended Narragansett Bay during WWII. Following Cape Henlopen in Delaware, we were apparently staying in another campground that used to be a fort (and Fort Greene even used some of the old buildings still, as the park headquarters were in an old observation and fire control tower).

Packing up the car, two bridges brought us over Narragansett Bay and over to luxurious Newport. We weren't going to stay or eat in Newport because of the costs, but sure enough I messed up and double-backed onto the Claiborne Pell Bridge, meaning RI got more of my money in that I had to pay the toll twice.

Now Newport is known for its money and extravagant houses, but we sped past all of that to get to the Castle Hill Lighthouse. Parking at one of those unbelievable mansions, a short trail cut through the woods to my first lighthouse in Rhode Island.

This round granite tower was built in 1890 and you might know it from the Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom (I've never seen Moonrise Kingdom).

Driving back into Newport, we found the main road where it was just incredible mansion after unbelievable mansion. This is why people come to Newport and why I was here - to see the wealth and the associated mansions that came with said wealth.

The above house is just the carriage house for the mansion, as the mansion is in the back and reached by following a winding drive.

Many of the more over-the-top homes have tours and open grounds, but I can't say I was that excited to commit so much of our time to see the inside and backyard of such places. Maybe if we had more time, but with such a tight schedule I was happy to simply take a quick spin through and briefly check out the might of America on display here.

One thing I found funny was how I seemed to enjoy the smaller homes more. I mean I'm sure I would have been impressed if I went on a tour of The Breakers or Chateau-sur-Mer, but I also loved turning down little random laneways and finding tucked away gems.

I would end up seeing more of the obscure homes if I had more time here, since I kept thinking about going for a long walk over all of the street network of Newport.

There's no hurry to drive very fast on the main road, but I was certainly still missing details and sights at 20mph.

In addition to checking Newport off the todo list, there was also a second lighthouse to be had here. This one was right downtown.

Driving across a causeway, a hotel stood in our way and the lighthouse website said that you simply cut through the lobby. The only thing was that I saw something interesting to bmx along the shore, and then there was a different bayside path leading in the direction of the lighthouse.

So we cut behind the hotel, past sunbathers and the pool and an outside bar, eventually walking upon Goat island Lighthouse. This light is also made of granite and although I find the tower looks just like Castle Hill Lighthouse, apparently this one was built in 1842 and not the 1890s. Apparently Rhode Island lighthouse tower technology didn't advance much between the 1840s and 1890s.

There's also a couple of fun facts about this lighthouse. First, it's the second lighthouse at this location after the first lighthouse was moved up the bay to Prudence Island; where it still stands today as Rhode Island's oldest lighthouse. Secondly, there was a Goat Island keepers house at one time, but it was damaged and subsequently destroyed after a submarine grounded itself upon the island here.

From Newport we spent a good 1.5 hours driving northeast, ruminating on how we were thankful we weren't going out to the cape like the traffic gridlock heading in the other direction. Going into this trip there were thoughts of finally seeing Cape Cod, but it's always felt like a place I would enjoy more in October or March. Seeing this traffic headed out for the long weekend - something I didn't actually factor into our decision to skip Cape Cod - greatly reinforced this idea.

Instead of The Cape, we had some time this afternoon and were visiting a lighthouse in the seaside village of Scituate, Massachusetts. There was some July 4th traffic here but nothing I couldn't put up with, especially if it meant a bunch of old chowderheads at the lunch spot, all breaking each others' balls with their hilarious accent and quips. (I quite enjoyed lunch in Scituate.)

The Scituate Lighthouse, which for all of my Bawstin accent-talking and chowderhead friend-having, is amazingly only my 2nd Massachusetts lighthouse (Newburyport was my 1st).

Scituate was built in 1811 and it's a granite lighthouse like Goat Island and Castle Hill. It's a pleasant surprise that it stands today, as it was inactive for 133 years from 1860 to 1993.

The funny thing, and one thing I couldn't help but think about, was that one time I got fired up about leaving Newfoundland and applied to 4 different jobs off of the island. One of those jobs was here in Scituate.

Therefore I thought about walks on this breakwall, sitting at that tavern, and riding the street bmx spots we passed. Scituate still has some sleepiness and remoteness in that the ocean is on one side, but it obviously is no Corner Brook. I wondered about the skatepark of Scituate and sized up the people who lived a life here, until we eventually had to get moving. I'd imagine I would enjoy Scituate life, although I'm sure it would be much harder to find similar cheap housing options, lol. At least I would have an easily accessible lighthouse to visit!

Anywayyy, there wasn't much time left to get into Boston for tonight's Red Sox game.

Continue to Part 5...


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website

To A.C. & ATL (Roadtrip 2016)

Part 1:
Getting There

(North Sydney, NS
to Atlantic City, NJ)

Part 2:
Seeing Turner Field
(Atlanta, GA)

Part 3:
Mostly Delaware
(Cape May, NJ to Point Judith, RI)
Part 4:
First Lights of Rhode Island
(Point Judith, RI to Newport, RI to Scituate, MA)

< Older Update:
To Atlantic City & ATL
Part 1: Getting There

< Older Update:
An Extravagant Home Across The Bay
(Sunny Cottage, Bay d'Espoir)



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