| Newport, RI
HARBOR WALK SOUTH
[ Main Harbor ]
... the Unmatchable
Walk Newport Harbor
New Animated and GPS-Based Google Map Instructions [Beta
Also See: Newport Cliff
Walk and Newport's Ten Mile
| Harbor Walk South covers Newport's busy downtown waterfront
area of the Main Harbor. Shipyard, State Fishing Fleet Pier,
Marinas, Restaurants, Shops, and everything else imaginable for a world
renowned sailing capital are here in one form or another.
It's a 350-year-old seaport
evolved over centuries. Here is a prime example of a hard working colonial
shipping center converted into modern day tourist mecca.
Almost anywhere along the
harborfront provides great viewing for the crowd drawing fireworks during the
Fourth of July weekend, for sailboats of every shape size and description, and
for some pretty impressive powerships some equipped with their own
If there are no
signs telling you to stay away, feel free to explore.
Start Harbor Walk South at
Shipyard located at 1 Washington St. In Newport's waterfront
history, one of the major industries was boat building and repairing. Amazingly
the current management operates in a pretty open to the public mode. As long as
you don't get in the way or distract the workers, pedestrians have access to
look, photograph, and hang out among a vast range of marine vehicles that are
on the land portion of the marina.
The marina docks are mostly
off limits. Recently under work were a house boat, tall ship, fishing trawler,
Coast Guard ship, state-of-the-art ocean sailboat racer, in addition to other
sailboats and power craft of all descriptions from all parts of the world. A
breakfast/lunch shop offers outdoor tables dockside. The shipyard also serves
as headquarters to a variety of major races during the season including the
Transatlantic Race and a variety of national and international One Design Class
regattas. The best view of the mega yachts is from the public observation dock
which runs right along the south side of the Goat Island Causeway.
The State Fishing Pier is at the west
end of Long Wharf. Newport fishermen were moved here as the downtown waterfront
became more tourist oriented. Feel free to wander out into the area which is
open to the public, but remember it is a commercial area and as we land a lot
of lobster ... there may be a slight smell of lobster bait [dead fish] as well
as seagulls searching for an easy meal. Other fish caught include skate [used
mostly for lobster bait] and pogie. This pier is a docking area for tall ships
such as the Coast Guard Barque Eagle when here for Tall Ship Festivals. There
is also a fresh from the boats Lobster Shack and food truck both
run by the Newport Fishermen's Co-op located right next to Mary Ferrazzolli
Park at the end of Washington St.
This small park is dedicated to
Ferrazzolli for her work over 25 years with Newport's
Friends of the Waterfront to
build public access to the waterfront, and in part for her support to keep the
fishing fleet in Newport.
the park the walk starts to be a Walking Explorer's Dream ... with twists and
turns ... with marked and unmarked links. Look for the Harbor Walk Signs [but
more are needed]. Walk halfway out Washington Pier, take a right across the
deck at Inn on Long Wharf, head across the gravel parking along the seawall and
through a partly closed fence into the parking lot for
Newport Yacht Club.
The Marriott Hotel on the north side
of Long Wharf is actually built on filled land over the colonial age coastal
Perrotti Park is the next
step east. Circle around the seawall parking area of the yacht club and back
out to Long Wharf to Perrotti Park, the real center of marine transportation
for the City.
ships ferry in their passengers for a day in the city; the
Ferry stops; the Newport
Harbor Shuttle stops; the Jamestown/Newport Ferry stops;
there is a public dinghy dock, and boaters can dock by the hour. The
Newports Harbormaster office [on the south end of the park] has a second
floor observation deck open to the public, and it is a great observation
platform for that special photo of the moored boats in the harbor especially in
the morning when the sun is right.
Walk south along America's Cup Ave. to get to
Anne's Square overlooking the Old Jamestown/Newport Ferry landing area. The
tall white steeple on Trinity Church has been a landmark for boaters entering
the harbor since it was built in 1726.
Turn right [west] to to
Market Square, Bowens Wharf, and the old Ferry Landing site where you will see
the Seaman's Institute and Aquidneck Lobster, The Ferry was replaced by the
Newport Bridge in 1969 and the Newport Harbor Marina and Hotel now stands on
the old ferry parking lot.
The Seamans Church Institute has provided (since 1919), and continues to
provide, services to boaters, and those who work on the sea such as commercial
fishermen. Public facilities include restrooms, showers, washers, and dryers. A
small but great restaurant offers family style breakfast and lunch for
Bowens Wharf on the south is Bannisters Wharf which also contains
many historic buildings converted to shops as well as numerous sailing
services. Here is the real start of the marina and boating aspect of the Main
Harbor. Schooners docked here handle short trips into Narragansett Bay's East
Passage. Just beyond Bannisters Wharf on the water is Old Port Marine, the main
launch service for Newport Harbor with trips hourly around and across the
harbor to Ft. Adams.
the main attractions on the Newport Waterfront was the
Newport Yachting Center
built on one of the old ship building sites which was home to many of the
America Cup teams. The Center had in the past hosted the Newport Boat Show, but
was recently sold. This area is now being developed for more vacation related
The now famous waterfront Thames St. [pronounced with
a long a] starts with the landmark bronze sculpture "Wave with Two Feet"
directly in front of Perry Mill. Sculpted by local resident Kay Worden in 1983,
her works currently can run over $100,000.
Perry Mill was built in 1835
by Alexander MacGregor (Fort Adams, Newport Armory) to be a textile mill.
Although Perry Mill was intended to stimulate Newports failing economy in
the early nineteenth century by producing printed cloth, it ultimately was
unsuccessful and in 1947 used by General Electric Co. for its light
manufacturing. Now it combines shops and tavern on the first floor with the
Newport Bay Club & Hotel
At the Perry Mill
building, the walk takes a slight right onto Thames Street. Here is another
great exploratory diversion ... go west on Perry Mill Wharf and cut south
through Christie's patio, across North 41's parking lot, through the tunnel in
the Harborside Inn, across the front deck of the Inn on the Harbor to walk out
to the gazebo on Ann St. Pier. On the shoreline of the pier is the
Maritime Center in the lower level of the Armory with restrooms, and indoor
lunch tables for walkers. The Armory was built in 1884 to house the RI Militia
and was the official headquarters for the last Americas Cup races in
Newport in 1983.
Ann Street Pier
offers scenic views of Newports waterfront and a close up look at docks
mostly for large power boats on each side.
Right past the Greek Church
on Thames Street is the Francis Malbone House built in 1758. The houses
original owner was a wealthy merchant and slave trader. Subterranean passages
were found in the cellar of the house that lead to the waterfront and some
propose that these passages could have been used to smuggle dutiable goods into
the house. Speaking of smuggling, this part of the waterfront was home to many
fishing boats in the early half of the last century. During prohibition,
Newport was a major port for Canadian and Scotch wiskey that arrived in fishing
Brown and Howard ... from coal and ice and
shipbuilding of all kinds this area south of Ann St. Pier was transformed into
multi-million dollar luxury boat slips and condos. The Brown and Howard firm
thrived in Newport as coal, wood, and ice dealers on the waterfront. Brown and
Howard used the wharf as a coal yard from the early 1870s until the late 1960s.
Then it was used for the major ice producing plant in the area.
Just past Brown and
Howards Wharf on the left side of Thames St. is the Samuel Whitehorne
House. This federal style house was built in 1811 for Captain Whitehorne, a
weathly triangle trader [molasses, rum, slaves]. Whitehorne was involved in
numerous business ventures including shipping, a distillery, a bank, and an
iron foundry. Today the
House is a museum run by the Newport Restoration Foundation
that contains numerous priceless pieces of Townsend and Goddard furniture,
antique rugs, and silver crafted by Newport silversmiths. The house is located
on land owned by a rum distiller before the American Revolution. One of
Newport's colonial industrial accidents involved a multi thousand gallon tank
of molasses which collapsed and killed a half dozen
Turn west on Howard
Wharf to walk through the IYRS 2.5 acre campus.
The building facing on Thames was the city's electric generating plant built in
1903, and next to it was a textile mill from 1831 that houses the
Museum of Yachting. Behind
these buildings is a large temporary barn that houses the 1885 133-foot
schooner yacht Coronet which
is basically being entirely reconstructed. Walk around the outside edge of this
barn and climb the stair inside to get a up close look.
Further down Thames Street
on the right is Lees Wharf home to Williams and Manchester Shipyard for
most of the 1900s. This shipyard was the scene of most of the activity during
Newport's series of Americas Cups.
As you walk out of IYRS cut
across the driftways of Spring Wharf, West Extension St and Waites Wharf. There
are public rights of way at the waters edge. Then return to Thames St. to
7. Coddington Wharf
[Street] cuts west from Thames St. and leads to a perfect waterside walk
segment of Harbor Walk. The end of the street turns into a driftway, jogs south
along the front of the Wellington Resort and then west again over a brick
waterside walkway into King Park. While it may look like a dead end it is a
working entrance link to the pathway in front of the Wellington to King Park.
Keep your eyes open as some of the transitions from one segment of the walk to
another may be difficult especially in terms of handicap access.
Newport's Friends of the
Waterfront collaborated with members of the Coddington Wharf Condominum
Association to build a garden pocket park and pathway here.
The Wellington is built on
the site of a coal gasification plant which supplied gas throughout the city
from 1905 to 1950. Coal was shipped to Coddington Wharf on barges and then
heated up to release gas. Cross country gas line construction eliminated the
need for this plant. There is a 15ft. by 650ft. pedestrian right of way along
the stone bulkhead that connects Coddington Wharf to King Park.
Again Friends of the
Waterfront provided much of the research resulting in a compromise elimination
of the public Richmond St. in exchange for this waterfront pedestrian right of
way. This allowed the developers a solid block of land. It took the better part
of 40 years to convert this gas and oil tank contaminated site into the current
time share resort and condo area. The waterfront in this corner of the harbor
is shallow and no boats are moored close to shore.
King Park and Wellington Ave. border
the southern end of the Harbor Walk. There is no better place to walk, picnic,
and enjoy a truly scenic and panoramic view of Newport's waterfront. The Walk
runs over a paved walkway right next to the water.
The area closest to Thames
St. is the main picnic and land-based-activity segment of the park. One of the
first Little League fields is the nation is right at waterside. Little League
runs during May and June at the Harry Hogan Field with all the baseball park
excitement when the games are in play. Softball and the Babe Ruth League are
here as well. It is hard to beat the view that surrounds these baseball fields.
Restrooms, slides, swings,
grills, and a large gazebo structure cover picnic tables to round out the
facilities. Benches line the waterfront so any one can watch the harbor.
Seagulls are the main bird here, but during the year small flocks of Canadian
geese like to congregate near the shore.
General Rochambeau's monument at King
Park recalls his arrival in Newport in July 1780 to help General George
Washington in the country's war for independence from England. The landing
itself was at the deeper north end of the harbor at the end of Long Wharf, and
where the statue points.
5000 French troops marched up and through the town and camped in an apple
orchard area about where Bellevue and Narraganset Avenues intersect. It took
nearly a year for Rochambeau and Washington to coordinate the plan and forces
for attack that led to the last major action in that war.
In 1781 British General
Cornwallis surrendered his army and attached navy forces at Yorktown Va. In
1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed which acknowledged the end of the eight
year revolutionary war, and created the United States as a completely
independent nation. In total over 44,000 French soldiers participated in the
war for US independence.
Just east of the Rochambeau monument is the King Park Gazebo which provides the
park with an exceptional bandstand for summer city concerts and events. Newly
weds often are photographed posing at the bandstand as it is an icon for the
Newport Waterfront with the city and harbor as a background. West of the
monument is a small city beach generally without lifeguards.
Directly in front of the
park is one of four city boat mooring areas. This Spindle mooring area has a
waiting list time of about 15 years. Along the seawall is a paved walk that was
donated to the city and an integrated part of Harbor Walk.
About the Sculpture
Substantially built Stone Pier at King
Park is mostly remembered as the dock area for the original America's Cup
Regattas when they resumed here after WWII. Hurricanes destroyed the wooden
finger dock structures and they were never rebuilt. Today, it serves as a
public dinghy dock for the boaters in the harbor. It also protects a boat ramp,
a small beach, and a kayak storage rack operated by the city.
To the west is the Ida Lewis
Yacht Club on Lime Rock. Ida, born in 1842, was the daughter of the lighthouse
keeper, and was appointed as the official lighthouse keeper in 1879 -- one of
the first woman keepers in the U.S. She became nationally famous for her skill
and courage in saving the lives of at least 18 accident victims from the waters
of Newport Harbor and received the Congressional Lifesaving Award.
After her death in 1911, the
light was automated and connected to the shore by a long pier. Ida Lewis Yacht
Club (ILYC) was launched in 1928 and remains very active.
The next property southwest
is the New York Yacht Club, which was originally the John Nicholas Brown
estate, and has easily hosted regattas with attendance over 1500 people.
Originally this summer branch of the New York based club was at the very
opposite end of the harbor in the late
To the north is Sen.
Claiborne Pell Bridge (also known as Newport Bridge) with a main span of 1600
ft. It ranks as the 86th longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest
suspension bridge in New England. Completed in 1969, the clearance at the
center is generally considered 204 ft and was adequate for U.S. Aircraft
Carriers. The two main towers top out at 400 ft.
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