Jamestown and Newport, Rhode Island
Interesting and Useful Information

Jamestown's character is defined by links - to its past and to other places through ferries, bridges and lighthouses. This page expands upon the information in our short introduction to Jamestown. For perspective on the present, a brief account of Jamestown and Newport RI History is also available on this site.

East Ferry - 1908
Bay View Hotel (1889-1985)
East Ferry - 2001
Bay View Condominums (built 1989)

This page contains a summary of many interesting places to visit and things to do in and near Jamestown and Newport, with links to additional information. Topics include Jamestown shopping and restaurants, ferry and sightseeing boats, parks and recreational areas, things to see and do in Jamestown, information about Narragansett Bay, a list of lighthouses in and near Jamestown, Conanicut Island neighborhoods, Jamestown businesses, visiting Newport, visiting other nearby destinations, traveling to Jamestown and keeping up with local news and information. It also has a link to a page of Jamestown-focused websites.

Dining, Shopping and Services in Jamestown:

Click here for a list of Jamestown restaurants with comments on their offerings. Find a restaurant that fits your mood and lifestyle - from upscale to very casual.

Are you wondering where you can buy a special gift or a basic necessity? Visit our "Shopping in Jamestown" list of stores and services of particular interest to visitors.

Ferry Service and Sightseeing Boats:

Ferry service hasn't disappeared; but has changed with the times.

The Jamestown & Newport Ferry, (401) 423-9900, departs East Ferry for the trip to Newport (Bowen's Wharf and Perrotti Park) every 60 to 90 minutes in the summer between 8:30 am and 8:30 pm; (see schedule) with stops at Rose Island, Fort Adams and Goat Island. See the area the way every traveler used to see it - from the bay. A $15 all-day pass allows the passenger to get on and off, as often as desired. One way fares are also available. To learn about the history of local ferry service, visit the Jamestown Museum. 92 Narragansett Avenue (401) 423-0784.

If you prefer a sightseeing tour boat, you can take a one-hour long cruise on one of several vessels that depart from Newport Harbor. You can see yachts, racing sailboats, warships, commercial fishing vessels and cargo ships as you cruise by historic buildings along Newport's waterfront, Goat Island, the Newport Bridge, Rose Island, Jamestown, the Clingstone, Hammersmith Farm, Fort Adams, John Nicholas Brown's Estate and Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

See our Lighthouses page and the Visiting Newport page for more information on available tour boats and embarkation points.

Jamestown Parks and Recreation:

Visit our Parks and Outdoor Recreation page for information on things to do on Conanicut Island involving walking, bicycling, hiking, rock climbing, observing nature, visiting historical spots, camping, fishing - or all of these things.

More Things to See and Do In Jamestown:

Clingstone - the famous "House on the Rocks":

True to its name, this hard-to-ignore, privately-owned Jamestown house perches atop a rock in Narragansett Bay called Dumplings Island, which is a bit south of Jamestown's harbor and the Newport (Pell) Bridge.  It overlooks, and can be seen from Newport's harbor.  According to "
Historic and Architectural Resources of Jamestown, Rhode Island", there are multiple versions of how the house came to be designed and built.  There is, however, agreement that the house was built in 1902-1905 for Lovering Wharton, whose family summer home had been condemned in order to build Fort Wetherill. 

Described as an overgrown bungalow‑chalet, the house is three and one‑half stories tall.  Constructed with heavy mill‑type framing, it was designed to withstand hurricane force winds. Shingled inside as well as out, the rugged interior features massive beachstone fireplaces, burlap covered ceilings, many picture windows and natural ventilation.

 

The 1938 hurricane caused considerable damage, but the structure remained sound. After standing abandoned and sad-looking for decades, it was purchased and renovated by the present owner; bringing back to life a most interesting and unusual house.

Watson Farm combines History and Nature:

Watson Farm, 1796 North Road, is a special place owned by the Society for Preservation of New England Antiquities, providing insight into the way people lived in Jamestown for three hundred years. Open: June 1 through October 15; Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Admission: $4 for the general public, Historic New England / SPNEA members and Jamestown residents free.  Self-guided and group tours available. (401) 423-0005.

The main farmhouse was built in 1796.  The farm has been in continuous use ever since. Covering 280 acres, it has cattle, sheep, horses, a large vegetable garden and two miles of picturesque trails. The property includes salt water estuaries, swamps, woodlands, hayfields, orchards, and open pastures. Visiting can be a rich learning experience as well as a reminder of a lifestyle that flourished in many similar seaside farms in Rhode Island.

Jamestown's Fire Fighting Equipment Museum:

The Jamestown Fire Department Memorial Museum houses a collection of antique fire fighting equipment, including a horse-drawn 1894 Lafrance steam fire engine that can still pump its 600 gallons per minute rated flow and an 1854 Jeffers Hand Pumper.

Expanded in 2002, admission is free. 50 Narragansett Avenue. (401) 423-0062

The Jamestown Windmill:

Located a mile north of town on North Road, not far from the Watson Farm, the Jamestown windmill was built in 1787 replacing a windmill that was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Before steam engines and electric motors, Jamestown, with no free-running streams to tap for water power, had to rely on the sea breeze to power the grinding of corn. A major restoration was completed in 2001. Open to visitors from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in the summer. Admission is free. (401) 423-1798

Jamestown History Museum:

Housed in a 19th century schoolhouse, at 92 Narragansett Avenue, the Jamestown Historical Society operates the Jamestown Museum. Holdings include a collection of ferry system memorabilia, historic photos, maps, and other items that illustrate Jamestown's past. Admission is free. Call (401) 423-0784 for more information.

(For an introduction to the history of the area, see our Jamestown and Newport history pages and visit Susan White Pieroth's extensive collection of historic postcard views.)

Visit the Library & See Native American and Colonial Artifacts:

The Jamestown Philomenian Library is located at 26 North Road, just north of Narragansett Avenue. Incorporated in 1847, it was named for a debating society. Hours vary by day of week. (401) 423-7280.

The library is linked with other Rhode Island libraries through the Cooperating Libraries Automated Network (CLAN) Horizon Information Portal (HIP). You can search the catalog of the Jamestown Library and all other CLAN libraries from your computer.
The Sydney L.Wright Memorial Museum, in the same building, contains items found near the Jamestown schools during archaeological excavations in 1966 and 1967. Display cases hold ancient and Colonial period Narragansett Indian artifacts, European artifacts from the 1600s, photos and maps. Related reference books are available, including Cautantowwit's House, by W. S. Simmons, Brown University Press, which specifically tells about the excavations that produced most of the articles on display.

Newport and Other Nearby Destinations:

Newport is just a few minutes away, across the Newport (Pell) Bridge - with mansions, museums, restaurants, night spots, historic sites dating to the 1600s (and maybe earlier), the Cliff Walk, Harbor Walk, harbor tours, parks, beaches and scenic train rides.

Check out our Visiting Newport page for more information on places to go and things to do in Newport.

Find out about South County, Providence and other places to visit and things to do on our Nearby Destinations page.

Nearby Museums:

If museums intrique you, there are at least forty located in or near Jamestown (within a 45 minute drive). See displays that focus on fine art, history, architecture, decorative arts, photography, culinary arts, industrial arts, shipbuilding, sailing and popular culture. Visit our Museum Page for capsule descriptions and web links leading to more information.

Information for Sailors (and those who would like to be):

Visit our Nautical Page to find information on Narragansett Bay, Jamestown marinas and repair facilities, other marinas and repair facilities in the area, yacht clubs, the Yachting Museum in Newport, tide tables, real time wind speed information and more. To whet your appetite, here are several photos taken by Captain Vic, of Newport.

Lighthouses:

You don't have to be a sailor to appreciate the beauty, strength and romance that is embodied in lighthouses.

At least eight lighthouses can be seen from various parts of Conanicut Island. Beavertail Light, Point Judith Light, Castle Hill Light, Rose Island Light and Goat Island Light are all active. Dutch Island Light, Plum Beach Light and the Conanicut or North Point Light are decommissioned.

Follow this link to learn more about all of the nearby lighthouses.

Businesses in Jamestown:

See our list of Jamestown businesses that offer items and services of particular interest to visitors. Alternatively, is a handy tool for locating almost any type of business in or near Jamestown

We have assembled a list of Jamestown business web sites. You can also click here for a list of Jamestown Chamber of Commerce members.

Local News and Information on the Internet:

Visit our News and Information Sources page for a list of local newspapers, radio and television stations, their associated web sites and links to other web sites that focus on Jamestown.

Traveling to Jamestown:

 
Go to our Travel Page for information on traveling to Jamestown by car, by plane (T F Green Airport) , by train (using Kingston Station) or by bus from Providence, Warwick, Newport (and beyond). Access interactive and static maps, links to general and customized directions, links to live Highway Advisory Radio announcements and highway traffic cameras that view Route 1 at Route 4 and at Route 138.

Jamestown-focused Websites:

You can focus on Jamestown right now by taking control of a Live Wave camera located atop the Hyatt Hotel in Newport. Zoom in on the Newport Bridge, Beavertail lighthouse or other East Passage sights like Rose Island lighthouse, Castle Hill, Fort Adams, the New York Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Goat Island Marina, the Newport fishing fleet or Goat Island causeway. Check out the current weather or watch boats and ships moving through the Bay.


Visit our web links page for a list of web sites related to life in Jamestown.

Sites are grouped into the following categories:

  • Businesses
  • Civic and Social Organizations
  • Churches
  • Government
  • Schools
  • Outdoors and Recreation
  • Real Estate Agencies and Services
  • News and Information Sources
  • Science and Environment
  • Maps
  • History and General Information
  • Lodging
Click on this link to view an interactive satellite photo mosaic on the University of Rhode Island Ortho Server. Instructions explain how to zoom in on specific areas. (Examples at right.)

Conanicut Island and its Neighborhoods:

Jamestown has a unique character resulting from its particular mix of historic buildings, farmland, woodland and coastal features; its pedestrian-friendly and scenic village center; and its miles of rural roads with little traffic, low stone walls and scenic views across farmland and coastal marshes.

If you would like to get a feel for the character of Conanicut Island's residential neighborhoods, click here to see a larger version of this map, prepared by Conanicut Real Estate. Follow its links (or those below) to descriptions and photos of various areas on the island.


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Jamestown RI - Rhode Island Visitor Information Home Page

Updated September 24, 2005. Direct questions and comments on this site to Webmaster