slides: James Clayton Sattel’s RI Summer: The Geology of Aquidneck
Saturday, September 01, 2012
This week, Jim scrambles over the cliffs and chasms of Aquidneck, revealing the beautiful and dramatic geology of the island. Many of its miles of shoreline dominated by stone, this is spectacular landscape for photography. See if you don't agree.
To see more of or purchase Sattel's distinctive views, go here.
One of Newport's best-known (and loved) stone landscapes is the area that surrounds Cliff Walk.
I love theForty Steps, a dramatic stone staircase that drops about 2/3 of the way down the side of the cliff to a balcony over the sea.
Spectacular any time, this platform is especially dramatic right after a storm when the waves crash into the rocks directly below.
Cliff Walk, South
Taking a hike along the the Cliff Walk is one of the most blissful experiences you will have in any part of the city.
Even if you only have time for a small section of it, or are not robust enough for the entire 3.5 miles, it should be on your list of things to do. This is not always a smooth path, so be prepared for a little careful rock climbing. This view is to the south.
Cliff Walk, North
Along one side of you as you walk the Cliff Walk will be the beautiful ocean, with the changing colors, pounding surf, sail boats and windsurfers, and the seagulls overhead. On the other side? Gorgeous private homes and mansions, broad landscapes and well tended lawns. You will also get a glimpse of some of the mansions that are open to the public. This back yard view may tempt you into buying tickets for the full experience, which I can recommend. The Breakers and Rosecliff are special favorites for us.
This view is North on the Cliff Walk, toward First Beach.
One of Aquidneck's most scenic spots is in Middletown, and most folks drive right past it heading to Eastons Beach. It's Purgatory Chasm, a narrow cleft in the rock ledges on the east side of Easton Point, formed by the eroding action of the sea over eons. Talk about a scenic overlook!
Moving across the passage to Jamestown is always a pleasure, especially to the rocky outcroppings of Fort Wetherill.
Fort Wetherill is a former Coast Artillery fort that occupies the southern portion of the eastern tip of Conanicut Island, the home of Jamestown. The fort sits atop high granite cliffs, overlooking the entrance to Narragansett Bay. Fort Dumpling, dating from the Revolutionary War, used to occupy a small site within Fort Wetherill.
The view from here is across to Fort Adams.
Not only do these cliffs blaze with color in the coming fall, but they hide two great divings spots.
The left cove has a small goat path down to the water. The right cove has a boat ramp entry which can get busy, so prepare to yield to boats. Both coves have decent visibility (3-10 feet) and have pretty good life. Look for flounder, fish, starfish, crabs, lobster and eel grass.
Sailing Past Cliffs
It does not get more spectacular than this. Narragansett Bay is one of the best sailing locations in the world. With walls of cliffs on both sides of the Bay, the prevailing southwest wind tests tacking skills going out to the ocean and sends boats flying home with spinnakers up.
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