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Jamestown, RI offers a quiet retreat with a view

View toward Conanicut from the East Passage

On certain weekends, it's almost impossible to get a mooring or slip in Newport. That's usually the case when one of the classic boat shows or regattas is in town. On those weekends, if you don't want to chance anchoring in the tight quarters beyond Fort Adams and you don't feel like taking a dinghy ride from beyond Goat Island, that's when you're likely to finally experience Jamestown, the lovely little village in the nook of Conanicut Island.

Jamestown is reached via East Passage, the same passage as the approach to Newport. Rather than making the turn to starboard, you'd head to port, toward the East ferry docks. The water leading up to the island is deep and the bottom sharply sloped so you won't want to anchor here. But then again, who wants to do that when you can avail yourself of the services of Conanicut Marine, centrally located in Jamestown Village. It offers 100 slips and 205 moorings, showers, a launch, direct access to town, a ship's store and chandlery, and the dock where the ferry to Newport stops. The owner encourages boaters to come for lunch or a complete refit, they can handle everything in between as well. Jamestown Boat Yard located on the Dumplings in East Passage offers 57 moorings and a private beach away from town. The full service facility has long been recognized as the premiere repair spot for Nautor's Swans and many others.

Conanicut Island is connected by two bridges to the shores of Narragansett Bay. Although it's a short hop to Newport, there's much to do on Conanicut Island. Try a round of golf on the 9-hole, 36 par course, outfitted with pro shop, bar & grill, and golf carts. Near the golf course, you can also find the Conanicut Island Sanctuary with hiking trails and wildlife viewing platforms overlooking the scenic salt marsh. You might also take a stroll down the quiet streets to view the beautiful homes tucked away among the trees.

Chopmist Charlie himself

Otherwise, try Mackeral Cove Beach where life guards and beach facilities tend to your safety and comfort. If you're feeling more energetic head to Fort Wethergill State Park, where you can go sightseeing, rock climbing, fishing, picnicing, and scuba diving! Don't let the children miss the historic windmill on North Main Road, or the museum, playground and library that will keep them occupied for hours.

August is the month for events on the island, some of which are an around the island kayak race, an around the island sailboat race, the "fools rules" regatta where participants have to build their "boat" in two hours out of non-boating materials.

One thing you won't do is starve in Jamestown. It is home to many fine restaurants offering choices that range from simple American fare to gourmet cuisine. Chopmist Charlie's, a Rhode Island institution, offers seaworthy fare in a casual nautical setting with live entertainment. (401-423-1020). They also do the most amazing job of catering - from motor kitchens that they drive right up to your venue, with staff that are efficient and friendly, and food that's expertly prepared. They are highly recommended.

Otherwise try Trattoria Simpatico, Tricia's Tropigrille featuring Caribbean/Cuban fare and a tiki bar, Family Theater, the Portugese American Restaurant, or the Jamestown Oyster Bar. Simple fare is also available at the House of Pizza, East Ferry Deli offering gourmet coffees and teas, pastries, sandwiches, soups, and salads, and Spinnaker's Cafe.

For reprovisioning, head over to McQuade's Market for gourmet supplies, a video libary, and free delivery for orders over $50. The liquor store, Grapes & Gourmet, is right at the dock by Conanicut Marine, Baker's pharmacy is just up Narragansett Avenue, and the best ice cream is just steps away.

For more information, visit these websites:

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