While visiting coastal Rhode Island in early May, spouse and I walked on the Cliff Walk, in Newport, twice. Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile (one way) walk along the Atlantic Ocean, with mansions, Salve Regina University, 64 private homes, an art museum, and other buildings on the other side.
Our first walk, in the evening with darkness coming on and quite a spray in places from a stormy ocean, began at Eastons Beach (where we parked — lots of parking spots in early May!), continued to a detour at Shepard Avenue around The Breakers mansion on Ochre Point Avenue, to where we turned around at Ruggles Avenue and walked back, in light rain; this was almost all paved or hard-packed dirt path.
Here’s a virtual version of our walk that evening, chronologically:
The second time, three days later around 8 a.m., we picked up about where we left off, parking on Wetmore Avenue (which is a small side road) and accessing the Cliff Walk from Marine Avenue, then walking mostly on ledge, rocks, and dirt paths past Rosecliff Mansion and the Chinese tea house on the Marble House property (where Alva Vanderbilt hosted rallies for women’s suffrage), to Rough Point (where Doris Duke’s home is), and then back again. We didn’t make it all the way to Land’s End at the end of the peninsula this time — a visit to the Audrain Auto Museum and motel check-out called — but my calculations with Google’s satellite map suggests that we were 1/3 mile from it, and about a 1/2 mile from the very end of the walk at Bailey’s Beach.
The first half to two-thirds of the walk from Easton’s Beach is quite easy; the second half or one-third is more difficult, especially at high tide when some of the pathway is under shallow water and the rocks can be slippery. The long tunnel near the Chinese tea house is also a bit daunting, as it’s low and dark — you can’t always see where your feet are stepping.
Here’s the virtual walk:
The Cliff Walk was hands-down our favourite thing in Newport, where if you spend all your time among the shops and bars downtown you can almost forget there is a natural world.
** The post title is from Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical novel The Sirens of Titan:“The town was Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A., Earth, Solar System, Milky Way.”