Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A., Earth, Solar System, Milky Way

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.

signCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
Note the arrow on the sign: Cliff Walk is perpendicular to this road into town.

signsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017

*

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:

pathcurveCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
looking back along the path, early on
hedgepathwalloceanCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
quite a high wall on the ocean side, hedge on the land side
knotweedsurferoceanCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
note the invasive Japanese knotweed, and the surfer in the angry ocean
paintedhandrailpathCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
I liked this sea green fence
brownNorthernRoughWingedSwallowbirdCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
a Northern rough-winged swallow
viewof40StepsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
view of the 40 Steps ahead
signSlipperyRocksHighRiskInjury40StepsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
cautionary sign at the 40 Steps
tunnelMansionCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
view from 40 Steps of tunnel and Ochre Court at Salve Regina University

oceanrocksCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017

swirlingoceanCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
swirling ocean
FortySteps40StepsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
the top of the 40 (wet) Steps
pathmetalfencestonewallCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
stone wall and metal fence
beigemansionlawnCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
Ochre Court at Salve Regina University – with dandelions
beigemansionCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
closer view of Ochre Court at Salve Regina University
wirewomansculptureCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
wire woman sculpture

oceancliffCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017

poetryboxdarkredmansionCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
poetry box
poetryboxCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
inside poetry box
darkredmansionlawnCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
Vineland Mansion at Salve Regina University
mansionSalveReginabuildingCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
another Salve Regina University building
poetrydollboxCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
another poetry box with a doll inside
detouratBreakersCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
detour around The Breakers mansion
signTheBreakersCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
front sign – The Breakers mansion
wroughtirongateTheBreakersCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
front gate – The Breakers mansion
BellevueStreettreescolumnsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
Ochre Point Avenue
TomfloodedpartpathCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
spouse deciding not to walk on flooded part of the walkway beyond The Breakers
darkredmansionlightsCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
walking back, the lights were on at the Vineland Mansion, Salve Regina University
pathrailingrainCliffWalkNewportRI6May2017
It started raining as we neared the end/start … all the more atmospheric.

 

*

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:

noparkingsignforCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Parking sign on Wetmore Avenue: No parking from midnight to 6 a.m. except with fishing permit, which we took to mean it’s OK for anyone at all other times.

viewCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017

viewmansionsCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
looking back at The Breakers and others
stonewallurnvinesCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
marble wall, urn, vines, ivy
stairsrockwallCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
stairs and stone wall
AsianteahousepeninsulaCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Chinese tea house
tunnelknotweedAsianteahouseCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Chinese tea house and tunnel
insidetunnelCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
very hard to see inside the tunnel even with a camera flash
tunnelstairslightCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
light at the end of the tunnel
viewtunneloceancurvewalkwayCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
view of another tunnel covered in yellow lichen, and the curve of the path
walkwaylargestonesCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
walkway made up of large stones and gravel
walkwayoceanorangelichenstonewallCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
lichen on stone walls, gravel pathway
lightatendoftunnelCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
light at end of another (metal) tunnel
viewoceanwalkwayfromwithintunnelCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
view of ocean and walkway from inside metal tunnel
mansionviewshoreCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
walkway of large rocks, view of another mansion
walkwaylargestonesbCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
walkway of large rocks
greyrocksbouldersoceanCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
grey boulders and orangish rocks
cormorantnestingmaterialoceanbCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
cormorant with nest material
walkwaygreenfenceblackfenceCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
sea green fence and black metal fence
patchredcloverfoliagealongwalkwayCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
patch of red clover foliage along walkway
rockcairnsCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
cairn
walkwayconcreterocksshorelineoceanbestCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
ledge walkway with some cement poured in
boulderlichenwallCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
boulder with a small orange-lichen wall
rockstepsrockwallfenceCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
rocks, steps, wall, fence
largeorangemottledrockCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
large orange mottled rock on path
RoughTerrainAheadsignCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Rough Terrain sign in pathway
mansionfenceNoTrespassingCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Doris Duke Home at Rough Point, with “No Trespassing” sign and fence
mansionrocksCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
Doris Duke Home at Rough Point and mowed lawn
rockwallfencecurvingwalkwayCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
curving concrete walkway and fence around Doris Duke Home at Rough Point
surfbelowledgeoceanCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
surf below cliff
rockcairnsbCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
rock cairns again (on the way back)
oceanfoamswirlorangeseaweedrocksbestCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
ocean foam and swirl
oceanfoamswirlorangeseaweedrocksbCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
more ocean foam and swirl
rocktunnelarchCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
small tunnel and stone arch
stairsintorocktunnelCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
stairs down into larger tunnel
modernguesthousejuttingoverseaoceanCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
interesting modern house jutting out over ocean
housefinchesCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
house finches
housefinchtreeCliffWalkNewportRI9May2017
male house finch

*

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.”

3 Comments on “Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A., Earth, Solar System, Milky Way

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