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A Recommended Drive: Rhode Island

A Recommended Drive: Rhode Island
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by in Jul 2007

This scenic byway in Newport County is an 8.3-mile loop that comprises six streets. It gives you an up-close look at classic New England architecture, tightly constructed stone walls, rolling farmland, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Newport County is not the agricultural base it was when Europeans first turned the land over to sheep and plows in the 1600s — but it’s not been completely shredded by condos and strip development, either. Small saltwater farms, vineyards, and pastures are still integral parts of the coastal landscape.

The loop begins and ends on Indian Avenue, a straight-as-an-arrow road that cuts through a collection of large, opulent coastal homes. As it dips under a canopy of green, it morphs into Hanging Rock Road, which skirts The Norman Bird Sanctuary. This preserve sits on approximately 350 acres and includes seven miles of hiking trails.

As you drive from the sanctuary, woods give way to water. You can either turn left for the worthwhile diversion of the 242-acre Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, or turn and continue the loop, where Second Beach may just tempt you out of the car. If you can, take your eyes off the sand and water and look straight ahead and up for a dead-on shot of the glass and stone cathedral of St. George’s prep school. This is the architectural centerpiece of the historic 125-acre campus, which offers unmatched views of the water and Newport.

From Hanging Rock Road, turn right onto Paradise Avenue, which takes you through neighborhoods and eventually to the loop’s other roads — Berkeley, Wyatt, and Peckham. This stretch, which may not be as picture-perfect as the rest, momentarily takes you away from the water, but don’t fret. You’ll eventually meander back to the sea past farm animals, strawberry patches, and some of the prettiest coast in all of New England.

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Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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2 Responses to A Recommended Drive: Rhode Island

  1. Susan Wise May 29, 2009 at 2:38 am #

    Take the Newport Bridge through Middletown to view a lovely windmill on your way to the Jamestown Bridge and back to the Narragansett Bay mainland of Providence Plantations.

  2. Debbie Bowman October 5, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    We were recently in Newport, RI and loved the shaker or williamsburg houses! Can you tell me where to find house plans of these type houses?
    Thank you,
    Debbie Bowman

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