This past weekend we loaded up the Suburban with 43 gallons of fuel, five bikes and three sailors (Rich, Lisa and Brian) for a trip up to Newport, Rhode Island. Our mission? To scout marinas for the cruising boat Rich and Lisa are planning to buy, and to stop off on the way to take a look at one candidate for the boat itself.
Other than appalling traffic through just about all of Route 95 in Connecticut, we had a smooth ride and enjoyed a wonderful dinner once we arrived in Newport. Our first Newport learning of the trip: the food is excellent, but every meal (even breakfast) seemed to be expensive.
After dinner we hit the bars. Our second learning of the trip: the summer nightlife in Newport is outstanding, but guys n’ gals in their 40s should consider themselves warned about the next day unless they can show some self control. Your esteemed author (Rich) learned a valuable lesson.
We’d gotten advice that we should pack a bike for each of us and that turned out to excellent guidance. There is simply no better way to get around Newport than on a bike, and on Saturday we enjoyed some incredible views while scoping the area for anchorages and marinas.
Because we plan to fly in for the weekends next season and to use shuttles to and from the airport rather than keeping a car up North, we were looking for marinas that would provide easy access to the boat from likely shuttle drop off points. In Newport proper and its outskirts, we found ourselves doing a lot more sightseeing than legitimate marina scouting, but that in and of itself said something about the prospects: there weren’t a ton of options right in Newport for people with our exact search criteria. Even though we weren’t getting a lot done vis a vis our search, we were having an incredible time.
We rode happily through the entire day, right through to cocktail hour. We were lucky enough to get an invitation to NYYC Harbor Court for a drink, which never disappoints.
But what of these marinas we’d come all this way to see? The weekend turned out to be very productive, but only right at the end. Just before cocktail hour on Saturday we checked out Goat Island, but we thought it might be difficult to get a shuttle ride all the way out to the marina, which looked crowded and expensive.
Sunday morning as we started the drive home, we decided we’d scope a few more possibilities outside of Newport proper: Jamestown, East Greenwich, and Warwick. All had been recommended to us by fellow sailing cronies. Jamestown was our first stop on the way home and we loved it. We could get a shuttle right down to the marina, and it had the right balance of being active enough to be interesting, without being too loud or crowded. The price for a mooring was reasonable, and there were fun little shops right nearby.
Although Jamestown looked like a winner, we wanted to be sure to cover our bases, so we were sure to include East Greenwich and Warwick as stops on our route home. The East Greenwich marina we visited catered too much to the powerboat party crowd for our tastes, and the surrounding area didn’t have especially much going for it, so that was easily ruled out. It was more expensive than a Jamestown mooring too.
We stopped in Warwick next on the way out but found the town attracted a beach crowd rather than cruising sailors, so we didn’t invest the time to look for a marina there.
The trip, then, turned out to be much more productive than it looked like it might for much of Saturday (as fun as Saturday was). For us, Jamestown was the clear winner, and so we’ve found our boat’s Northern home for 2015. The only challenge now was to populate our chosen anchorage with the right boat at the right price! That search continues.