"The Jewel of the Bay"
With just 5,800 year-round residents on 9.7 square miles, Jamestown has a quiet rural character, an abundance of open space and an informal boating community. No surprise, since Jamestown commands a large share of the more than 400 miles of Rhode Island waterfront real estate. Nearly everyone has a front seat to sunset or sunrise over Narragansett Bay.
An uncrowded mix of modern and historic coastal neighborhoods line the island from Conanicut Park at the northern tip to the Beavertail Lighthouse guiding boaters around its southern point. The north end of the island was center of town in late 1800s and now hosts wonderful Victorian homes.
The Village on the eastern side of the island near the Newport Bridge is now the heart of the community, with town hall and small businesses on tree-lined streets, as well as small gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and shops in clapboard or shingle style buildings. You’ll find postcard-perfect sailboats moored in the bay at East Ferry, a long wooden pier on which to stroll and people watch, and dock space for visiting boats in town for lunch or a weekend stopover. The historic Bay View hotel, one of five grand old hotels in the village, still stands and retains its original shape and now houses waterview condominiums.
North of the village is another historic summer home community, Shoreby Hill. In the 1800s a casino graced the foot of the hill, it is now a beautiful residence. Today, most of the Victorians and roomy shingled cottages have been winterized to become year-round homes with town water and sewer. The private roads in Shoreby Hill are maintained by the two neighborhood associations.
Jamestown’s unique real estate includes the Dumplings, where homes are generally large Victorian summer cottages, many of which have been converted to year-round homes. The area is named for the rock outcroppings along the shore that when viewed from the cliffs in Fort Wetherill State Park, look like dumplings in a fabulous marine soup.
Fort Wetherill’s 100’ high granite cliffs that served as a coastal defense battery also overlook Mackerel Cove, home to the town beach (great for young children) and a fabulous protected spot to drop anchor for lunch. It’s also a major attraction for scuba diving.
Jamestown’s more famous state park, Beavertail, separates the East and West Passages of Narragansett Bay. It has hosted beacons and lighthouses since at least 1705, the current lighthouse was built in 1856. There’s also a lighthouse museum, hiking and biking trails and plentiful scenic picnic spots. Fun fact: seven other lighthouses can be seen from some part of the island. The Beavertail area is now home to some of the island's largest waterfront houses, with large lots and many ocean views since the land slopes down to the Bay.
North of Beavertail is West Ferry, site of the old ferry landing that traveled from Saunderstown. It is noted for Sheffield Cove and its oysters, as well as Dutch Island Harbor’s working skiffs and plentiful mussels. Locally known as an arty community, homes are a mix of ranches, cottages and eclectic summer homes.
Near the new Jamestown Bridge you’ll find Jamestown Shores, originally a summer community of weekend cabins. It’s now a vibrant year round community of smaller lots with their own beach and association. Newport is just a mile away via the Pell Bridge, built in the late 1960s. Islanders find the new connector road to I-95 makes commuting to Providence easy, T.F. Green Airport is just 20 minutes away and Boston is just over an hour away.
With its abundance of open space, Jamestown offers small communities, lightly traveled roadways and pleasant views, an excellent locale for walking, biking and relaxing.
Photography by Ben Thomas
28 Bayberry Rd Jamestown 02835
0 East Shore Rd Jamestown 02835
5 Court St Jamestown 02835
412 Sampan Avenue, Jamestown, RI
0 Arnold Av, Jamestown, RI
134 Beacon Av, Jamestown, RI