Woods and Seashore

An easy hike to Rome Point through the John H. Chaffee Nature Preserve

Tucked away in a remote corner of a southern town in Rhode Island lies a trail that will take you away from all of the mundane stressors of life. Located on Route 1 South, near the Gilbert Stuart Museum on the east side of the road before the exit to the Jamestown Bridge is your escape from reality. John H. Chaffee Nature Preserve, also known as Rome Point is one of the prettier parts of Rhode Island because many of the beach has been untouched by the onslaught of sunbathers.





There is a large parking lot and the entrance to the trails is located right behind the lot, at a standard RI DEM information board featuring a convenient satelite photo with the trails marked. Many trails are offered to those who want to spend a day outside in the fresh air, so there isn’t a chance for anyone to be bored.

The main trail is actually an unused dirt road, cutting an almost straight line to the bay. Many smaller trails sprout off of the main path, meandering through the woodlands on its way to the same destination. These paths tend to be much longer and more exciting than the graveled path and will take you deeper into the wilderness. Still, the scenery along the main path is quite breath taking.

Fern encrusted paths outline the trail, while the smell of the ocean rises with each step along the way. Being a road, the main path is wider than most hiking trails, you are able to meander from side to side. The main path isn’t very long, approximately ¾ of a mile and fairly level, so it’s not good workout, but instead perhaps a starter hike for those with young children or bored teenagers who come along grudgingly. Think of it as a minor effort on their part with the rocky beach a clearly defined payoff at the end of the trail.

You can save the longer and more strenous hikes for yourself and your favorite hiking buddy, swinging northward into the wilderness and cutting across the open strip that used to provide a throughaway for the electric trains of the Ocean View Railway. From the tip of Rome Point, close to the private Fox Island, you can feel like the ocean is all the way around you.

Leashed dogs are allowed at your discretion. Please remember to bring a doggie bag to remove any deposits made from your pets as this can contaminate the area for the wildlife. You may not want to take the dogs to the beach area when seals are wintering in Rhode Island, so that they dont’ disturb the wildlife.

You will know when you have reached your destination because right in front of your will be the vastness of Narragansett Bay, and the entrance to another secluded area. You may find someone fishing nearby, but that’s about it on this beach.

Remember to bring along a blanket, water and some snacks as you probably won’t want to leave this place for quite awhile. I caught a beautiful glimpse of the Jamestown Bridge and the Plum Point Lighthouse, which is situated on the north side of the bridge. Each time I travel over the bridge and view the Lighthouse, my imagination gets the best of me by letting my mind think that ghosts inhabit it. Maybe it is, but I don’t think I will be the one to find out.

Rome Point is so beautiful, just because it is. By that, I mean that its shear beauty is in its natural setting; no houses, communities, trucks, cars, or even humans for that matter. Just a sailboat or two darting across the ocean. It is so peaceful that you can actually hear your rocks skim across the water as they are being thrown. So peaceful, so serene; just the perfect place to let your mind escape from your everyday drudgeries. And your dogs will love it too, because they can actually walk on the beach and not be told that it is illegal to do so.

Heading back is just as nice is the trip down to the beach, but little disappointing because you know you are going back to your car, and not the beach. But, there’s always next time to visit, if you want to escape from reality.

 Remember its location because you may just drive past it some day when you need a place to escape, and there is it. So, pack up your backpacks and bug repellant and enjoy the hike to Plum Point. You won’t regret it at all. Enjoy!

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons