A Bike Tour of Jamestown
Exploring the seaside town on two wheels.
As the weather gets warmer and nature awakens from its wintertime slumber, there’s no better time to roll out the bikes. This tiny island offers the perfect terrain for beginners and seasoned riders alike with nature, shops and restaurants to explore along the way.
Start out at the Conanicut Marina. There’s free two-hour parking and plenty of sailing action to entertain kids while unloading bikes.
Take a left out of the lot heading uphill as the bay unfolds before you. After close to three-quarters of a mile, head right on Hamilton Avenue following signs for Beavertail State Park and Fort Getty. The hill climb is well worth it (trust me) when the residential area gives way to an aerial view of the ocean below. Bike down the winding hill and take a slight left onto Southwest Avenue. Take a breather at Mackerel Cove town beach or cross the road to skip rocks on the open bay.
After cooling down with the sea breeze, continue on a short distance to Fort Getty Park. The remains of a World War I and II fort still exist there. Time and nature have reclaimed what once served as a German POW’s reeducation center, training them to work as administrators in U.S.-occupied areas of Germany. Today it’s a great spot to drop in for a kayak ride, to cast a line and hope for a bite or spend a night camping under the stars. The Kit Wright Nature Trail, pictured below, sits on the east side of the fort. It’s named after the conservationist who donated the nearby Fox Hill Marsh to the Audubon Society.
Peddle on through the outskirts of the island to Beavertail State Park. Climb to the top of the third-oldest lighthouse in all of North America. Check out the lighthouse museum and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s aquarium. (Double check that the museum and lighthouse are open for climbing while planning your trip at beavertaillight.org). If heights aren’t your thing, scope out the rocky shore for critters stranded in tide pools or bask in the sun on the grassy lawn.
Round out the afternoon with a trip into town. After turning around at Beavertail, head back towards Jamestown’s center. When you reach the fork, take a slight left to continue on Southwest Avenue. Ride along the sidewalks of the nautical neighborhood until Narragansett Avenue appears on your right. Turn there, heading past the Jamestown Museum on your left and the town hall on your right. Park the bikes and continue on foot for easier shopping.
Stop by Jamestown Designs for locally crafted sea glass jewelry or Conanicut Ship Store and Chandlery for all your boating needs (as well as cool Jamestown apparel). If your stomach’s grumbling after a morning of biking, the local culinary scene’s got you covered. Grab a sammie to go from Slice of Heaven for a portside picnic (personal favorite: the vegetarian wrap).
Or refuel a little later with dinner at Jamestown FiSH. Executive chef Matthew MacCartney won this year’s title of People’s Best New Chef, New England, awarded by Food and Wine magazine. Follow the flagpole back to where this adventure all began. Rest by the water with a full stomach and sore legs as the sun sets and the Verrazzano Bridge in the distance beckons you home.