Monday, July 2, 2012

Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge, North Kingstown-Jamestown, RI

Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge

Rhode Island is the country's smallest state but among its most densely populated. With Narragansett Bay splitting the state in two, it has miles and miles of protected coastline -- and a straight shot for any hurricanes heading up the coast, aiming straight for Providence, at the northern tip of the bay. The "island" in Rhode Island is Aquidneck Island, the large island in the bay where Newport stands. It was also known historically as Rhode Island; the mainland portions of the state were known as the Providence Plantations, and that is the full name of the state -- Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

I was headed to Newport this weekend to take in the America's Cup. So very, very crowded. So crowded that I couldn't take the crowds and left to take pictures of bridges and walk around Providence for a couple of hours.

The Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge connects the town of North Kingston with the island of Conanicut in Narragansett Bay. It is a concrete box girder bridge with a dramatic rise to allow ships to sail through on their way to Providence. Unlike its partner on the other side of the island, the Pell Bridge, there is no toll on the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge. And though there is a narrow sidewalk on both sides, you cannot walk or bicycle on the bridge.

Giovanni da Verrazzano monument in Providence
It's no coincidence that two bridges in the area (this one and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Staten Island) are named after famed explorer Giovanni da Verrazzanno. Unlike Christopher Columbus, who was content to explore the Caribbean and never sat foot on (what would become) North America, Verrazzano sailed up the coast from the Carolinas to Newfoundland, stopping in New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay. It was he who, upon seeing Aquidneck Island, compared it to the Greek island of Rhodes and gave the state its eventual name.

There is a monument to the explorer in front of the World War Memorial in Providence.

Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge (from Jamestown)
This picture was taken on in Jamestown on Conanicut Island, with the sun to my back instead of right in the camera.

This entire island, and the Kingstown coast, are the exclusive domain of the wealthy. There is no beach access that I could find at all. The first picture was taken from the parking lot of a private club; this one from the side of the road. I got the shots, but I could have gotten better ones.

You can barely see in the above photo, to the left of the central rise, a lighthouse peaking out from behind a column. This is the Plum Beach lighthouse, but I think you'd actually have to be sailing on the bay itself to get a decent picture.

Parking, well, there really isn't any. Plenty of places from which to view the Pell Bridge on the other side, but the west coast of the island is all private property from any possible viewing angle.


  1. Stunning shots of the bridge! It is so...graceful.

    I didn't realize that was how Rhode Island got its name.

    1. I lived five miles from Rhode Island growing up and for some reason never thought to ask. I just found out this morning in Wikipedia...