If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a lighthouse, being the keeper of a small important place out at sea, this is your opportunity. Restored in 1912—and since lauded for its environmental initiatives, including wind-turbine-generated electricity, a nature preserve, low-flow toilets, solar showers that also water the gardens, no fridge—the Rose Island Lighthouse in Narragansett Bay is a unique and romantic retreat for your next visit to Newport.
Little duties like raising the flag and flipping the generator on are expected of innkeepers, but it’s well worth it. This is no ordinary bed and breakfast. Here, at a National Register of Historic Places destination, occupants must abide by a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” policy in the two-bedroom museum and bring provisions for their stay, everything from food and drinks to medical supplies and coolers. There are some creature comforts, like radiant floor heating, hot cocoa, a single gas burner, salt and pepper, and a gas grill outside available for use year-round.
There will be egrets and herons to spy on through the inn’s binoculars, and in the off season, harbor seals assemble on Rose Island’s rocks during low tide. The Newport Bridge stretches out before the tip of your nose. After a busy day of adventures, you will delight in folding your legs on an Adirondack chair, a perfect perch for studying the stunning scenery that’s all your own.
“Folks are drawn to Rose Lighthouse because it offers a little oasis of peace and quiet. It is especially attractive for anyone coming from a large city,” said Cornelia Waldman, the foundation’s business manager. “People love that you’re literally at the water’s edge.”
The Car-free Directions: You have two options. Option #1: Take Amtrak to Kingston, Rhode Island and grab a Cozy Cab (401.846.2500) to Newport. The ride is approximately 30-40 minutes. Request to be dropped off at Bowen’s Ferry Landing on the town’s main drag, America’s Cup Avenue. Someone from the foundation will be there to pick you up. Call in advance to confirm specific pick-up location. The Foundation’s Lobster Boat will take guests to and from the island and costs $30 per couple or $16.50 per person round-trip. Option #2: Take Amtrak or Peter Pan Bus to Providence, then take a RIPTA bus to Newport. Confirm pick up with Rose Island Lighthouse in advance of your journey. In the off season, rates are just $100/night. (A surprise perk of the lighthouse, you may be lucky to get an upgrade for free to the roomier, modern second floor apartment.)
(Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport, RI, 401.847.4242 roseislandlighthouse.org)
Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth C. Zirkel // CC
The co-founder and editor-at-large at offMetro, Lauren is a sustainable travel specialist and freelance journalist with frequent bylines in National Geographic, Bicycling Magazine and Shape. Follow Lauren’s adventures at @laurenmati.