Barrington’s Nyatt Point Light is now a private residence. Photo by Cory Silken
Visiting boaters can choose between 2 very different places to stay in Barrington: Bullock Cove, a cozy, well-protected harbor off the Providence River, and the Warren River. Bullock Cove, located some 4 miles south of Providence, is home to 3 marinas: Brewer Cove Haven Marina, Bullock Cove Marine and Lighthouse Marina.
It’s also the site of what is perhaps the best launch ramp on Narragansett Bay—Haines Park, which offers excellent protection from the wind and ready access to the Upper Bay on all tides, along with a courtesy float, picnic facilities and ample parking. Haines Memorial State Park is the site of a weekly farmers market, as well as a good spot to picnic or pick up the East Bay Bike Path, which runs for 14 miles, from East Providence to Bristol. Bullock Cove has 1 free guest mooring, but not much room to anchor. The mean low-water depth is 3′ to 6′ (in the lower basin), with 6′ of depth in the main channel.
It’s a short run from Bullock Cove to any number of Narragansett Bay destinations, including Providence, Newport, Prudence Island, Greenwich, Wickford Cove and Jamestown. For those who want to stay local, however, a poke up the nearby Warren River, which borders Barrington to the east, can prove worthwhile. After leaving Bullock Cove, run south past Nyatt Point and its eponymous lighthouse (now a private residence), staying well west and south of the rocks that lie southwest of the point. Then turn east along Barrington Beach and south along Rumstick Point until you clear Rumstick Rock, a large ledge that’s exposed at low tide. Stay well south of the white can that marks the hazard and continue due south to avoid the 8′ depths of Rumstick Shoal, which extends southwest from the mouth of the Warren River. Once clear of the shoal turn east and head for G “1”, which marks the river entrance. Proceed north, following the channel markers into the river. Buoy N “10” marks the mouth of Smith Cove, which extends to the northwest. This is an approved anchorage with good holding ground in 4′ to 7′ of water.
If you wish to continue upriver, proceed to Allen Rock (daymarker), at which point the channel doglegs to the northeast to skirt a broad mudflat. Continue north and you will soon see how the Warren River is a study in contrasts.
The Barrington side comprises large homes with big lawns and private docks extending far into the river. The east bank has a very different character. North of Burr’s Hill Park, the Warren side of the river takes on a crowded, industrial look. The shore is lined with large blocky buildings, most notably Blount Boats Shipbuilding, Blount Seafood, the former American Tourister factory and the municipal sewage-treatment plant. Wedged between these massive structures are a restaurant (the intimate Tav Vino), a boatyard, the town dock and the venerable Dyer Boats facility.
A welcome addition to the waterfront is the Blount Clam Shack, which serves fried fare, grilled burgers and other summer favorites under a big tent in a lot next to Blount Seafood beginning in late May. If there’s room, boaters can tie up to the dock in front of the shack and grab some lunch or walk across the street to shop at Blount Market, which specializes in fine soups and sauces, appetizers such as breaded calamari and, of course, fresh clams. Clam meat, breaded clams, clam strips and clam sauce all come fresh from the big Blount Seafood processing plant next door, which remains a major supplier of clams to U.S. soup companies.
Consider a short dinghy ride or stroll over to the Warren side of the river, where you’ll find an array of shops and restaurants…
Boating and shellfishing are two things Warren and Barrington have in common. In the late 1880s, Narragansett Bay’s rich oyster beds led to the establishment of several large shucking houses in West Barrington. The industry thrived until the bay’s oyster stocks collapsed in the 1930s. Filling the shellfish void was the humble and overlooked quahog, which grew in popularity thanks to the entrepreneurial and marketing skills of Nelson Blount, who opened Blount Seafood in 1946.
The company is still owned and operated by the Blount family, and buys many of its quahogs from the independent clammers who work the beds of Narragansett Bay. On most days, barring extreme weather or contamination of the clam beds, you can see the hardy quahoggers in their fleet of ramshackle skiffs, many rigged with crude plywood pilothouses, diligently scraping the mud bottom of Ohio Ledge with long-handled bull rakes.
A bit farther north on the Warren River is The Anchorage, home of Dyer Boats, builder of the popular Dyer Dink sailing dinghy and the Dyer 29, a Downeast-style cruiser that remains a staple of the Dyer line. Over the years, the Dyer yard has managed to survive a fire, several major hurricanes and the varied seas of the boating industry. When the yard isn’t building new boats, company president Tad Jones, Bill Dyer’s grandson, keeps his team busy with repair, maintenance and upgrades of existing models.
The Anchorage roughly marks the spot where the Warren River forks to become the Barrington and Palmer Rivers. If you follow the channel to port, rounding the southern tip of Barrington’s Tyler Point, you’ll come to the Barrington Yacht Club (BYC), which celebrated its centennial in 2008. The BYC currently has 451 members and offers a host of sailing programs, including women’s classes, a Seniors Circuit series and winter frostbiting. It also maintains a junior sailing fleet of Optimists and 420s. Transient dockage and moorings are sometimes available here.
If BYC is the hub of sailing activity in Barrington, Striper Marina, on the other side of Tyler Point, could be considered the angler’s headquarters. Owned by avid fisherman Al Elson, the marina holds an annual spring striped bass tournament and offers slips, moorings, gas, storage, engine repair and a launch ramp.
Also on Tyler Point is the small but friendly Stanley’s Boat Yard, located just below the Route 103/114 bridge. The bridge marks the gateway to the Hundred Acre Cove, a huge, shallow salt pond at the head of the Barrington River that’s a small-boater’s paradise. Kayaks, canoes, small sailboats and PWCs all share the protected cove during the season, and there’s excellent light-tackle fishing here too at times. The cove is also home to the Osamequin Bird Sanctuary. It’s an amazing place to explore in a small craft.
If you decide to visit Barringon via the Warren River, consider a visit to the Warren side, where you’ll find a wide range of restaurants, including Bebop Burrito, Stella Blues, Rod’s Grill, India, Warren House of Pizza, and Crossroads. Warren is also home to numerous antiques shops and galleries, all within easy walking distance of the riverfront.