July 11, 2016
NEBO TV Report from the Field: East Greenwich, RI
East Greenwich is one of those destinations that flies under the radar of many boaters, but the crew of New England Boating TV discovered that it has much to offer, including a host of dock-and-dine restaurants.
We started with Blu on the Water, which treated co-host Tom Richardson to its signature raw bar tower and lobster roll. Blu is a boater’s dream, as it offers easy access via a long tie-up float that can accommodate large vessels.
Another local favorite is Finn’s Harborside, where co-host Parker Kelley and Tom Richardson took the challenge of tackling the restaurant’s decadent 2-foot-long “Ultimate Lobster Roll.” Yes, this beast really is 2 feet, but the intrepid co-hosts prevailed (with some help from the crew) and received a T-shirt for their efforts.
In addition to its dining options, East Greenwich is also rich in history, which Tom discovered on a walking tour of town with historian Bruce MacGunnigle, starting at the Varnum House. The colonial-era home, built in 1773 by Revolutionary War general James Varnum, is open for tours on weekends, and is one of many historic sites that can be visited in town. MacGunnigle and Tom also visited the East Greenwich courthouse, where the first navy in the country was established in 1772 by the Rhode Island State Assembly. The tour ended on the waterfront, on the site of what was once a community of stilt-legged shacks and shellfish-processing houses known as Scalloptown. Scalloptown grew from the commercial trade in scallops and oysters in the 1800s and early 1900s, and was apparently the site of some notorious activities.
Today, littleneck clams, or quahogs, are the principal shellfish landed in East Greenwich. The clams are harvested in the Narragansett Bay by a fleet of independent fishermen who work from small skiffs. Each afternoon, the clammers unload their sacks of quahogs at the buying and sorting house adjacent to Finn’s Harborside and East Coast Paddle Sports, which rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
One evening, Parker and Tom joined owner Kathleen Tefft on the water for a SUP paddle on Greenwich Cove. It was a lovely and peaceful trip through the mooring fields and along the shores of Goddard State Park, save for the buzzing of the drone that was being used to film them!
We learned more about the local waters and how to navigate them from Joe Mariani, General Manager of Bewer Cowesett Marina’s North Yard, where we kept our Pursuit C260 during the shoot. This huge marina (over 700 slips) is technically located in Warwick, but is within easy dinghy distance of Greenwich Cove.
Mariani, a longtime boater and charter captain, took Tom and Parker on a tour of the cove starting at Sally Rock (an infamous local hazard) and ending at the launch ramp near the head of the cove. Speaking of which, this free public launch facility on Crompton Street is an excellent place to splash a boat should you choose to trailer to East Greenwich. It will soon be joined by a second ramp on the opposite shore in Goddard Park.
The park itself is one of the area’s major attractions, as it offers riding stables, a public golf course, picnic facilities, hiking trails and a long beach. Boaters can anchor off the beach and swim, wade or paddle to shore.
Of course, there is plenty to see and do in downtown East Greenwich, too, as Parker discovered while filming her “about town” segment. Her wanderings brought her to several interesting establishments, including the restored Odeum Theatre, the excellent Main Street Coffee and The Troll Shop, where Parker received a complementary set of handmade Tennessee mountain troll dolls. Unusual, we know, but we’ll just add it to the list of strange and wonderful oddities the crew of NEBO routinely encounters on these shoots!
You can watch the East Greenwich episode of New England Boating TV this fall on NESN. Stay tuned to NewEnglandBoating.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on show times and dates, and to find out where we’ll be filming next!