September 26, 2017
Time Out in Tiverton
TIVERTON DOESN’T APPEAR ON THE LIST OF “MUST-VISIT” PORTS OF MOST YACHTSMEN, BUT THIS LITTLE RHODY TOWN ON THE EAST BANK OF THE SAKONNET RIVER HAS ITS SHARE OF BOATING CHARMS. WHILE THE NORTHERN HALF OF TIVERTON BORDERS MOUNT HOPE BAY UP TO THE MASSACHUSETTS BORDER, BOATERS WILL BE MOST INTERESTED IN THE SECTION BEGINNING AT THE SAKONNET RIVER/RT. 24 BRIDGE AND RUNNING SOUTH ALONG THE SAKONNET RIVER TO FOGLAND POINT.
But first the bare boating facts: Tiverton has 2 small marinas, a yacht club and a couple of waterfront restaurants, plus a few more eateries within easy walking distance. There is no public landing, although there is a newly installed launch ramp and courtesy float under the new Sakonnet River Bridge.
Transients can find overnight accommodations at Standish Boatyard and the Tiverton Yacht Club, both located in the “basin” just south of the bridge. While anchoring is not permitted inside the basin, there are some good options in other parts of the river. Visiting boaters can lave their dinghies or kayaks at Grinnell’s Beach, the yacht club or the marina.
By “marina” we mean the venerable Standish Boatyard. The largest and only full-service marina in Tiverton, Standish sells both gas and diesel, and offers transient slips and moorings.
Next door is the distinctly non-yachty Tiverton Yacht Club, which recently rebuilt its clubhouse. The club offers occasional transient slips and moorings when its members are away.
Ashore, there are several eateries and shops, among them Coastal Roasters, the best place to grab a gourmet coffee and pastry before hitting the water. Just down the road is the highly acclaimed Red Dory restaurant, specializing in Mediterranean-inspired seafood dishes.
And speaking of restaurants, Tiverton even has a great dock-and-dine option in the form of the Boat House, just north of the Sakonnet River Bridge. The al fresco restaurant features sturdy pier with free tie-up, and boasts an eclectic lunch and dinner menu, along with a hopping bar scene and excellent views of Mount Hope Bay.
Tiverton is a wonderful spot for kayaking. While the Sakonnet River is better suited to more experienced paddlers due to its fetch, strong currents and boat wakes, novices will feel comfortable in protected Nannaquaket Pond, a sheltered salt pond off the main river.
Nannaquaket can be accessed by shoal-draft powerboats via the channel leading from the Sakonnet River northeast of Gould Island. Inside the inlet, on the east bank, is a dock next to an abandoned 2-story shingled building where boaters can tie up temporarily (space permitting) to purchase fresh seafood from a small store on Main Road. South of this dock, at the northern end of Nannaquaket is a bridge with a clearance of 10 to 14 feet (depending on tide).
On the pond’s east bank you’ll find Evelyn’s Drive-In restaurant and Don’s Marine, a boat dealership. Small boats can tie up at Evelyn’s and enjoy the restaurant’s signature seafood dishes, grilled fare and ice cream. It’s an idyllic summer boating stop.
Nannaquaket is also a great anchorage (at night) and a popular spot for waterskiing during the day. There is no speed limit inside the pond outside of the mooring areas.
Continuing south, kayakers, windsurfers and kiteboarders can access the wide lower portion of the Sakonnet River farther south at Fogland Point. This is also a great spot for fishing, both from shore and in a boat. The protected area just north of Fogland Point is a popular and protected anchorage for transient boaters.
Tiverton At a Glance
Dockage, Moorings & Service
Standish Boatyard (401) 624-4075: Full-service marina offering fuel dock, slips, haul out, repair and more.
Tiverton Yacht Club (401) 625-5745: Small, “family-oriented” club located next to Standish Boatyard. Offers sailing programs in summer, as well as limited slips and moorings. Transient slips and moorings are sometimes available.
Don’s Marine (401) 624-3464: Boat dealership on Nannaquaket Pond. Outboard repair.
A public launch ramp is located below the Rte. 24 bridge in Tiverton. Other nearby ramps are located in Portsmouth (Aquidneck Island), and in Bristol, at the Mount Hope Bay Fishing Area.
Kayakers and windsurfers can launch at Grinnell’s Beach, next to the Stone Bridge. Parking is available (fee charged).
Kayakers, windsurfers and kiteboarders can also launch at Fogland Point to the south. This site features a gravel beach, parking (small fee required) and access to the Sakonnet River.
There is also a small concrete ramp at the base of the Fogland Point (on Fogland Road) where small skiffs and PWCs can launch at high tide. Parking is available at the Fogland Beach lot.
Where to Eat
Evelyn’s Drive In (401) 624-3100: Off Main Road (Rt. 77) on Nannaquaket Pond, Evelyn’s is a low-key, seasonal restaurant offering dock-and-dine for small vessels and seafood, fried and grilled fare. If arriving by boat, note that the bridge spanning the inlet to Nannaquaket Pond has a clearance of 12′, and that the depth inside the pond is only 1′ – 3’at low tide.
Boat House Restaurant (401) 624-6300: Upper-scale restaurant located just north of the Rt. 24 bridge. Offers excellent views of Mount Hope Bay, as well as outdoor seating and access to a nearby state-maintained public dock.
Coastal Roasters (401) 624-2343: Great place to grab coffees and pastries at the southern end of town.
Black Goose Café (401) 816-0882: Located at the head of Nanaquaket Pond, the Black Goose serves award-winning sandwiches (including a breakfast panini), as well as other breakfast, lunch and dinner items.
Red Dory (401) 816-5001: Western Mediterranean-inspired cuisine near Grinnel’s Beach.