East Greenwich (incorporated in 1677) is the 8th oldest town in Rhode Island and boasts a rich maritime history (the town’s coat of arms bears an hourglass, for the observatory at Greenwich, England, and 2 ships anchors). It’s a little known fact that the U.S. Navy was established in East Greenwich. In June 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a resolution that created the first formal, governmentally authorized navy in the Western Hemisphere. A number of other towns also claim to be the birthplace of the American Navy, but none are as early, and none involve specific government authorization.
The well-protected harbor once received trade ships from around the world and provided safe haven to local fishermen. In the 1800s, industry flourished with the manufacture of textiles and shipbuilding.
Shellfishing was also a big industry here, and once earned East Greenwich the nickname “Scallop Town.” Today, the local shellfishermen primarily harvest quahogs, and the town supports a fleet of small, independent clammers, many based on Greenwich Cove and nearby Apponaug Cove.
In terms of recreational boating, protected Greenwich Bay offers some great places to drop anchor and relax.
One such spot is Goddard State Park, where you’ll find good holding ground. Once secured, you can take a dinghy or kayak to the beach and access the park’s hiking trails, nature center, restrooms and golf course. Access can also be gained via the park’s small launch area on Greenwich Cove.
Paddlers and small-boaters will find numerous places to launch and explore the quiet backwaters of Greenwich Bay, including Apponaug Cove, Potowomut Cove, Greenwich Cove, Buttonwood Cove and Warwick Cove. There’s good fishing here too, especially in the late spring and fall. Indeed, fall can be a wonderful time to visit this area, as the weather is often ideal and there is less boating traffic. A town launch ramp near the head of Greenwich Cove affords good access to trailerboaters and a decent amount of parking.
East Greenwich and neighboring Warwick are home to several marinas, most offering transient slips. A short walk from the waterfront will bring you to the downtown area, where you’ll find lots of restaurants, interesting shops and places to reprovision. More restaurants are available right on the water, including several places to dock and dine.
It should also be noted that East Greenwich is very close (10-minute cab ride) to TF Green Airport in Warwick, which makes it easy to pick up and drop off guests from out of town.