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Norman Bird Sanctuary Walking Trail

Archive for March, 2010

Norman Bird Sanctuary Walking Trail

March 24th, 2010 by billfarrell

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 22:12:40NORMAN BIRD SANCTUARY
583 Third Beach Rd.,
Middletown, RI 02842
401 846-2577

by Jackie Sheridan

Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown is quite literally for
the birds. Established through the will of Mabel Norman
Cerio in 1950, the sanctuary is the largest area of preserved open
space in Newport County, comprising more than 300 acres with
seven miles of scenic trails. Although bikes and dogs are
prohibited, snug paths and sprawling undisturbed plant life are
worth the solitary wander on foot, so be sure to don comfortable
sneakers and watch your step’

A gravel path leads you behind the sanctuary barn and
store, by a historical burial site and onto the trail network. A
few steps will bring you to a fork, where the gravel edges right,
along Woodcock Trail, and a grass track stems left. Traipsing
the grass will eventually lead you to a wooden bridge at the
Theodore Clarke Sturtevant Waterfowl Habitat, where, depend-
ing on the season, you’ll see birds and turtles converging on
roots and rocks.

Meander further to reach the vines and rock ridges of
Hanging Rock Trail. When entering the woodlands, look up.
Birds will be twittering and swooping overhead, and you’ll have
to be quick to catch them in the viewfinder of your camera. You
may see anywhere from 30 to 50 species on one walk. Stick to
the path so as not to disturb their habitat.

Flanked by Gardiner and Nelson ponds, continuing your
walk will lead you to a rock face with panoramic views of Sachuest
Point and the Atlantic Ocean. Maneuvering across the ridge can
be tricky, so stick to the boardwalk over dense wetlands. After
your hike, follow trail markers back to the barn, where exhibits
describe the species of birds and the eco-system. Norman Bird
Sanctuary is open every day from 9am to 5pm, and you can
explore for a nominal entrance fee of $5 ($3 for seniors; $2 for
children). Members walk for free.

Less than a mile from the sanctuary, an expanse of 242 acres
comprises Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. The
Middletown property saw sheep grazing and farmland until World
War II, when it was employed as a rifle range and
communications hub for the US Navy. In 1970, a 70-acre donation from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island established the wildlife refuge. Wide, flat and lacking tree cover, 2.7 miles of open trails at Sachuest make for a comfortable walk on a beautiful day.

There are two hiking trails designed to follow the curves
of the point. Flint Point Trail, 1.2 miles around, curves to the
north, showcasing views of Sakonnet River and Third Beach via
three public observation platforms. Ocean View Loop runs SOUtl1,
for 1.5 miles of shoreline, with signs to at least six access points
for some of the best fishing in Newport County, day and night.
Surf rolls against the southernmost cliffs and Island Rocks in the
distance, and drowns the crackle of gravel underfoot.

Sachuest Point provides more than spectacular views of the
sea. Walkers look out to Sakonnet Point Lighthouse, and on a
clear day, if you squint hard enough you’ll see tiny Cuttyhunk
and the Elizabeth Islands to the southeast. Trails on the point
see moderate traffic; you’ll most likely cross paths with runners,
fishermen or other locals out for a stroll. Your pooch can join
you too, but only on a leash no longer than 10 feet. Kids should
leave the kites at home, as the flying shapes resemble large birds
of prey, which might scare smaller birds away. The refuge offers
ample parking and free entry from sunrise to sunset. A Visitor
Center houses bathrooms and a small museum where children
can learn more about Sachuest Point animals and sea life.

Teapots – Few If Any Are Short and Stout

March 8th, 2010 by billfarrell

Mon, 08 Mar 2010 19:11:01By Alex Kuffner

Journal Staff Writer

One of the more than 70 teapots on exhibit: below, a teapot by Tony Wright.

NEWPORT — One is mounted on wheels. Another sits nestled inside a block of wood. And then there is one shaped, of all things, like an orangutan.

These are some of the one-of-a-kind ceramic teapots on display at the Newport Potters Guild’s gallery on Thames Street. The nonprofit arts group selected 41 teapots, tea cups and tea accessories from artists across the country for its juried exhibition Tea By the Sea, which opened March 3 and continues through April 6.

It’s the first time the Potters Guild has held the exhibition. Actually, it’s also one of the first shows for the organization, which is less than a year old.

The Potters Guild was formed last May by a loose-knit group of ceramics artists who knew each through their work. When a storefront in the heart of downtown opened up, they jumped at the chance to set up a gallery and studio.

“This has served as a venue to bring people together and create a community of artists in town,” says gallery manager Christine Bevilacqua.

The Guild supports itself by selling artwork made by its 15 members and other artists as well as by offering private tutorials and group classes for children and adults.

Bevilacqua says the show was organized because there’s always been a lot of interest among ceramics enthusiasts in teapots.

“For many people, if they’re going to collect a ceramic object, it’s going to be a teapot,” she says.

She tells a story from last summer when a couple walking past the gallery spotted a miniature chess set in the window that had pieces shaped like coffee and tea accessories. The kings were coffee pots. The queens were teapots.

They snapped a picture of the work by artist Nancy Robbins and sent it to a friend in California. It turned out he was an expert on teapots who had even written a book about them. He bought the set and Bevilacqua mailed it to him.

“It was an exquisite piece and he had to have it,” she says.

Already, collectors from as far away as England have called the gallery to inquire about the exhibition, which includes works by artists from Utah, Georgia, Texas and Ontario, Canada. There’s also work from one Rhode Islander — Christian Tonsgard, of East Providence. The pieces range in price from $50 for a teapot made by Guild artist-in-residence Ben Gaboury to $2,500 for work by Preston Saunders, a Massachusetts artist who made the teapot perched in the knob of wood.

The gallery was set to hold a reception Saturday night in which the three top works selected by the members of the Guild were to be announced. The first-place winner was Ron Mello, of Middleboro, Mass., who created the rolling teapot. Second place went to Julia Timm, of Minneapolis, who made a porcelain sugar bowl and creamer set. And third went to Greg Cochenet, of Hamden, Conn., who made a tea bowl.

Bevilacqua says they were chosen because they married form with function well.

“Teapots are particularly difficult to make,” she says. “They have to work seamlessly together so they function well.”

86 Spring Street, Newport, RI 02840  |  401-849-0004  |  887-294-0004  |