Great anchorage in the Bay

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No time for a long cruise? Time for a relaxed day with the family, maybe a picnic and a little swimming? Why not just putt over to Goddard Park? What to watch out for? There is a buoy marking Sally Rock, but you have a very good and calm anchorage just off the park.

Look at the tide. If you draw 5 feet and the fathometer shows you are in 7 feet of water, remember, the tide drop here is about three and a half feet, and you don’t want to return to your boat and find it aground.

Now, locate the swimming area and anchor next to it, not inside it. The bottom is fine and there is generally very little wind, so you could use a variety of anchors. You don’t want it to drag, so lower and have someone hold the line, and slowly back down until they feel it grab. On a calm day, let out about 60 feet of line and tie it off. Check your depth again. If all is well, it’s time to explore this 490-acre park.

You are in a idyllic spot for anyone who wants to remain aboard with a book and a beverage. The rest can climb aboard the dinghy or kayaks and maybe some adventurous soul wants to swim in to the beach. Bring footwear for the hiking trails, and bring a frisbee and a picnic, remembering to carry plenty of water. Your furry friend will enjoy this dog-friendly park too. Just remember to bring a plastic bag and pick up after him.

Goddard Park has quite a history. In Colonial days it was owned by Richard Greene, whose family owned a successful forge in the area now labeled Forge Road. The famous Nicholas Brown bought the land and it passed to his granddaughter Charlotte Ives Goddard whose daughter Hope and her husband Henry Russell built the mansion the Oaks in 1876. This stately Victorian house lasted almost 100 years until it burned down in 1975. Charlotte’s son, Robert Goddard, an 1858 graduate of Brown University, joined the Union Forces as a private, and fought in many Civil War battles, eventually becoming a Lt. Colonel as well as a State Senator. Goddard Park was donated in 1927 by his son and daughter in his memory.

The grounds are home to almost 100 species of trees from all over the world, and winding among them are almost 20 miles of bridle paths and some hiking trails too. There are stone fireplaces, built in the late 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, an organization for unemployed men.

The park was opened in the summer of 1930 and has always been free to all. There are is a fine beach with lifeguards, restrooms, and nearby shade for picnics. I remember riding on the carousel in the 1960’s and meeting the Carousel King, Joseph L. Carrolo. The brightly painted carousel was made in 1890 by the Loof Co. in New York, and it entertained kids in New York, Crescent Park, Rocky Point, and then was installed in Goddard Park in 1931. Joe Carrolo had worked for the Loof Co. and by 1958, when he was 80 years old he also had carousels in Oakland Beach, Lake Mishnock, and in Massachusetts. In 1973 the carousel was sold and now is in Jacksonville, Florida. The pavilion still stands and is now a venue for weddings.

Maybe if you listen carefully you can still hear carousel tunes from years ago. This park is a treasure right here in Warwick. Bring the family, drop the anchor, and have a special day in one of Rhode Island’s most beautiful areas.

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