Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cliff Walk

The Cliff Walk follows Newport's upscale eastern edge (every edge of Newport is upscale, but this area is particularly tony). The trail generally follows the top of the rocky cliff, although it drops down towards water level in a number of places. The cliffs appear to consist of metamorphics and granite (Proterozoic, I gather), although in many areas the entire cliff face is armored (perhaps also with Proterozoic boulders, albeit quarried ones).

In a few places, the configuration of the shoreline allows for the formation of steep cobble beaches at the base of the cliffs. And in the broad inside corner between the Breakers and Rosecliff, there was actually a small sandy pocket beach. It was marked by a huge pile of washed-up seaweed, likely an effect of last week's big storm.


Speaking of storms, one low segment of the Cliff Walk was damaged during Sandy (2012). I guess there was quite an outcry when the state suggested a heavily engineered fix. The concern was raised in part by surfers, concerned about potential impacts to Ruggles, one of the better known surf breaks in New England. They found a simpler (and much less expensive) way to repair the walk).

For most visitors, the rocky coast is simply the backdrop to the big 19th-century mansions. The Cliff Walk allows the public to wander through the views of these palatial estates, many of which are now public (The Vanderbilt's Breakers) or quasi-public (Salve Regina University). I'll post more shots of the Cliff Walk on the other blog.

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