Nature abounds on Prudence Island
Prudence Island is a seven-mile-long island located right in the middle of Narragansett Bay, between Portsmouth on one side and Bristol on the other. The southern part of the island can be reached by ferry from Bristol and sports a lovely lighthouse
within walking distance of the ferry terminal. The ferry runs about 6 times per day, and takes about 25 minutes. You can bring your car over with an advance reservation. There are no traffic lights and no traffic. The entire island is zoned residential so there is no commercial activity other than two general stores and a post office. There are no restaurants, bars, or liquor stores, so you have to bring everything you need with you. The island is sparsely populated because it's relatively inaccessible, and commercial development has been actively discouraged by its residents. Approximately 150 people spend their winters on the island. The population swells to more than 10 times that number during the summer.
View of Potter Cove from the Island
Get set for
’s treasures. Almost half of the island is protected forever against any development. The Northern half of
, once populated, is now a National Estuarine Sanctuary and part of the Narragansett Bay Preserve. Approximately 60 percent of Prudence Island is included in the reserve's boundaries. This makes Potter Cove on its northeastern side a true refuge for us. On weekends, it’s almost impossible to get in. During the week, it’s often deserted with many moorings to choose from. The convention here is that an unoccupied mooring is acceptable to pick up for the night. Depths are 8-10 feet and outside the moorings there is little room to anchor. There is a small dock for short term shoreside exploration at the southwestern corner of the cove.
Once ashore, we went for a brisk walk on the trails that had once marked the working boundaries of a farm and ranch. The ruins of the horse stables are a stately reminder of an era quickly disappearing. It was a lovely walk along fields and forests, but do bring your anti-bug spray. We were eaten alive and ran the entire way back to the dinghy as the evening started to settle. Prudence Island supports one of the densest herds of white tailed deer in the northeast. Lyme disease is therefore a potential concern. Being very close to the entirely wooded Patience Island, deer can swim between these two islands.
Both Patience and Hope islands are uninhabited. The public can not visit the islands during the summer, because they are a major rookery for colonial nesting wading birds.
Boundaries of the Narragansett Bay Reserve
The entire island is forested and the mosquitoes are deadly.