Along with the robins and the crocuses, everyone is eager for spring’s arrival. The lengthening days provide the perfect escape throughout South County along its hiking trails, beaches and parks.
A walk on the beach during early spring is usually an invigorating experience. The winds are bracing, the water an icy spray, but on a sunny day, a walk on the beach is unbeatable. Kids can build sand castles, run around on the sand, chase the dog, or just gaze out over the water searching for seals and other wildlife.
One of the best places to see Western Atlantic Harbor Seals is the John H. Chafee Nature Preserve at Rome Point, which is located on Route 1A (Boston Neck Road) about 3/4 of a mile north of where Route 138 crosses Boston Neck Road on the west side of the Narragansett Bay. The walk to the seals takes about a half hour, and is perfectly suitable for children.
The best time to see the seals is an hour before low tide. Make sure to bundle up, wear comfortable sneakers, and bring binoculars or a small telescope. Be careful not to startle the seals, and turn your cellphone on vibrate, and keep conversation to a minimum. For more information, check out: www.Romepointseals.org.
Frosty Drew Observatory in Ninigret Park in Charlestown is open after dusk every clear Friday night. Take a turn at the big telescope to see stars, distant galaxies, planets, moons. For more information, visit http://www.frostydrew.org.
Local birding does not take a winter hiatus. Each Tuesday morning, The Audubon Society leads local walks for the best birding. The walks differ, but the rendezvous point is always 8 a.m. at the Charlestown Mini-Super, 4071 Old Post Rd., Charlestown. For more information, visit http://www.asri.org.
Take in the nightlife at the Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge, 99 Pardon Joslin Rd., Exeter. Owl Prowls are held monthly and are open to both adults and children. Learn about the owls of Rhode Island, those that live here year-round, others that are simply seasonal visitors. There is a charge for this program. For additional information, visit http://www.asri.org.
Personally walk some of the lands that have been preserved. On Thursdays at 10 a.m., take a guided tour with the Westerly Land Trust through various local conservation properties in the area. Walks are between 1 ½ to 3 hours. For more details visit http://www.westerlylandtrust.org.
Audubon opened its 16th public refuge in Coventry this fall, 295-acre tract of land in Coventry donated by artist Maxwell Mays to Audubon in 2000.
Have a meet and greet with the local alpacas at Shadow Pines Farm, 181 Purgatory Rd., Exeter. The farm is open to the public the first weekend of every month, and products made from cozy alpaca fleece are available. http://www.shadowpinesfarm.com.
Learn the ways of the Native Americans during various tours at the Tomaquag Indian Museum in Exeter. Choose from several tours, including a Nature Tour during which indigenous plants and their traditional uses are discussed. For more information, call 401-539-7213 or visit http://www.tomaquagmuseum.com
No matter the weather or time of year, the beauty and diversity of South County is a draw to visitors and residents alike all year, notes the South County Tourism Council. Late winter and early spring provide an opportunity to stay for a few days and enjoy all the area has to offer before the busy summer season. (http://www.southcountyri.com)
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