Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

RV Park Review–Melville Ponds Campground (Portsmouth, Rhode Island)


Website:   Melville Ponds Campground
Location:  Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Date:        October 2016
Price:        $38/night

We chose this park due to its location close to downtown Newport (a mere five miles).  There was lots of sight-seeing we wanted to do and the other option which appealed to us was Fishermen’s Memorial State Park but it was a good 30-40 minutes away from downtown Newport and required paying bridge tolls.  There is another park closer to downtown but it seemed more like a parking lot and not so good for Spirit.  Melville Ponds was also appealing because it was adjacent to a county park with wooded hiking trails, a large pond and an off-leash dog park.

Site description:

The park has over 100 sites and spread out over many acres.  Roads are gravel and easy enough for big rigs to navigate.  Some sites are set beneath large trees in an attractive wooded setting while others are in an open grassy area with pads being both gravel and grass.  The park is a mix of seasonal and transient campers.  Site types include full hook-up (max 30 amp), water/electric only, dry camping, and a large tent section.  There is a dump station located at the entrance to the park and gray water dump stations are spread among sites without sewer. 

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We chose a site in the open because the winds were projected to be 40-50 mph while we were there and we did not want falling branches on the coach.  Our site (F4) had 30 amp and water.  Satellite reception (Dish TV) was good and we were able to get a number of air antenna channels.  The section that we were in was very big rig-friendly and one site that can be used as a pull-thru.  There were numerous other level sites in the main part of the campground that we could have fit in. 

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Each site has a picnic table and fire pit.  Leveling was somewhat challenging in our site as we were on a downhill slope.  Most sites in the main part of the campground were level.   
  
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The park is open from April 15th to November 15th.  Prices vary depending on the season, if you have a weekly/monthly rate, and the type of hook-ups you want.  We paid $38/night for water and 30 amp service.

Amenities:

The bathrooms and shower house are located in the middle of the park and were very clean.  There is a small camp store, large playground, basketball court, and open air covered pavilion with picnic tables.

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Surrounding area:

The park is located within 1/2 mile of restaurants, gas stations, grocery, shopping, and more.  Downtown historic Newport is a 10-minute drive away and you are only 35 minutes from Providence.  There is definitely lots to do in Newport and Providence.  You can tour 70-room mansions, visit the beach, brush up on tennis history at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, watch boats cruise in and out of a beautiful harbor, shop, eat at fabulous restaurants, and gawk at the charming historic homes.  Click here for a link as to what we did.  We certainly would have liked to stay in the area longer and really enjoyed it. 

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What we liked:

The location was great for what we were doing – not too far from Newport but in a nice quiet section of town.  The distance between sites was far enough that you did not feel cramped or on top of your neighbor.  The nearby hiking trail was perfect for Spirit.  While it was just a few miles long, it was great because it was within walking distance and she could swim in the pond.  The close proximity of restaurants was an added bonus. 

What we didn’t like:

Leveling was a challenge for us and we had to manipulate the jacks and use boards so our front wheels were not off the ground.  (Keep in mind there are plenty of level sites we could have fit in but we choose the open one.)  Because the weather was cool there was no need to run the air conditioners but if we had to the 30 amp limitation would have been problematic.  Wish the site would have had sewer but for only four nights we were fine using our tanks.

Spirit’s two cents:

The park got a four paws up from her.  Not only was the trail and pond nice but across the street was a large open mowed field where we could throw a tennis ball for her.  A very large off-leash dog park was less than 100 yards away.  However, while we were there a “closed” sign hung on the gate but not sure why.  Overall, the park is large enough for a decent dog walk. 

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