Waterfront homes: Narragansett Bay is this home’s playground

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When Bob and Betty Adam bought their ranch house on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay 24 years ago, it was basically a shack. “When I came along, the brothers who inherited it weren’t using it much,” Bob Adam says. “The good Lord wanted me to have it, so I got a very good price.”

The house retains its traditional appearance from the street side.

The Adams expanded the house, which is in North Kingstown, to accommodate their visiting children, grandchildren and friends. Today, the octogenarian couple live in an assisted living community in Massachusetts, and their children’s families are busy elsewhere. Their home is on the market for $685,000. It’s listed as a 0.29-acre double lot with boulder-lined 100-foot frontage; a 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath home; two outbuildings; and a mooring with 11-foot depths.

“My grandfather had a Blue Jay, a 25-foot sloop, a rowboat on a trolley and a powerboat on his [400-pound mushroom] mooring,” says grandson Gordon Gurnell, a competitive 420 sailor who lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. “We grew up here swimming, clamming, sailing, kayaking, surfing. … We sail across the bay, kayak all the little coves around here or two miles to downtown Wickford, and surf the big waves at Narragansett Beach.”

The expansion gave the home a traditional Cape Cod street-side facade with a bluestone walkway leading from the graveled parking area to the front door. Inside, on the right, a bay window brightens the white-and-blue kitchen. On the left, the living room’s half-wall lets in easterly light and views of Narragansett Bay through the dining room/sunroom. A brick fireplace surrounds gas-fired logs.

A hallway accesses the laundry, bathroom and hexagonal, carpeted master bedroom. Two custom Marvin window walls soar to the peak of the bedroom’s two-story cathedral ceiling, providing spectacular views of the sunrise over Narragansett Bay. Sliders open to the wood deck, which is also accessible from the sunroom.

Yacht-like drawers and cubbies provide storage beneath the mahogany stairs to the upper level. A forced-air propane-fired furnace tucks into a closet on the landing. Closets line the hall to the guest bedroom, where skylights and a window wall overlook the bay.

A roll-out awning shades the deck. Stairs lead down to the brick patio and lawn, which slopes to the boulder bulkhead, where a stone path and concrete steps access the waterfront.

“We call it Ding Dong Cove because all the neighbors have and ring bells,” says Jennifer Gurnell, the Adams’ daughter. “There’s always water, even at low tide.”

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Two sheds offer workshop and storage space. “[In most weather] we were required to use the outside shower,” she recalls. “My father laid the stonework and crafted the wooden lighthouse, mailbox and other accessories. Both my parents maintained the immaculate rock-walled gardens and window boxes.”

The Adams hosted family reunions, lobster bakes, Rhode Island Air Show viewings and pancake breakfasts, including one for 40 friends. The clapboard house is elevated 10 feet above high tide on concrete pilings and steel beams over gravel.

A tankless system provides hot water. The property has public water and a private septic system. Taxes are about $10,500. Annual dues of $150 to the 53-house Lone Tree Point Beach Association pays for maintenance of the association beach and parking. The town plows the roads. Historic Wickford is about 2 miles away by road.

Jennifer Gurnell, (860) 227-1212, of William Raveis Real Estate has the listing. raveis.com

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue.