It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.
Galilee is a fishing village on Point Judith, located within the town of Narragansett. It’s the pushing-off point for the Block Island ferry (“B” is for Block Island!) and is home to the largest fishing fleet in Rhode Island.
Spoiler alert! Galilee is directly across the channel (harbor) from Jerusalem. Unlike the 78-mile distance between Galilee and Jerusalem in Israel, in Rhode Island you could just swim across the channel. Only you can’t. It’s not allowed. It’s not a good idea, anyway, although I’m old enough to remember when our friends, who had a summer house in Jerusalem, did swim the narrow-ish width to get to Galilee (she might have gotten in trouble for doing it, too). Galilee is, indeed, named after the biblical Galilee, and is home to many fishermen.
The photo above was taken on a blustery day in January, with the wind whipping the waves. This is what used to be known as Galilee State Beach (established in 1954), but was renamed in 1990 after a beloved Rhode Island radio personality, Walter “Salty” Brine.
Today, the port of Galilee transports over 16 million pounds of seafood and shellfish each year. The population of Galilee swells in the summertime, even doubling in size. The Block Island ferry, which operates year-round (weather permitting), offers a ‘traditional’ service, from Galilee to Old Harbor in just under an hour, and a fancy ‘high-speed’ service that will get you to ‘the Block’ in just thirty minutes. There are also fishing charters available from Galilee.
So, how did Galilee get its name? Well, according to local legend (or maybe it really is true), in 1902, a fisherman by the name of Thomas Mann relocated from Nova Scotia. He looked around and saw all the fishing shacks, and thought the area should be called Galilee, after the biblical fishing village. One day, an old man was sitting on the dock, repairing his fishing nets, and he called out, “Where am I, anyway?” Someone responded, “You’re in Galilee!” He pointed across the narrow channel and asked, “And where is that?” The same man thought about it for a minute, then replied, “That must be Jerusalem!”