Hog Island sits in the shadow of the Mt. Hope Bridge, hidden in plain sight, a familiar landmark to thousands of Rhode Islanders who cross the bridge, cruise the bay, or view it from the shores of Bristol or Portsmouth. But only a tiny percentage of us will ever make that crossing — half a mile at its closest point — from the mainland.
People seem to have plenty of good reasons not to go to little Hog Island, and no phone, no lights, no motorcars are chief among them. No ferry service is another. And the hundred-plus families that call Hog home for the summer are not likely to try to talk anyone out of staying away.
“Hog Island is an incredibly special place,” says resident and Realtor Charlene Venancio. “People tend to love it or leave it, and the people who love it have been here for generations. Coming out here is part of their family structure.” That’s one reason that properties don’t come on the market nearly as often as they do on the mainland, or even on nearby Prudence Island, where the residents enjoy electricity and a transfer station.
The popular fiction that there is nothing on Hog couldn’t be further from the truth. They have wheels – on golf carts. (They’re more fun to drive anyway.) They have roads, one-lane wide and typically paved with grass. Solar energy is popular, and the community water supply is affordable, well-managed, and tested annually. People help each other with chores like obtaining propane, removing garbage, and maintaining moorings. And as this writer discovered, the duties of the department of public works fall to anyone buzzing down the road who doesn’t want to get cut by encroaching blackberry brambles, which explained the pruning shears in Charlene’s cup holder.
The reality is that Hog Island is a slice of paradise where kids can be kids and grownups can be whatever they want to be. The Fourth of July and the end of summer are celebrated with golf cart parades and the annual steak fry, chowder cookoff, and occasional drive-in movies (yes, with golf carts). And any summer night can be well-celebrated with good friends and a fire on the beach.
Ultimately, it’s all about the people on your island, wherever it might be. “There’s a wonderful mix of families on Hog,” says Charlene. “Everyone’s nice. The island is too small not to be. Everyone needs each other.”
Check out these two homes for sale on Hog Island:
- North Road: a waterfront two-bedroom, one-bath cottage, with a phenomenal north-facing panoramic view that spans from the Mt. Hope Bridge to Poppasquash Point. Asking $225,000.
- Ridge Road: a two-bedroom, one-bath gambrel, partially unfinished, with a large, open second floor and a large corner lot. Asking $179,900.
Both properties are being shown by Charlene Venancio of RE/MAX Patriot Properties (401-996-6504).