The Providence County Hiking Club is now doing monthly hikes the last weekend of each month. This months hike was Sprague Farm. The property is owned by the Glocester Land Trust and includes several miles of mostly pine needle covered paths. This property also features several cellar holes of the former homesteads of the Sprague family. Upon my as usual early arrival I made small chat with some others who pulled into the parking area while I was waiting for the other members of the hiking club. A few were here with their dogs and some were here to do some geocaching. For this hike we followed most of Ken Webers suggested route in his “Weekend Walks” book and then we added some additional exploration. Before we started I briefly explored a small field just south of the parking area. After our group assembled we started the hike by following the Sprague Trail blazed with white rectangles. We followed it for approximately a half mile passing a few side trails before we came to a sign for the Colonel Anthony Trail. We would later return on this trail. We continued straight on the white blazed trail. Just after this intersection and on the right is the first of the cellar holes. This one is the George Sprague Farmstead. The stonework and stairs are astonishingly well preserved. After spending a few moments here we continued westward on the Sprague Trail to its end passing areas of ferns, stone walls, and boulders. At the end of the trail on the right is another cellar hole. This one is the site of the Smith Sprague Homestead. We then turned left on the Haystack Trail, blazed with yellow rectangles, to its end passing the last remnants of mountain laurel. We then turned left onto Elbow Rock Road, blazed with white dots, passing a small vernal pool on the left before going slightly uphill to the Joseph Sweet Homestead on the right. Here there is a cellar hole and some sort of stone formation that does not appear to be a cemetery. In fact, Ken Weber, in his book, suggests that it may be the remnants of a granary. One of my fellow hikers dubbed it “Sprague-henge”. After spending some time here when then retraced our steps back to the intersection of the Sprague Trail and Haystack Trail. From here we continued following the Haystack Trail a bit more before turning right onto the blue dot blazed trail named appropriately the John Ridge Trail. This trail first goes downhill a bit but quickly and rather gently climbs uphill to a ridge that overlooks the forest. We then followed the orange dot blazed trail to the right. This trail is the Colonel Anthony Trail and would eventually lead us to the Sprague Trail once again. There is a stream crossing in this section where we had to scramble over some rocks. At the end of this trail we turned left again following the Sprague Trail back toward the parking area. We decided to do a little further exploration of the property at this point. We turned right onto the Jedediah Trail, blazed with blue triangles, to its end, then right onto the orange triangle blazed trail, aptly named the Cemetery Trail. Near the end of this trail is the Sprague family cemetery, Most of the headstones date to the 1800′s and it has signage depicting it as a historical cemetery. We then followed the Lydia Trail, blazed with yellow dots, back in a northward direction, then turned left onto the Jedediah Trail. From here we retraced our steps back to the Sprague Trail where we turned right and hiked back to the parking area. This is also a haven for birds as we heard several bird calls along the entire hike. The trails here are very well marked and there is signage at most of the trail intersections. Thank you Glocester Land Trust. Be mindful that hunting is allowed on this property in the fall and winter.
Trail map can be found at: Sprague Farm.