Archive for June, 2015

George Redman Linear Park – Providence/East Providence

  • George Redman Linear Park – Washington Bridge
  • India Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’4.13″N, 71°23’30.03″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 30, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Easy.

The first Washington Bridge was built over the Seekonk River in 1793. It was a covered drawbridge that connected Fox Point in Providence to Watchemoket Square in what is now East Providence. Since then several replacement spans were built along this stretch of the river. Today, you can walk across the Seekonk River on a section of the original 1930’s bridge that has been preserved. There are some informative boards near the center of the bridge explaining the history of the bridge and the surrounding area. The rest of the Washington Bridge that carries Interstate 195 over the river has been reconstructed. The linear park is made up of a bike path (part of the East Bay Bike Path) and a walking area with several park benches. The view to the south is the lower Seekonk River at India Point and Bold Point where it flows into the Providence River. The walk from India Point Park to Watchemoket Square is about six tenths of a mile. Longer distances can be added to this walk by adding India Point Park or continuing along the East Bay Bike Path.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Looking Towards Providence Along The Linear Park.

Looking Towards Providence Along The Linear Park.

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Nicholas Farm South – Coventry

  • Nicholas Farm South – Nicholas Farm State Management Area
  • Nicholas Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°40’50.23″N, 71°46’26.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 26, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

This would be my fourth of five planned hikes in the Nicholas Farm Management Area. This 3 mile loop hike follows two dirt roads through and along the southern end of the property as well as part of the North South Trail. We started this hike by leaving the parking area and back out to the road. From there we headed west about 1/10 of a mile along Nicholas Road to an intersection. We turned left here, passed a gate, and followed the old dirt road named Greenhouse Road. Along this stretch we saw some stone walls and the first of the towering pines. About 3/10 of a mile we came to a slight obstacle. The road was flooded over by the adjacent pond, is pretty nonetheless, and makes for a good photograph. It was obviously the work of beavers. Staying to the left of the flooded area a trail opens up, later rejoining the road, and detours around the water. It has been dry in the area lately. This could become impassable in wetter weather. We then followed the road to its end, passing another gate, and then turned right onto Newport Road. The gravel road winds in a westerly direction and is flanked by old stone walls. Soon a road joins from the left and the blue blazes of the North South Trail are seen on the trees and nearby boulders as we continued following Newport Road. Just before the Connecticut border, a trail turns right into the woods. The trail is blazed blue still and climbs briefly up a hill. An area to the left is currently being cleared for wildlife restoration. There are signs here explaining the procedure. The trail along this stretch weaves through a canopy of tall trees over a blanket of low shrubs. It is rather picturesque. The trail then exits back to Nicholas Road. Here we turned right and followed the road back to the parking area.

Trail map can be found at: Nicholas Farm South

Pond Overflows Onto The Trail.

Pond Overflows Onto The Trail.

Walkabout Trail – Glocester/Burrillville

  • Walkabout Trail – George Washington State Management Area
  • Putnam Pike, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°55’25.00″N, 71°45’29.70″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 20, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 8.2 miles
  • Moderate due to distance, areas of rocky footing.

The Australian Aborigines have a tradition, a rite of passage, where they live in the wilderness. This tradition is known as a Walkabout. In the early summer of 1965, a group of Australian sailors were in Rhode Island while they waited for their ship, the H.M.A.S. Perth, to be commissioned. During this time, about a month, they spent in the woods of the George Washington Management Area cutting the trails of what we know now as the Walkabout Trail. They gave this network of trails its name in honor of the Aborigine tradition. There are three loop trails here, all very well blazed. The hikes of choice here are the 2 mile blue blazed loop, the 6 mile red blazed loop, and the 8 mile orange blazed loop. All three of the loops begin at the Bowdish Reservoir beach in the George Washington Campground. Maps are available at the trailhead. There are also trail markers for the North South Trail that uses sections of the Walkabout. (An entry fee, currently $2.00, is being charged to get onto the property. The beach is at the third left after the entry gate). For this hike I opted to do the orange blazed loop. A good portion of this hike is through areas where there is rocky footing and in some spots it could be a little muddy. Be sure to wear proper footwear for this hike. Trekking poles or a hiking stick wouldn’t hurt either. The first section of the hike is blazed in all three colors and follows the Bowdish Reservoir as it winds through areas with mountain laurel and boulders. After crossing into Burrillville, soon you will approach the second body of water along this hike. This is Wilbur Pond, and it is in this area that the blue blazed loop turns to the right. Continuing to follow the orange blazes the trail then turns into the thickness of the forest. On most days if you stop for a moment to listen, you will here almost absolutely nothing. Along the way the 6 mile red blazed trail will veer off to the right and the orange trail will become slightly narrower and cross several dirt roads. You will pass through an impressive hemlock grove in this part as well. Soon the trail will join up with a red triangle blazed trail. This trail (and others ahead) are part of the Pulaski Park trail system. Be sure to follow the orange blazes and double check at each trail intersection or you may end up heading the wrong direction. As the trail starts to head east you will soon find yourself at Richardson Marsh. The western end of the marsh is a pond and the sweeping views from the earthen dam are quite impressive. This is the 5 mile mark and a good spot for a break and to look around for wildlife. Evidence of beaver activity is noticeable here. The trail then crosses a series of plank bridges (aptly named Richardson Bridge), slightly uphill to a trail intersection and then to the left. The remainder of the hike traverses through the property winding up and down small hills and areas of rocky footing. The red and blue trails eventually rejoin the orange trail. Toward the end there is a couple sections of trail built like old Roman roads where the logs are laid down over muddy areas. Approaching the campground, most times you will then start to smell campfires as the hike concludes.

Trail map can be found at: Walkabout Trail.

The Three Blazes Of The Walkabout And Mountain Laurel.

The Three Blazes Of The Walkabout And Mountain Laurel.

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – August 2015

Bristol Waterfront – Bristol

Bristol is most famously known for its Independence Day celebrations. The town is host to the longest running 4th of July parade in the United States which was first celebrated in 1785, a mere nine years after the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. Patriotism runs deep in this town and in the weeks leading up to Independence Day it really shows. Bristol is situated on the east side of Narragansett Bay and its harbor has always played an integral part of the town. Downtown Bristol is home to several historical building dating back to the 1700’s as well as many “Mom and Pop” shops. Bristol is a thriving waterfront town and today’s walk covers both the waterfront and some of the towns historical district. Starting at Independence Park, at the southern terminus of the East Bay Bike Path, I first followed Thames Street in a southerly direction, then turned left onto Franklin Street making my way slightly uphill to Hope Street. Along the way I passed the first of, literally, a town full of shops. I then turned right onto Hope Street. This stretch is lined with several historic houses, lantern streetlights, and large old trees. Most of the houses have plaques on them citing the dates they were built. The first on the right bears a date of 1730 and ahead just before the bank is a massive ginkgo tree. You will also notice the red, white, and blue line in the middle of the street. The line is painted throughout the town along the parade route. In the weeks leading up to Independence Day this stretch is overtaken with flags and banners. Just before Bradford Street on the left is the Andrew School. It is the first of several school buildings along the route of the walk. The Colt School is next on the left just after Bradford Street. Built in the early 1900’s by a prominent Bristol resident, it was donated to the town as a school. Also on the left is Linden Place, a large mansion built in 1810. On the right is the Rogers Free Library housed in a building built in 1877. Just before turning left onto State Street, I came to the Bradford-Diman-Norris House. Built in 1792, it replaced a structure that was burned by the British during the American Revolution. Following State Street, I passed several more houses that were built in the early 1800’s. I then crossed High Street, passing the Walley School on the right. Continuing east I made my way to Wood Street opposite St. Mary’s Church. Along the way on the right is the Bristol Common. On the left I would pass the Bristol Train of Artillery and another old school building which is currently home to the towns School Department. At Wood Street I then turned right and started to follow the path into the Common that leads to the Gazebo. I continued pass the gazebo toward the back of the brick building at the corner of High Street and Church Street. This building is the Byfield School. The school is now used by several artists and their studios including the aptly named Liberty Looks studio. Note, while walking through the common, the row of buildings along High Street. They are the back of the Walley School, the First Baptist Church, the former Bristol County Courthouse, and the Byfield School. I then crossed High Street heading west along Church Street. A fire station is to the left at the corner and the rest of the street is lined with more historical houses. About mid way down the street on the right is a chapel that is set back behind a house. Just before the intersection of Hope Street on the right is the St. Michaels Garden. Across the street is St. Michaels Church, built in 1861, it is the fourth church on this site. The first was also burned by the British during the American Revolution. Turning right onto Hope Street, I then came to a large stone building on the right. This is the Burnside Hall built in 1883. It was used as the Town Hall until 1969 and today it is a visitors center. You can stop in and get all the information you need from its friendly staff. I then continued along Hope Street, passing the Belvedere Hotel on the left, and then turned left onto State Street heading back to the waterfront. Crossing Thames Street, I followed the brick walkway to a restaurant along the water. Just to the north of the restaurant is the beginning of the public boardwalk that follows the edge of the harbor. The boardwalk passes a marina, a condominium building and a couple of restaurants before ending at Independence Park. From here I crossed the park back to parking area, stopping briefly at a plaque explaining Bristol’s role in the American Revolution. You could easily add more mileage to this walk by zigzagging the towns blocks. Just about every street in this area has a structure of historical significance. This walk just scratches the surface of the towns history.

Trail map can be found at: Bristol Waterfront.

Boardwalk Along Bristol's Waterfront

Boardwalk Along Bristol’s Waterfront

Durfee Hill East – Glocester

  • Durfee Hill East – Durfee Hill Management Area
  • Durfee Hill Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’51.04″N, 71°45’6.19″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 7, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.2 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation and some elevation

I stumbled across this area using a hike described in an old Ken Weber book. Unfortunately, times have changed and part of that described route was impassable. On my first attempt a few weeks ago I had come to find out that a section of the hike is now on private property. Today I went back looking for an alternative route that remains on the Durfee Hill Management Area property. Success! The route that I followed is rather less traveled, not blazed, and narrow in areas but it is clearly defined. There is also a slightly challenging stream crossing. It is still easy enough for children though as our group today included three of them (being led mostly by the five year old before he ran out of steam). I would suggest using a GPS device when embarking on this hike in case you miss a turn and need to backtrack. We started from Durfee Hill Road where the North South Trail enters the management area. We followed the North South for a bit before coming to the first split. Here we turned right onto an un-blazed grass and dirt road known as the Wilderness Trail. At the next intersection we continued straight along the road. We soon came to another split. To the right the road continues a bit passing an old cellar hole before coming to private property. You however want to bear to the left here following the rocky trail that climbs uphill. At the next split we stayed to the right. The path narrows quite substantially as it winds up and down some hills. We then soon came to a stream that is wide enough to be a challenge. We took a moment to survey the situation and came up with a plan to literally pass the kids over the stream to each other. We all somehow managed to stay dry. Continuing on, we soon came to another trail that looks like a cart path of some sort. We stayed to the left here and it exited onto Willie Woodhead Road. Turning left and following the road we were soon passing a gun club on the right. The road soon ends and becomes a rocky trail again and begins to climb slightly uphill. At the next intersection we turned left onto the Gray Squirrel Trail which is part of the North South Trail. The remainder of this hike follows the blue blazed North South mostly downhill back to the cars. Along this stretch we saw several birds including a scarlet tanager, a stunningly beautiful bird.

Trail map can be found at: Durfee Hill East.

Along The Wilderness Trail.

Along The Wilderness Trail.

Blackstone Canal – Lincoln

  • Blackstone Canal
  • Interstate 295, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°56’22.58″N, 71°26’39.25″W
  • First Time Hiked: June 4, 2015
  • Last Time Hiked: April 8, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation

Long before highways and even before the railroad came through these parts, the Blackstone Canal was the primary means of transporting goods from Providence to Worcester. The canal and its several locks ran along side the Blackstone River and was in use in the early 1800’s. Today most of it is long forgotten. It has been either covered over or nature has taken it back. But here in Lincoln a long stretch of it has survived the test of time and is well preserved for all of us to look back at yesteryear. It seems very fitting that this walk starts from the visitor center along Interstate 295 North. There is a 0.8 mile long stretch of bike path that winds gently down to the Blackstone River Bike Path. Following this stretch of bike path the roaring sound of the interstate soon vanishes and is replaced by the sound of the water falling over the Ashton Dam. I first came to a spur of the bike path that led to the right. I continued straight following it further downhill and the canal soon appeared on my left. I soon came to a path on the left with a wooden bridge. I continued straight again. I would return over that bridge toward the end of the walk. After walking under the large arched bridge that carries Route 116 over the Blackstone River I turned left and crossed a bridge toward the Kelly House Museum. This area features several granite bollards with inscriptions on them of structures that stood years ago including the Kelly Mill, the barn, and the 1825 Towpath Bridge. I then turned right, keeping the house was on my left and the canal on my right. After passing the barn site the “road” turns to the left. I continued straight (bearing slightly right) onto the towpath the follows the edge of the canal. The towpath ends at the Blackstone River Bike Path. Here I turned left following the bike path back to the large arch bridge. I then turned left and made a quick right passing through a parking lot under the bridge that leads to another trail. This trail first passes the Kelly Mill site and then the wooden bridge (on the left) before dead ending. At the end on the right is the Blackstone River as it cascades over the Ashton Dam, on the left is one of the old locks on the canal. From here I retraced my steps back to the wooden bridge. Take a moment to look at the canal from the wooden bridge. Here is the best vantage point to look at the stone work of the canal walls. After crossing the wooden bridge I then turned right following the bike path back to the parking lot at the visitors center.

I did not find a map on-line.

The Blackstone Canal

The Blackstone Canal

Pawtucket Falls – Pawtucket

This short walk, a little over a half mile out and back packs a bit of history. So much so that it is now part of the newly formed Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The walk weaves through two small city parks, a historic site, and follows a new section of bike path. Starting at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street, I followed a walkway that leads toward the river. There are two sets of falls here. The first, being the Lower Falls, a combination of a natural waterfall and manmade dam, are just about under the Main Street bridge. This is where the Blackstone River ends and the tidal waters of the Seekonk River begins. These falls were used by the Native Americans and the colonists as a fishing spot for years before it was used for its water-power. In fact, the city of Pawtucket gets its name from these falls. Pawtucket is Algonquin for “place of rushing waters”. The Upper Falls are just a few hundred feet north at Slater Mill. Following the river along the brick walkway that follows the river, I soon found myself at a set of several older buildings. This is the Slater Mill Historic Site. It comprises of three buildings and is today a living museum open to the public. The first building of note is the large rubblestone mill. This is the Wilkinson Mill, which was built around 1810, housed a blacksmith shop and a machine shop. The second building of note is the Sylvanus Brown House. The large reddish-brown house was built in 1758, however, at a different location a few blocks away. During the construction of Interstate 95 the house faced demolition. It was saved and relocated to its present site. The third building of note is the highlight of this historic site. The Slater Mill is said to be the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The mill, built in 1793, became the first successful cotton factory in the newly formed United States. In the next hundred (plus) years, mills and factories would begin to line the Blackstone River from here in Pawtucket northerly to Worcester, Massachusetts. The next part of this walk would lead me around Slater Mill to a parking area. I made my way to the large stone wall along the river. This wall was built in 1940 by the Works Projects Administration. I followed the wall north a few feet to a new section of bike path. At the time of this walk, it seems that more improvements may be in store to connect the historic site to a newly installed bike path. The bike path, short in distance, follows the river. To the left is the backside of the Pawtucket City Hall. This art-deco building built in 1933 features a central tower that is over 200 feet tall. The building is also home to the police and fire departments. After passing the City Hall I came to an amphitheater at Veterans Memorial Park. The path then continues to wind up to street level. At the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Exchange Street there is a sign. It is the same design of sign I came across at the Pawtuxet River walk. It reads “River and Fields at Pawtucket – One of the bounds of Providence mentioned in the Indian deed to Roger Williams”. From this point I retraced my steps back to the point of beginning.

I did not find a map on-line.

Slater Mill

Slater Mill