Archive for the ‘ ~BRISTOL RI~ ’ Category

King Phillips Chair – Bristol

  • King Phillips Chair/Miery Swamp
  • Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: April 29, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: Less than 1 mile on two separate walks.
  • Fairly easy.

 

A notable site more so for its history than its hiking, King Phillips Chair is well worth the visit if you are in the area. There are some restrictions though as the “chair” and nearby spring in Miery Swamp are not publicly open unless you receive permission. Both the “chair” and the spring are on property owned by Brown University on Mount Hope. This area in the 1600’s was part of the Wampanoag/Pokanoket tribes lands known as Sowams. The “chair”, at the base of the largest outcrop of white granite in Rhode Island served as the seat of Metacom (known by the English colonists as King Phillip). It is said that Metacom held meetings here and the top of the rock served as a lookout. From 1675 to 1678 a war between the Native Americans and English colonists was fought in this area. The King Phillips War was by far the bloodiest war in American History (per population) as nearly 10 percent of the population were killed on both sides. Some of the fiercest fighting occurred in the nearby towns. King Phillip met his end in Miery Swamp a mere half mile southwest of King Phillips Chair on August 12, 1676. A monument, placed by the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1877, now stands by the spring on the site of his death. Nearby Mount Hope Farm abuts the woods and to gain access to King Phillips Chair and Miery Swamp you must contact the office at 401-254-1745 for permits and parking passes. Groups of more than 10 will require insurance (per Brown University) to visit the site.

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The Base of the Large Outcrop Served as King Phillips Chair

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Waypoyset Preserve – Bristol

 

At the Bristol Narrows is a little known preserve named Waypoyset. The long narrow property is heavily wooded and currently offers only a few trails. There is potential for a longer trail network. On this visit, birds were in abundance in the tall shrubs and thickets. Cardinals, blue jays, and nuthatches were seen. The shrubs were filled with berries and the remnants of milkweed pods. A visit to the trickling stream was also made. A local informed me that the other side of the stream is private property. There is parking down by the water at the end of Narrows Road. Be sure to park above the high tide line.

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Trickling Stream

East Bay Bike Path South – Barrington/Warren/Bristol

  • East Bay Bike Path South
  • Metropolitan Park Drive, Barrington, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°45’12.02″N, 71°20’54.74″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 23, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 8.4 miles
  • Easy to moderate due to distance.

After walking the northern end of the East Bay Bike Path, I decided to finish what I started. The southern end of the oldest bike path in the state winds along the former Providence, Warren, and Bristol Railroad through Barrington, Warren, and Bristol. Along the way there are several points of interest as the paved path passes through the East Bay neighborhoods. Starting at Haines Park, one of the oldest State Parks, I started making my way south. Almost immediately I could hear the sounds of the dog park just beyond the trails and woods to the left. Soon the bike path crosses the lower end of the Annawomscutt Brook just before it dumps into Allins Cove. Immediately after that the bike path makes its first of several road crossings in Barrington at Bay Spring Avenue. To the right is a large brick building that was once a mill. It is now a condominium building. This section of Barrington was its industrial center will mills producing leather and lace products. This building is the only surviving building of that era. Also at this road crossing is a memorial to residents of West Barrington that have lost their lives in wars. Next the bike path crosses Alfred Drowne Road in the neighborhood that was once known as Drownville where one of several railroad depots were located in Barrington. The neighborhood was known for its oyster operations and the land was mostly owned by the Drowne family and later the Blount family known locally for their current clam shacks and seafood products. After crossing Washington Road the bike path enters a half mile stretch of trees and residential neighborhoods before coming to Little Echo Pond. Here, and the surrounding ponds, there was once an icing operation, but the icehouse that sat on the opposite side of the pond is long gone. On each side of the bike path there are small Barrington Land Conservation Trust properties with short trail systems. Both Lombardi Park and Andreozzi Nature Preserve are marked with signs at their trailheads. Just before South Lake Drive on the right was the location of the Nayatt Depot, the next railroad stop in Barrington. After crossing South Lake Drive you will notice the greens of the Rhode Island Country Club to the right. This golf course is one of the most prominent ones in the state hosting the CVS Charity Classic each year. The next road crossing is Middle Highway, after crossing it the bike path passes several trails on the right. These trails are part of Veterans Park which surrounds Brickyard Pond. Today the pond is used for mostly fishing. In years past, there were mills in the area that made bricks. Clay pits in the area supplied the material to make the bricks. Workers would dig these massive pits and in time the pits would fill with water. After the operations ceased in the area and the pumps shut down, the pits filled with water. Hence, the creation of Brickyard Pond. Many buildings on the East Side of Providence were built with the bricks made in Barrington. The bike path also passes the Bayside YMCA before approaching County Road. Just before the main road there is a plaza on the right that offers several shops for a break. There was also a train depot here. On the left is the Daily Scoop, a local ice cream shop. After crossing Route 114, the bike path then passes through a tunnel of trees, then passes Police Cove Park, before emerging out to the Barrington River. Here is the first of two bridges in Eastern Barrington that connect the southern end of New Meadow Neck to Barrington and Warren respectively. The first bridge, crossing the Barrington River offers view of the river northerly toward Hundred Acre Cove. The view to the south is that of is similar of that of the second bridge that crosses the Palmer River. They both look toward the bridges that carry Route 114 over the water crossings and the marinas beyond them. The two rivers come together just about a half mile south to form the Warren River. After crossing the second bridge you are in Warren. You will notice the large brick building to the south that once was the home to American Tourister, a maker of travel luggage. To the north is Grinnel Point with its windswept grass. The bike path then starts to turn to the south and into the heart of Warren. Houses and side streets become very frequent in this stretch. To the left you first pass Belcher Cove and its wooded shoreline. At the Brown Street crossing and to the left you will notice the remains of an old brick wall by the fenced in area owned by National Grid. This wall was once part of the old power station that was used by the railroad. Soon you will start to see the steeples of the nearby churches through the cluster of homes. The bike path then crosses Market Street and Child Street, passing a Dels Lemonade, before coming to a large parking area behind Town Hall, Fire Station, and Police Station. It is in this area that a spur line to Fall River split from the main track and headed east. The East Bay Bike Path follows the former line to Bristol from here. (The Warren Bike Path to the east follows a section of the spur trail). After passing a well-placed bicycle shop and Franklin Street the bike path comes out to Main Street. There is a traffic light with a crosswalk here. It is a very busy intersection, do not attempt to cross without using the crosswalk and light. After crossing the street the bike path continues south and soon passes Burrs Hill Park. The park offers basketball courts, tennis courts, and a ball field. There are also free concerts here. Through the park you can see the water and Warren Town Beach. The bike path continues through residential neighborhoods after passing under Bridge Street through a tunnel that replaced a former railroad bridge. The bike path is also flanked by post and rail fence for quite a while. Soon the bike path passes an area known as Jacobs Point to the right. The large salt marsh, abundant with cattails and wildflowers, offers a single trail to the beach. Just after Jacob’s Point the bike path enters Bristol and soon comes to the McIntosh Wildlife Refuge. This Audubon property spans from Route 114 to the Warren River on both sides of the bike path. To the left is access to the trails through the fields by the Educational Center. To the right is the long boardwalk that reaches out to the river. The bike path then continues through more residential areas with several road crossings before coming to Colt State Park. Along this stretch you can catch glimpses of Narragansett Bay including the Conimicut Lighthouse. After crossing the entrance road to Colt State Park the bike path passes Mill Pond to the right where you are likely to catch glimpses of cormorants and egrets. After passing Poppasquash Road the bike path follows the upper reaches of Bristol Harbor before ending at Independence Park and the edge of Downtown Bristol. Here along the Bristol waterfront you will see several boats docked and the old brick buildings in the distance. If you still have a little walk left in you, the waterfront and downtown offers a great walk on its own

Trail maps can be found at: East Bay Bike Path South

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The Bike Path By Bristol Harbor

Woodland Path – Bristol

  • Woodland Path – Colt State Park
  • Colt Drive, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°40’20.01″N, 71°17’54.46″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

At the extreme southern end of Colt State Park there is an area of woods. There is a network of trails here, some part of the park wide “Path to Health” system. The trails are faintly blazed and easy to follow. There is a couple small ponds and several vernal pools here. At the time of this hike, the frogs were very active. To add distance to this easy and short hike follow any of the parks paved walking paths or walk to the nearby Coggeshall Farm. There is a trail map sign near the parking area.

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Path in the wooded part of Colt State Park.

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

Blithewold – Bristol

  • Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, & Arboretum
  • Ferry Road, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°39’13.82″N, 71°15’53.20″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 15, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 mile
  • Easy.

 

I stop at Blithewold quite often to stroll around the gardens for ideas and to take in the solitude it has to offer. Another of my hobbies is gardening. Blithewold has a wide variety of flowers to see at all times of the year. More so a walk than a hike, you still can get a mile or more nonetheless along stone and dirt paths. I remember the first time coming here was for a wedding. I also stop by quite often during daffodil season. The display is quite impressive. Both Blithewold and Parsons are well worth checking out for their daffodils. Today I was joined by my mother for this walk. We started at the Visitors Center by the parking lot. After paying the entry fee we went through the rose garden and found our way toward the front of the mansion. We followed the path away from the mansion toward the road passing a Giant Sequoia and Japanese Cedar along the way. We then circled around toward the summer house. We then passed an area of hydrangeas while we followed a path back towards the mansion. When we reached the North Garden we then followed another path back into the wooded area passing a water fountain. We eventually reached a grove of bamboo. After walking through the grove we stumbled upon a garden of flowers of all assortments. There were several black eyed susans and coneflowers attracting several bees and butterflies. We then followed the northern property line along a dirt road to the bay. The views are quite impressive here. We then wandered into the rock and water gardens. The small ponds here were covered with lily pads and the highlights of the garden are a Japanese Red Maple on a small island as well as a stone bridge that crosses a section of the pond. We then followed a path that passed several trees of interest including a snowbell, plane, and a walnut to name a few before passing into an archway of boxwood. This path eventually met with the path with the water fountain. We then made our way back to the North Garden. At this point we had walked just under a mile. We then explored the mansion before returning to the car.

Map of the paths and gardens can be found at: Blithewold.

Rock and Water Gardens

Rock and Water Gardens

Perry Farm – Bristol

  • Perry-Tavares Farm
  • Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°42’34.4″N 71°16’01.2″W
  • First Time Hiked: July 19, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: January 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

 

Between the first visit here in the summer of 2014 and the last, in January of 2017, the Bristol Conservation Commission and their many volunteers have made great improvements to this property. The nearly two mile system is blazed with blue, white, and yellow trails. There are several access points to the property including the Elmwood Drive entrance which features a footbridge over a small stream. The main entrance, opposite Fatima Drive, along Metacom Avenue offers a small parking area. The blue blazed trail runs from Metacom Avenue westerly to the power line easement and the yellow loop trail. Along this stretch you will pass a couple stone walls, vernal pools, and some old towering trees. The yellow trail loops through the midsection of the property passing areas of birch trees and small outcrops of pudding-stone. The white blazed trail at the northern end of the property weaves along the edge of a meadow and through areas of thickets that are a haven for birds. The property is especially suited for photography of flowers and birds. On the two (of likely several more) visits I encountered rabbits, toads, hawks, robins, blue jays, woodpeckers, finches as well as an abundance of wildflowers including milkweed, black raspberries, and grapes attracting not only the birds but butterflies, bees, and dragonflies. Deer, owls, and turkey have also been seen on this property.

Trail map can be found at: Perry Tavares Farm

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Winter Tree at Perry Farm Meadow