Archive for the ‘ ~CUMBERLAND RI~ ’ Category

Mercy Woods – Cumberland

 

The Town of Cumberland recently purchased 229 of the 243 acres of the Sisters of Mercy property for conservation and passive recreation. With the help of the Cumberland Land Trust, the Rhode Island Land Trust Council, and volunteers, Mercy Woods has become not only one of the newest trail systems, but handily one of the most beautiful in Rhode Island. The nearly six miles of trails are well blazed and mapped. For this hike, I led a group, following the Perimeter Walk, from the Sumner Brown Road parking area just off of Route 121. We crossed the road to follow the yellow blazed Mercy Loop. After crossing a field and passing a gate we were onto the trail. The trail winds pass the red blaze trail and turns to the east where it intersects with the blue blazed Ridge Trail. Look towards the right here just before the blue trail. Up on the hill is a pile of rocks, possibly a cairn or an impressive “balance artwork”. Following the blue blazes of the aptly named Ridge Trail for the next two miles leads you up and down some impressive hills, crossing a few streams, passing several stone walls, winding by large boulders and outcrops, along a ridge, and through a forest floor of ferns. The trail intersects with four red blazed trails (Stone Wall, Fisher, Fern, and Fiske) and crosses Sumner Brown Road. For this hike, we followed the blue blazes to their terminus at the Mercy Loop. The Warner Trail also joins the Ridge Trail for a bit. You will see a few white circle blazes along the way marking the long distance trail. When we reached the yellow blazes once again we turned left. Keep an eye out for the blazes as there are two trails to the left (one being not blazed). The remainder of the hike winds through the woods at the southern end of the property, passing through an open field, by power lines, then crosses Highland View Road before the final stretch that leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Mercy Woods.

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Along The Mercy Loop

Franklin Farm – Cumberland

  • Historic Metcalf Franklin Farm
  • Abbott Run Valley Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°57’59.58″N, 71°23’38.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 3, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Easy with some small hills.

 

In the rolling hills of Northeast Rhode Island is Franklin Farm. The 65 acre town owned property was once a dairy farm now used for community gardening and historic preservation. The farm consists of an old 19th century farm house (currently under restoration) and a turn of the century dairy barn. On each side of Abbott Run Valley Road are large fields with farm trails that are open to the public. The fields are separated from the winding road by century old New England stone walls. Parking is available at the dairy barn. For this walk, first cross the street to get to the East Field. The entrance to the east field is marked with a sign at an opening in the stone wall. Use caution while crossing as there is a significant blind spot for approaching traffic. Once entering the East Field turn to the left and you will see a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail follows the perimeter of the field and there are 10 numbered posts all the way. From the front of the field looking to the east offers a great wide open view of the sky. Sunrises can be spectacular here. When you are on the backside of the field you can catch glimpses of Rawson Pond down the bottom of the hill. After completing the loop cross back over to the West Field. Going up the driveway and right around the dairy barn back towards the old chain link fence you will find a post with the number 1 on it. The farm trail is again marked by numbered posts that leads you partly along the perimeter and partly across the farm fields. There is a small pond along the way that is a small haven for birds offering cover of shrubs and a small tree. I came across an owl here who seemed quite interested in my presence before flying off. The marked farm trail ends at the small gardens and chicken coup at the backside of the farm house. From here turn left to the parking area. The farm is active in the spring and summer months with gardeners and children at programs. The farm trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Do keep in mind though to wear proper shoes as the trail is all grass. The frosty farm trail quickly turned in morning dew on this walk.

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Perimeter Path in the East Field

Blackall Preserve – Cumberland

  • Blackall Preserve/Ballou Farm Preserve
  • Old West Wrentham Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°59’18.1″N, 71°27’39.8″W
  • First Time Hiked: March 23, 2017
  • Last Time Hiked: April 29, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

The Blackall and Ballou Farm Preserves offer trails that wind around the property passing impressive stone walls from yesteryear. There are two main loops, blazed yellow and blue, connected by a red blazed trail. There are also two white trails that lead to other entrances. The blue loop is accessed from the main entrance. The trails wind up and down several hills while traversing under a canopy mostly of oak and maple with an occasional beech, pine, and birch. There is a small pond on the western edge of the preserve as well. The trails are easy to follow and are well defined. At the northern reaches of the property the yellow trail twice crosses a babbling brook. An abundance of birds were observed here singing in the trees above at the time of this hike.

 

Trail Map: Blackall/Ballou

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Crossing a Babbling Brook

Blackstone River Byway – Lincoln/Cumberland

  • Blackstone River Byway
  • School Street, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°57’10.51″N, 71°27’9.88″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 6, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

The Blackstone River Byway is a utility road that follows the eastern shore of the Blackstone River in Cumberland just north of Albion Road. Between that road and the river is a short footpath of a trail that climbs up to an impressive outcrop of rocks that overlook the river. The trail is entirely in Cumberland but you must park at the bike path parking area just over the river in Lincoln. From the parking area follow School Street over the bridge that crosses the river. From here you will get a great view of the Albion Dam. Just after the bridge and before the gated road is a narrow footpath that heads north along the river. The path passes the dam before heading uphill to the overlook. This is a great little spot to sit and contemplate. This hike out and back (and for this hike description featuring just about all the highlights) is about a half mile. If you choose to further explore, follow any of the spur trails to the Byway road and head north. The utility road is heavily traveled by ATV’s and not so much utilized by hikers. The road follows a buried petroleum pipeline for a distance before pipeline crosses the river. You will see a clearing on the left with a sign down below warning of the pipeline crossing the river. A hike to this point (and back to the parking area) is just about 2 miles. If you care do a loop of 4 miles, a fellow hiker recently explored this option. You can do so by continuing along the dirt road after it passes the utility clearing on the left. Here is a link to her website with a description and a map.

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Sunset Along The Blackstone From The Overlook.

Lynch Park – Cumberland

  • James H. Lynch Jr. Memorial Park – Cumberland Monastery
  • Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°56’29.30″N, 71°24’7.27″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 1, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

The well known Cumberland Monastery has miles of trails that winds through woods and fields. Most do not know that there is another entrance a little further north along Diamond Hill Road at Lynch Park. These lesser visited trails, as well with the rest of the Monastery, has recently been blazed. For this hike we decided to do a short loop of just under of a mile that started at the gate by the parking area. We first followed the yellow blazed trail that follows the power lines. Just before an open field at one of the towers we turned right onto the orange blazed Lynch Trail that winds uphill and to the north before looping back to near the beginning of the hike. There are stone walls and young beeches among the older pines along this trail that towers over the valley below. To add more miles to this hike continue along the yellow blazed trail into the heart of the Monastery property instead of turning onto the orange trail.

Trail maps can be found at: Lynch Park

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Along The Lynch Trail

Lonsdale Marsh – Lincoln/Cumberland

This walk follows the southern most portion of the Blackstone River Bike Path into Cumberland. Starting at the parking area at the old Lonsdale Drive-In I followed the bike path south to John Street. The bike path crosses over the Blackstone River into Cumberland, then crosses Route 123. The remainder of the bike path follows the edge of the marsh and consists of a paved path and an area of boardwalk. After the boardwalk there is a trail to the right. The trail is narrow and overgrown in areas. The trail will bring you to the rivers edge. By walking to the end of the bike path and back and also following the trail you can achieve a little over a mile and a half.

Trail map can be found at: Lonsdale Marsh.

Approaching The Boardwalk

Approaching The Boardwalk

Blackstone River South – Cumberland/Lincoln

  • Blackstone River Bikeway – South
  • Front Street, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°56’17.85″N, 71°25’55.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 13, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.3 miles
  • Easy.

For the third a final leg of the Blackstone River Bikeway walk we completed the southern 3 or so miles. Starting where we left off in May at Front Street in Cumberland we immediately made our way into Lincoln by crossing the Blackstone River. The bike path then turns to the left passing the Kelly House. This stretch of the bike path follows the Blackstone Canal on the right for a couple miles. The river it self is on the left most of the walk. There are several spur trails to the left that lead to the river. Along this stretch we came across many animals and insects such as geese, ducks, chipmunks, squirrels, birds of all sorts, turtles, fish, butterflies, and dragonflies. Soon we were crossing the river again on a bridge that crosses at the Pratt Dam. This would lead us back into Cumberland again briefly before crossing Mendon Road. After crossing the busy road we again crossed a bridge back into Lincoln and into what was once the Lonsdale Drive In. It is now a restored marsh with several wildflowers. We concluded our walk here at the old entrance to the drive-in. The bike path from this point continues south for about a half mile before becoming a bike lane along city streets to Providence.

Trail map can be found at: Blackstone River South.

The Bike Path Following The Canal

The Bike Path Following The Canal

Blackstone River Central – Lincoln/Cumberland

  • Blackstone River Bikeway – Central
  • New River Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°58’5.51″N, 71°28’1.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 20, 2015
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Easy.

Starting where we left off a couple weeks ago (Blackstone River North), we continued our walk along the Blackstone River Bikeway. The first mile or so of this walk is along a stretch of the bike path that is flanked by the railroad on the right and the river on the left. Most of it is fenced, but there are occasional trailheads that appear along the left. The Albion Dam soon appears on the river to the left. The water cascades over the dam then ripples downstream under the School Street Bridge. This is a good spot to relax and take in the scene. At the halfway point of this walk we crossed a bridge that spans the river. We were now entering Cumberland and the bike path climbs a small hill. There is some impressive looking ledge at this location. Soon we came to a railroad crossing where the bike path switches sides. Do not walk down the tracks. These are active tracks and occasionally a freight train will come rumbling through. We then continued along the bike path crossing under Interstate 295. About 2/10 of a mile after the interstate a path appears on the right. It leads to the river. Another path follows the river downstream pass the Ashton Dam. This path loops back to the bike path. We then continued south along the bike path crossing under the arched bridge that carries Route 116 over the Blackstone River. We then came to the Ashton Mill complex where we concluded this leg of the Blackstone River walk.

Trail map can be found at: Blackstone River Central.

The Albion Dam Along The Blackstone River.

The Albion Dam Along The Blackstone River.

Valley Falls – Cumberland

This suburban park sits at the extreme southern end of Cumberland along the Blackstone River. The park is a maze of paths that wanders through the ruins of a former textile mill. Today, all that is left of the mill are some stone foundations and the raceways that were built. Another feature of this park is the dam along the Blackstone River. The park is technically the southern terminus of the Blackstone River Bicycle Path. For more information about the site and surrounding area click here.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Valley Falls Heritage Park

Valley Falls Heritage Park

Monastery – Cumberland

  • Cumberland Monastery
  • Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°56’5.96″N, 71°24’20.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 31, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation.

 

For a half of a century this property was a religious site. It was the home of a Cistercian Monastery. Although most of the buildings are still here the property is now owned by the Town of Cumberland. The site also includes the towns library and the oldest known veterans memorial in the United States. The memorial known as Nine Men’s Misery is the site where nine colonists were tortured to death by the Narragansett Indian tribe during the King Phillips War in 1676. They were later buried here by English soldiers and the memorial was built. The site is also sprawling with trails. Although there are several miles of trails here at the Monastery property, this hike is rather short and covers most of the highlights. Starting from the library parking lot, follow the loop road toward the Senior Center. Opposite the building is the gate and trail head to the red rectangle blazed trail that leads to Nine Men’s Misery. After stopping at the memorial continue on the trail named after the memorial until you come to the white triangle blazed trail that leads to a field. Merge to the left here. After going through part of the field start looking for a very narrow path to the right that cuts across the field to some large pieces of granite. Take this path into the woods. It is very narrow, beware of poison ivy and ticks. This trail soon come to the green rectangle blazed Monks Quarry Trail. Turn right to follow the green blazes to the quarry.  Stop here for a bit to examine the quarry site. One of the more interesting pieces here is a large stone cross laying in the woods. Continue to follow the green blazes up a hill and along a ledge. Then turn left onto an orange dot blazed trail. This trail will lead you back down hill where you will turn right onto the green rectangle blazed trail heading in a southerly direction. The trail comes to a multiple trail intersection. Continue, for the most part, straight ahead until you see the yellow dot blazes to the left. Follow this trail along the edge of an irrigation pond until its end. The trail ahead is a white rectangle blaze. This is the Beauregard Loop Trail. Follow it another seven tenths of a mile back to the library. From here follow the road back to the parking lot. The entire property has recently been blazed and there is a great trail map available.

Trail map can be found at: Monastery.

Through A Field

Through A Field

Ruins

Ruins