Archive for the ‘ ~MIDDLETOWN RI~ ’ Category

The Glen/Sakonnet Greenway – Portsmouth/Middletown

  • The Glen/Sakonnet Greenway
  • Frank Cohelo Drive, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°33’33.33″N, 71°14’25.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 19, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.0 miles
  • Moderate due to distance, trails are fairly easy.

I joined the Appalachian Mountain Club – Narragansett Chapter for their hike of The Glen and Sakonnet Greenway. They opted to do this hike as a one way trek, therefore the route that I will describe requires car spotting. We started from the parking lot at The Glen along Frank Cohelo Drive. We first made our way down a short walkway that leads to the road. We then turned right following the road past the Glen Manor House. We then passed the house to the south passing through the well maintained gardens. From here are wonderful views of the Sakonnet River. As we approached the edge of the lawn a trail appears to the right that leads into the woods. Following this trail we soon came to the beach below. To the south you can see Sandy Point. We followed the beach south for a short distance and turned right onto a trail as wide as a cart-path back into the woods. The trail soon crosses over a stream and then follows it to an old abandon building. The stone work near and around the building is quite impressive. Take note of the archway of the sluice by the building. We then continued following the trail to the end of The Glen property. We turned left onto a narrow paved road and followed it about 500 feet to a dirt road on the right. This is Linden Lane. We followed the road for about four tenths of a mile as we passed the Newport Polo Grounds to the left. Ahead in the distance we could see the historic Leonard Brown House. After the Polo Grounds, but before the house, on the left is the northerly trailhead of the Sakonnet Greenway. From here we started our southerly trek first passing the Polo Grounds to the left before entering the Pennfield School property. The trail traverses through areas of thick shrubs and tall trees before coming to the white gate at Sandy Point Avenue. After crossing the street we approached the Portsmouth Loop Trail. The trail follows the perimeter of a large open field. Be warned though that the field is surrounded by an electric fence. We opted to turn left here and follow the east edge of the loop while heading south. After leaving the loop trail we passed through a short section of woods before emerging out to another small field. The trail soon led into a wooded area. The trail crossed a couple small streams by bridges and boardwalks. After coming out of the woods again the trail followed the edge of another large field. Soon we came to a set of turnstiles, continuing straight the trail winded through a narrow stretch of woods that divided two fields. The trail then turned to the right following the southern edge of the field that was to the right. Ahead is a kiosk with the trail map near the road crossing. After crossing Bramans Lane the trail turns to the west between another field of tall grass and a stone wall. The trail then turns left keeping the field to the left. Wildflowers are abundant along this stretch. Soon we were on the property of the Newport National Golf Course. The Sakonnet Greenway at this point is well marked by signs as it skims the perimeter of the golf course. For the next two miles the trail is on the golf course property. On several occasions we caught glimpses of the greens and the golfers using them. At time the trail uses the road for the golf carts. There are also places to stop along the way to use the restroom. Also along this stretch, just after then bend after the gazebo the Greenway leaves Portsmouth and enters into Middletown. At the end of the golf course property the trail comes out to Mitchells Lane. We turned left here and followed the road about one tenth of a mile. Across the street is the trail that leads to the Middletown Loops. We followed this trail to the next intersection and turned left. We then followed this trail, part of the Middletown Southern Loop which is occasionally marked with yellow blazes, to the Wyatt Road Soccer Complex where we concluded the hike. This hike highlights the true beauty of Aquidneck Island. From its areas of forest to its sprawling farms.

 

Also thank you to Deb and Cyndy from the AMC for leading this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Sakonnet Greenway

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View of The Sakonnet River From The Glen

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The Sakonnet Greenway Along A Field.

Paradise Valley Park – Middletown

This beautiful and well maintained park in Middletown offers just about a half mile of walking paths. The park is also home of an 1810 wind grist mill that was relocated to this property in 1995. The wind mill is still operational. The property also abuts the 1875 Paradise Schoolhouse. This structure is home of the Middletown Historical Society and is on the National Register of Historical Sites.

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Windmill at Paradise Valley Park

Albro Woods – Middletown

 

Albro Woods is a small property just off of East Main Road. The trail is a short loop that follows the perimeter of the property as well as a trail that cuts across the property. The trails at Albro Woods are just about a half mile in distance, however they connect to the longer network of trails that are part of the Sakonnet Greenway. You could easily add several miles to this walk by doing the Middletown Loop Trails. Albro Woods is a good starter walk and for younger kids. Dogs are welcomed but must be leashed.

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Albro Woods

Norman Bird Sanctuary – Middletown

  • Norman Bird Sanctuary
  • Third Beach Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’58.69″N,  71°15’3.14″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 10, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Moderate with difficult terrain in areas.

 

This property situated at the southern end of Aquidnick Island is truly a gem. There are several miles of trails here that vary from a stroll to sections that require some climbing. The views on the overlooks are absolutely remarkable. The property is abundant with species of all sorts including mammals, reptiles, and of course birds. The sanctuary is a privately owned but open to the public. The hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is also a (well-worth) fee to enter the property. All of that information along with information on programs can be found on their website. After stopping in the Welcome Center to pay entry and get a trail map I made my way down the main trail just to the right of the building. This trail, known as the Norman Universal Access Trail, is a stone dust covered trail that first leads towards an open farm field with a chicken coupe and rolls of hay. The trail then turns to the left and loops behind the Welcome Center passing the first of several stone walls. I soon found myself following the signs leading me to the pond. The trail meanders slowly downhill passing intersections (all with signs) for the Woodland and Quarry Trails. I continued following signs leading me to the pond and found myself on the first of the boardwalks. At the end of this first boardwalk and to the right is the small pond. Here there is a small observation deck. The pond, surrounded by grass and wildflowers, has a few boulders and fallen tree limbs in it. On this pass of the pond I saw a lone mallard resting on a stone and a heron was coming in for a landing. The trail then continues over a wooden bridge that crosses a spillway. Up to this point the hike is very easy. The remainder of it is on trails with several roots, rocks, and follows ridge lines.  Soon I approached the next boardwalk and intersection. Here I turned left. The trail splits again in a few feet. I opted to stay to the left onto a trail that winds through areas of small boulders, stone walls, and ferns. It soon passes the Shady Glade Trail to the left. I continued straight. Along this trail I caught my first glimpse of the water of Gardiner Pond on the left. To the right is the first sign of the elevation coming up as a large ledge becomes visible. The trail soon turns to the right and a set of wooden steps appear. At the top of the steps I turned left onto the Hanging Rock Trail. This would be the first of four ridge trails of this hike. I followed the 70 foot high puddingstone ridge to an overlook at the end of the trail. This overlook is the reason you want to bring binoculars. From this overlook you can see the cathedral of St. Georges School to the west beyond the pond below. You can see Purgatory Chasm as well to the southwest. From this vantage point it appears as a large crack in a ledge near Second Beach. Beyond Easton Point (just south of the chasm) you can make out another point aptly named Lands End. That is where the Cliff Walk in Newport ends. To the south and overlooking Second Beach is a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean. You will occasionally see large ships using the shipping lanes just south of Rhode Island. To the southeast you see the peninsula that is home to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. On a clear day (overlooking Sachuest, just to the left of the large building and parking lot on the point) you can see the Sakonnet Point lighthouse. And finally to the east is Gardiner Pond just below, Third Beach, and the Sakonnet River. Beyond that is the rolling hills and farms of Little Compton. After taking in the view for a little while, I retraced my steps back to wooden steps. Instead of going down them, I continued straight along the ridge line trail slowly going downhill to the next intersection. Then I turned left passing a four way intersection where the Valley Trail begins. I continued straight and then went left onto the Red Fox Trail at the next split. The Red Fox Trail also follows a ridge line and near its end it follows a stretch that has sheer drops on both sides. Fear of heights could be an issue here. Just before the trail loops is another great view. The view from here includes much of the same from Hanging Rock, but from here you can see just how impressive Hanging Rock actually is. I also found this stop very serene in sound. A cool ocean breeze was rustling through the thousands of cattails in the valley below. Continuing, I followed the trail as it looped back north. I came to another intersection and noticed a set of signs on a tree. The signs simply read “Difficult” and “Easy” each with an arrow. I choose to go left here onto the Nelson Pond Trail. If you don’t like climbing or heights you should go straight here. The signs are true to word. After crossing a small boardwalk, I found myself climbing up a series of rocks along the trail to the third ridge of the hike. The trail then levels out a bit. The “easy” trail eventually rejoins to the right. Here I found myself entertained by a murder of crows. One was actually hanging upside down from a tree branch as if it were a bat. Continuing straight, the trail splits. The trail to the left leads further uphill the another overlook. From here you can see the sprawling Gray Craig Mansion as well as Nelson Pond. I then continued. What goes up must come down, and that is exactly what this trail does next. I found myself cautiously and methodically making my way down parts of the trail. The trail the bends right and then left, levels out, and passes the entrance of the Red Fox Trail to the right before coming to the four way intersection where the Valley Trail begins. Here I turned left making my way to the Gray Craig Trail. I passed a trail to the right, and then came to another boardwalk that crosses Paradise Brook. After crossing the boardwalk I continued to the loop trail after being greeted by a wild turkey. At the beginning of the loop I opted to follow the trail clockwise as it climbed the fourth and final ridge on the property. After completing the loop I retraced my steps back to the last intersection. Here I turned left following a trail that would lead me back to the end of the Universal Access Trail by the pond, then turning left again and crossing the wooden bridge by the pond once again. At the pond there was no sign of the mallard or heron I saw on the way in, however, several turtles were here sunbathing. I also got a glimpse of a muskrat here. From here I retraced my steps back to the Welcome Center. Along the entire hike I could hear rustling of squirrels and birds in the fallen leaves all around. Some of the birds I observed here were blue jays, a red tailed hawk, robins, cat birds, finches, and geese. I also noticed an abundance of shrubs and bushes with berries as well as several different types of trees. The Norman Bird Sanctuary offers a little bit of everything to any nature enthusiast.

Trail map can be found at: Norman Bird Sanctuary.

Red Fox Trail Looking Toward The Atlantic Ocean

Red Fox Trail Looking Toward The Atlantic Ocean

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock

Purgatory Chasm – Middletown

  • Purgatory Chasm
  • Tuckerman Avenue, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°29’14.47″N, 71°16’9.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 24, 2014
  • Previous Visits: March 23, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.3 miles
  • Easy.
 
EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION NEAR EDGES.

There are two Purgatory Chasm’s in Southern New England, one being here in Middletown, Rhode Island and the other in Massachusetts (hike for another day). There is really no difficulty in reaching this site as the entire “trail system” is very short. However, this is a wonderful geological feature that most people are not even aware of. It is well worth a visit if you are just in the area or adding it as a supplement to a nearby hike. The chasm is a glacial cleft about 10 feet wide and about 50 feet deep that is continuously being filled with seawater. From the parking area follow the main path a few hundred feet to a wooden bridge. At the bridge you can view the chasm. There are other paths on the site. If you choose to venture on these paths use extreme caution near the edges. This is not a site that you would want to do any falling at. From the edges of the cliffs you also have sweeping views of Second Beach and Sachuest Point.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

The Chasm

The Chasm

Sachuest Point – Middletown

  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sachuest Point Road, Middletown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°28’47.09″N, 71°14’37.46″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 28, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Easy with some optional elevation

This place is for the birds… Literally. Recently reopened, some of the paths in the wildlife refuge and its access road had sustained damage from last year’s Hurricane Sandy and a series of coastal winter storms. I had stopped here late in February and it was still closed. After making the phone call to see if it were open, I made my way here. Starting from the parking lot I decided to head south first along the Ocean View Loop to Sachuest Point. I immediately came across several red winged blackbirds and several yellow birds that almost looked like parakeets. I then spent a little time down on the rocks at the point. I continued along the path coming across some wildflowers and many more birds such as robins and catbirds. I decided to take a short trek on to the Price Neck Overlook that has good views of the Sakonnet River and the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance the Sakonnet Lighthouse is clearly visible. I then continued along the loop path and onto the Flint Point Loop passing through areas of beach roses. Along the way there are a couple of overlooks. The first overlooks the Island Rocks where you will see several birds relaxing. I saw an egret here. The second overlooks Flint Point as well as the coast of Tiverton and Little Compton across the river and Middletown and Third Beach to the left. I then continued the path which leads back to the parking area. Along the way I came across mourning doves. There is a visitor center here that has quite a display of the birds and other species that are found here. Beware, however, of the over abundance of poison ivy here.

Trail map can be found at: Sachuest Point

I’ve also decided to add this link to identify poison ivy. You can click on the options on the left to see what it looks like at different times and places: Poison Ivy

The Shore At Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge

The Shore At Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge