Archive for the ‘ ~PROVIDENCE RI~ ’ Category

Seekonk River – Providence

  • Seekonk River – Blackstone Valley Bike Path
  • Pitman Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’36.39″N, 71°23’0.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 13, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The newest section of the Blackstone River Bike Path is just about ready to be opened. With that being said, I ventured out to take a sneak peak at it. The short section of bike path, six tenths of a mile one way, runs from Pitman Street opposite Witherby Park southerly to Gano Street by the end of the exit ramp from Interstate 195. This section of the bike path takes bicyclists off of the very busy Gano and Pitman Streets and puts them along the shore of the Seekonk River. Starting adjacent to the Salvation Army property the bike path winds very gently up and over a couple small hills passing behind the Wingate Residences and the Eastside Marketplace at Cold Spring Point. Soon you will get your first glimpse of the 1908 Crook Point Bascule Bridge. This structure was in operation and used by trains until the mid 1970’s. The bridge was then put into its famous upright position and abandoned. Some consider it an eyesore, others think of it as historic. Nonetheless, it is one of Providences most recognizable sights. The bike path then passes along Gano Park and its ball fields. There is an informational board along this stretch that explains the history of the park and nearby area. After being forced from his original settlement across the river, this is (actually nearby at Slate Rock) is where Roger Williams, the founder of Providence and Rhode Island, first step foot onto the shore in 1636. You can actually see the monument from this point by looking over the soccer field towards Gano Street. Looking out towards the river you can see the Washington Bridge that carries Interstate 195 over the Seekonk River. Across the river is the East Providence waterfront. You will also see two small islands, aptly named Twin Islands. Locals call them Cupcake Island and Pancake Island which they resemble respectively. The river is usually busy with canoes, kayaks, boats, and the Brown University crew teams. The bike path then passes the Gano Street boat ramp before turning to the right and ending at Gano Street. From here you can return back to Pitman Street for the 1.2 mile walk or you can follow the sharrows to India Point Park. With the grand opening soon, this bike path serves as a vital link to connect the waterfront of Providence from Blackstone Park to India Point and ultimately into downtown at Waterplace Park.

TWRI-Seekonk

Crook Point Bascule Bridge from the Bike Path.

East Bay Bike Path North – Providence/East Providence

  • East Bay Bike Path – North
  • India Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’4.58″N, 71°23’29.93″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 30, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

 

Most people who ride their bikes or walk the East Bay Bike Path have no idea that they are passing through hundreds of years of history. This walk is not just 6 miles on a 10 foot wide paved path with great views of the water, but more of a tour of yesteryear. Starting at the picturesque Providence waterfront, the northern portion of the East Bay Bike Path leaves India Point Park and zigzags uphill towards the Washington Bridge. Over the years there have been several bridges built over the Seekonk River. The first built in 1793 was a covered drawbridge. The newly built George Redman Linear Park occupies what remains of the 1931 span. The bike path crosses the river through the linear park. There are several informational boards located here with history of the bridges and surrounding neighborhoods. After crossing the bridge, the bike path snakes down to Watchemoket Square in East Providence. Prior to the highway being built, the square was a bustling center of commerce and local government. It served as a crossroads where Taunton Avenue (Route 44), Warren Avenue (Route 6), and the railroad once met before crossing into Providence. The square was very active in the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. Most of the buildings in the square were wood frame buildings like that at the corner of Warren Avenue and First Street (currently the Watchemoket Tavern). The most predominant building remaining in the square was built in the early 1920’s. The Neo-Federalist designed building served as a bank for several years and is now the home of the Comedy Connection. Most of the remaining buildings in the square were torn down by the 1960’s with the construction of Interstate 195. After crossing Warren Avenue, the bike path follows First Street for two blocks before turning right and along Veterans Memorial Parkway. This short section, about two tenths of a mile, is the only stretch of road walking/biking. Be sure to be aware of traffic. The next mile or so, the bike path first climbs up Fort Hill, past an overlook, and along the parkway before making its way to a former railroad bed. The fort on the hill, with others in the area, protected Providence during the Revolutionary War and The War of 1812. As the bike path climbs the top of the hill just before the lookout, you can see the Fort Hill Monument across the parkway. It is a large boulder near the intersection of Mercer Street. As the bike path winds around the first parking lot along the parkway you now have a good vantage point of the Providence skyline. The buildings of downtown, Rhode Island Hospital, the Manchester Street Power Plant, and the I-way bridge are all clearly visible from here. In fact, as of late, at 8:30 every evening people have been gathering here to shine their lights in the “Good Night Hasbro” event along with several other businesses in the area. The bike path next passes an area that is currently under construction. This will be the future home of The Village on the Waterfront. It is one of two major waterfront developments being built under the revitalization of East Providence’s waterfront. Both of the developments were once used for oil storage tanks and will soon be mixed residential and commercial areas with access to the shoreline. The bike path then bends to the right, passing the second parking lot along the parkway, and downhill as it descends to the waterfront. The remaining distance of the bike path all the way to Bristol now follows the rail bed that was once used by the Providence, Warren, and Bristol Railroad. As the bike path begins to follow the old rail bed, you are now on a causeway and are surrounded by water. To the right is the Providence River and the Port of Providence. You are very likely to see very large cargo ships docked here. To the left is Watchemoket Cove, the first and largest, of three coastal coves along this part of the bike path. All three of these coves are havens for swans and geese. Blue herons and cormorants among several other birds have been seen in these coves as well. After passing the first cove, the bike path passes over Kettle Point. To the left is the second major development along the East Providence waterfront. This development will be predominantly residential as it replaces another former oil tank farm. Just as you approach the next cove, there will be a future trail to the left that leads to Squantum Woods. The bike then crosses another causeway. After passing the aptly named Long Rock Cove to the left, you come to a series of buildings on the right. They belong to the Squantum Association, and the largest and most predominant building is the clubhouse. This building built in 1900 replaces the 1873 structure and is used for weddings and receptions. President Arthur and President Taft have attended events here. The bike path next passes the third coastal cove. This cove, with its long dock, is part of the Boyden Heights Conservation Area. Just after the cove there is a trail that leads into the property. The trails here are short and would add a nice little hike to your walk. Just after the trailhead the area to the left once hosted two amusement parks. Boyden Heights Park, opened in 1904, and Vanity Fair, opened in 1907, along with Crescent Park further south gave this area the nickname “Coney Island of the East”. Both of these amusement parks were closed by 1910. The next portion of the bike path continues to follow the waterfront and soon the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse becomes visible. The lighthouse sits on one of two large rock islands and was built in 1871. Recent restoration has saved the lighthouse and the island can be visited a few times per year. From here you will catch your last glimpse of the buildings of downtown four miles away. Next the bike path passes under Bullocks Point Avenue and comes out to Riverside Square. This was another bustling village back in the day, complete with a railroad station built in the mid to late 1800’s. Today the old depot is a coffee shop that is well worth a visit. Other buildings in the square also date back to yesteryear, but the most visited building here is the Dari-Bee, a local ice cream shop that is open from the spring to the fall. There are also a few “Mom & Pop” shops here as well including convenience stores for water or snacks. Also in the square in the Riverside World War II Memorial. It was originally located further up the road and was relocated to the square in the early 2000’s. The bike path, flanked by bird filled shrubs, then continues south passing through residential neighborhoods before coming to Bullocks Cove. Looking north from the causeway crossing the cove you can catch a glimpse of Little Neck which is home to one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation. The cemetery, established in 1655, serves as the final resting place of several colonists including one who was a passenger on the Mayflower and the first mayor of New York City. The cemetery is not accessible from the bike path however. The bike path then crosses Crescent View Avenue. If you so choose, follow Crescent View Avenue west to its end. There is the 1895 Looff Carousel, the only remaining structure of the once bustling Crescent Park Amusement Park that closed in the 1970’s. After crossing Crescent View Avenue, the bike path passes through another residential neighborhood, a small playground, and another small cove before reaching Haines State Park. This park, on the East Providence/Barrington border was established in 1911 and offers areas for picnics, ball fields, a dog park, trails, and access to the water. This is also where I decided to conclude this walk. The bike path continues another 8 miles to Bristol passing through Barrington and Warren. That will be a walk for another day!

 

Trail map can be found at: East Bay Bike Path North.

TWRI-EBBP03

The East Bay Bike Path Along Watchemoket Cove

 

 

 

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.

Collier Point Park – Providence

 

In the 1990’s the Providence waterfront went through a massive overhaul. The landscape of Downtown Providence changed as rivers were moved and Waterplace Park took shape. What many do not realize, while all that was happening in downtown in the very public eye, this little waterfront park just south of the Manchester Street Power Plant and the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was also being developed. In the mid 2000’s it served as the home of the Russian submarine museum. Collier Point today is a small park with a few walking paths. It is surrounded by industry and the I-way (Interstate 195) actually crosses over the north end of it. There are plenty of signs here explaining the history of the point itself, the power plant, and the hurricane barrier. It is without doubt an urban stroll through history.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

A Field Of Black Eyed Susans By The I-Way Bridge.

A Field Of Black Eyed Susans By The I-Way Bridge.

Donigian Park – Providence

I came across Donigian Park while scrolling through the blueways section of exploreri.org webpage. When I looked it up in Google Maps I noticed that there was a bike path shown on the map. On the list it went. Today, a very rainy day, I decided to cancel my planned hike down in Arcadia but I still couldn’t resist getting a short walk in nonetheless. Being in the city I decided to stop here and check it out. The bike path itself is rather short and looks very new. It is in the Onleyville section of the city and runs from Valley Street along the Woonasquatucket River to Sonoma Court. There is a bridge that crosses the river and there is a dam and waterfall here. There are also some paved paths that wrap around the park itself. The park features a ball field and playgrounds. The walk along the bike path out and back and a loop around the park is just about 3/4 of a mile. By the way, I got absolutely drenched.

I did not find a trail map online.

The Bike Path Along The River (In The Rain)

The Bike Path Along The River (In The Rain)

Independence Trail – Providence

  • Independence Trail
  • South Main Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’23.33″N,  71°24’20.52″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Easy with some significant elevation.
 
 *** August 2017 – Due to recent sidewalk construction, large portions of the “green line” have been eliminated, it is advisable to use the map linked below for guidance until this is re-written***
 

This walk to most locals it is also known as the “green line” as the walk is marked literally by a green line that meanders through the city. The Independence Trail is similar to the Freedom Trail in Boston in its amount of rich history. Most people are unaware of how much history is here in Providence. In fact, some of it predates the history of Boston. Unlike the Freedom Trail, the Independence Trail is a loop. You can start at any location and finish where you began. The trail is also marked with site numbers. At each site number you can use your phone to call the number given for a description of the site. This morning I started along South Main Street at the Cable Car Cinema. (Currently, meter street parking is free on Sundays.) I started my walk heading north along South Main Street going through an area of spires and steeples. I passed the Old Stone Bank building with its gold dome as well as the Supreme Court Building, both on the right, and Memorial Park on the left with its host of war memorials. Continuing north I soon passed the Old Market House. Providence had its own tea party in rebellion of British taxes. A plaque here explains it. Continuing north, (this is where South Main Street becomes North Main) I passed the Rhode Island School of Design Museum before coming to the locally famous bus tunnel. Next I came to the First Baptist Church. The church was founded by Roger Williams (the founder of Rhode Island) in 1638. A little further up the road I turned right and uphill on Meeting Street. I first came across a single room brick schoolhouse the was once used by Brown University. At the intersection of Benefit and Meeting Streets is the Old Armory. At this location my College Hill walk intersects this walk. I then turned left onto Benefit Street before turning left and downhill on North Court Street passing the Old Rhode Island State House. In this building on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared its independence from the British. Rhode Island was the first colony to do so, a full 2 months before the Declaration of Independence. After going to the bottom of the hill I crossed North Main Street and followed the sidewalk north along the Roger Williams National Memorial. This is the site of the spring in which Providence was settled and grew around. I then turned left onto Smith Street crossing Canal Street and the Moshassuck River before making my way to the State House. (Note: the green line is not present on State House property. To continue the trail, walk towards the State House and follow it around the left side balcony to the stairs in front and down the main walkway to Francis Street.) The State House is a massive marble building built at the turn of the last century. It has one of the worlds largest unsupported domes. If it is open, it is well worth going in to take a peek at it from inside. Atop the dome is the Independent Man. This statue overlooks Providence. Making my way down Francis Street heading toward downtown I passed the Providence Place Mall. Some of the cities newer building are to the left surrounding the basin of Waterplace Park and the Woonasquatucket River. Following the green line into downtown, I soon passed the Biltmore Hotel, Providence City Hall, and made my way into Kennedy Plaza. The green line took me by the ice skating rink, BurnsidePark, and the Federal Court House as well. At the Federal Court House there is a plaque commemorating that Abraham Lincoln had once spoke here at the Railroad Hall. From here I followed the trail down Exchange Street into the heart of the Financial District. Here I was surrounded by some of the cities tallest buildings including the famed Turks Head Building. I then made my way up Westminster Street to Dorrance Street passing the Industrial National Trust Building and The Arcade (the worlds oldest indoor shopping mall). Turning left at Dorrance I passed a plaque of the Federal Reserve building that shows the height of the flood waters from the 1938 Hurricane. I then turned left onto Weybosset Street back toward the Financial District passing The Arcade again. I then followed the trail right after The Custom House Tavern to the Crawford Street Bridge. At this location my Waterplace Park walk intersects this walk. I then followed the trail along the Providence River for a bit before heading up Planet Street and back to the car. This walk not only showcases the vast history of Providence and Rhode Island, but it is a walk through some of the most elaborate architecture in the nation, both in style and age. This walk also brings you by some of the interesting art work and sculptures in the city. I would suggest taking your time on this walk as there is so much to see.

Trail map can be found at: Independence Trail.

The Green Line

The Green Line

Roger Williams Park – Providence

  • Roger Williams Park
  • Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°47’9.10″N,  71°25’6.95″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 19, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Easy with some slight elevation.
 
 

A Sunday morning walk in the park. It was a very quiet morning in one of Rhode Islands busiest parks. In the summer this park (and adjoining zoo) is bustling with hundreds of people. Today I felt alone. Using the route for the most part in Ken Weber’s “More Walks And Rambles In Rhode Island” I started near the main entrance at Elmwood Avenue and started following an old concrete sidewalk near the Victorian Rose Garden heading toward the large mansion looking structure with large pillars. This structure is the Casino. It was built in the 19th century and has hosted several events during its day including weddings and balls. I then followed a path to the right of the Casino which lead to a flight of stairs that led to the Bandstand. At the this point I turned left and followed the path along the pond. I continued following the path by a fence before crossing a bridge. After the bridge I took a right to continue following the ponds edge. On the left I passed the Japanese Garden. The path is now more of a road that turns to the left and uphill away from the pond. At the end of the road I crossed the street and continued walking straight across a hilly grass area. Ahead is a rather large structure on the shore of another pond. It is the Temple of Music. My luck, there was a young woman practicing her singing and acoustic guitar playing. She was not aware she had an audience at first. She sounded very good and the acoustics of the temple were spectacular. I then turned in a northerly direction making my way uphill and through and area of trees until I came to the road. I turned right at the road and followed it to its end. At the intersection is the Boat House. I then turned right and followed the road that goes by first the Botanical Center and then the Providence Police Mounted Command facility. Here I saw a few of their horses out and grazing. After crossing the bridge, I took the path on the left which follows the edge of the pond for quite a while. This path, mostly naturally worn, meanders through an area of trees. There are signs here cautioning you of the presence of poison ivy. At the end of this path it opens to a grass area with another pond directly in front of you. If you go left here you can cross the bridge to get to the carousel. I went right instead following the edge of the pond and stopping to photograph some ducks. Uphill and to the right you will see the Museum of Natural History. At the road I turned left crossing the bridge following the winding road back towards the main entrance where I had parked the car.

I did not find a park map on-line, however more information is available here: Roger Williams Park

The Bandstand With The Casino Behind It

The Bandstand With The Casino Behind It