Posts Tagged ‘ Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park ’

Caroline E. Judson – Smithfield

  • Caroline E. Judson Trust Property
  • Williams Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’34.26″N, 71°33’24.73″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 15, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

At the end of Williams Road is a small parking area for a couple of cars. The trail head is just to the right of the Land Trust sign. The trail winds downhill flanked by stone walls and old barbed wire fencing. Along this strip of wooded land on each side are large fields. At the end of the trail you can catch a glimpse of Stillwater Reservoir through the woods. The trail to the right leads into one of the large fields before dead ending near the property line with Hebert Health Center. The field is a good spot to watch birds circling above. The trail to the left leads further into the woods slowly winding down to a wooden bridge that crosses a beautiful cascading stream. The stream at the time of this hike was particularly high in velocity due to a recent snow melt. The trail then continues, following above the stream, into the Connors Farm Conservation Area at the blue blazed trail. A loop through Connors Farm, itself a beautiful hike, would add distance to the hike. From here retrace your steps back to the parking area at the end of Williams Road. A deer was spotted here at the property as well as chipmunks and a pair of red tailed hawks.

TWRI-CEJTP

Cascading Stream From the Footbridge.

Advertisements

West Hill Dam – Uxbridge/Northbridge

  • West Hill Dam
  • Hartford Avenue East, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 6’12.84″N, 71°36’30.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 19, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

In 1955, Hurricane Diane caused extensive flooding particularly along the Blackstone River including the city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. In 1960, the West Hill Dam was completed and almost immediately tested by Hurricane Donna. The cities and towns downstream did not flood. The dam and the property around the dam is owned and maintained by the United States Corp of Army Engineers. The property is open to passive recreation such as swimming, picnicking, and hiking. There are three blazed trails on the property. The orange blazed Woodland Trail encompasses almost the entire property. A yellow blazed Grassland Trail meanders through the southwestern section of the property. Lastly the green blazed West River Trail loops in the center of the property. For this hike we started from the parking lot at the southern Access Road off of Hartford Avenue East. Walking north along the road we soon came to a kiosk warning of hunting season. Blaze orange is required here from October to January when hiking. Turning left we started to follow the gravel road that is blazed with orange diamond markers. The road is slightly raised above the surrounding terrain for a bit. At the intersection, turn to the right and continue to follow the orange blazes. The trail, still following a road, winds through a grove of hemlocks and is flanked by small ponds. Soon you will start seeing stone walls and a large granite bollard with a “N” carved in one side and an “U” carved in the other. This is the town line marker between Uxbridge and Northbridge. Shortly thereafter the orange blazed trail meets with the yellow blazed trail. For this short stretch follow the yellow blazes. The orange blazed trail runs parallel on the other side of the wall but the views are better along the yellow trail. To your right is a sweeping view of a small valley and the grasslands that the West River passes through. The yellow blazed trail soon splits to the right, stay left and pick up the orange blazed trail once again. Next there is a fairly large cellar hole on the left. Soon after that you will come to a road. Stay to the right here and follow the road to a parking lot on the left. By the kiosk is the beginning of the green blazed trail. This trail is about a half mile long and winds up and down hills as it loops through the forest of pines between a pond and the West River. There are several spur trails in this area, however, the green blazes are abundant and easy to follow. At the top of one of the hills is a bench to take a break. There are several bird feeders below that attract birds such as titmouse, nuthatch, and chickadees. Taking a moment to take in the sights we could also hear woodpeckers in the distance. Continuing along the green trail we soon came to the road once again. Turning left, we crossed a bridge over the West River. Along the road on the right is the Harrington Pool Picnic Area. There is a fee in the summer to swim and picnic here. After passing through the parking lot stay to the right of the information kiosk and follow the orange blazes once again. At the next split, stay to the right again following the orange blazes. The trail soon turns to the south and slowly climbs uphill as it winds through more forest. There is an occasional seasonal brook along the way and several large boulders. Soon the trail comes to the massive earthen dam. The walk across the top of the dam offers another sweeping view of the valley below. At the other end of the dam a small bridge crosses the West River nearly fifty feet below in a gorge. From here follow the access road back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: West Hill Dam.

TWRI-WHD08

View From Upon The Dam

Roger Williams National Memorial – Providence

  • Roger Williams National Memorial
  • North Main Street, Providence, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°49’52.55″N, 71°24’38.30″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 18, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Easy.

 

This block long city park offers brick walking paths from one end to the other. It is also where Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, settled in 1636. The park, maintained by the National Park Service, offers several kiosks with historical information, as well as a visitors center in a centuries old building. On the parks property is the fresh water spring that the City of Providence first grew around, several memorials, and gardens. Free two hour parking is available on site on the Canal Street side.

TWRI-RWNM

Brick Walk In The Park.

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.

TWRI-FFarm01

Perimeter Path in the East Field

Lincoln Greenway – Lincoln

  • Lincoln Greenway
  • Great Road, Lincoln, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’11.48″N, 71°25’14.09″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 14, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some steep hills.

 

The Lincoln Greenway connects three town properties, Chase Farm, Lonsdale Park, and Gateway Park. The blazing system of red squares (to Gateway Park), yellow triangles (to Chase Farm), and green circles (to Lonsdale Park) is simple to follow. For this hike, led for the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, we started at Gateway Park by the historic Arnold House. After a short loop within Gateway Park on the paved paths we made our way to the northwestern corner of the park to the yellow blazed trail that leads up a steep hill. The trail soon comes to a residential neighborhood where we crossed a street. From here we continued along the trail on the opposite side of the road. The Greenway now enters into Lonsdale Park which is a wooded area behind the Lonsdale School. Continuing to follow the yellow blazes we soon came out the open fields of Chase Farm. We turned to the left and follow the perimeter of the farm following a grass mowed path. It soon came to a pond which we made our way around before turning to the left and then right following the perimeter of a large field once again. Soon we were back at the trail that leads back into Lonsdale Park. From here we retraced our steps back to Gateway Park this time following the red blazes.

TWRI-LG001

Along The Lincoln Greenway

Dark Swamp – Glocester

  • Dark Swamp
  • Willie Woodhead Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°54’3.72″N, 71°45’48.62″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.6 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, otherwise fairly easy with some elevation.

 

In November of 1923, two young explorers set out from Providence to find the swamp that for years was reputed to be cursed. The stories date back to when the colonists were settling the area. It is believed that they were warned by the Natives of this area and its curse to keep the colonists from this land. It is also said that several of the colonists who did not heed the warning were never seen again. These two young explorers never did reach their destination that day. They were Clifford Eddy and H.P. Lovecraft, (at the time unknown) horror story authors. In September of 2017, a group of hikers led by members of the Northwest Rhode Island Supporters of Open Space set out to Dark Swamp ignoring the heeded warnings. They were successful! Dark Swamp was found and they all made it out to tell the story. It is suggested however, that if you do head out for this hike, be sure to use a GPS device as most of the trails are not marked and there are plenty of side trails and spurs. Starting at a cul-de-sac at the end of Willie Woodhead Road we made our way along the trail in a southerly direction as it climbed slightly uphill. Ahead this trail meets the North South Trail. Bear to the right and follow the blue blazed trail. There are trails to both the right and left that are mostly grass covered. Ignore them and continue straight. At the half mile mark there is a trail on the right with a cellar hole. You will return on this trail. Continue straight passing over a large outcrop of a rock believe to be a threshing rock. Shortly after this rock on the left there is another narrow and grassy trail. Take it, the trail splits, stay to the left and follow the narrow trail. It leads to old ice pond. From here retrace your steps back to the blue blazed North South Trail and continue south. Starting looking for a trail on the right (about 9/10 of a mile into the hike). Take the right, then almost immediately left. Continue straight, passing yet another spur trail on the right, the trail vanishes into a field of ferns. Ahead and below is the first glimpse of the Dark Swamp with its near black water covered with a twisted and interlaced brush over it.  This area offers many other sights of swamps. Turn around passing the spur trail (now on your left) and instead of turning right onto the trail you came in on, turn left. This trail, unmarked, winds to the west and then north passing some stone walls before ending. Take note of your surroundings here. At the intersection you will exit to the right when you return. For now turn left. This trail will lead you into the depths of Dark Swamp. Shortly you will see another swamp on the right. Just beyond this swamp you will start to see piles of rocks. These are cairns, similar to the ones in Parker Woodland. Locals believe they may be from the Native Americans. Continuing ahead you will come to another trail intersection. Stay to left here and soon you will catch a glimpse of the swamp once again on the left. At the time of this hike we saw frogs and a heron here. The trail then climbs up and over a rather impressive hill before winding through a hemlock grove. The trail all but ends as you approach the large body of water created by beavers. Here is one of the largest swamps in the area complete with beaver dam and beaver hut. This is great spot for a break and to take in nature. From here retrace your steps pass the swamps and cairns. Continue straight at the “noted” intersection. It soon passes an old building and cellar hole on the left. At the end of this trail turn left. You are now back on the blue blazed North South Trail. The trail back to the car will be on your left. Hunting is allowed here, blaze orange is required during hunting season. And again, use GPS here.

TWRI-DS09

The Swamp at the End of The Trail. (Note the Beaver Hut)

Chepachet Village – Glocester

 

Chepachet is a quintessential New England village that has transcended from a crossroads of yesteryear to a bustling living history museum. Settled in the early 1700’s, Chepachet Village became the center of the newly founded town of Glocester. Chepachet would become a mill village in the 1800’s using the river as a source of power. Chepachet also became a major crossroad west of Providence as several highways and pikes intersected here. The village also has some interesting history. This is where the Dorr Rebellion originated from and also where a traveling show was attacked resulting in the death of the elephant known as “Betty”. We started this walk from town hall and headed north along the westerly side of Putnam Pike. When we reached the fire station we turned left and followed an old dirt lane. The lane turns to a path and narrows substantially at its end as it overlooks the Chepachet River at Mill Pond and the remains of a dam. Retracing our steps back out to the bustling village when then turned left (northerly), and crossed the bridge over the river. Near the end of the bridge is a plaque commemorating the incident on May 25, 1826 in which Betty the elephant was killed. Just beyond here is the first of several shops, an antique shop called the Old Post Office. After a brief visit, we continued up the street and crossed at the crosswalk. We then proceeded north and turned right onto Old Mill Lane. This quiet road offers a few homes from yesteryear including the 1790 tenement house. The road turns to the right and becomes Elbow Street. This short road was once home to a large cotton and wool mill. Along the edge of the road you can catch a glimpse of some of the remaining foundations. It is all that is left of the mill that burnt down in 1897. The road then turn to the right once again and becomes Tannery Road. There are several very old and well preserved homes along this stretch. The last building on the right is the home of the Glocester Heritage Society. It was built in 1814 as the Job Armstrong Store. In the rear, the URI Master Gardeners maintain the walking path and flower gardens. Turning left onto Putnam Pike, we first stopped by the Brown and Hopkins Country Store. Built in 1799 by Timothy Wilmarth, it has been the country store since 1809. The store has a great variety of “penny” candies and candles to name just a few. Up next was the Town Trader, said to be built in the 1690’s and is the oldest building in the village. The architecture of this building is amazing, let alone the selection of antique gadgets including doorknobs and lanterns. Crossing the river once again, we next came upon the Old Stone Mill. This impressive stone building, built in 1814, was one of the first mills built in Chepachet. The next stop, the reportedly haunted Stage Coach Tavern. A working restaurant (Tavern on Main), this building, built in 1800, once served as a hotel and tavern for passerby’s. It was also William Dorr’s headquarters during the Dorr Rebellion of 1842. Today you can sit with the ghost and have a steak or seafood dinner. From here return to town hall, but first take a peek behind the building. There are two more buildings of interest. The one room Evans School House and the home of the Glocester Light Infantry.

 

Map can be found at: Chepachet Village.

TWRI-Chepachet

An Old Home in Chepachet Village.

Advertisements