Posts Tagged ‘ Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park ’

Blackall Preserve – Cumberland

  • Blackall Preserve
  • Old West Wrentham Road, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°59’36.20″N, 71°27’33.89″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 23, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Tucked away along a road less traveled in the northwestern part of Cumberland is this lesser known preserve. The road itself is dotted by historical homes that date back over 200 years and abut the property. The Blackall Preserve offers trails that wind around the property passing impressive stone walls from yesteryear. The canopy above is mostly 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. However, they are not blazed nor is there currently a map for the property. There are three entrances to the property along Old West Wrentham Road. The main entrance is just north of utility pole number 53. An abundance of birds and deer tracks were observed here at the time of this hike.

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Snow Covered Trail at Blackall

Underwoods Pond – Burrillville

  • Underwoods Pond – George Washington Management Area
  • Olney Keach Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°57’10.13″N, 71°44’46.02″W
  • Last Time Hiked: January 14, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.9 miles
  • Moderate.

 

The roads less traveled, literally. The George Washington Management Area is known for its miles and miles of hiking trails, but in the extreme eastern section of the area are the roads less traveled. For this hike we ventured out to complete a loop of the gravel roads behind Grace Note Farm and a quick visit to a lesser known pond. The first challenge of this hike was parking as there is no designated parking spots. The spot I chose is about three tenths of a mile along Olney Keach Road, a very bumpy and rocky road, at the intersection of the Richardson Trail. There is a small spot here to pull over and park. If you choose to park either here or along Jackson Schoolhouse Road be sure not to block any of the intersections and stay well to the edge of the road. From our parking spot we hiked southerly along Olney Keach Road passing the first of many small babbling brooks. The rocky dirt road then climbed uphill before coming to an intersection. Here we turned right onto Ross Trail. Soon we passed a red gate and entered the management area. We passed some more small streams and brooks before coming to an open sandy area. Continue ahead and the trail becomes more defined. Soon another intersection appears. The trail to the right leads to the Richardson Trail. Continue ahead here and the trail will turn to the south and climb up and over two impressive hills before ending. Near the top of the hills are areas of low ground cover and shrubs ideal for birds. In fact, we caught a glimpse of a woodpecker near the end of the Ross Trail. If you were to turn right at the end of the trail you would soon cross the orange blazed Walkabout Trail, but for this hike turn left and follow the Center Trail east to its intersection with Olney Keach Road. Along the way you will pass more small streams and a boulder field to the right. When reaching Olney Keach Road stay to the right for now. The road to your left you will use to get back to the car, but first you will want to see Underwoods Pond. Following Olney Keach Road south for a few hundred yards you will soon come upon a small wood bridge and a deep freshwater pond to the right. This spot makes for a good break as the sound of running water over a small dam makes for a soothing sound. From here retrace your steps north along the road and continuing straight along Olney Keach Road. You will notice a house to the right. This is private property and please respect that. The friendly owner did greet us though and told us to enjoy ourselves on our hike. Next we passed the Ross Trail on the left made our way downhill and back to the car. There are no hiking blazes along these trails, but there are several markers on trees and flagging presumably from horse back riders from the nearby Grace Note Farm, hunters, and cyclists. Hunting is allowed here so orange clothing is required during hunting season. It is advisable to use GPS while hiking in this area.

 

Trail map can be found at: Underwoods Pond

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Underwoods Pond

River Bend Farm – Uxbridge

  • River Bend Farm – Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park
  • Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead: 42° 5’38.86″N, 71°37’25.49″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 22, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Easy.

 

The big red barn and the wooden bridge over the canal are one of New England’s best known sights. In the barn, once part of a diary farm, is a rather impressive visitors center that has exhibits that explain the history of the area. For this hike, the second of four planned here, we followed the towpath from the covered bridge south to the Stanley Woolen Mill. The towpath follows the canal that was once used to transport goods from Worcester to Providence along the banks of the Blackstone River. Before taking this walk obtain a pamphlet (the one with the numbers in it) at the visitor center and take it with you. Along the walk you will find signposts with corresponding numbers on them. Be sure to take a peek at the river it self. This section of the towpath is a little over a mile long one way, flat, and is suitable for walkers and strollers.

 

Trail maps can be found at: River Bend Farm

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Towpath Along The Canal

Scotstun Town Forest – Glocester

  • Scotstun Town Forest
  • Chopmist Hill Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°53’52.80″N, 71°40’10.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This property lies on the east shore of Smith and Sayles Reservoir. There is a short quarter mile trail that leads to the shore of the reservoir from Chopmist Hill Road. The trail head is just about opposite Hemlock Road next to utility pole number 124. The trail head is not by the sign a little further up the road, if you are not looking for it you will miss it. The trail winds through the woods canopy of pine, hemlock, and beech trees among others. The trail is not blazed but is definable enough to follow and dead ends at the reservoir. According to the trail map (which can be obtained at Glocester Town Hall) there are plans to add future trails.

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Smith And Sayles Reservoir

Rumford – East Providence

  • Rumford Historic Walk
  • Newman Avenue, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°50’27.7″N 71°21’01.3″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy.

 

The northern end of East Providence, known as Rumford, is part Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park. In 1636 Roger Williams passed through this area before being told he was still within the boundaries of Massachusetts. He went on across the river to settle Providence. A few years later Reverend Samuel Newman settled here establishing a village that would one day become what is now known as Rumford. For this walk, park at the parking area directly across the street from the Newman Congregational Church. The building that stands today was built in 1810 and is the fourth meetinghouse built on this site. After taking a look at the structure make your way into the cemetery. The oldest grave here is from 1658, that of William Carpenter. The towns most prominent settlers are buried here and there are over 100 American Revolution veterans as well. The most recent burial occurred in 2008. If you are interested in local history spend some time here wandering around. The carvings of the colonial era graves are fascinating. At the far end of the cemetery there is an exit. When you get to the paved road turn right and follow it to Greenwood Avenue. Turn left here a follow the road for a few hundred feet to the first house on the right. This is the Phanuel Bishop House and is one of the oldest houses in the area. It was built in the 1770’s and is as old as the John Hunt House at Hunts Mills. Keep in mind that the Phanuel Bishop House is a private residence. From here turn around and follow Greenwood Avenue toward the large brick mill buildings on the right. Up until 1966 this was the home of the Rumford Chemical Works, makers of Rumford Baking Powder. Today the complex is mostly residential with some offices and restaurants. Stop at Seven Stars Bakery for a quick snack and to view the historical photos on the walls. In the courtyard behind the bakery is the bust of Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, in which this village was named for. Returning to Newman Avenue you will pass the post office and the 1930’s fire station which is also now a private residence. The road bends to the east and soon you will be back at the parking area across from the church.

 

More information can be found at: Rumford

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Newman Church (1810)

Round Top – Burrillville

  • Round Top Management Area
  • Brook Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 42° 0’7.11″N, 71°41’47.90″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 7, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

One of the smallest management areas in the state is mostly know for its fishing ponds. There are, however, a small network of trails on the property. For this hike I started at the parking area along Brook Road and made my way to the pond. I followed first the southern edge, then the western edge of the pond along the grassy area around the pond. Ahead is a trail that leads into the woods and comes to the next pond with a dam and waterfall. The trail then follows the edge of the pond a bit and then climbs uphill before turning to the right. From there it comes to a dirt service road with piles of sand and gravel. Follow the road and it leads you back to the parking area.

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Fall at Round Top

Nipmuc River – Burrillville

  • Nipmuc River Trail/Joseph O. “Brock” Blanchard Memorial Management Area
  • Round Top Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°58’59.12″N, 71°41’44.95″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 7, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with slight elevation.

 

Tucked away in the quiet northwestern corner of the state, the Nipmuc River Trail is truly a lesser known gem. The trail starts at Round Top Road by a mail box for house number 562. There is a sign here that you can’t miss. Parking however is not allowed here. You must park a couple hundred feet north on the opposite of the road. There is a sign there as well to indicate where to park. The first part of the trail follows the edge of a field. This is actually on private property and is part of a right of way agreement. Please stay on the trail. Soon the trail turns slightly right and downhill into the woods. You will notice white blazes on the trees. For the most part the trail is well blazed as it makes a loop through the woods. The property has oaks and beech trees, but the most noticeable tree here is the hemlock. I don’t recall seeing such a concentration of them anywhere else. Soon you will pass an outdoor classroom. Here there are several benches and a table. Stay to the left here and follow the white blazed trail. I soon noticed several species of birds along the trail. I stopped a few times to listen and noticed how quiet it in fact was. Not a sound other than nature! The trail continues up and down small hills as it winds through the woods. Be sure to look for the blazes as the forest floor is covered in the same hemlock needles as the trail. As you approach the lower part of the trail it gets a little wet. The trail becomes a little less worn and the blazes are further apart. Continue ahead slowly as you find small wooden bridges along the trail. Soon the trail becomes more defined once again. At the intersection there is a small sign with a “R” on it and arrow pointing left. Follow that trail to the river. The water trickles over the rocks here making for soothing spot to relax for a bit. Here I came across a great blue heron and several ducks. Retrace your steps back to the intersection and continue straight following the white blazes again. At the next intersection turn right and follow the trail up and over a hill as it leads back to the outdoor classroom. Stay to the left here and retrace your steps back to the trail head. Hunting is allowed here in November and December only and by permission only from the Town of Burrillville, therefore this property is closed to the public in November and December.

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Nipmuc River