Posts Tagged ‘ Narragansett Bay ’

Casey Farm – North Kingstown

  • Casey Farm
  • Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’43.45″N, 71°25’23.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 24, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Most locals know Casey Farm for its farmer markets (one of the best in the state). Others know the farm for being a historical site. What a lot of people are not aware of is that Casey Farm offers miles of trails. For this hike, I joined a small group attending a Rhode Island Land Trust Days event. The hike was led by the very knowledgeable Dr. Bob Kenney of the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kenney, (a walking encyclopedia of birds, mushrooms, and plants) volunteers quite often for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society. In fact this is not the first of his hikes I have been on. In 1659, several colonists bought the land on Boston Neck for a mere 18 cents per acre from the Narragansetts. One of these families were the Richardsons. By 1702 half of that property belonged to the family that founded Casey Farm. The farm stretched from Narragansett Bay to the Narrow River as it still does today. The property, a working farm, is protected and owned by Historic New England. Atop the hill along Boston Neck Road is where the farm is located. It consists of several fields and structures including a large barn as well as old New England style stone walls. The first part of the hike took us into the eastern part of the property down to Casey Point. The old cart path passes through areas of wildflowers including wild snapdragon, black swallowwort milkweed, and heart leaved aster. There is also an abundance of ferns, mushrooms, and an invasive shrub known as devils walking stick. This area is also a haven for birds as we saw and heard catbirds, woodpeckers, and red tailed hawks. When we reached the point we had sweeping views of the west passage of Narragansett Bay. Across the bay is Jamestown and the large open field is part of Watson Farm (another Historic New England property). Beyond Jamestown you will see the Newport Bridge. To the north is the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Point Lighthouse. To the south you can see Beavertail Light and Dutch Island Light. After spending a little time on the point we retraced our steps back to the farm. From here we then followed another stone walled flanked cart path toward the heavily wooded western end of the property. We briefly entered the neighboring King Preserve, the newest Nature Conservancy property in Rhode Island. This preserve is a work in progress still. Most of the major trails are complete and open, however, there are a section of trails yet to be built. The trails are soft and there are boardwalks that cross wet areas and streams. There is plenty of ferns in this area among the birch trees and sassafras. We nearly reached the Narrow River at the bottom of the hill before making our way back uphill along old cart paths and dirt roads winding through the Casey Farm property. This stretch of the hike also offer sounds and sights of nuthatches, tufted titmouses, and eastern towhees. We then returned to the farm to conclude the hike. Casey Farm is open from June 1st to October 15th on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are also tours of the farm available. For more information please call 401-295-1030.

A note from the folks at Casey Farm:  Casey Farm is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking trails at Casey Point or those adjacent to King Preserve. Please note dogs must be on leashes, clean up of course, and respect the young people and farm animals by keeping dogs away from the farmyard and fields. Access Casey’s woodland trails via the King Preserve. Camp Grosvenor is not open to the public for hiking. Access Casey Point on Narragansett Bay via the gate on Boston Neck Road. We are working on getting better signage. Feel free to contact me with any questions: Jane Hennedy, site manager, 401-295-1030 ext. 5, jhennedy@historicnewengland.org.

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Casey Point with The Newport Bridge in the distance.

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Flanked by Wildflowers

Conanicut Battery – Jamestown

  • Conanicut Battery National Historic Park
  • Battery Lane, Jamestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°28’53.46″N, 71°23’33.64″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.7 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

Many people pass this hidden gem of a property on their way to Beavertail State Park without even knowing it is there. It is a historically significant site that takes one through decades of military history. Like nearby Beavertail, Fort Wetherill, and Fort Adams, this property has remains of bunkers as well as it highlight, the battery. There is also a short wooded trail that circles around the property. On the north side of the parking lot (opposite side of the main entrance) is a trail entrance to the North Loop. At the first intersection stay to the right. The trail winds through an area of heavy brush, a haven for birds. At the next intersection stay to the right. This trail will lead you to a large lawn. In this area is the battery that was built during the American Revolution as a defensive fort. Among the mounds cannons would fire to nearby enemy ships. There is also a trail that leads to a significantly large boulder before turning north and uphill to a series of World War era concrete bunkers. These structures are actually spotting stations built upon Prospect Hill to warn the nearby armed forts of incoming enemy vessels. There are six bunkers in total. Evidence of Native American activity has also been found on this property. Though small, this property offers quite a bit and makes a nice supplement to a walk at Beavertail State Park.

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Mounds of the Battery

East Bay Bike Path South – Barrington/Warren/Bristol

  • East Bay Bike Path South
  • Metropolitan Park Drive, Barrington, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°45’12.02″N, 71°20’54.74″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 23, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 8.4 miles
  • Easy to moderate due to distance.

After walking the northern end of the East Bay Bike Path, I decided to finish what I started. The southern end of the oldest bike path in the state winds along the former Providence, Warren, and Bristol Railroad through Barrington, Warren, and Bristol. Along the way there are several points of interest as the paved path passes through the East Bay neighborhoods. Starting at Haines Park, one of the oldest State Parks, I started making my way south. Almost immediately I could hear the sounds of the dog park just beyond the trails and woods to the left. Soon the bike path crosses the lower end of the Annawomscutt Brook just before it dumps into Allins Cove. Immediately after that the bike path makes its first of several road crossings in Barrington at Bay Spring Avenue. To the right is a large brick building that was once a mill. It is now a condominium building. This section of Barrington was its industrial center will mills producing leather and lace products. This building is the only surviving building of that era. Also at this road crossing is a memorial to residents of West Barrington that have lost their lives in wars. Next the bike path crosses Alfred Drowne Road in the neighborhood that was once known as Drownville where one of several railroad depots were located in Barrington. The neighborhood was known for its oyster operations and the land was mostly owned by the Drowne family and later the Blount family known locally for their current clam shacks and seafood products. After crossing Washington Road the bike path enters a half mile stretch of trees and residential neighborhoods before coming to Little Echo Pond. Here, and the surrounding ponds, there was once an icing operation, but the icehouse that sat on the opposite side of the pond is long gone. On each side of the bike path there are small Barrington Land Conservation Trust properties with short trail systems. Both Lombardi Park and Andreozzi Nature Preserve are marked with signs at their trailheads. Just before South Lake Drive on the right was the location of the Nayatt Depot, the next railroad stop in Barrington. After crossing South Lake Drive you will notice the greens of the Rhode Island Country Club to the right. This golf course is one of the most prominent ones in the state hosting the CVS Charity Classic each year. The next road crossing is Middle Highway, after crossing it the bike path passes several trails on the right. These trails are part of Veterans Park which surrounds Brickyard Pond. Today the pond is used for mostly fishing. In years past, there were mills in the area that made bricks. Clay pits in the area supplied the material to make the bricks. Workers would dig these massive pits and in time the pits would fill with water. After the operations ceased in the area and the pumps shut down, the pits filled with water. Hence, the creation of Brickyard Pond. Many buildings on the East Side of Providence were built with the bricks made in Barrington. The bike path also passes the Bayside YMCA before approaching County Road. Just before the main road there is a plaza on the right that offers several shops for a break. There was also a train depot here. On the left is the Daily Scoop, a local ice cream shop. After crossing Route 114, the bike path then passes through a tunnel of trees, then passes Police Cove Park, before emerging out to the Barrington River. Here is the first of two bridges in Eastern Barrington that connect the southern end of New Meadow Neck to Barrington and Warren respectively. The first bridge, crossing the Barrington River offers view of the river northerly toward Hundred Acre Cove. The view to the south is that of is similar of that of the second bridge that crosses the Palmer River. They both look toward the bridges that carry Route 114 over the water crossings and the marinas beyond them. The two rivers come together just about a half mile south to form the Warren River. After crossing the second bridge you are in Warren. You will notice the large brick building to the south that once was the home to American Tourister, a maker of travel luggage. To the north is Grinnel Point with its windswept grass. The bike path then starts to turn to the south and into the heart of Warren. Houses and side streets become very frequent in this stretch. To the left you first pass Belcher Cove and its wooded shoreline. At the Brown Street crossing and to the left you will notice the remains of an old brick wall by the fenced in area owned by National Grid. This wall was once part of the old power station that was used by the railroad. Soon you will start to see the steeples of the nearby churches through the cluster of homes. The bike path then crosses Market Street and Child Street, passing a Dels Lemonade, before coming to a large parking area behind Town Hall, Fire Station, and Police Station. It is in this area that a spur line to Fall River split from the main track and headed east. The East Bay Bike Path follows the former line to Bristol from here. (The Warren Bike Path to the east follows a section of the spur trail). After passing a well-placed bicycle shop and Franklin Street the bike path comes out to Main Street. There is a traffic light with a crosswalk here. It is a very busy intersection, do not attempt to cross without using the crosswalk and light. After crossing the street the bike path continues south and soon passes Burrs Hill Park. The park offers basketball courts, tennis courts, and a ball field. There are also free concerts here. Through the park you can see the water and Warren Town Beach. The bike path continues through residential neighborhoods after passing under Bridge Street through a tunnel that replaced a former railroad bridge. The bike path is also flanked by post and rail fence for quite a while. Soon the bike path passes an area known as Jacobs Point to the right. The large salt marsh, abundant with cattails and wildflowers, offers a single trail to the beach. Just after Jacob’s Point the bike path enters Bristol and soon comes to the McIntosh Wildlife Refuge. This Audubon property spans from Route 114 to the Warren River on both sides of the bike path. To the left is access to the trails through the fields by the Educational Center. To the right is the long boardwalk that reaches out to the river. The bike path then continues through more residential areas with several road crossings before coming to Colt State Park. Along this stretch you can catch glimpses of Narragansett Bay including the Conimicut Lighthouse. After crossing the entrance road to Colt State Park the bike path passes Mill Pond to the right where you are likely to catch glimpses of cormorants and egrets. After passing Poppasquash Road the bike path follows the upper reaches of Bristol Harbor before ending at Independence Park and the edge of Downtown Bristol. Here along the Bristol waterfront you will see several boats docked and the old brick buildings in the distance. If you still have a little walk left in you, the waterfront and downtown offers a great walk on its own

Trail maps can be found at: East Bay Bike Path South

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The Bike Path By Bristol Harbor

Conimicut Point – Warwick

Conimicut Point is where Narragansett Bay officially ends and the Providence River begins. On the point is a city park with a few walking paths, a small beach on each side, and the point juts out into the water offering sweeping views in all directions. The south facing beach offers views of Patience and Prudence Island and the north facing views offers views of the Providence skyline. To the east is the Conimicut Lighthouse. At the moment there are plans to renovate the lighthouse. If this happens it will likely become much like the Borden Flats Light in Fall River where you can stay overnight as a guest. There is a rather long sandbar here. Do not attempt going on to it. Several people have lost their lives here after being taken by the strong undertow.

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Conimicut Point

Sandy Point – Portsmouth

Sandy Point is a small public beach on the Sakonnet River. It is free to residents, but there is a fee for non-residents. Being off-season and nearly 65 degrees, I thought I would stop and check it out. The beach has two very distinctive sections. The northerly facing part of the beach is sandy and used for swimming. The eastern facing beach is very rocky. Though a short walk, there are sweeping views of the Sakonnet River. To the south you can see the Sakonnet Point lighthouse and to the north Fall River. Across the river is Fogland Beach on the Tiverton/Little Compton line.

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The Boardwalk To The Beach

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. 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.

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The East Bay Bike Path Along Watchemoket Cove

 

 

 

Calf Pasture Point – North Kingstown

This hike in North Kingstown is tucked away on former military property out on Quonset Point. The hike offers quite a bit in both variety and views. A pair of binoculars is a must for this hike. Also, before embarking on this hike, you should check the tides. The beach portion of the hike will be nearly impossible and impassable during high tide. Starting from a parking lot at the end of Marine Road, we went to the eastern entrance to the bike path. The western entrance is the Quonset Bike Path that leads to Post Road. At the entrance is an informational board with a map. For the next 1.3 miles we followed the paved bike path to its terminus at Narragansett Bay. The bike path passes Allens Cove along the way. At the end of the bike path is Calf Pasture Beach. It is quite possibly one of the best kept secrets in the state as far as beaches. It is a long, clean strand with sweeping views of Narragansett Bay. To the north you can see the Warwick Neck lighthouse. To the northeast, you can see Barrington Beach and Rumstick Point nearly eight miles away. Even further, you can see the massive cooling towers in Somerset, Massachusetts, which are about thirteen miles away. To the east and southeast you can see almost all of the major islands of the bay including Patience, Prudence, Hope, Aquidnick, and Conanicut. Also visible from the beach are all three of the major Rhode Island bridges (Mount Hope to the east, Newport and Jamestown to the south). For the next mile we followed the beach south to the point where Allens Cove meets the bay. After traversing the point we soon found a rocky access road. The road soon starts to cut through the interior of the point. We first passed several shrubs before entering a pine grove. There are several spur trails to the right the meander around the property. Also, keep an eye out for a swing on the left. At the time of this hike it was safe for use. (Yes, it was tested!!) We followed the main trail to its end at the bike path, then followed the bike path back to the parking area. There are no blazed trails on the property.

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Along the Bike Path at Calf Pasture Point