Posts Tagged ‘ Ruins ’

Dunham’s Brook – Westport

  • Dunham’s Brook Conservation Area
  • Main Road, Westport, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°32’37.64″N, 71° 5’14.17″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 8, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Wedged between Main Road and Route 88, Dunham’s Brook offers nearly 3 miles of trails in three very different and distinctive loops. Starting from the parking area, the trail first follows an open area of grass before entering the woods. At the first wooden bridge look to the right to notice a pond. The next bridge crosses Dunham’s Brook itself. Shortly after that is an area of boardwalk that winds through the thick brush. After taking a sharp right and climbing uphill, you will come to a set of stairs of the left. Go left here first climbing the stairs up to the trail (blue loop) This trail will lead you along the ridge of the hill passing the remains of a stone silo on the left before coming out to a large farm field. The trail bends to the right here. The path to the right (blue loop) will turn back to the south pass a stone wall and end at the orange loop. The path to the left (green loop) will lead you through a large seasonal corn field before entering the woods once again. This section is not shown on the map provided, but is shown at the kiosk at the trailhead. A logging operation was also actively occurring at the time of this hike. Continuing straight the trail will soon turn to the right to complete the loop. Turn left and retrace your steps back through the corn field, pass the silo, and to the stairs. For the last part of this hike, turn left at the bottom of the stairs, follow the trail slightly uphill to the next intersection. Turn left onto the blue trail and follow it to the stone wall at the corn field. Turn right here and follow the orange loop trail as it re-enters the woods. The trail winds through a dense area of woods and wetlands along the southern end of the property. The trail eventually makes a loop and returns to the stairs. From here continue ahead and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Dunham’s Brook

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The Stairs at Dunham’s Serves as a Good Reference Point

 

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Prudence East – Portsmouth

  • Prudence East
  • Narragansett Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’11.11″N, 71°18’18.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 25, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on Prudence Island starts at the ferry dock in the small village of Homestead. It covers most of the trails around Baker Farm, a Prudence Conservancy property that is meticulously maintained by a group of volunteers known as the “Trail Gang”. Staying on the well blazed and mowed trails reduces your chances of encountering ticks which are in abundance on the island. Starting from the ferry dock, walk out to Narragansett Avenue and turn left. In a couple hundred feet turn right onto Pier Road. This paved road climbs uphill passing the historic Union Church and several homes before coming to Sunset Hill Avenue on the left. The street is marked by a white post with the respective street names engrave into it. Following Sunset Hill Avenue will lead you pass a couple more homes before a vast open area with fields on each side. Ahead you will pass through the intersection of East Lane and this will lead you to the trails. There are several signs here indicating which way to the trails. Continue ahead on the trail for a few hundred feet and you will soon come to a trail intersection marked with a diamond. Turn right here to follow the Diamond Trail to the Division Wall. The trail to the left is the Diamond Trail as well and you will return from this trail. Make note of this intersection. The trail is wide here flanked by trees, shrubs, and thickets. The rustling you may here are the birds in the thick brush. When you reach the end of the trail you will come to a dirt road. Stay to the left here and pass through the stone wall. Take a look at the historic wall. This wall, running from Division Rock along the west coast of the island to Governor Payne Road to the east, was built to divide the island into two halves, delineating the properties once owned by Roger Williams to the north and John Winthrop to the south. You will also notice that you are at a major trail intersection. For this hike you will want to follow the dirt road to the south called the Heritage Trail. It is blazed with a feather and is just under a half mile to Baker Farm. When you reach the old barn site continue straight ahead. You will have an opportunity to explore it later as you will return to the farm site two more times on this hike. You will soon reach another major trail intersection. Turn to the right here and follow the School House Trail. The trail starts to descend gently for a little over a half mile and comes out to a dirt road named Broadway. This is the main east-west route across the island so do expect to see some traffic. You will want to turn left onto Broadway, but first take a peak at the Prudence Island School House to the right. The structure was built in 1896 and is the fourth (only surviving) school house built on Prudence Island. Continuing the hike, start walking along Broadway to the east. Across the way is a local landmark know as the Farm-a-cy. This honor system farm stand offers seasonal vegetables, jams, honey and home made baked goods. The zucchini muffins are outstanding. Further up the road just before the first street on the right is the southern trail head of the Heritage Trail. It is on the left and well marked with a Heritage Reserve sign. Turn left here and follow the Heritage Trail (also known as Army Camp Trail) north back towards Baker Farm. When you reach the intersection of the School House Trail you will notice an unmarked, but well groomed trail straight ahead and slightly to the right. Follow this trail and it will lead you to Baker Farm and come out between the ruins of the barn to the left and the farmhouse to the right. Both of these sites have impressive stone foundations. There was also a milk shed and an inn on the site. The inns location is marked with three rows of stones to the east of the farmhouse foundation. The farm site also offers a disc golf course. The history of the farm and the disc golf course are available on an informational kiosk board. To the south of the inn site is a large mowed lawn. At the south end of the lawn is the beginning of the Bob Clachrie Trail. This trail, marked with a hikers hat and also originally called the Christmas Trail, is named after Mr. Clachrie whom was one of the original members of the so-called Trail Gang. The trail, the first cut by the Trail Gang, winds down hill offering a nice view of the East Passage and the Melville Pier before descending to Narragansett Avenue. From here turn left and follow the paved road pass the Prudence Island Fire Station and then turn left onto Governor Payne Road. This road passes several homes and a vast wooded area on the left. About three tenths of a mile along the road and on the left look for the Old Inn Trail marked with a rocking chair. Turning left here, follow the trail over a couple boardwalks, uphill, and along a beautiful stone wall before returning to Baker Farm. Once back at the old inn site, turn to the right and look for the Diamond Trail. Follow this trail as it descends downhill passing through an area of trees that look twined and braided. You will soon pass over a few more short boardwalks before coming to the Division Wall Trail and the wall itself. Continue straight, passing through the wall. The trail first goes through an area of ferns and then becomes substantially root bound. Watch you footing here as some of the roots can be a tripping hazard. The trail soon comes to an intersection. The Diamond Trail turns to the left, but you want to stay to the right and return to East Lane. This is the trail intersection you made note of earlier. When you reach East Lane turn to the right and follow the road keeping the large field to your left. After passing the field you will see a sign for the Buzzy Rice Trail to your left. Follow this mowed trail passing the water tank. The trail then slightly descends. Ahead the trail splits. Stay to the left here, but first take a peek through the trees along the right. There is an opening that offers a great view of the Mount Hope Bridge. Staying to the left the trail continues to descend slightly and ends at Pier Road. Turn right here, passing the Union Church once again and follow Pier Road down to Narragansett Avenue. Directly ahead of you is the “Prudence Island Mall” consisting of a small general store and the post office, To the left is the ferry terminal. Note that hunting is allowed in and around some parts of this hike. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence East

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Along The Bob Clachrie Trail

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Along The Old Inn Trail

Prudence South – Portsmouth

  • Prudence South – Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • T-Wharf Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’25.29″N, 71°19’28.96″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 29, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy, all road walking.

 

Once part of a Naval Base and ammunition storage facility during World War II, the southern end of Prudence Island is now a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The old roads of the former base offer several miles of walking “trails” on the property. For this hike, you will start at the Learning Center. Inside the building are several displays of the type of birds, butterflies, and flowers you may see along the hike. There is also a butterfly garden outside the building. From the Learning Center follow T-Wharf Avenue, just under a mile, south to the wharf itself. The wharf was built by the United States Navy and was quite active during the second world war. Today the wharf is used for recreational purposes. There is an Education Shed at the beginning of the wharf well worth checking out. Follow the wharf to its end for uninterrupted views of Jamestown and the Newport Bridge, but be sure to secure your cell phone. The spaces between the wharfs boards are just wide enough to lose a falling cell phone. Fishing is quite a common site here as well. Several types of birds can be commonly spotted here including seagulls, terns, and cormorants. Returning back to land turn left at the composting toilet (good time for a break if needed), and follow the gravel road (Levesque Memorial Road). It will lead you along an Interpretive Trail that offers an occasional informational board about the surrounding area. This road also offers areas along the left that reach out to the bay for some spectacular views including a memorial park with a picnic area. When you reach Brown Road, stay to the left. The road then starts to bend to the right to another intersection at Albro Farm Road. Stay to the right here and head east following the concrete road. You will start to see several former ammunition bunkers from yesteryear along this stretch. At the end of the road you will come to a Quonset Hut. Here turn left and retrace you steps back to the Learning Center.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Prudence South.

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Newport Bridge From The Southern Point of Prudence Island

Prudence North – Portsmouth

  • Prudence North
  • Neck Farm Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’30.76″N, 71°20’44.46″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 28, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Just north from the famed abandoned Garland Mansion is the trail head to the Providence Point Trail. There is a small area on the right just before the gate to park a vehicle. The trail and subsequent beach walk to Providence Point, the northern most point on the island is just a little over two miles long. If you were to also add the side trails to this hike the mileage in total would increase to about six miles. The land here at the northern end of the island is part of the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Starting from the gate and heading north you will immediately find yourself on an old road that is covered with grass in most areas. The road is mowed often enough, but stay out of the areas of taller grass. Birds and berries are abundant here, especially the familiar call of the catbird. Black raspberry, wine berry, and bayberry are all along this 2 mile stretch. At the first intersection there are signs for Long Point Trail and Schoolhouse Trail. Long Point trail to the left would lead you at to the peninsula between Coogeshall Cove and Sheep Pen Cove. The Schoolhouse Trail to the right would lead you to Potters Cove. For this hike continue straight. On the right in the dense shrubs are the remains of an old schoolhouse. Soon you will see Coogeshall Cove on the left and its large marsh. Keep an eye out for egrets here. Beyond the cove you will catch a glimpse of Patience Island. Beyond the cove there are some unmarked trails that intersect the main trail, continue ahead and the trail starts to climb uphill before coming to the next intersection with signs. On the left is the Postal Ferry Trail that would lead you to the narrow channel between Prudence and Patience Islands. On the right is the Bear Point Trail that leads you to the East Passage just north of Bear Point. The intersection is the site of the North End Farm, long abandoned. All that remains are several cellar holes with an occasional interpretive sign. There was a barn, a house, and several other smaller buildings here, and the area with a lack of trees was the farm. Again be aware of the tall grass here. Continuing ahead along the Providence Point Trail you will pass some more shrubs and trees such as honeysuckle and crabapples. You will also pass a large stone wall on the right. At the end of the trail a narrow path leads you to the seashell beach strewed with sea lavender. Staying to your left will lead you to the point. From this perspective you can see the Warwick Neck Light, the Aldrich Mansion, Rocky Point, Conimicut Light, Colt State Park, and the Providence skyline eleven miles away. From here turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area. To add extra mileage to the hike explore to side trails. This area tends to be very buggy particularly in the summer. It is advised to wear mosquito netting for this hike. Also ticks are very prevalent in this area. Be sure to check for them quite thoroughly, stay on the trails and out of the tall grass.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Map can be found at: Prudence North

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The Beach to Providence Point

Laurel Loop – Voluntown

  • Laurel Loop Trail
  • Fish Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°33’3.44″N, 71°49’48.04″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 23, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.8 miles
  • Fairly easy, trails can be muddy.

 

Starting from a parking area along Fish Road about a eight tenths of a mile from Route 49, follow Fish Road easterly for a few feet until you come to where the Nehantic Trail crosses the road. Here you will turn right and follow the blue blazed Nehantic Trail for just a few feet before coming to the Pachaug-Nehantic Crossover Trail. This trail, on the left is blazed blue/red and there is very good signage here. The trail itself is at first very narrow winding through a forest floor of vibrant and tall ferns. You will shortly come to a road crossing where there was once a toll booth. The blue/red blazed trail continues ahead on the other side of the road. It slowly climbs uphill through canopies of mountain laurel and tall trees before descending gently. Look closely on the right for an old cemetery. Beyond the cemetery on the left the trail bends to the left, downhill and over a small stream before coming to some old and rather impressive foundations on the left. Beyond the foundations the trail splits. To the right the crossover trail continues to the right. Turn left here to follow the Laurel Loop. Signage (at the time of this hike) is very well marked. The remainder of the Laurel Loop Trail is now blazed blue/yellow and is now following an old cart path. Soon you will see a house on the left. The trail turns right just before the road and continues through the woods winding through an area of low shrubs including blueberries. The trail soon swings to the west and crosses Tarklin Hill Road. Continuing straight across the road the trail then follows another, slightly overgrown, cartpath flanked with even more mountain laurel. The trail meanders northwesterly for a bit before swinging south and then west. Along the way you will cross a seasonal brook, see a large open field to the right, cross a wooden bridge over another stream, and walk through a pine grove, before coming to another road crossing at Hill Road. The last stretch of trail continues across the road westerly into the woods before turning to the south. The trail then comes to the road intersection near the toll booth. Turn right here and follow Fish Road westerly back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Laurel Loop

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Foundations Along The Laurel Loop

Bleachery Pond – East Greenwich

  • Bleachery Pond
  • 6th Avenue, East Greenwich, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°39’11.96″N, 71°27’31.28″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 10, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This short hike just outside the bustling main strip of East Greenwich makes for a good little get-away. The hardest part of this hike was finding it. The trail-head, marked with a sign, is in a graveyard along 6th Avenue. Following the trail downhill will lead you to trails that follow the shore of the pond and Maskerchugg River. Along the shores of the pond you will find ruins. The highlight of the walk is the large stone dam and waterfall.

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The Dam at Bleachery Pond

Gungywamp – Groton

  • Gungywamp
  • Groton, CT
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: November 26, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy guided hike, some hills.

 

This 250 acre, State of Connecticut owned and protected property, is the home of some of the most mysterious structures in New England. Speculations have for years been made about the origins of the structures. Some are believed to be colonial, some Native American, or very early European such as the Irish. The property is lined with ridges that were forged by the glaciers and there are countless large stones and boulders as well as occasional seasonal waterfalls. The ridges, with nearby swamps and ponds, make for a natural limited access to Gungywamp. This land is believed to be sacred land of the Native Americans and was clear like a prairie. Buffalo, caribou, and cougars were known to be in these parts long before European settlement. There are several sites of interest including a few small chambers with all that is remaining are the side walls and large triangular stones. These chambers have direct sight lines to one another. In one such chamber a Dutch colonial pipe was found. There are also the remains of a colonial house with a fireplace. Old property records indicate that Hannah Adams once owned the property. Coins from the 1740’s have been found on this site. There are the remains of an animal pen nearby built on a steep slope possibly used to pen sheep or goats. The really interesting structures are grouped together. A chamber, complete intact with roof, has construction that is similar to early Irish construction. This sparks the question of whether St. Brendan (484-577 A.D.) had made it to North America. Inscriptions of a Chi-rho, an ancient Christianity symbol, have been found on the property also leading to speculation of very early European exploration of the area. There is a calendar chamber nearby. The largest of the chambers, it has a small opening on the back side that allows the western sun into the chamber. On the equinoxes the beam of light illuminates a 6 x 6 foot side chamber. The use or meaning of the side chamber is unknown. Upon a nearby hill is a double row of circular stones. It is similar in ways to the way Stonehenge is set up. There are several speculations of its use. Maybe a fire pit where the Native Americans held council. Possibly a calendar of some sort. Grinding stones have been speculated. If you look at it closely, you can make out the shape of a turtle. A turtle was used quite predominantly as a symbol by local tribes such as the Pequots, Mohegans, and Nehantics. In 1647, John Winthrop, an English settler, reported a fortification near Pequot, therefore predating the colonists. A little further into the woods there is a row of standing stones. They are mostly triangular in shape with the points to the sky. The alignment is due North South. One of the stones has a pictograph of what looks like a raven. Just beyond that site are the cursing stones. It is two large boulders with several smaller stones placed upon them. It is possible that the stones were set as a curse against ones neighbor. The Native Americans were known to place stones in a pile before battle then removing the stone after battle. The stones of the soldiers who did not returned remained. It is also possible that the pile serves as a cairn for directional purposes as it lines up perfectly with a nearby ridge. Further into the woods is another fairly large foundation remnant. There are also smaller foundations in the area indicating that there was possibly a village here. The property is very intriguing and holds a very historical place among the woods of New England, mostly because of its mysterious beginnings and of its age. Therefore the property is not open to the general public unless led on a guided hike. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center gives tours occasionally or by appointment.

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Circle of Stones

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Calendar Chamber (Note the light on the floor of the chamber)

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