Posts Tagged ‘ Sowams Heritage District ’

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 Black Duck 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. 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 is a trail to the left that leads to Squantum Woods. The bike path 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.

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The East Bay Bike Path Along Watchemoket Cove

 

 

 

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Jacobs Point – Warren

Jacobs Point is in the extreme southwestern corner of Warren and is only accessible via the East Bay Bike Path. The property abuts the Rhode Island Audubon’s McIntosh Wildlife Refuge. There is a single out and back trail that runs from the bike path to the Warren River through a salt marsh and to the beach and point. There is an abundance of bird activity here as well as plenty of wildflowers. Though short in distance, the trail offers plenty of picture opportunities whether it be of wildlife or an open marsh with sailboats in the distance.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

A Stone Wall And Wild Flowers At Jacobs Point.

A Stone Wall At Jacobs Point.

Bristol Waterfront – Bristol

Bristol is most famously known for its Independence Day celebrations. The town is host to the longest running 4th of July parade in the United States which was first celebrated in 1785, a mere nine years after the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. Patriotism runs deep in this town and in the weeks leading up to Independence Day it really shows. Bristol is situated on the east side of Narragansett Bay and its harbor has always played an integral part of the town. Downtown Bristol is home to several historical building dating back to the 1700’s as well as many “Mom and Pop” shops. Bristol is a thriving waterfront town and today’s walk covers both the waterfront and some of the towns historical district. Starting at Independence Park, at the southern terminus of the East Bay Bike Path, I first followed Thames Street in a southerly direction, then turned left onto Franklin Street making my way slightly uphill to Hope Street. Along the way I passed the first of, literally, a town full of shops. I then turned right onto Hope Street. This stretch is lined with several historic houses, lantern streetlights, and large old trees. Most of the houses have plaques on them citing the dates they were built. The first on the right bears a date of 1730 and ahead just before the bank is a massive ginkgo tree. You will also notice the red, white, and blue line in the middle of the street. The line is painted throughout the town along the parade route. In the weeks leading up to Independence Day this stretch is overtaken with flags and banners. Just before Bradford Street on the left is the Andrew School. It is the first of several school buildings along the route of the walk. The Colt School is next on the left just after Bradford Street. Built in the early 1900’s by a prominent Bristol resident, it was donated to the town as a school. Also on the left is Linden Place, a large mansion built in 1810. On the right is the Rogers Free Library housed in a building built in 1877. Just before turning left onto State Street, I came to the Bradford-Diman-Norris House. Built in 1792, it replaced a structure that was burned by the British during the American Revolution. Following State Street, I passed several more houses that were built in the early 1800’s. I then crossed High Street, passing the Walley School on the right. Continuing east I made my way to Wood Street opposite St. Mary’s Church. Along the way on the right is the Bristol Common. On the left I would pass the Bristol Train of Artillery and another old school building which is currently home to the towns School Department. At Wood Street I then turned right and started to follow the path into the Common that leads to the Gazebo. I continued pass the gazebo toward the back of the brick building at the corner of High Street and Church Street. This building is the Byfield School. The school is now used by several artists and their studios including the aptly named Liberty Looks studio. Note, while walking through the common, the row of buildings along High Street. They are the back of the Walley School, the First Baptist Church, the former Bristol County Courthouse, and the Byfield School. I then crossed High Street heading west along Church Street. A fire station is to the left at the corner and the rest of the street is lined with more historical houses. About mid way down the street on the right is a chapel that is set back behind a house. Just before the intersection of Hope Street on the right is the St. Michaels Garden. Across the street is St. Michaels Church, built in 1861, it is the fourth church on this site. The first was also burned by the British during the American Revolution. Turning right onto Hope Street, I then came to a large stone building on the right. This is the Burnside Hall built in 1883. It was used as the Town Hall until 1969 and today it is a visitors center. You can stop in and get all the information you need from its friendly staff. I then continued along Hope Street, passing the Belvedere Hotel on the left, and then turned left onto State Street heading back to the waterfront. Crossing Thames Street, I followed the brick walkway to a restaurant along the water. Just to the north of the restaurant is the beginning of the public boardwalk that follows the edge of the harbor. The boardwalk passes a marina, a condominium building and a couple of restaurants before ending at Independence Park. From here I crossed the park back to parking area, stopping briefly at a plaque explaining Bristol’s role in the American Revolution. You could easily add more mileage to this walk by zigzagging the towns blocks. Just about every street in this area has a structure of historical significance. This walk just scratches the surface of the towns history.

Trail map can be found at: Bristol Waterfront.

Boardwalk Along Bristol's Waterfront

Boardwalk Along Bristol’s Waterfront

Blithewold – Bristol

  • Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, & Arboretum
  • Ferry Road, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°39’13.82″N, 71°15’53.20″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 15, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 mile
  • Easy.

 

I stop at Blithewold quite often to stroll around the gardens for ideas and to take in the solitude it has to offer. Another of my hobbies is gardening. Blithewold has a wide variety of flowers to see at all times of the year. More so a walk than a hike, you still can get a mile or more nonetheless along stone and dirt paths. I remember the first time coming here was for a wedding. I also stop by quite often during daffodil season. The display is quite impressive. Both Blithewold and Parsons are well worth checking out for their daffodils. Today I was joined by my mother for this walk. We started at the Visitors Center by the parking lot. After paying the entry fee we went through the rose garden and found our way toward the front of the mansion. We followed the path away from the mansion toward the road passing a Giant Sequoia and Japanese Cedar along the way. We then circled around toward the summer house. We then passed an area of hydrangeas while we followed a path back towards the mansion. When we reached the North Garden we then followed another path back into the wooded area passing a water fountain. We eventually reached a grove of bamboo. After walking through the grove we stumbled upon a garden of flowers of all assortments. There were several black eyed susans and coneflowers attracting several bees and butterflies. We then followed the northern property line along a dirt road to the bay. The views are quite impressive here. We then wandered into the rock and water gardens. The small ponds here were covered with lily pads and the highlights of the garden are a Japanese Red Maple on a small island as well as a stone bridge that crosses a section of the pond. We then followed a path that passed several trees of interest including a snowbell, plane, and a walnut to name a few before passing into an archway of boxwood. This path eventually met with the path with the water fountain. We then made our way back to the North Garden. At this point we had walked just under a mile. We then explored the mansion before returning to the car.

Map of the paths and gardens can be found at: Blithewold.

Rock and Water Gardens

Rock and Water Gardens

Perry Farm – Bristol

  • Perry-Tavares Farm
  • Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°42’34.4″N 71°16’01.2″W
  • First Time Hiked: July 19, 2014
  • Last Time Hiked: January 16, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.6 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

 

Between the first visit here in the summer of 2014 and the last, in January of 2017, the Bristol Conservation Commission and their many volunteers have made great improvements to this property. The nearly two mile system is blazed with blue, white, and yellow trails. There are several access points to the property including the Elmwood Drive entrance which features a footbridge over a small stream. The main entrance, opposite Fatima Drive, along Metacom Avenue offers a small parking area. The blue blazed trail runs from Metacom Avenue westerly to the power line easement and the yellow loop trail. Along this stretch you will pass a couple stone walls, vernal pools, and some old towering trees. The yellow trail loops through the midsection of the property passing areas of birch trees and small outcrops of pudding-stone. The white blazed trail at the northern end of the property weaves along the edge of a meadow and through areas of thickets that are a haven for birds. The property is especially suited for photography of flowers and birds. On the two (of likely several more) visits I encountered rabbits, toads, hawks, robins, blue jays, woodpeckers, finches as well as an abundance of wildflowers including milkweed, black raspberries, and grapes attracting not only the birds but butterflies, bees, and dragonflies. Deer, owls, and turkey have also been seen on this property.

Trail map can be found at: Perry Tavares Farm

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Winter Tree at Perry Farm Meadow

Hunts Mills – East Providence

  • Hunt’s Mills
  • Hunt’s Mills Road, East Providence, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°49’41.78″N, 71°20’45.16″W
  • First Hiked: June 8, 2014 
  • Last Time Hiked: April 8, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.75 miles
  • Easy.

For over 250 years Hunt’s Mills has served many purposes. It is probably one of the more historically significant sites in East Providences. In fact this property is home to the East Providence Historical Society. The historical society is at the John Hunt House which is one of the oldest houses in the city. The house was built in the mid 1700’s. This site also has been home to several mills over time dating back to the mid 1600’s including a sawmill and a grist mill. In the late 1800’s a local private company (Rumford Chemical Works) set up a water company here to supply their mills and factories with water. In the mid 1920’s the town would take over the water company, along with the Turner Reservoir, to supply the growing town with water until the town starting receiving its water from the Scituate Reservoir. At the turn of the century there was an amusement park here to help offset the cost of running the water company. And lastly, the fire department used this property as a training grounds for several years. The hike starts near the small parking area by the gazebo just to the right of the Hunt House. The red blazed trail first leads down a small set of stone stairs then winds through an area known as the Terrace Garden. At different times of year there will be different shrubs and flowers in bloom here including mountain laurel. The red blazed trail then turns right into a short section of woods before crossing an access road. The trail then continues straight in the woods meandering slightly downhill toward the Ten Mile River. At the next trail blaze post, the red blazed trail turns to the left. Here on the right is a spot known as Sunset Rock. It tends to be a little overgrown in the summer months, but it offers a good view of the river the rest of the year. Continuing following the red blazed trail will lead you to the next set of trail blaze posts. Again at the rivers edge is another spot to view the river. This spot is known as Otter Rock as there have been sightings of otters at this point. When the water levels are low on the river you will find inscriptions from the early 1900’s on the rocks. The red blazed trail then leads south passing a chain link fence into the former fire department training area. You will soon see the remnants of the facility including the old fire tower that was used for training and an old tanker. The trail then passes the chain link fence again to the next trail blaze post. Turning right here will lead you to the large grass area behind the Hunt House. In this area behind the house there is a circle of granite blocks. These blocks represent where the carousel of the amusement park once stood.You then walk toward the gate between the house and the large stone building that was once the pump house (built in 1893) for the water department to the final highlight of the hike. The Hunts Mills Dam and waterfall. From here you then follow the road in front of the Hunt House to the point of beginning. This hike makes a nice companion to the Turner Reservoir hike.

Trail map can be found at: Hunts Mills

Along The Red Trail

Along The Red Trail

Willett Pond – East Providence

Willett Pond is in the Riverside section of East Providence. It is a nice little spot wedged in an suburban area. In the 1870’s a dam was built at the Mosskettuash Brook to create Willett Pond. Its original purpose was to harvest ice for the growing resorts in Riverside. In later years the resorts closed and residential neighborhoods were built in the area. The ice harvesting ceased and the pond was used primarily for recreation. Today the pond is stocked with trout in early spring and is used for fishing in the spring and summer. There is also a boat launch here for kayaks and canoes. A short half mile trail loops the lower half of the pond. The trail, blazed orange, begins at a parking area between a small shopping strip and the pond itself. The trail then follows the edge of the pond behind a residential area before turning to the left and crossing the water on a small wooden bridge. The trail then curves to left again following the shore of the pond. The trail at some points comes out into grass areas of what seems to be backyards of the abutting properties and then back into the wooded areas again. The trail then comes out to the grass area along Willett Avenue. From here you can walk pass the small spillway and back to the parking area. Swans are common sight and tend to nest here. Please do not disturb them. Otters have also been seen here in the winter months.

Trail map can be found at: Willett Pond.

Wildlife At Willett Pond

Wildlife At Willett Pond

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