Central Falls: At 1.29 square miles, this is the smallest and most densely populated town in the smallest state. Central Falls has a higher population density than Boston, Washington DC, and LA, and in the 1980’s was known as the cocaine capital of the North East. One might wonder, what there is to see in such a place, but Central Falls is full of mill history and delectable ethnic foods.
Before our visit to Central Falls, I reached out to a Facebook friend for suggestions and she provided me with a wealth of information about what to see and where to eat in Central Falls. Using her information as well as food recommendations from friends, we were ready for our visit.
We started our visit with take out from La Casona, a Colombian restaurant that we had tried previously after hearing rave reviews from hispanic friends. We ordered, and rather than wait outside the restaurant for our food, decided to take a walk over to Jenks Park. Jenks Park sits at the top of a hill, and it was a gift to the city from Alvin Jenks in 1890. The 70 foot tall Cogswell Tower was added to the park in 1904, and it features four clock faces, each looking out in a different direction.
We had the park all to ourselves during our visit, except for a carload of young men who were shooting off some large fireworks at one of the entrances. The girls were a little freaked out by this, but after a little while, the car sped off. We saw a lovely little free library in the park, and we left a painted rock at the base of a nearby tree.
After picking up our food from La Casona, we drove over to the Chocolate Mill Overlook (one of the places my friend recommended to us) to eat a picnic dinner. Who knew that there was once was a Chocolate Mill in Central Falls? I found the Chocolate Mill Overlook to be fascinating, and there were several informative signs placed around the small park to illustrate what the area was like when the mill was running from the 1780’s through the 1820’s.
We savored delicious Chicharrón Picado (pork rinds) with Arepas, Chorizo, beef empanadas, and a traditional Colombian mixed grill plate that included bite-size beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, blood sausage, fried pork rinds, french fries, plantains, fried cassava and cheese. Although, by that time it was raining lightly, the trees at Chocolate Landing provided enough cover that we were able to enjoy our food while staying dry. We left another painted rock here before continuing on our way.
With satisfied stomachs, we crossed over the line into Pawtucket. We parked across from the city hall and crossed the street to visit historic Slater Mill, a national historic landmark known for being the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The site consists of the stone Wilkinson Mill, the yellow wooden Slater Mill, and the Sylvanus Brown House (all from the 1700’s). Although the mills are closed for tours due to COVID-a9, we were still able to wander the grounds and marvel at the strength of the Blackstone River as it poured over Pawtucket Falls. Of course, we had to leave a rock here.
Next we drove over to McCoy Stadium, the home of the beloved PawSox (Triple-A team of the Boston Red Sox). Sadly, the 2020 season has been cancelled due to COVID-19. And even more sadly, this was scheduled to be the PawSox last season in Pawtucket as they are moving to Worcester, MA next year. We are so sad about this move as we have enjoyed so many games and fireworks at McCoy over the years, and going to Pawsox games at McCoy has always been part of our summer memories. Even though we couldn’t go to a game tonight, we stopped and took a picture with the statue of Sox, one of the beloved Pawsox mascots.
We proceeded on to Slater Park, which consists of 197 acres of public land in Pawtucket. Slater Park has been in existence for over 120 years, and most of the land was formerly part of the Daggett Farm. Over the years, we’ve been to several geocaching events and other picnics here in the park, and there is also the lovely 10 Mile River Greenway bike path that runs along one edge of the park. In the summertime, children can enjoy the park’s playgrounds as well as the 1895 Looff Carousel (which in our experience rotates at high speeds compared to other carousels we’ve visited), and the petting zoo at Daggett Farm. Families can enjoy outdoor concerts in the park, ice cream and other treats from Len’s, or riding on the mini swan boats. Tonight we explored the park both on foot and by car, finding a few geocaches and appreciating the beautiful sights throughout Slater Park.
Other places we've enjoyed in Central Falls & Pawtucket:
Progress as of 6/30/2020
This post is brought to you by Tarynn...
We had so much fun going to Scituate and Foster. We went to many different places such as the new ice cream place in Scituate which is called, Moose Trackers, the Scituate farmers market, and Jerimoth Hill.
Jerimoth Hill is the highest point in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It is located in the town of Foster. It is 812 feet tall. At the top there was a rock that we stood on and took pictures. It was a short and easy hike and it was flat. There was a box at the top of Jerimoth Hill and it wasn’t a geocache. It had a logbook in it and we wrote our names in it. We also left a painted rock near the box. There is a geocache near the top of Jerimoth Hill, but my mom had already found it so we didn’t have to look for it this time. There were some old buildings at Jerimoth Hill, but we don’t really know what they used to be used for.
We also went to the Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge in Foster. It is the only covered bridge in Rhode Island. The other thing we did in Foster was drive by an alpaca farm. We didn’t stop, but we could see them from our car.
We also went to the North Scituate Farmers Market. We got different types of plants there because there was also a garden club sale going on across the street. At the garden club sale we got columbine, irises in different colors, and a ground cover plant. At the farmer’s market, we bought three tomato plants. Then we walked down the street to see a little garden with a church birdhouse in it. We also went to The Country Gardener shop and I asked my mom if I could buy a pepper plant and she said yes!
Another place we went to in Scituate was Frederickson Farm. There are lots of different parts to Frederickson Farm. There was a fireplace & grill store that had a pond with a waterfall and fish in it inside the store. There was also a bakery, cafe, and an ice cream shop. Next door there is a pizza shop, and around the corner there is a chocolate shop. It was fun to walk around the different stores at Frederickson Farm.
After that we went home to pick up Aemilia & Aoife. Aemilia was working earlier in the morning and Aoife wasn’t feeling good, but was better now. We drove to The Ponaganset River Dam to see the Scituate Reservoir. This is where the drinking water for almost all of RI comes from and there are old houses and villages under the water. We also visited Scituate Senior Center to see the little free library that our friends, Skye & Steve, made. Then we went to the new ice cream place in Scituate called Moose Trackers. Moose Trackers Ice cream was delicious. I got maple walnut with rainbow sprinkles and I loved it.
Other places we've enjoyed in Scituate & Foster:
There’s nothing like a beach day during a Rhode Island summer. So on the gorgeous morning of June 25th, we packed the car and headed down to South Kingstown to spend the day at East Matunuck State Beach. Aemilia opted to stay home, since she hates sand. With her along, a day at the beach would have equaled a grumpy teenager who would have unceasingly reminded us of the unfathomable misery she was experiencing due to our callousness. Right, Aemilia? 😉
Upon arrival at the beach, we purchased a season’s pass which costs $30 for RI residents and gives us access to 8 state owned beaches. This year, rather than receiving the beach pass in the form of a sticker, our license plate will be scanned each time we enter a beach parking lot. (I think I like this idea!) We then proceeded to park in the unpaved lot and make our way to the sand.
Wow, was it crowded! We arrived around 10 AM and it was already pretty packed. We headed down past the last lifeguard chair at the far end of the beach, and we were still surrounded by people. I was under the impression that to aid with COVID-19 social distancing, parking at each state beach was going to be limited, however this was not the case at East Matunuck as more and more people continued to arrive. We actually had to move our beach mat when another family plopped their stuff down right next to us.
Although the vast number of people in such close proximity was uncomfortable, the water was great. At first, Aoife & Tarynn deemed it too cold, but after a little while they determined that once you were in the water for a little while, it really wasn’t that bad. Tarynn especially had fun jumping in the waves, and it was especially nice that the water was clear with very little seaweed. Usually when we are at East Matunuck, we take a walk to look for the little crabs that live under the stones at each end of the beach. However, given how difficult it would be to maintain a six foot distance from other people, that really wasn’t possible today.
Starting around 1pm, a few people started to pack up and leave. This is usually the case at the RI beaches - there’s usually a morning shift of people and later in the afternoon a second wave of beachgoers arrive. I love to make the most of the day by staying until the sunset. However, with the crowd and feeling kind of uncomfortable with the closeness of other beachgoers, we decided to pack up around 2:30 and head over to Jim’s Dock, which is just down the road from the beach in the fishing village of Jerusalem (which is a very tiny section of Narragansett even though it is on the western side of the breachway separating Jerusalem from Galilee). In my opinion, Jim’s Dock has the best clam cakes close to East Matunuck beach, although there are several great clam shacks in Charlestown and Narragansett. We took our food to go and set out a mat on the state pier dock, enjoying the view and watching the fishing boats coming in. The clam cakes were perfect - light & fluffy with lots of clams and little grease, and were a delicious end to our day.
There is so much more to South Kingstown than the beaches.....hoping to return to SK and visit more places in this beautiful town before the summer ends.
Other places we've enjoyed in South Kingstown:
WHAT’S UP EVERYONE? Y’ALL BETTER BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS BECAUSE WE’RE GOING ON A WILD RIDE TO WARREN! Hi Everyone, my name is Aemilia and I will be your tour guide today as we visit the town of little old Warren. Let’s go!!!
Personally, I came into Warren with low expectations. I had kind of only ever known Warren as the town we drove through on our way to Bristol, and there honestly did not seem like there was anything to do there whatsoever. As you might have guessed by the fact that I’m writing this blog post, I was mistaken. We started off our journey to Warren with a single step, as one usually starts journeys. Except this journey was not a journey of 1000 miles, it was more like a journey of about 27.3 miles. Still, not a bad journey overall. We parked our car on the side of the road which I can’t remember specifically but my guess is that it looked like what my grandma would describe as a “cute little New England downtown area”. (Heidi says - we parked on Water Street) There was a lovely assortment of little shops painted in various colors, none of which we went into because, you know, covid. We did not dismay however at the thought of not being able to enter these quaint little stores, and proceeded down towards the water, as we typically do whenever we are anywhere near water. This particular route to water led us through a very nice apartment complex, and to a nice view of whatever was on the other side of the water. Really I don’t know what it was but it looked pleasant. I think there were also boats (it would make sense anyway). On our way back, we took time to admire the seating area and the nice grilling spaces for the use of the lovely people who reside within these apartment buildings. Someday it could be us - who knows?
Moving on, we strolled down the cute little streets of Warren and did not come into contact with any of the friendly villagers who might live there. Though we also didn’t come into contact with any unfriendly villagers, so that was good too. We love some good villagers. As long as they’re wearing masks. And being nice. We continued to walk past the extremely historic houses of Warren. The reasonable members of the family (Aoife and I) did not get so far into the history that we went and squished our faces up against the windows of some sort of fire station thing like SOME members of our family *cough cough (the parents)*.
Eventually we made the wise decision to return to our car, though we did see some alarming sights along the way, such as a truck with poor stuffed animal victims strapped to the front.
Since we needed something to take our minds off of all those BAD VIBES of STUFFED ANIMAL SUFFERING, we paid a visit to some lovely good vibed friends from the band Atwater Donnelly. We spent some time catching up with them in a socially distanced visit in their yard.
To finish off Warren, we devoured some delectable Coffee Cabinets at the world renowned Delekta Pharmacy. For those of you who don’t know, or aren’t true Rhode Islandahs, or aren’t Rhode Islandahs at all, a cabinet is kind of like a milkshake or a frappe. According to the Internet, we have them all mixed up here. (I just wanted to clarify that so y’all didn’t think we were eating wood. We’re not that crazy.)
So Warren was really fun and delicious, and definitely exceeded my expectations. See you later and remember, Mask up, buttercup!
Other places we've enjoyed in Warren:
RI’s mills have always interested me. I love the architecture of the mill buildings, and whenever I visit a mill town, I always wish I could travel back in time to see what it was like during its heyday. Woonsocket is a northern RI city that was famous for its mills along the Blackstone River. There were numerous French Canadians who emigrated to Woonsocket, and there is still a French Canadian influence on the culture of Woonsocket today.
Upon arriving in Woonsocket, we drove to the downtown area and parked near the Visitor’s Center, which transforms into the Polar Express station at Christmastime. We walked along Main Street to the Visitor’s Center to see the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog in Japan who spent 9 years waiting for his owner to return from work. This statue is an exact replica of one in Japan, and was placed in Woonsocket because the movie “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” was filmed in Woonsocket. After petting the statue, we continued walking through the downtown area, noticing many food venues serving hot wieners, fish and chips, Del’s lemonade and other tasty treats.
After returning to our car, we were pretty hot and feeling ready for lunch. Although Woonsocket is well known for its French Canadian food, we opted instead to try the Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse which we have heard rave reviews from several sources. All I can say is WOW!!!!! We ordered the house made kielbasa, pierogies with bacon & onion sauce, golabki, croquettes filled with cabbage, beef & mushrooms, and baklava. The two ladies working in the deli were super friendly and helpful, and while we waited we were very intrigued by all of the imported Polish food on the shelves. Rather than eating inside, we took our food to go and drove over to the World War II Park for a picnic lunch. Everything we ordered was delicious, and the food also came with delicious sourdough bread and sweet & spicy pickles. Not many leftovers today…..
We finished our tour with a stop at Wright’s Dairy Farm, just over the city line in North Smithfield. This has been a favorite place of ours for many years, and it is where we purchase all of our cakes for special occasions. When the girls were younger, we used to visit Wright’s to see the baby cows, and to see the adult cows being milked in the afternoon. Wright’s cream filled pastries are the absolute best, and their milk is so much better than grocery store milk. They also have homemade ice cream, which is amazingly delicious as well. Due to COVID-19, Wright’s is operating a little differently. Rather than having customers enter the store, they have implemented an online ordering system. You can place your order for pick up at a certain time, or in our case, place an order online while sitting in the parking lot, and it will be brought out to your car. We placed our order, and the estimated time was 35 minutes later, but Wright’s was extremely efficient and our order was actually brought out in about 10 minutes. We purchased regular milk, coffee milk (the best ever!!), an oreo tart, and a strawberry rhubarb pie. When we arrived home, we were pleasantly surprised to find that also included in our bags were 4 cream filled cornets with a note attached expressing thanks for supporting a local business and thanks for our patience. Super nice and super delicious!!!! We love Wright’s and hope to go back when we “officially” visit North Smithfield.
Other places we’ve enjoyed in Woonsocket:
We visited our first town on Father’s Day. Cumberland was a perfect choice because it is only about 15 minutes from Smithfield, so we could enjoy a relaxing morning and lunch celebrating Brian before heading out to explore. I was already pretty familiar with Cumberland, having geocached there many times, and there are many interesting and beautiful places to visit. We decided that The Monastery was the right choice for us, and as we drove around the grounds and admired the unique library building, I remembered that on the monastery trails there is a historical monument called “Nine Men’s Misery”.
This monument was placed in memory of 9 colonists who were skinned and buried alive at the site in 1676 during King Philip’s War. The monument was erected shortly afterwards, and is believed to be the oldest veteran’s memorial in the United States. We made the short hike out to the monument, but didn’t go further since Aoife was being eaten by mosquitos. None of the rest of us were bitten, so Aoife must be the sweetest of the family.
Since it was Father’s Day, we then decided to go get ice cream. Cumberland has two exceptionally delicious ice cream shops - The Ice Cream Machine and The Keep. Both places feature homemade ice cream in a multitude of flavors. Being at the monastery meant that we were closer to the Ice Cream Machine, so off we headed down Diamond Hill Road. However, when we arrived, we found long lines and a bigger crowd than we were comfortable with, so instead of stopping, we proceeded to Mendon Road to go to The Keep. The Keep turned out to be the right place for us - it was not crowded at all and the short line inside the building was well thought out for social distancing. I ordered “Game of Cones” and it turned out to be one of the best flavors I’ve ever tried (vanilla base with a caramel swirl and chocolate covered waffle cone pieces). I was also the lucky person who got to finish Tarynn’s maple walnut ice cream and it was amazing - huge chunks of walnuts were plentiful throughout. Aoife’s Chocolate Cream Pie flavor was outstanding, as were the Dire Wolf Tracks & Coffee Oreo flavors that were devoured by Aemilia & Brian.
Other places we've enjoyed in Cumberland:
We are a family who loves to travel and explore. Covid-19 has changed our plans for summer 2020, but we are making the best out of the situation by exploring our beautiful home state of Rhode Island. During the summer of 2020, we are hoping to visit every town in Rhode Island. Thank you for joining us on our journey!