We are so close to finishing our goal of visiting every town in Rhode Island. Just one town to go - our own home town of Smithfield!
Thanks for following our RI journey....
ARE YOU READYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! WE’RE GOING TO WESTERLYYYYYYYYYYYY (& Hopkinton) :)
In case you couldn’t tell by the intro, this is Aemilia
We started the day in North Scituate (No this is not a typo) to pick up our friend, (and favorite youth choir director), Larry. He also happens to be the expert on Westerly while the rest of us are Northern Rhode Islanders.
For our first stop, we visited Festival Farm in Hopkinton, a lovely farm with animals you can pet and feed. We especially loved feeding the goats, donkeys, and alpacas. The bunnies were also extremely cute. Our personal favorite was a goat named Boris who had escaped from his enclosure and followed us around the farm. He also visited other animals, like the donkeys, and ate their food.
I do have to admit, there is one slightly scary animal at Festival Farm, which is the emu. Looking at the emu, he is a little scary, but mostly very cute. So I decided it would be a good idea to pick some long grasses and try to feed them to him (I felt bad that he was being left out while all the cute fluffy animals got fed). I held out the grasses and he surveyed me with his beady, yet wild, eyes. It was at this moment I realized that it didn’t have any real ears, just weird holes, which to be honest, was not a very comforting realization. Maybe the emu thought I was judging him, but he took the opportunity to snatch the grasses out of my hand with his violent beak, pecking me as he did so. I realized at that point, that the farm probably didn’t sell emu food for a reason.
From there we drove down a confusing road to a very weird and hard to get to hiking area. The good thing about this hiking area was that there were alot of Native American rock piles if you like that sort of thing. The bad thing about this hiking area, which in my mind is more important was that the trail disappeared randomly and we were left stranded in the middle of Hopkinton on (possibly CURSED) sacred Native American land. Not my personal cup of tea, but maybe it sounds fun to some of you crazy people. (Note from Heidi - I absolutely LOVED this area, which is called Manitou Hassannash Preserve and is located on Lawton Foster Road North in Hopkinton. There are a multitude of rock structures, and many of them are large and very well preserved. I found it fascinating, and could have spent another hour or two taking a closer look at the structures, so I guess I am a crazy person according to my dear daughter, Aemilia…..hahaha 😂)
When we got to Westerly, we took a nice walk around Wilcox Park. For those of you who might want to know the background on the park, there was a lady named Harriet Wilcox who owned a ton of land in Westerly and she said “The people shall have their park” and gave them the land. Very dramatic. Kind of like when my mom started this blog and said “The people shall have their blog and the children shall be forced to write blog posts they don’t want to write on top of their other work”. We especially liked the fountain with a ton of little fish and some turtles in it. Someone had thrown some (very high-quality looking) bread into the fountain and all the animals were enjoying it, which was very cute. We got to see the Westerly Library from the outside, which my mom appreciated. She said that next summer she might try to visit all the libraries in Rhode Island, so stay tuned for that! (Note from Heidi - I can't wait visit all of the public libraries in RI and have my darling daughters, especially my witty first-born, write about them!!! 🤣)
Then we got to my favorite part of the day. FOOD! We had lunch at The Bridge Restaurant, which is set on the Pawcatuck River, right at the border of Westerly and Pawcatuck, Connecticut. As you might have already guessed, there is a bridge very close by. Aoife and I enjoyed sharing fish and chips, while Tarynn was a PAIN finishing her burger at a snail’s pace. It was a very nice restaurant and we appreciated the titles of the entrees on the kids menu.
After lunch we walked around Watch Hill and went to go visit Taylor Swift. I’m not going to tell you her address because then this post will get deleted, but if you know generally where she lives, her house is blurred out on google maps so you can tell which one it is. Yes, I looked up Taylor Swift's house on Google maps (it’s not stalking it’s research). If you want to learn about the history of Taylor Swift’s house, it is available in song form on her newest album “Folklore”. The song is called The Last Great American Dynasty.
My mom also made us walk to the Watch Hill Lighthouse that wasn't really notable other than that we left Tarynn a little ways back because she didn't want to walk anymore, and there were nice views of Taylor Swift’s house. And that we should have driven because if you have a senior citizen with you, you can drive on the otherwise private road. But despite having a senior citizen with us, we walked. Taylor Swift didn’t appear to be home, or she just had all the curtains closed and lights off. I don’t blame her.
We also did some walking on the beach on the little path that leads to Napatree Point, but I’m trying to block it out of my memory because I don’t like sand. Thank you for your cooperation. (Note from Heidi - We were on this trail for all of about 5 minutes, which put Aemilia WAY over her sand tolerance limit. Making a mental note that next time we should sit her down in a comfortable chair so she can tune out and not spread bad vibes while we go off and explore beautiful places.)
Then it was time for more food! After walking around Watch Hill a little bit, we ended the day by getting gelato at Pompelmo Gelateria. I LOVE gelato. So much. I got part berry and part passionfruit gelato and it was AMAZING. I also tried Aoife’s and it was delicious as well.
On the way home we drove through Misquamicut but didn’t get out because I had already had WAY TOO MUCH SAND for one day. (I stand by this assertion even though my mother has decided to be mean to me and say rude things to me about not liking the beach). And we looked at the houses, considered which oceanfront mansions we should buy, and then sang along with the radio all the way home.
Other places we've enjoyed in Westerly:
Today was the day, everyone! The day that my mom, Tarynn and I hopped on the ferry and sailed off to Block Island! This was my first time visiting Block Island, but my mom has been there a few times. We left on the 8 o’clock ferry in Narragansett, and after a beautiful (and cold) ride we were finally at Block Island. This was especially exciting because we didn’t know if we would be able to make it to Block Island this summer and still be able to safely social distance, but my mom read and watched what was going on for several weeks and decided that it would be ok for us to go.
First we sat at a little park called Estes Park overlooking the water near the ferry landing and ate the breakfasts we had brought with us. Then we went and walked around the old harbor area, went into a few shops, and just explored the island. The shops were very cute and everyone we saw was wearing masks and social distancing.
After exploring the old harbor we walked for a really long time to Southeast Lighthouse. The Southeast Lighthouse wasn’t originally built where it is standing now on Block Island, it was built in 1875 and was moved back from the eroding cliffs in 1993.
After we enjoyed the glorious views of the bluffs from afar we walked down the road for a couple minutes and went to see The Mohegan Bluffs up close. We had to walk down a total of 141 stairs to get down to the beach, but the view of the bluffs was worth it! We sat on a couple rocks and watched the waves crash on the sand as we ate our snacks. After finishing our snacks, my mom and younger sister, Tarynn went and collected rocks to make cairns (rock towers). After making the rock towers we walked back up the 141 stairs and went to our next destination on Block Island.
The next thing we did was walk across the island on an unpaved inland road to go and get lunch in the old harbor. On our walk across the island we saw a cute little sandpiper at a little pond, and we passed the Block Island School.
We went to Rebecca’s Take Out for lunch. I got a pastrami and cheese sandwich, Mom and my sister both got cheeseburgers & root beer floats, and we all shared some clam cakes. The food at Rebecca’s was really tasty.
After eating lunch we walked a little more around the old harbor to get to The Fred Benson Town Beach. So, normally I like the beach, but I don’t love the beach. Well, this Block Island beach is my favorite beach ever! I LOVED THIS BEACH!! The sand was so soft, and not gross. The water was so clear, you could see the bottom of the ocean even if you went out deep. Even though the water wasn’t as warm as the beaches on the mainland of Rhode Island I got used to it and stayed in for a long time. This was the longest time I had seen my mom ever be in the ocean.
After staying at the beach, watching the crystal clear turquoise water crash upon the sand for a while, we changed out of our bathing suits and walked back into town. We still had a little time before our ferry would leave so we decided to get drinks at The Block Island Beach House restaurant and enjoy the view of the ocean and cliffs.
Our ferry ride home was a lot more crowded than the morning ferry. We got there early and put our bags on the seats next to us so we could maintain social distancing, and there were several people not wearing their masks. Fortunately, we were in the open air on the top deck so there was enough of a breeze to keep us safe from germs.
Our day on Block Island was amazing and I would love to go back soon.
Other places we've enjoyed on Block Island:
Hi Everyone, it's Heidi. Time to visit another town that is close to home: North Smithfield. When I woke up this morning, one of the first things I thought was “I want to go for a hike”. Brian was already up, and Aemilia was getting ready to go to work. Aoife and Tarynn were happier staying home, so Brian and I headed off to North Smithfield to check out the trails at Rocky Hill Road Conservation Area. This turned out to be the perfect spot for today. Rocky Hill consists of 23 acres, and there is a loop trail that goes through some wetland areas.. However, we’ve had a lack of rainfall in Rhode Island this summer, so all of those wet areas were completely dry today. Brian and I enjoyed the opportunity to explore an area that was new to us today, and we left a painted rock at a bench along the trail.
On our way home we stopped at Goodwin Brothers Farm Stand. Although we’ve passed by several times, and we’ve admired the houses they build out of pumpkins in the fall, this was our first time stopping at Goodwin’s, and it is a really nice farm stand! Nearly all of the produce was local, and much of it was grown right on their farm. Also, the prices were very reasonable for fresh, local fruits and veggies. We bought some donut peaches, and are looking forward to trying them once they ripen for a few days on our windowsill. (update - the donut peaches were super sweet, juicy, and delicious.)
After Aemilia arrived home from work, we headed back to North Smithfield for lunch at The Beef Barn. We checked out the menu online and called our order in to shorten the wait time. The Beef Barn is a North Smithfield staple, and we had visited once a few years ago for a geocaching meet and greet. Today we tried the pastrami sandwich, cheeseburgers, a steak sandwich, and a roast beef sandwich and they were all delicious. We upgraded our sandwiches to “specials”, which meant they included fries and salads, which were all awesome as well. Aemilia and I also got shakes which were nice and thick and hit the spot. We enjoyed our food on a shaded picnic table and then crossed over the street to take a photo at the street sign that marks the line between Woonsocket and North Smithfield. On Smithfield Road, one side of the street is Woonsocket while the other side is North Smithfield.
We followed up our Beef Barn lunch with dessert from Wright’s Dairy Farm. We had made a stop at Wright’s on our Woonsocket day, and Wright’s is so amazing that it warranted a second stop. During the summer, Wright’s has an ice cream trailer called “The Wright Scoop”, and Brian, Tarynn, and I opted for ice cream, while Aemilia and Aoife decided to order bakery treats. You really can’t go wrong with anything at Wright’s. All of their pastries are made fresh and the cream for the pastries and the ice cream comes from their own cows. Our ice cream was outstanding, and it was a great surprise to see that a graduate from my school is scooping in the ice cream trailer for the summer, and we got to say hello.
We headed home again for a few hours before heading out for our final North Smithfield destination: The Rustic Tri-View Drive-In movie theatre. The Rustic opened in 1951 and is the only remaining drive-in movie theatre in Rhode Island. We had never been here before, and we will most definitely be back!!!! It was so fun to see “The Iron Giant” outdoors, and the cars were nicely spaced so we felt very safe there. We haven’t been seeing many friends this summer, but hopefully next summer life will be more normal, and we will be able to go back to this Rhode Island gem for a super fun night with a carloads of friends.
Our North Smithfield day and evening was so fun! So happy to have had a chance to explore this awesome town!
Johnston and Smithfield are neighboring towns, so we often find ourselves driving through Johnston on our way to other places or to run errands. However, it isn’t often that we spend time actually exploring Johnston, and today’s visit reminded us to stop and notice how interesting Johnston really is.
We started our Johnston visit at the Johnston Historical Society Museum on Putnam Pike. It is located between Emmily’s Restaurant (one of the best breakfast places around) and the Johnston Fire Station, and although we pass this way often, I never knew that there was a museum here. After seeing our segment on Channel 10 back in July, the president of the Johnston Historical Society reached out to us and offered to give us a tour of the museum. Unfortunately she was unable to meet us there today, but she arranged for Mr. Carl Johnson to give us a tour. Mr. Johnson was enthusiastic, engaging, very knowledgeable and an all around awesome tour guide . The museum houses Johnston artifacts ranging from arrowheads and rock specimens, to matchbooks from former restaurants, antique firefighter helmets, high school sports memorabilia , and glass milk bottles from bygone eras. We found it all so interesting, especially with Mr. Johnson’s detailed explanations of the various items on display. He also brought us into the 1825 Elijah Angell House, which is on the same property as the museum and is set up with period furnishings. We would like to thank the Johnston Historical Society for inviting us to see their museum and helping us to learn about the history of their town.
After leaving the historical society museum, we drove over to beautiful Dame Farm to visit their sunflower field. We are nearing the end of sunflower season, but we were still able to pick many gorgeous flowers, and we loved seeing all of the different varieties that were growing there. A jar of sunflowers that you cut yourself costs $21.40, and if you just want to go browse in the sunflower field and take pictures, the fee is about $7.00 per person.
In a stark contrast to the beautiful sunflower farm, our next stop was the Central Landfill. Aoife had previously been on a field trip to the landfill, but for the rest of us, it was our first visit there. We did not go on a tour today (you can go on a virtual tour here) as we are avoiding busses during Covid, but we did drive around the perimeter of the landfill and were astonished to see how big it is.
Following the landfill, we made a visit to Johnston Memorial Park. We explored the walking path that goes around the pond, and also crossed the bridge to visit the island. Johnston Memorial Park has memorials to soldiers, and also has fields and courts, as well as a really nice playground. We enjoyed stopping and visiting this park, which we so frequently drive by.
The next stop on our Johnston tour was the Clemence-Irons House, which is one of the oldest houses in Rhode Island. Built in 1691, its most notable feature is that it is a stone-ender, which is rare to see as few of these houses have survived into 2020.
Finally we arrived at the stop that the girls were waiting for: Friskie Fries!!!!! If you haven’t been to Friskie Fries, you really need to get there (or find their food truck) very soon. Their fries are amazing on their own, and when you add toppings, they are incredible! We ordered three types of fries: Disco Dottie (poutine - Vermont cheddar curds & brown gravy), Dirty Daug (NY system weiner bites, meat sauce, onion bits, mustard, and celery salt), and Cat’l Call (Philly cheesesteak - shaved steak & cheddar cheese sauce). Yum!!!!!
A visit to Johnston wouldn’t be complete without a stop at something Italian, so our last stop on our Johnston tour was The Original Italian Bakery. I had heard great things about this bakery, but today was our first visit there, and it definitely lived up to everything I had heard. We bought split rolls for Tarynn since she doesn’t like pastry, a spinach/olive/ricotta calzone (which was to die for), and pizza chips to take to the beach tomorrow. Then it was time to pick out some pastries, and I have a confession to make. I should NEVER be allowed in a bakery alone as I cannot make decisions and end up choosing everything. At the Original Italian Bakery, there were so many scrumptious pastries on display and we may have ended up with two boxes of pastry. I have no regrets, however, as they were all fabulous and we will definitely add this bakery into our lives as a frequent stop.
Our Johnston experience was fun and delicious!
Other places we’ve enjoyed in Johnston:
Portsmouth was a town we were especially looking forward to visiting, and we got up bright and early to be out of our house by 7:30 so that we would arrive in Portsmouth by 8:15am. Why, did we need to leave our cozy beds so early on a summer day? We had a reservation for the very popular Rail Explorers that we had booked over a month ago, and we couldn’t miss it. We had been looking forward to this day for quite awhile, and although the weather forecast threatened rain, we were thankfully presented with only cloudy skies and cool temperatures. It was perfect weather for our 1.5 hour “bike” ride on the railroad tracks. We took the southern route, which gave us plenty of beautiful views. Along the way we saw scenic views of Narragansett Bay, and glimpses of occasional osprey nests. On the ride out, Emy, Aoife and I shared the four-seater railroad bike, and from time to time we got it going pretty fast. Heidi and Tarynn came behind us in a two-seater railroad bike. At the end of our route, we were able to spend some time relaxing in a lovely area filled with Adirondack chairs and there was a gorgeous view of the Newport Bridge. There were also several fire pits throughout the area, so maybe on the evening rail explorer tours, there is time built in for relaxing by the fire. On the way back we had the bikes hitched together and we all worked at pedaling during the return trip. We were grateful for the cloudy skies, because if the weather had been hot and sunny, the pedaling would have seemed like a lot more work. The ride was really fun, and we would highly recommend Rail Explorers as a summer family activity.
We followed the Rail Explorers ride with a quick trip to see the wind turbine at Portsmouth Abbey School. Heidi worked in the library at Portsmouth Abbey while she was earning her MLIS degree, so she especially enjoyed stopping here for a trip down memory lane. She told us about the monk who used to escape to the top of the turbine to sit in solitude, and the drone video of him that went viral -- amazing!
We continued on to explore Portsmouth’s beachfront neighborhood of Island Park, complete with a model of Elvis on one of the porches. Walking around Island Park got us hungry, so we went to Flo’s Drive-In for clam cakes. These were some of the best clam cakes I’d ever had! We left a rock on the sea wall at Island Park.
Now to continue our journey of Aquidneck Island, we go to Middletown with Aemilia.
FREE THE WINDMILLS! FREE THE WINDMILLS!
Hello, now that I have your attention, I’ll introduce myself. My name is Aemilia, and I have found an important cause, that I believe we should all fight for. Windmill Liberation. But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about our Aquidneck Island day, specifically our trip to Middletown.
After doing our Portsmouth rail explorer trip and visiting other sites in Portsmouth, we visited Middletown, that is to say, the town in the middle of Aquidneck Island. Rhode Island has some really confusing areas, like Wyoming that is NOT real Wyoming, and Moscow that is NOT anything even close to the real Moscow, but you will be pleased to know that Middletown is not one of them. It’s right in the middle, like it tells you in the title. Not some weird little area PRETENDING that it’s a state or a foreign city. Looking at you, Carolina and Wyoming. But Middletown? Middletown is trustworthy. Look at that. Right in the middle. :)
What I’m about to say next might alarm you.
Middletown and Portsmouth have been holding windmills captive, all tied up so they can’t even move. I know, it’s hard to believe. You might need to take a minute to process this. It’s ok. It’s a lot to take in.
Allow me to share how I know this information, which I’m sure many people would consider to be classified and extremely dangerous. We visited, not one, but TWO locations with beautiful plants and flowers, and stunning windmills, only to see the windmills ROPED TO THE GROUND. I could not believe my eyes, as I was struck with anguish at how these poor windmills have one function, to spin around, and they aren’t even allowed to do that. The two places in question are Prescott Farm (this windmill is in Portsmouth) and Boyd’s Windmill (at Paradise Valley Park in Middletown), and while they were very nice to visit, my experience was ruined by the thought of the windmills being tied to the ground and unable to move. It was truly horrifying. So please #freethewindmills.
From there, we went to Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge where we walked along a trail to the point. It was a nice walk in a very beautiful place, and we left a rock there.
Also in the same general area, we visited Little Purgatory Chasm, which was nice, except for the fact that CERTAIN people like to go too close to the edge. I don’t think I even need to tell you who those people are. If you’re familiar with us, you probably already know.
Bye for now and remember to thank a windmill today,
Heidi’s turn - Now we are continuing along to Newport. True Rhode Islanders rarely visit Newport in the summertime as that is when this beautiful town is overrun with tourists. However, this year is the exception to the norm, and since we have a goal of visiting every town in Rhode Island, off to Newport we went, and although it was busy, the crowds were considerably smaller than in previous summers.
Our first stop in Newport was Touro Park to see the Newport Tower. This tower is the remains of a 17th century windmill, however, according to Atlas Obscura and several other website, there are mysteries surrounding this structure.
Next we drove through the shops on the wharves and along Thames Street. Normally, we would park and enjoy walking and browsing through the shops in this area. Due to COVID, however, we decided that there were too many people around for our comfort level, so a drive through tour was enough. Nearly everyone we saw walking was wearing a mask and giving those around them quite a bit of space, which earned Newport a grade of A+ for the social distancing we witnessed during our visit.
We then stopped at Fort Adams, a coastal fortification completed in 1857. Although we did not tour the fort this time, we did enjoy walking around the walls of the fort, and seeing the Oliver Hazard Perry Tall Ship which docks at Fort Adams.
We continued along Ocean Drive (also called 10 Mile Drive), marveling at the luxurious houses and exquisite ocean views. We stopped at Brenton Point to watch the waves crashing on the rocks, and also watch some kite fliers. There is always an ocean breeze at Brenton Point, which makes it the perfect location for the annual Newport Kite Festival. One of the oldest geocaches in Rhode Island is also hidden at Brenton Point, so be sure to search for it when you visit.
After finishing our ride along Ocean Drive, we met one of my lifelong friends, Fr. Scott, to explore the Cliff Walk. Fr. Scott is currently a chaplain at Salve Regina University, and he led us on a walk through the ocean side campus that includes several buildings from the Gilded Age. Further along Cliff Walk, we saw the sweeping lawn of The Breakers as well as Aoife’s dream house, which has a gazebo overlooking the ocean.
Fr. Scott brought us to see his church, St Joseph’s, which is very beautiful and is located in the Broadway section of Newport. In addition to serving as a chaplain at Salve, he has also recently been appointed the administrator of St. Joseph’s. There are several restaurants near St. Joseph’s, and Fr. Scott had made a reservation for an outdoor dinner at Malt. Featuring an assortment of whiskeys and draft beers, this casual restaurant was perfect for us after a long day of exploring on Aquidneck Island. We devoured flavorful burgers, Thai shrimp nachos. calamari, and falafel, and washed them down with some tasty cocktails & brews.
After saying goodbye to Fr. Scott, we had one more necessary stop to make before heading home: the original Newport Creamery. Newport Creamery has been a Rhode Island institution since 1928, and the Middletown shop is the original location. Perhaps most famous for its “Awful Awfuls” (thick milkshakes that are “Awful Big and Awful Good”), a trip to Newport Creamery is the perfect end to any Rhode Island summer day.
Other places we've enjoyed on Aquidneck Island:
Aemilia & Aoife have been working on painting rocks to leave at the places we visit. I love the designs they've come up with, and I think I really want to keep the "Seek" rock.
Now if I can just remember to bring these rocks with us when we go out on adventures, lol......
30 Rhode Island towns visited......9 towns to go. We've been having so much fun exploring our beautiful state!
There are some Rhode Island towns that you hear a lot about -- for example, Bristol on 4th of July, Pawtucket with its mills, etc... I have to say that West Greenwich and Exeter were two places I, Brian, never heard a lot about and prior to visiting thought there were just farms or woods in those towns. I was pleasantly surprised on our trip to West Greenwich and Exteter to learn that there is so much more.
We started with a visit to the Quarry in the Big River Management Area in West Greenwich -- an old quarry, now filled with water to create a stunning pond. Tarynn immediately began finding the tiniest frogs everywhere along the shore, and in the water we spotted schools of fish swimming about. We saw several people walking their dogs, and had a very nice chat with a gentleman who was impressed by our young “naturalist”, Tarynn.
We then went just down the road to the Rhode Island Desert (not to be mistaken with Rhode Island Dessert - not sure if Rhode Island has an official dessert? 😉). Sand dunes stretched out to the distance and were unusual and lovely to behold. Tarynn caught a grasshopper along the way.
The site I was most looking forward to, learning about it in our research, was next in Exeter. It was the grave of Mercy Brown in the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church cemetery. The story of Mercy Brown is pretty crazy (read more detail here). Apparently, in the late 1800’s outbreaks of tuberculosis were occurring. People hadn’t figured out yet that it was a bacterial disease and could be treated medicinally. In New England, especially Rhode Island and Connecticut, there was a trend of interpreting this “consumption disease” as the result of your dead relatives turning into vampires and sucking out your life. Yes, vampires!!! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_vampire_panic). So, if you wanted to cure someone of tuberculosis, what did you have to do? Dig up their recently deceased family members, make a beverage of the ashes of their organs, and get the sick person to drink it. Yuck! For some reason, this treatment didn’t seem to actually work. I must say that it is somewhat reminiscent of other questionable treatments for current diseases, like drinking bleach to cure COVID-19. Maybe it’s just that the vampires have come back? Aoife and Tarynn did not want to see the grave of Mercy Brown, and stayed in the car while Heidi and I walked the tranquil cemetery and left a “peace” stone on the grave of Mercy Brown.
Next on our drive was the RI Veterans Cemetery in Exeter, a site Heidi was looking forward to. Prior to the cemetery, however, we saw an unusual building which looked like the head of an alien. I’m still not sure what it really is. We also saw an 1878 Town Hall and an old 1800’s schoolhouse.
The RI Veterans Cemetery was a truly great stop. It has expansive views, is beautifully landscaped, and the well-constructed monuments to our fallen soldiers are truly awe inspiring. It was a meditative place and I found myself being thankful for the benefits I have received from their sacrifices.
Along our walk to the World War II monument at the cemetery, Tarynn picked up a grasshopper hitch-hiker who landed on her and traveled along on her hat for a while.
Our final stop was back in West Greenwich, a place called Stepstone Falls. Given that it is now late in the summer the falls themselves were not that active, but it was a pleasant place to stop, walk on rocks over small streams, and hike in the woods for a while.
We ended the day in Griswold, Connecticut, visiting Buttonwood Farms for the sunflower display and ice cream. It was late in the season for sunflowers, but it’s always the season for ice cream!
Other Places we've enjoyed in Exeter and West Greenwich:
Today was a perfect 10! Aoife, Tarynn and I ventured to some of the areas of Rhode Island that are furthest away from Smithfield: Tiverton & Little Compton. We had an awesome time exploring this beautiful part of RI.
We started at Fort Barton in Tiverton. Fort Barton is a revolutionary war site, and the earthen fortifications are still visible today. There is also an observation tower at Fort Barton, and from the top of the tower, is an incredible view of Aquidneck Island, the Mount Hope Bridge, Roger Williams University and Mount Hope Bay. It’s easy to see why this was an important fort as the views are panoramic and expansive. We left a painted rock at Fort Barton. There are also hiking trails at Fort Barton, but we have hiked them in the past, and as we had lots on our agenda for the day, we did not go for a hike.
Next we continued along Main Road and caught a glimpse of the turkeys at Helger’s Turkey Ranch. Helger’s has been in Tiverton for generations, and as a little girl I remember my grandfather sometimes purchasing our Thanksgiving turkey from Helger’s.
Continuing along on our tour, we crossed over the town line into Little Compton and made a stop at Walker’s Roadside Stand. Such a beautiful farm stand, with gorgeous fresh corn, raspberries, and other vegetables, There is even a bakery & sandwich shop, Wilma's at Walker’s, which is a perfect place to pick up food for the beach.
After leaving Walker’s, we drove over to Simmons Mill Pond Management Area, which was recommended to us by our neighbor. I’m so glad we visited Simmons Mill Pond, because it turned out to be one of the nicest hiking areas we’ve ever explored. The trails are well marked, and throughout the property a group of dedicated volunteers have placed benches, and beautiful wooden signs educating visitors about the flora of the area. They have also constructed numerous shovels for dog owners to use as they walk the trails. We hiked out to the pond, and then returned to our car, leaving another painted rock at the trailhead kiosk. This is definitely an area I’d like to return to in the fall when it’s a little cooler to do more exploring.
We continued driving through Little Compton and happened upon Olivia’s Happy Rocks at the side of one of the roads. The rocks were so colorful and pretty that we had to pull over to take some photos and I even ended up buying one to give to Brian for his birthday. Thanks to Olivia for spreading joy through her creatively painted rocks!
Our next stop was the Little Compton Town Commons. This area perfectly captures the essence of an old New England Town, with its white wooden church, cemetery, old school house, town hall, and general store. Again, I would love to visit this area during fall foliage time.
Not only were our stops in Tiverton & Little Compton perfect, but the weather was perfect as well. So, our next stop was Little Compton’s South Shore Beach. Parking at South Shore is limited due to COVID, and as we approached the beach, we saw the “lot full” sign. However, it didn’t take long for a few cars to leave the lot, opening up spots for us and the cars behind us.
South Shore is gorgeous, with medium sized waves and very little seaweed. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach, and while the girls rested after being in the water, I took a solitary walk along the shore and watched the piping plovers running along the water's edge at Goosweing Beach, which adjoins South Shore Beach. I walked so far that I ended up crossing a few yards over the state line into Westport, MA!
After leaving South Shore Beach, we headed over to one of my favorite Little Compton places, Sakonnet Point. Sakonnet Point’s shoreline has sweeping views of the ocean, some small islands and the Sakonnet Light. We walked all the way out to the point, and watched the kite surfers flying through the waves. Sakonnet Point also has the most beautiful rocks, and we picked up a few to paint and leave in other places as we continue our journeys.
It’s an extra special treat when dessert comes before dinner, so we made our way back to Tiverton to go to Gray’s Ice Cream at Tiverton Four Corners. I have many fond childhood memories of family excursions to Gray's, where there used to be an ice cream loving horse that lived in the field next door to the ice cream shop. If you weren’t careful when saying hello to the horse, he would gobble up your ice cream cone before you even knew what was happening! The ice cream at Gray's was as good as I remembered it, and although there is no longer a horse to say hello to, there is still a shaded stone wall where you can enjoy your ice cream.
As for dinner, Evelyn’s Drive-In Clam Shack was our place of choice. You can arrive at Evelyn’s by land or by sea, and Evelyn’s has an indoor dining room, a waterfront patio, or you can take your food to go. We ordered clam cakes to go and they were perfect! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and with just the right amount of clams. A delectable ending to our day in two lovely Rhode Island towns.
Other places we've enjoyed in Tiverton and Little Compton:
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!