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:
Hi Everyone, this is Heidi. Today we are visiting Rhode Island’s capital, the great city of Providence.
Our first stop in Providence was Neutaconkanut Park. I’d always heard that the best view of the city was at the top of Neutaconkanut Hill, so we started off our day with a hike. Upon arriving at the park (at the base of the hill), we saw several skateboarders enjoying the morning. Not being a very coordinated person myself, I’ve always been in awe of skateboarders. We watched them for a few minutes, and then started up the trail in search of the view (and a few geocaches along the way).
The hike was quick and the trail was pretty easy even though there was an incline, and it was so unusual and fun to be in the woods and also in the city! Before too long we reached the top and the view was pretty incredible.
Our next stop in Providence was the Cranston Street Armory and the surrounding Dexter Park Training Grounds. Built in 1907, the Armory and Dexter Park were home to the National Guard until 1996. The impressive and castle-like building has been used for a variety of purposes since then and is currently in transition as the state of RI and a committee of community members work together to create a plan to return the armory to active use.
A tour of Providence would not be complete without a visit to Roger Williams Park and Zoo. We have been zoo members since Aemilia was born, but hadn’t visited the zoo at all this year due to COVID. This morning was the perfect time to correct that problem and go see some animals. The zoo is requiring timed tickets, so we had reserved them online the night before. I was a bit nervous being in a place with other people, but all of the zoo employees as well as everyone visiting the zoo were wearing masks and were very conscious of social distancing, and we had a great time visiting one of our favorite Providence places.
Before we entered the zoo, we stopped at a little historic cemetery next to the casino. I had never noticed this cemetery before, and it turned out to be the burial ground of the Williams family, with a large monument in honor of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island.
While driving through beautiful Roger Williams Park and passing by the Temple of Music, The Swan boats, the Rose Garden, The Casino, and the Japanese Garden, we debated going to get Latin American takeout at La Gran Parada on Broad Street for lunch, or going to Olneyville for hot wieners at the Olneyville New York System. We couldn’t go wrong with either choice, but in the end, hot wieners won, and we washed them down with some coffee milk.
Another of our favorite places in Olneyville is La Lupita, so we followed up our hot wieners with steak tacos. So incredibly delicious. I could eat these tacos every day!!!
The day was getting really warm, so we decided to conduct our tour of Providence the same way that people do Disney vacations in the summer: Parks in the cool morning hours, take a break in the afternoon, and then head back to the parks. We decided to return to Smithfield to cool off with a swim at our favorite spot, and continue our tour of Providence in the evening. However, before heading away from the city, we needed to answer an important question: Which frozen lemonade is better - Del’s or Mr. Lemon?
In our family, no one other than me had ever tried the refreshing sweetness that is Mr. Lemon. Not only does Mr. Lemon have traditional frozen lemonade, but it also has exciting flavors such as root beer float, tutti-fruti, and purple cow! Also, the service is super friendly with a neighborhood feel. Although we do love our Del’s, Mr. Lemon brings frozen lemonade to the next level and if they opened a store in Smithfield, we would be their best customers!
Feeling refreshed after swimming, we headed back into Providence around 4:30 in the afternoon. It was at that point that I deviated from our plan of going to the Providence Pedestrian Bridge, because I remembered how interesting and unusual the view is at Collier Point Park. Again, I was the only member of our family who had been there previously. Deviating from “the plan” is not something that *some* people in our family deal well with, but it was a worthwhile stop. We got a great view of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, the boats at India Point Park, the three 321-foot tall smokestacks of the Manchester Street Power Station and we even were able to walk underneath the IWay Bridge.
Time to return to the plan….. Next up was the Providence Pedestrian Bridge. This bridge opened in the summer of 2019 and it is absolutely lovely. The Pedestrian Bridge connects the East Side with Downtown, and has a wide walking area with benches spaced throughout. It is perfect for strolling at any time of the day, and is a great spot of musicians. Tonight we heard a duo who played accordian and also used marionettes.
We also checked out the garden of 10,000 Suns in the same area, but the sunflower plants were still small and were not yet in bloom. Here are some photos from last year....
Next we drove along South Main Street and stopped near the courthouse to check out the monuments in that area. We saw the Gun Totem which was created in 2001 with over 1000 reclaimed guns, the World War I Memorial, the Holocaust Memorial, and the World War II Memorial. We found my grandfather’s name, Arthur J. Schattle, on the wall of the World War II Memorial that honored those Rhode Island soldiers who lost their lives in the war. We left a painted rock at this memorial, and we also walked along the river and saw the Providence Gondola out for a ride. Today we did not cross over the river to see the Irish Famine Memorial, but if you have time, it is definitely worth a visit.
Much to some people’s dismay, I thought of another must-see place which resulted in another deviation from the almighty plan. Since we were so close to Prospect Terrace Park, we needed to stop there for just a few minutes, even though we had been there a number of times in the past. This stop was met with much groaning by family members of all ages, but the views of the State House and downtown are so spectacular from Prospect Park, and really should not be missed. Besides, we all need a little spontaneity from time to time, haha....
OK - back to the plan again. For years, I have wanted to get a closer look at the Crook Point Bascule Bridge. There is a new bike path in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence that goes from India Point Park to Waterman Street, and it goes right by the very bridge that I’ve had my sites set on seeing. Built in 1908, the Crook Point Bridge was a railroad drawbridge that was abandoned in 1976. The girls recognize this bridge because it looks very similar to the drawbridge in the movie “Annie”. Tonight, we were able to see the bridge from the road level, as well as from underneath. Check that off the list!!!
One last stop before dinner - India Point Park. This waterfront park has benches, a playground, and a community boating area, and is connected to the Fox Point neighborhood by a greenery lined pedestrian bridge. It’s really nice and worth a visit.
By this point everyone was pretty hungry, and few were even hangry. We made the short drive over to Federal Hill, which is well known for its outstanding Italian restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. We were lucky to find a parking spot right on Spruce Street, and got pizza from what is perhaps the most famous pizza place in Rhode Island, Caserta’s. The girls loved it, with its thick yet crispy crust, flavorful sauce & cheese, and pepperoni slices that curl up into little bowls. We ate our pizza on the benches by the Federal Hill bocce courts, and then wandered back to our car amidst the array of delicious smells and sounds emanating from the restaurants lining DePasquale Square. It was another great Rhode Island day.
Other places we've enjoyed in Providence:
Hi everyone, this is Tarynn! Welcome to our 25th TOWN! Let’s see where we have been. We have been to East Providence, Bristol, Burrillville, Newport, Foster, Glocester, Jamestown, Lincoln, Narragansett, North Kingstown, North Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, East Greenwich, Richmond, Scituate, South Kingstown, Warren, Warwick, West Warwick, Charlestown, Cranston, Cumberland, and last but not least Wooooooonsocket!!
Today we are going to explore Coventry!
First, we went to Maxwell Mays Wildlife Refuge. This is a great place to hike and look for animals, and it is owned by the Audubon Society of RI. When we got there we saw many grasshoppers flying and landing around the parking lot. We then got out of the car and started our hike. There were many blackberries and blueberries along the trail. We picked the ones that were ripe and they were sweet. We walked all the way to the pond and back. The pond view was gorgeous. On the way back there were even more blueberries and we saw a young male deer with little stubs for antlers, but it wasn't so young that it still had spots. It did not have any spots. We watched it for a little while and then it turned and galloped into the trees.
Next we went to Read School House. It was a one room school house built in 1871. It was used as a school until the 1950’s. We took some pictures and then headed on our way.
After that we went to Spell Hall, the Major General Nathanael Greene Homestead. It was built in 1770. The house was really big and it had a lot of land around it. We walked around the outside of the house and there was a well. People had boarded it up though so no one could fall in.
After looking around, we got back in the car, drove to part of the bike path and saw the Anthony Mills, which is now apartments but was originally a textile mill. This mill is built along Flat River, and there is a waterfall near it.
We were getting hot, so we found a swimming area at a pond and went in the water. There were some fish and ducks there, and on the other side of the pond, there were even turtles!!! We stayed there for awhile and talked to the other people who were swimming there as well.
The last thing we did in Coventry was get ice cream. We went to a great place called Udder Delights. I got a sundae with hot fudge and mint chocolate chip ice cream. It also had whipped cream, walnuts, and a cherry on top. It was sooooooo good!!!!! We left a painted rock at Udder Delights. I had fun in Coventry, especially swimming and eating ice cream.
Other places we've enjoyed in Coventry:
Brian here. We started our day in Jamestown with a windmill. This particular windmill is especially picturesque, and was built in 1787.
Driving along Jamestown’s North Road, we saw an osprey nest, complete with two standing ospreys at the Marsh Meadows Wildlife Preserve. Such magnificent birds!
In celebration of the Jamestown Arts Center's 10th anniversary, Jamestown is hosting an outside art exhibit this summer. Some of the displays are really fun and whimsical, like multi-colored knitted animals outside of the library, while others were more abstract. After wandering around the library area, we went to Godena Farm to walk through the fields and see more outdoor art. It was quite hot, but the walk was still pleasant, and there were so many bluebird houses scattered throughout the farm.
After being outdoors in the heat, we longed to cool off. Heidi found a nice small swimming beach in Jamestown, off of Seaside Drive and accessed from one of the public right-of-ways (http://www.crmc.ri.gov/publicaccess.html). It had a beautiful view of the Jamestown Bridge and provided a shady spot to rest. Even Aemilia enjoyed the beach and went in the water.
Feeling the need for even more cooling off, we drove to the Newport Bridge side of the island and got ice cream (no surprise there) at Spinnakers. Heidi quickly learned that she should not have gotten her ice cream in a cone since it was 90+ degrees, and her ice cream was soon a melty mess.
Then we continued on our way to Fort Wetherill. Built in 1899, this fort served as part of the defense of Narragansett Bay, and the site also the previous home of a revolutionary fort called Fort Dumpling. More recently, Fort Wetherill is famous for its graffiti. The tunnels inside and out are completely covered in graffiti, some of it quite intricate. Heidi and Taryn wandered around the fort, scaling ladders for closer views of the graffiti while Aemilia, Aoife, and I took in the beautiful view.
After leaving Wetherill, we picked up pizza at Ace’s Pizza and drove to our last Jamestown stop: Beavertail State Park. Beavertail is a lovely place to sit, enjoy the rocky cliffs overlooking the water,have dinner, and view the lighthouse. Sometimes when we’ve been to Beavertail it has been quite windy and occasionally foggy. Today, however, Beavertail was clear and sunny, with a slight breeze. The perfect place for pizza by the ocean, watching a sunset, and enjoying our time together.
Other places we've enjoyed in Jamestown:
East Providence. It’s like Providence, but EAST.
This sentence reflects the extent of my knowledge of East Providence before we went there.
Hello Everyone , my name is Aemilia, and I was recently enlightened on the topic of East Providence! I feel as though I have become a more knowledgeable and well rounded person as a result of this enlightenment and I feel that it is my duty to share this knowledge with you so you too may experience this epiphany.
We started our journey at the Italian Corner, a sandwich shop that you’ll be happy to know is BOTH Italian and on a corner. Fun fact - Before it became a Italian sandwich shop, this location was a jewelry store and my dad bought my mom’s engagement ring here.
After picking up some sandwiches (I think they were called combination sandwiches??????) we drove over to the Taunton Ave. Bakery. Oh. My. Goodness. The bakery was AMAZING. There was every single type of Portuguese pastry you could imagine! We bought coconut macaroons and Portuguese custard tarts (my favorite:)), as well as a sweet bread, a bag of popovers, and a bag of rolls. So good. I love bakeries.
As we were driving to our next destination, we noticed that there was a Del's Lemonade nearby! This Del’s was actually special because it was its own building, which is kind of uncommon nowadays. It was even MORE special because it had all the Del’s flavors, which was exceptionally rare. Most Del’s have Lemon, Watermelon, and maybe Cherry or Blueberry, but that’s usually it. This one had all of those, PLUS Pink Grapefruit, Blood Orange, and my absolute favorite, Peach Mango. So delicious. I love Peach Mango Del’s. (Aoife got a piece of lemon in her watermelon Del’s hahahaha)
We went to Hunt’s Mills to eat the food, but before we could sit down to devour all of the delicacies we had anxiously been anticipating, we had to take pictures :(. My mom made us take pictures in every possible location, especially the ones with the sun in my eyes, and THEN proceeded to go for a WALK and not let us eat until she and my dad got back. Very rude. It was even more rude because the mill was supposed to be closing, and my sisters and I were in great danger of being kicked out, and possibly BANISHED from East Providence altogether.
Finally they came back and we got to eat, and everything was delicious as I had expected. THe sandwiches were on the perfect bread, and the Italian Corner makes its own dressing called salsa verde, which is amazing and is like a pesto. This truly is a top sandwich of all sandwiches.
We continued to explore East Providence by heading to Rumford Chemical Works, the site of famous baking powder production, and then the District 6 schoolhouse, where we had to take more pictures, and a stop at the former East Bay CYO Center on Metropolitan Park Drive so my mom could inundate us with stories and memories of her teenage years.
We enjoyed a pleasant drive through the Riverside section of East Providence, which included a quick stop to see the Crescent Park Carousel, which was closed but still very nice. I would like to take a moment to apologize to the Crescent Park Carousel for accidentally attributing bad childhood memories to the location, while these memories should have been associated with the Slater Park Carousel, which goes ridiculously fast and can be quite sickening for young children to have to deal with, if you know what I mean. So, dear Crescent Park Carousel, I am sorry for thinking that you caused a bad memory in my childhood. I’m sure that you are lovely and run at a reasonable speed.
In East Providence, there is a lighthouse called the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, and my parents insisted that we must view it. Unfortunately this particular lighthouse is quite elusive and the Google Maps directions for how to see it were TERRIBLE, so we ended up going down a tiny little street and being stared at by the locals who probably see other people on the street about twice a year, and proceed to laugh at them when they try to figure out both how they got there, and how they can get out. For those of you who thought we were going to give up on trying to see the lighthouse, you have clearly not met our family. Oh no, we were not going to give up on seeing the lighthouse. We ended up walking on the bike path near White Squadron Road and were able to get a good view of the lighthouse that way.
To end the day, we went to Sabin Point Park to watch the sun set. It was very beautiful, and some people took time lapse videos of it, which is kind of cool too.
Overall, I would highly recommend East Providence. I thought the food was really good, especially the sandwiches and the Portuguese custard tarts. I hadn’t realized how many things are actually in East Providence (Like the Crescent Park Carousel, I have no idea where I thought it was before, but now I know!). If you are visiting East Providence, I would highly recommend the Italian Corner, Del’s and the Taunton Ave Bakery. Additionally, I would recommend Hunt’s Mill as a good picnic area, although I would suggest NOT leaving your children alone and going off on a hike as the mill might be closing.
Other Places we've enjoyed in East Providence:
“There’s so much more to Burrillville than chicken”. This is a quote from Brian during our tour of Burrillville. When speaking about our RI towns visits with friends a few weeks ago, someone offhandedly remarked that all there is in Burrillville is chicken (referring to the locally famous Wright’s Farm Restaurant that serves family style chicken). Well, today we found out that there truly is a lot more to Burrillville than most Rhode Islanders know.
We started our visit to Burrillville at the farmer’s market located at the Stillwater Mill Complex. This farmer’s market is under cover would be pleasant to visit even on a rainy day. It features several local growers set against the backdrop of the Stillwater Mill. We enjoyed walking around the market and the proceeded to East Thompson Road in Thompson, CT to begin our hike to the Tri State Marker.
The Tri State marker is found at the place where Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts all meet. There are a few different trails that lead to the marker, but the one we chose for today was a 1.7 mile round trip walk starting in CT. The parking is where the Airline Trail meets the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT), and there is room for 8-10 cars. The first half mile of the trail is wide and flat, and is a former railroad trail. One really interesting part of this trail was that there were old cow bridges along the trail so the cows could cross without the danger of trains. The trail to the tri-state marker is off of this main trail, and is rocky with a bit of an incline. Both trails were bordered with blueberry and blackberry bushes, and we enjoyed the berries as we went along. It was also nice that the trails were shaded as otherwise the 85+ degree temperatures would have been pretty unpleasant.
It didn’t take long to reach the markers for each state, and of course the most exciting part of the hike was reaching the stone tri-state marker. We took photos of Aoife and Tarynn balanced on top of the marker, so they can have evidence of being in three states at the same time. The hike in both directions was enjoyable and not strenuous, and we only saw a few other people on the SNETT portion of the trail, and none on the trail to the marker. Fun fact - I (Heidi) have hiked to the markers at each of the “corners” of Rhode Island: Cumberland, Napatree Point in Westerly, Little Compton, and this marker in Burrillville.
After returning to our car, our next destination was the Zambarano Hospital on Wallum Lake. In a discussion with friends a few days ago, we learned that this was the site of the state tuberculosis sanatorium that was founded in 1905. Children and adults with TB would often spend years here as there was no cure and fresh air was seen as the best treatment. Our friends spoke of a relative who spent over a year at this sanatorium in Burrillville, and eventually recovered from TB. This stately building closed as a TB ward in 1982, but is still in use as a medical facility today. Set on beautiful Wallum Lake, it is easy to imagine the history here.
Not far from Wallum Lake is the haunted house that is referred to as the real conjuring house. Not wanting to upset the girls and give them nightmares, we just did a quick driveby of the house. It was easy to identify which house it was since there were numerous signs stating that the area is under 24 hour video surveillance.
Our lunch plan was to go to The Taco Shop in the village of Harrisville, which was recommended by one of my colleagues who is a Burrillville resident. On our way, we drove by the historic Bridgeton Schoolhouse, a 1897 two room school that now is the home of the Burrillville Historical & Preservation Society, and a beautiful little White Mill Park in the village of Bridgeton, and made a quick detour to check it out. The park was the site of the White Mill and now there is a bridge over a waterfall, some hiking trails, a playground, and a covered picnic area. After exploring for a few minutes, we continued on our way in search of tacos.
The Taco Shop was a great find! So many of the choices on the menu looked delicious, especially the burritos listed in the window. However, we decided to keep it simple for our first visit here, so we went with 10 regular ground beef tacos and churro bites. The Taco Shop is only taking call in orders, so we ordered with a phone call from the front steps. While waiting for our food, we walked around the corner to the Burrillville Town Common to explore and find a quick geocache, and the area surrounding the common was very picturesque with a New England white church and houses. This area would have been a good place to have a picnic, but the girls were hot and we opted for eating in the air conditioned car instead.
On our way back home we passed through the village of Chepachet in Glocester, and we finished out our day by visiting the Brown & Hopkins Country Store, which was closed on our Wednesday visit to Glocester. We’re so happy that we were able to come browse throughout this store as it was filled with interesting country themed items and it reminded us of a smaller version of the popular Zeb’s General Store in North Conway, New Hampshire. Brown & Hopkins has a penny candy counter, but due to COVID-19, they are only selling packaged candy. We purchased a bag of assorted candy for each of our girls and then proceeded home to enjoy the sweets.
Other places in Burrillville that we've enjoyed:
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!