Rhode Island Town 22: Burrillville (and a general store in Glocester) - 7/25/2020
“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:
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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!