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:
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!