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:
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!