Rhode Island

 

The Blackstone River Valley Heritage Trail

The Blackstone Valley , known as "the birthplace of American industry," is an area in northern Rhode Island that is rich in history and architectural beauty. It has an amazingly diverse landscape, ranging from peaceful forest preserve to bustling city. An important geological feature is the Blackstone River , which has played a dominant role in its more than three and one half centuries of history. This region forms a key part of the multi-state Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor which begins at the Blackstone Valley visitor center.

Along this trail you will find Colonial and federal period homes, quaint villages, a National Historic Landmark, museums, hiking and biking trails, great local cuisine and more!

Rhode Island Watercolor Society
Offices, library and gallery in a restored historic "casino" in Slater Memorial Park. Membership of more than 300 artists from New England to Florida. One of the oldest watercolor societies in the United States. Tue-Sat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; closed holidays. Slater Memorial Park, Armistice Blvd., Pawtucket; 401-726-1876; www.riws.org

Daggett House
Furnished with unusual period antiques, including Colonial pewter used in Revolutionary War and china owned by Gen. and Mrs. Nathanael Greene and the Daggett Family. Outstanding needlework and furniture. Also, many Civil War articles including several uniforms, and pieces of the Monitor and the Merrimac. Built 1685. Open for group tours April - Mid December by appointment. Also open for many special events. Call for times and event times.Slater Memorial Park, Armistice Blvd., Pawtucket; 401-722-6931, 401-724-5749; www.tourblackstone.com

Slater Mill, A Living History Museum
Includes Slater Mill (1793), birthplace of American industry, the Sylvanus Brown House (1758), an early skilled worker's home and the Wilkinson Mill (1810) which houses an authentic 19th century machine shop and a reconstructed 16,000 lb. water wheel. Learn about the people of the early Industrial Revolution, the tools and machines they used and the place where modern America began. Open Weekends March & April, daily May 1-October 31, except Monday. Private tours available, call for hours. 67 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket; 401-725-8638; www.slatermill.org

Slater Mill

Friends Meeting House (Quaker)
Oldest meeting house in New England in continuous use. Sunday meetings, 10:30 a.m. Tours by appointment. 374 Great Rd.; Lincoln; 401-245-5860

Eleazer Arnold House
Most ambitious in form and scale of the few remaining Rhode Island stone-enders. The dwelling features a huge chimney as part of its southern wall and important timber framing. This type of 17th century architecture is unique to RI. Mid Jun-Oct; and by special appt. 487 Great Road, Lincoln; 401-728-9696; www.historicnewengland.org

Eleazer Arnold House

Hearthside
Considered to be one of the finest examples of federal architecture in the state, this stately 1810 mansion is unique with its curved roofline and totally stone construction. According to legend, Stephen Hopkins Smith was courting a woman who wanted to marry the man who could build her the most magnificent home in Rhode Island. Smith won $40,000 in the Louisiana Lottery and used it to build this home, but the girl refused to marry him, saying she did not want to live so far in the wilderness, although it was just 7 miles from Providence. Open Mar.-Dec. for tours and special events or by appointment; 677 Great Road at Breakneck Hill Road (Rt. 123) Lincoln; Call for opening times 401-726-0597;www.hearthsidehouse.org

Kelly House Museum
The Old Ashton's Kelly House has been refurbished to accommodate a Transportation and Industrial Museum . The Blackstone Valley 's transportation and industrial heritage illustrates the area's rich history through narrative, visual and interactive exhibits. Mid-April-Memorial Day, Thu-Mon, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Jun 1-Halloween, daily, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Blackstone State Park, Lincoln; 401-800-454-2882; www.blackstonevalley.org

Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Information available about activities and sites in the Blackstone River Valley which runs from Worcester to Providence . Discover opportunities for walking through mill villages, exploring canal towpaths, canoeing and visiting historic sites that illustrate the Valley as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. NPS Ranger assistance is available, with advance reservations. 1 Depot Square , Woonsocket ; 401-762-0250; www.nps.gov/blac

Museum of Work and Culture
This modern interactive museum presents the compelling and poignant story of the French Canadians who left the farms of Quebec for the factories of New England . Illustrates the remarkable cultural preservation of faith, language, and customs and recreates the unique Woonsocket origins of the rise of the Independent Textile Union which grew to dominate every aspect of city life. Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ; Sun. 1-5 p.m. 42 South Main St. at Monument Square , Woonsocket ; 401-769-WORK; www.rihs.org

Museum of Work and Culture

Smith-Appleby House
Built in 1696, this delicately restored and furnished farm house features beautiful cabinet work and an intriguing antique collection. Over the years, the House's farmlands, woodlands and orchards have been the site of a grist mill, a saw mill and a blacksmith shop. Most fascinating is the smoke room on the second floor, serviced by the huge fireplace in the keeping room. May-Oct. 220 Stillwater Rd., Smithfield; 401-231-7363; www.smithfieldhistory.org

Smith-Appleby House

Hannaway Blacksmith Shop
One-story, barn-like structure built in the late 19th century. Recently restored as a demonstrative blacksmith shop. Open May-Nov., Sat. 9 a.m.-noon and special events. Located on the grounds of the picturesque Chase Farm Park at 673 Great Road (Rt. 123), Lincoln; 401-724-1522; www.hearthsidehouse.org

Area Map

Trail Information
Blackstone Valley Visitor Center
175 Main St
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Shutter Bug

Great spots for snapshots.

  • Scenic views from the Blackstone Valley Explorer
  • Bucolic historic district on Great Road in Lincoln
  • Slater Mill from Main Street bridge
Off the Trail

Great side trips for outdoor fun:

Antiques

Side trips for that one-of-a-kind find:

  • Chepachet Village has many shops including Brown & Hopkins Country Store - Established 1809
  • Pawtucket Arts Collaborative Gallery - Mixed Media Exhibit at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center. www.pawtucketartscollaborative.org
  • Slater Mill Gallery & Contemporary Gift Shop
Taste Buds

Tasty tips along the trail.

Shopping Bag

Here are some tips on shopping along the trail.

Trail Mix

Did you know.

  • Mr. Potato Head was born at Hasbro in Pawtucket
  • Blackstone Valley is the Birthplace of America's Industrial Revolution
  • Home of America's only authentic British Canal Boat, the Samuel Slater
 
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