East Bay Heritage Trail
The East Bay region of Rhode Island, located on the eastern side of Narragansett Bay, is steeped in British and Colonial heritage. The 14-mile East Bay Bike Path runs through all four communities and offers an unparalleled view of Narragansett Bay. The laid-back charm of the East Bay is apparent from its antiques shops, historic inns, secluded marinas, main streets and village squares that are as authentic as the patriotic spirit that surrounds America's oldest Fourth of July parade, held in the town of Bristol since 1785.
Along this trail you'll see 18th- and 19th-century homes, a farm museum, historic carousel, natural history and maritime history museums, a mansion and arboretum, antique shops, a state park, sweeping bay vistas and much more.
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University
Located on the traditional lands of the Wampanoag peoples, the museum is a treasure house of fascinating artifacts from the native peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Features four intimate galleries and a museum gift shop. Offers gallery talks, symposia, lectures, performances, festivals and a wide variety of programs for adults and children. September-May, Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; June-August, Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 300 Tower Street , Bristol ; 401-253-8388; www.brown.edu/research/facilities/haffenreffer-museum
Mt. Hope Farm
Included on the National Register of Historic Places, the farm features more than 200 acres of historic buildings and pristine farmland including streams, water views, meadows, pastures and ponds. Country walkways and trails lead to Cove Cabin. The grounds are open to the public year-round. Tours of the Governor Bradford House (circa 1745). The property is idyllic for receptions, corporate and special events. Country inn accommodations available. Grounds, 8 a.m.; Bradford House, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. 250 Metacom Avenue, Route 136, Bristol; 401-254-1745; www.mounthopefarm.org
Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum
Former summer home of Pennsylvania coal magnate Augustus Van Wickle, this charming 45-room turn-of-the-century mansion and 33 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens overlook Narragansett Bay and historic Bristol harbor. One of the first and most innovative arboreta in America, it features 50,000 flowering spring bulbs, a Japanese water garden, exotic bamboo stand, a display garden and the largest giant sequoia east of the Rockies, among hundreds of unusual plantings. Call for times. 101 Ferry Road , Route 114, Bristol; 401-253-2707; www.blithewold.org
Herreshoff Marine & America's Cup Museum
Located at the site of the world-famous Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, whose products dominated the golden age of yachting. A unique collection of 60 classic sailing and power yachts built from 1859 to 1945, steam engines, fittings, photographs and memorabilia. The Herreshoffs built eight consecutive successful America's Cup defenders between 1893 and 1934 and the first torpedo boats for the United States Navy. Home of the Americas Cup Hall of Fame. April-October, daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1 Burnside Street, Bristol; 401-253-5000; www.herreshoff.org
1810 Federal-style mansion, designed by Rhode Island architect Russell Warren, is located on 1.8 acres in the center of the Bristol Historic Waterfront District. It was the residence of the Dewolf/Colt Family for 177 years. Family members included Col. S. P. Colt, founder of the U.S. Rubber Co. and the Industrial Trust Co. (forerunner of Fleet Bank). The mansion and historic outbuildings (including a 1902 ballroom building, 19th-century carriage barn and 18th-century summer house) are surrounded by rose gardens and 19th-century sculpture. Call for times. 500 Hope Street, Bristol; 401-253-0390; www.lindenplace.org
Bristol Historical & Preservation Society Museum & Library
Originally built as county jail (1828) using stone ballast from Bristol sailing ships. Two-tier jail addition, built in 1859. Group walking tours by appointment. Library for historical and genealogical research, open by appointment. Museum collections span from Revolutionary War to present. Wednesday & Friday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. First Sunday of the month, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. 48 Court Street, Bristol; 401-253-7223
Coggeshall Farm Museum
Coggeshall Farm Museum portrays the work and lifestyles of a 1790s coastal farm on 39 acres. See rare breeds of livestock similar to those found on a farm in the 1790s and heirloom varieties of vegetables and herbs. Outdoor buildings include barn, spring house, cooling house, blacksmith shop and privy. March-September, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; October-February, 10 a.m.-dusk. Poppasquash Road, off Route 114, Bristol ; 401-253-9062
Maxwell House - Massasoit Historical Association
A two-and-a-half-story brick Colonial-gable house, built by the Rev. Samuel Maxwell and the home of James and Level Maxwell, prominent ship owners and merchants. The house, currently under restoration and refurbishment, features a massive central chimney with two beehive bake ovens. Fireplace and bake oven cooking, candle dipping, other 18th-century crafts periodically demonstrated. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and by appointment. Corner of Church and Water Streets, Warren; 401-245-0392; www.massasoithistorical.org
Audubon Society of RI Environmental Education Center
The Audubon Environmental Education Center is a unique natural history museum and aquarium that puts fun and excitement into experiencing nature. Interactive environmental exhibits allow you to look inside a 33-foot life-size model of a right whale, observe marine life in a tidepool tank, explore a cornfield at night and view other fascinating nature exhibits. Walking trails lead from the center across the 28-acre McIntosh Wildlife Refuge along a quarter-mile boardwalk, which crosses the East Bay bike path to Narragansett Bay. May-September, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; October-April, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m. 1401 Hope Street, Route 114, Bristol; 401-245-7500; www.asri.org
John Hunt's Mansion House
Was built for Lt. John Hunt Jr. (1720-1806) in the Georgian style with a large center chimney. It has a keeping room, borneing room, buttery, parlor and bedroom on the first floor, five bedrooms on the second and two rooms in the attic. There are three fireplaces on each of the first two floors, a fireplace with beehive oven in the basement summer kitchen and a smoke room in the attic. September-December & March-June, second Sunday of the month, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. East Providence Historic Society, Hunt's Mills Road, East Providence; 401-438-1750; www.ephist.org
Crescent Park Carousel (Looff Carousel)
66 beautifully carved figures designed c. 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff. The band organ by A. Ruth and Sohn, in neo-baroque style, is carved with moving figures. The finest surviving example of its type in America, the carousel was proclaimed the state symbol of folk art in 1985. Designated as a National Landmark in March 1987. Call for times. Bullocks Point Avenue, East Providence; 401-433-2828
Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau
23 America's Cup Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Great spots for snapshots.
- Colt State Park - picturesque three-mile drive along the shoreline www.riparks.com/Locations/LocationColt.html
- Thames Street Landing - beautiful views of the bay from the boardwalk
Great side trips for outdoor fun:
- 15-mile East Bay Bike Path - take in the scenery along the coast of the East Bay . www.dot.ri.gov/community/bikeri/eastbay.php
Side trips for that one-of-a-kind find:
- Main St. & Water St., Warren - antique shops and art galleries amidst 18th- and 19th-century buildings.
Tasty tips along the trail.
- Local favorites: fried clams and clam chowder
- Famous for: fresh lobster and other seafood delicacies
Here are some tips on shopping along the trail.
- Historic Hope St. Bristol - specialty shops and boutiques in restored buildings
Did you know.
- Home to the country's oldest Fourth of July parade
- America's first torpedo boat built in Bristol in the 1890s www.herreshoff.org
Top off the day with an outstanding performance along the trail:
- 2nd Story Theatre, Warren - original works by community players. www.2ndstorytheatre.com
- Roger Williams University
Learn more about the East Bay area:
- Bristol Historical & Preservation Society Museum & Library - originally built as a county jail using stone ballast from Bristol sailing ships. Library for historical and genealogical research - Museum collections span from Revolutionary War to present. 48 Court St. Bristol. 401-253-7223