Blackstone River State Park – 5/3/15

Beautiful spring day – perfect for a trip to Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park on the MA/RI border. In the 1820s, a canal was built here to help ship goods from central MA to the Atlantic Ocean out of Providence. And 20 years later, railroads made the canal obsolete. But the park has hiking trails, picnic areas, the old canal locks, an old stone bridge (still in use), and a few different areas with their own parking lots – the whole park is about 1,000 acres! We arrived in the middle of a walkathon for an animal shelter – hundreds of cars, people, and dogs!

Since we prefer less crowded hiking, we took a short stroll along the canal and up to the old stone bridge, then drove to the Lookout Rock section of the park. That’s a much less busy area with nice woodland trails to an open rock ledge with a great view of the winding river. After climbing the Rock, we took a trail down through oak forest, then pine forest, and found a little boardwalk crossing a stream. The damp area was green with unfurling skunk cabbage.

Our final section of the park was along the Blackstone River Gorge, about a 10 minute drive from Lookout Rock through the tiny towns of Blackstone and Millville. The Gorge area begins with a beautiful curved dam, then follows the river as the terrain rises and squeezes the river through the gorge. Lovely spot. And the interesting terrain brought a group of remote-control 4-wheel toy trucks into the woods to try their toys over the rocky landscape. That’s something you don’t see every day on a hike! Also passed a granite marker, noting the border between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

This park has a lot of what we look for – Woods, Water, View, Vegetation. And history – they say the Blackstone River Valley is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Have to get to Slater’s Mill in Pawtucket – the first successful cotton spinning mill in the US.

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