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Postcards from Rhode Island

Posted Oct 30 2012 8:00am
(Belated) greetings from Rhode Island!

All I'm going to say is thank goodness my family visit was last weekend. As a Florida resident, I have zero interest in spending my vacation time hunkered down during a hurricane. (Hope ya'll are safe and dry after Sandy!)

My family is outdoorsy (and you wondered where I got it from?), so we spent most of my visit hiking our way through some spectacular autumn scenery. (I really did get the luck of the devil with my travel planning - caught all of the foliage fireworks, and none of the storm surge.)
View of autumn color at Barden Reservoir
Now I'm going to take you on a loop around Barden Reservoir in Scituate, RI. This is an easy hike on gravel roads and a small stretch of paved roadway.
Hike on gravel roads around Barden Reservoir

Many pages of google search resulted in no maps of this hike/trail run, so I'm going to give you directions Rhode Island style (based on landmarks and road names).

Start on Hemlock Road, just west of the intersection with Ponagansett Rd. There are a few places to park off the road near reservoir dam and waterfall.
Waterfall over the dam at Barden Reservoir
Head back toward Ponagansett Rd and turn left. Stay to the left, and turn left at each roadway intersection for a complete circuit of the reservoir. (Left onto Ponagansett. Left onto Central Pike. Left onto King Randal Rd. Left onto Hemlock.)

A small section of the route traverses paved Central Pike. Stay to the left on this stretch as cars travel quickly on this section of road, but pause to admire the views out over the reservoir.

View from Central Pike
New England farmsteads are rocky places. Most farmers, during colonial times, cleared rocks from their land and piled them up in free-form stone walls between sections of their farm and along property lines.

Despite hundreds of years of wear and tear, these stone walls still crisscross the woods throughout New England.


In addition to the historic stone walls, a hiker often stumbles across tombstones on a typical trek in southern New England.

Historic New England cemeteries are a bit different than cemeteries in many other states in that they were often family plots, on local farms or homesteads, and not in a church yard.
Early Puritans rejected churchyard burials as they rebelled against other "papist" practices, as heretical and idolatrous. Instead, many 17th century New England towns set aside land as common community burial grounds.
Source:  National Park Service
Tombstones in one of many historic graveyards near Barden Reservoir
Lichen and leaves in one of the historic graveyards
On this hike there is ample evidence that nature reclaims most of what humans can build...
Tree is slowly growing over a traffic sign
View over Barden Reservoir near the end of the hike
View of autumn foliage reflected in marsh near Barden Reservoir
  And while we did not see much wildlife on this trek, we did see this little guy...
Caterpillar. Anyone know what type he is?
And no New England autumn hike is complete without some fresh-from-the-farm apples.
Winesap apples, an absolutely delicious heirloom variety.

What's your favorite autumn hike?


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