The Park Rangers and volunteers of the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor will once again be offering their Thursday Night Walkabouts this summer. The Walkabouts are free public programs, offered on Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM from June through August. Each week you will have a chance to explore a new community, or head down an unknown trail and discover some of the people and places that make the Blackstone Valley such a fascinating place.
This year the schedule kicks off on June 5, at the 1770 Quaker Meeting House in Uxbridge, Massachusetts as we hear about some of the Fiery Females and Freedom Seekers who made the Blackstone Valley their home, at least for a short time. Some new programs this year include tours of the villages of Rockdale and Manville, an exploration of H. P. Lovecraft's Providence, and a look at the building of a rain garden.
According to Ranger Chuck Arning, "the Walkabout series is a great opportunity for us as Rangers to share some of the tales of the Blackstone River Valley. People who join us each week really get a sense of the diversity of the region. While the beginning of the American Industrial Revolution and the transformation from Farm to Factory is our core theme, there so many branches from that story that we can discuss. From canals and transportation, to the Underground Railroad and even our colonial past, the breadth of the Heritage Corridor gives us a wide range of topics.
Ranger Kevin Klyberg adds, "we really enjoy doing these Walkabouts because it gives us a chance to take people to some of the often overlooked jewels of the Blackstone Valley. Some of these tours are old favorites, but doing the Walkabouts also give us a reason to do more research to either create an entirely new program, or to add fresh twists to stories we have told a dozen times before.
"In Haste, Thine for Truth in Humanity, degraded and enslaved."
"Go where you are least wanted, for there you are most needed." - Abby Kelly Foster
One of the most significant historical figures in America when it comes to talking about the Abolitionist Movement and Women's Rights, Abby Kelly Foster called the Blackstone Valley her home. The 1770 Friends Meeting House in South Uxbridge was her meeting house….then she said, "I'm outta here." Why? What was it like to be a "Quaker"? How were issues sorted out? What made Abby Kelly leave her faith or was it her organized faith left her? And, what is the connection to the Underground Railroad? Join Ranger Chuck Arning and Carol Masiello of the Uxbridge Friends for an interesting evening of discussion.
Parking: Quaker Meeting House is located at the intersection of Rt. 146A and Rt 98 in Uxbridge, MA. Limited parking up by the site itself; driveway can be tricky. Parking also along the highways – Rt. 98 & Rt. 146A.
June 12 – The Village of Rockdale: The Typical Mill Village
Parking: We will utilize the large parking area by St. Peter's Church, 39 Church Street, just off Rt. 122, Rockdale, Northbridge, MA
June 19 – Fisherville/ECO Machine
Parking: Mill Villages Park, 61 Main Steet (Rt. 122 A) Grafton, MA.
June 26 – Upton State Forest, 205 Westboro Road, Upton, MA A Walking Tour of the Civilian Conservation Camp at Upton State Forest
Parking: Park right by the camp inside Upton State Forest. Take the Westboro Road off Hopkinton Street by Pratt Pond. Follow Westboro Road to park on right.
July 10 - Nine Men's Misery: King Phillip's War & the Blackstone Valley
Parking: Plenty of parking is available in the Cumberland Library Parking lot, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI.
July 17 - The Story of William Blackstone: A costumed interpretation
Parking: Plenty of parking is available in the Cumberland Library parking lot, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, Cumberland, RI.
July 24 - H. P. Lovecraft Walk: A Writer in Providence
Parking: This program will begin at the Roger Williams National Memorial, 282 North Main St., Providence. Use the Memorial's parking area (entrance at corner of Canal Street and Smith Street), and there is parking along North Main Street.
July 31– The American Civil War & General Ambrose Burnside – A Misunderstood General
August 7 – Manville: Mill Village on the Blackstone
Parking: The tour begins at the Manville Landing, at the foot of Manville Hill Road, Cumberland, RI, adjacent to the Blackstone River.
August 14 - Slatersville: America's First Mill Village
Parking: Parking is available at the North Smithfield Public Library parking lot at 20 Main Street, Slatersville, (North Smithfield), RI.
August 21 – Blackstone River & Canal Heritage State Park, Uxbridge, MA
To get a better understanding of just what is happening to our climate and gets glimpse of what its impact will be to our historic landscape, join Rangers Chuck Arning and Kevin Klyberg as they jointly explore the meaning of climate change and our historic structures along the Blackstone Canal towpath between River Bend Farm the Stanley Woolen Mill
Parking: Good parking at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge MA.August 28 – Rain Garden, Slatersville Public Library
A rain garden is a specialized garden that collects rainwater runoff from paved areas and other hard surfaces. Rain gardens soak up the stormwater, helping to reduce runoff into storm drains or nearby bodies of water, which can cause erosion and water pollution. Join our partners from the Blackstone River Coalition to see learn about some rain gardens they have built, some plans for a new garden in Slatersville, and pick up some tips on how you can make your own rain garden to help protect the Blackstone Watershed.
Did You Know?
The top speed on the Blackstone Canal was 3 mph? The canal barges, pulled by a team of two horses, usually took two days to make the 44 mile journey from Providence, RI to Worcester, MA.