#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “I” is for INDIA POINT


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The first port in the capital city of Providence was India Point. It was established in 1680, 44 years after Roger Williams first set foot in Providence. It would be another 84 years before Brown University was founded, and 110 years before Rhode Island was admitted to the union. India Point flourished in maritime trade for 250 years after its inception.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The port and surrounding area were named after the tea and spice business John Brown had with the East Indies. John Brown was a merchant and also a slave trader. He established his tea and spice business with the East Indies here, which is why the area is named India Point. During the 1800s, with large manufacturing plants in Providence like Brown & Sharpe (tool makers) and Gorham silverware, much of the goods were shipped through the wharves at India Point. By the late 1800s, nearly one million tons of coal was brought in on ships and stored along the harbor. It remained a major trade center until the 1930s.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

From the 1820s, steamboats traveled from New York to Providence, and passenger steamship lines became popular. Travelers could take a steamship from India Point to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and even Miami. Service continued until 1941, when steamships were needed for the war.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “H” is for HOPE


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Welcome to Hope village! The word ‘Hope’ figures prominently in our little state. It’s our state motto!

Image from Wikipedia

There’s a Hope Valley in Rhode Island, too – a village in the town of Hopkinton. And Hope Artiste Village, a mill restoration project in Pawtucket. But today’s feature is the village of Hope, a mill settlement in Scituate. Set along the Pawtuxet River, Hope was alive with industrial activity from the mid-1700s, although these days it’s a quiet little community of residential dwellings.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The cannon pictured above sits in front of the lovely Hope Library on North Road. If you can’t read the engraving, it says: “This cannon was forged in the Hope Furnace Foundry, not far from this site, during our war for independence. On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island declared her independence from Great Britain, two months before the other twelve colonies. It is therefore appropriate that we here today, May 4, 1974, 198 years later, re-dedicate the cannon to the causes of independence and freedom, for which it was originally forged.”

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The reference to the Hope Furnace Foundry was an iron furnace, constructed in 1766, after iron ore was discovered nearby the previous year. The factory produced household goods and crude iron, and did receive a contract from the Rhode Island General Assembly to manufacture cannons for use in the American Revolutionary War.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

In 1806, the Hope Cotton Factory Company built the textile mill pictured above along the Pawtuxet River. The mill was constructed out of wood, and, in 1844, the buildings burned down and were replaced by a large, four-story stone building. An additional building was added in 1900, and a fifth floor was added to the original stone mill.

The Hope Mill produced textiles until 2007. The last textile manufacturing occupant of the mill was Just-A-Stretch, a weaver of elastic fabrics.

The mill gradually descended into disrepair, and ceilings collapsed after years of vacancy and neglect. In June 2020, a sale of the 38-acre property was finalized. The Hope Mill was sold to Paramount Development, which plans to turn the buildings into a residential compound. The idea was not well received by the residents of Hope, but the Planning Commission approved Paramount’s plan under the low-to-moderate-income housing plan.

The district of Hope was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1995.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “G” is for GALILEE


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Galilee is a fishing village on Point Judith, located within the town of Narragansett. It’s the pushing-off point for the Block Island ferry (“B” is for Block Island!) and is home to the largest fishing fleet in Rhode Island.

Spoiler alert! Galilee is directly across the channel (harbor) from Jerusalem. Unlike the 78-mile distance between Galilee and Jerusalem in Israel, in Rhode Island you could just swim across the channel. Only you can’t. It’s not allowed. It’s not a good idea, anyway, although I’m old enough to remember when our friends, who had a summer house in Jerusalem, did swim the narrow-ish width to get to Galilee (she might have gotten in trouble for doing it, too). Galilee is, indeed, named after the biblical Galilee, and is home to many fishermen.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

The photo above was taken on a blustery day in January, with the wind whipping the waves. This is what used to be known as Galilee State Beach (established in 1954), but was renamed in 1990 after a beloved Rhode Island radio personality, Walter “Salty” Brine.

Today, the port of Galilee transports over 16 million pounds of seafood and shellfish each year. The population of Galilee swells in the summertime, even doubling in size. The Block Island ferry, which operates year-round (weather permitting), offers a ‘traditional’ service, from Galilee to Old Harbor in just under an hour, and a fancy ‘high-speed’ service that will get you to ‘the Block’ in just thirty minutes. There are also fishing charters available from Galilee.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

So, how did Galilee get its name? Well, according to local legend (or maybe it really is true), in 1902, a fisherman by the name of Thomas Mann relocated from Nova Scotia. He looked around and saw all the fishing shacks, and thought the area should be called Galilee, after the biblical fishing village. One day, an old man was sitting on the dock, repairing his fishing nets, and he called out, “Where am I, anyway?” Someone responded, “You’re in Galilee!” He pointed across the narrow channel and asked, “And where is that?” The same man thought about it for a minute, then replied, “That must be Jerusalem!”

Photo by Martha Reynolds.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “F” is for FISKEVILLE


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Tiny little Fiskeville!

Fiskeville is a small – really small – village in the southwest corner of Cranston, bordering on the southeast corner of Scituate, and across the northern side of Coventry. The village’s Main Street, which extends from the town of West Warwick, forms the border between Cranston and Scituate. Fiskeville was one of several mill towns along the Pawtuxet River in the mid-1800s, and many of the villages were named after the mill that dominated that area (Anthony, Crompton, Lippitt, Natick, Harris).

In Fiskeville, there was a textile mill that was founded by Dr. Caleb Fiske, who lived from 1753 to 1834. In 1818, Dr. Fiske became a member of the Rhode Island Medical Society and was for a few years its president. He and his son, Philip Manchester Fiske, established a cotton manufacturing business and carried it on for many years. The textile industry in Rhode Island, and New England, was formed and led to strong economic ties with the Deep South, whose slave labor supplied the cotton. The village of Fiskeville became home to those who worked in the mill, mostly immigrants from Portugal, France, Italy and England. 

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “E” is for ESCOHEAG


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Escoheag – former Pine Top Ski Area. Photo by Teresa Dasilva, used with permission.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Clark. Used with permission.

Escoheag (ES-co-heeg) is a neighborhood in the town of West Greenwich. The meaning of the native word is ‘origin of three rivers.’ (I found the Wood River and the Flat River on a map, but I’m unsure about the third river). Escoheag was known, back about 50 years ago, for the former Pine Top Ski Area. The area opened in 1965-66 and had two T-bar lifts, night skiing, and snowmaking. The ski area closed in 1980, and the ski lodge burned in the mid-1980s. The area is now part of the Arcadia Management Area and is open to hikers.

Fire tower. Photo by Martha Reynolds.

The old Escoheag Fire Tower sits at the top of Escoheag Hill Road, across the street from the old Escoheag cemetery. It’s in bad shape, falling into disrepair. The bottom stairs have been removed and it’s fenced off so no one will climb it.

Tippecansett Trail. Photo by Martha Reynolds.

The photo above is the starting point for a 10-mile hike, but it’s hunting season and I wasn’t wearing any blaze orange, so I opted out.

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “D” is for DAVISVILLE


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

Photograph by Martha Reynolds

Davisville is a village within the town of North Kingstown, about 18 miles south of Providence. In 1942, the Navy established the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) in Davisville, and in 1968, NCBC Davisville became the homeport of the Atlantic Fleet Seabees (CBs, for Construction Battalions).

Photograph by Martha Reynolds

After World War II, the Naval Air Station remained in operation, but the NCBC was inactive until 1951, when the site was designated Headquarters, NCBC. The Naval Air Station was decommissioned in 1974. NCBC Davisville was selected for closure during the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC 1991) program and operational closure occurred on April 1, 1994. The land eventually was obtained by the State of Rhode Island.

Between 1942 and 1994, the Seabees participated in every war involving the United States. The Quonset Hut and the Davisville Pontoons were both developed at the Davisville Seabee Center. The base has schooled and trained thousands of officers and tens of thousands of Seabees.

Photograph by Martha Reynolds
Photograph by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “C” is for CHEPACHET


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

photograph by Martha Reynolds

Chepachet (Chuh-PATCH-et) is the name of both a village and the river that runs through it in the town of Glocester. Originally inhabited by the Pequot and Nipmuc natives, the name “Chepachet” means “where rivers meet.”

Chepachet Brook. Photo by Martha Reynolds

In 1842, Chepachet was the setting of the Dorr Rebellion, an attempt by middle-class residents to force broader democracy in the state by changing the 1663 colonial charter that required voters to own land in order to vote. (A later legislative rule required that a man had to be white and own $134 in property in order to vote.)

Since 1926, the Ancients and Horribles parade has taken place on or around the Fourth of July in the village of Chepachet. The parade features traditional Fourth of July floats and the usual fire trucks and veterans’ groups, as well as other displays, often irreverent and satirical, commenting on political and cultural issues. Some of the “prizes” awarded go to the most patriotic, the best political, and the best spirit of ’76.

The Brown & Hopkins Country Store resides in a building that dates to 1799.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

And the street is great for browsing, especially if you’re looking for antiques.

Photo by Martha Reynolds
Photo by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “B” is for BLOCK ISLAND


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

photo by Martha Reynolds

No, we’re not there yet. I have a bonus post today! This is Blue Shutters beach in Charlestown, one of the prettiest beaches in the state. The parking lot is relatively small, so it fills up early. And the state-issued beach parking pass doesn’t include Blue Shutters, so it’ll cost you $20 to park on the weekends. Still, it’s an attractive stretch of shoreline.

photo by Martha Reynolds

Now, look at this photo. See that strip of land on the horizon? That’s Block Island, also known as New Shoreham. It sits about 10 miles from the mainland and was named after the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block. Before Block arrived, the island was inhabited by Narragansett Indians, who had named the island “Manisses,” which translates to “island of the little god.” Packed with tourists in the summer, Block Island is a quiet island off-season.

photo by Martha Reynolds
photo by Martha Reynolds

#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “A” is for APPONAUG


It seemed appropriate this year to feature a theme that kept me close to home, so I give you my A to Z within the small acreage that is Rhode Island. I tried to be creative (you’ll see!) but I hope you learn something about Little Rhody, too. Whether you’ve lived here all your life, grew up within the boundaries, or have never set foot on one of our many beaches, come along for a virtual tour.

photo by Martha Reynolds

A small brook runs through the village of Apponaug (APP-un-awg), emptying into Apponaug Cove, then into Greenwich Bay and eventually Narragansett Bay. The meaning of the Narraganset word “Apponaug” is oyster, or shellfish, which would make sense, as there used to be loads of clams and quahogs, scallops and oysters just beneath the mud in Apponaug Cove. Originally inhabited by sub-tribes of the Narragansett nation, Opponenauhock, now Apponaug, was a popular and thriving place for the Native Americans who lived there for centuries before European settlers arrived in the area.

Apponaug is a neighborhood in the city of Warwick, located in the center of Rhode Island. Post Road (Route 1) runs right through Apponaug, and Post Road is part of the Old Pequot Path.

Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, traveled the Old Pequot Path (Post Road) from Providence down to Cocumscussoc, near present-day Wickford, in 1636. He would have traveled right through Apponaug.

Warwick City Hall

The Warwick City Hall is located in Apponaug, as are the city’s police and fire headquarters. There’s a branch of the Warwick Public Library, and the Warwick Center for the Arts, formerly the Warwick Art Museum. For locals, Apponaug has provided some of the city’s biggest traffic headaches, and for most residents, it’s hard to remember a time when the traffic patterns didn’t cause problems. From two-way streets to a one-way circulator, now Apponaug has rotaries, or roundabouts, that continue to stymie some drivers.

photo by Martha Reynolds

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


You know what day it is. But how much do you know about St. Patrick? Maybe you know that this is the day he died, in the fifth century. Maybe you know that this is a religious holiday in Ireland – it’s celebrated differently than here in America. Because March 17 usually falls within the forty days of Lent, no-meat restrictions are waived for Catholics so that the Irish can eat bacon and cabbage.

But did you know that Patrick was born in Britain, when it was ruled by the Romans? Did you know that he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was just 16? He is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people.

Remember, too, that up until the mid-1800s, most of the Irish immigrants in America were Protestant. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to 1 million poor and uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation. These new immigrants were despised – for being Catholic, for speaking strangely (we love the brogue now, don’t we?), and most of them couldn’t even land the lowest level menial job. They’ve been portrayed as drunk and uncouth.

Today is a day to celebrate, whether you have Irish ancestry or not. Be mindful of social restrictions and please, don’t drink and drive. I’ve got corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot – it’s not my favorite meal, but I’ll follow tradition once year. After all, I’m a Reynolds. And here’s a long concert from The Dubliners to round out the day. Sláinte!