#AtoZ Stay Home! Wear a Mask! “X” is for PAWTUXET VILLAGE

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.

Of course I got creative with my “X” post. (Just so you know, I bent the rules a little with “Z,” too).

Pawtuxet Village, one of my favorite spots in Rhode Island, is where the Pawtuxet River flows into Narragansett Bay. In the Native Narragansett language, ‘Pawtuxet’ means ‘little falls.’

Photo by Martha Reynolds

Settlers in the early 18th century saw the advantage of using the Pawtuxet River’s power, and constructed mills along its banks. The harbor in the village became one of America’s premier shipping ports.

There are still many colonial houses and buildings in the village, thanks to the hard work of the Pawtuxet Village Historic District.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

In 1772, Rhode Islanders took the first organized military action towards independence by burning the British schooner HSM Gaspee. The action was part of the beginning of the American Revolution. Each year in June, “Gaspee Days” are celebrated in the village, with a parade and a symbolic burning of the Gaspee.

Photo by Martha Reynolds

In the late 1800s, one of Rhode Island’s well-known and wealthy families, the Rhodes, developed and built Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, a famous dance hall and casino. Because of its location along the banks of the Pawtuxet River, there were also canoe trips offered. These days, it’s a popular venue for weddings, retirement parties, and the annual Book Expo of the Association of Rhode Island Authors.

It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Heather Rigney

Heather books

Not all mermaids are nice, some are nasty ... Enter the world of Evie (rhymes with heavy) McFagan–crappy mother, funeral director, functioning alcoholic and all around hot mess. While nursing a hangover at the local playground, Evie encounters a merrow, or a mermaid disguised as a nursery school mom. Evie instantly detects that the new chick is fishy–bad fishy–but who’s going to believe the town drunk? As Evie pulls on her Nancy Drew pants and does some half-baked detective work, she uncovers a nefarious kettle of fish dating back to the 1600s. Weaving storylines dealing with Irish immigration, colonial outrage, and nautical mishaps, Waking the Mermaid is a wild, hysterical ride through Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and a small town known as Pawtuxet Village.
Nicole Hill from Barnes and Noble Book Blog writes: “You know what’s great about Rigney’s horror-ific (that’s horror-filled and terrific), hysterical debut novel? Besides the bloodthirsty merfolk, our antihero protagonist is an overweight, drunk, subpar mother, who also happens to be a funeral director. I can’t even describe the premise of this book without getting giddy, because how many times does a plot involve both vicious mermaids and Rhode Island colonists?”
Award-winning, Amazon bestseller Waking the Merrow is the first in the Merrow Trilogy, followed by Hunting the Merrow and the soon to be released (this December!) Caging the Merrow Due to the rising popularity of Heather Rigney’s trilogy, Rigney has attended over fourteen different book clubs in Rhode Island during the past three years.
You can find Heather’s books (print copies) at local bookstores or on Amazon
You’re welcome to attend the gala release of Caging the Merrow on Thursday, December 7, from 4:00-7:00pm at Nordstrom Cafe
Heather Rigney

Writer, artist, and underwater fire-breather, Heather Rigney likes to make stuff. Stuff with words, stuff with paint, stuff that’s pretty, and stuff that’s not. Heather’s stories reflect a dark, gothic childhood spent in the woods of northern Rhode Island. At the moment, she resides in Pawtuxet Village, RI with a family (both chosen and created) that she adores.

Follow Heather on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and at her website.

GIVEAWAY! Heather is giving away a signed paperback copy of Waking the Merrow to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication of this blog post. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo


Where Hope Walks

I have a few options for getting home. I can drive over the Natick bridge, the one that was closed after the big flood in 2010. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, though, you’re forced to look at the big empty house, boarded up, gaping holes where windows once were, pieces of glass clinging to the frames. The house is ugly and should be razed. Everyone has moved out. But the house still stands, decrepit, faded, and gray.

Or I can go home the back way and drive up the hill from the fire station, past the golf course that straddles the road, mindful of golfers crossing the street to get to the next hole, careful to keep my speed down because there’s usually a police car hidden behind the trees near the elementary school. Yesterday there was a bad accident on the road, farther down. People drive too fast.

And now that part of Natick Road, washed out after the flood, has been repaired, I can get home that way, past the farm, the horses, the houses up in the hills, hidden behind so much green now, until I reach the little bridge. It took a long time to repair.  There’s just not much money anymore. Hope told me she likes to walk there because it’s quiet, but the road is narrow and people drive too fast. I know she’s careful, especially now, but still I worry about her. Her time is precious, and she won’t give up her walks.

These days I usually find a reason to take that winding back road. Maybe I’ll see Hope. It’s a good thing to see her out walking. She never accepts a ride home. “I’m fine!” she says, waving her hand and smiling under a wide-brimmed straw hat.  I wave too, and drive over the bridge, where small tributaries of the Pawtuxet River flow under the road, downhill, to the source. And in my rear-view mirror I see Hope, walking.