Favorite thing: There is an armory which was built for the Pawtuxet Rangers Artillery at the time of the Revolutionary war. The Rangers still meet there...lots of social times as well as marching and parading and presenting the colors at various occasions. Their building received a major grant from the state preservation commission so that the stucco could be redone, the shutters repaired and the wood shaker roof replaced. Not a big building, but lots of history and love.
Pawtuxet Park by the cove and the Aspray Boathouse is just the place to relax, have a picnic or simply to enjoy the light breeze. A gazebo stands right in the middle of it, where concerts take place as well as other activities.
The park is also the Encampment site for the colonial militia units and fife & drum teams that come to participate in the Gaspee parade.
In addition to all the historic and geographical advantages, Pawtuxet is simply a nice place to be in. I was amazed by the variety of tree species, some of them pretty rare such as the tulip tree in the old historic cemetery.
But not only the trees caught my eye, also the small green spots all over the village, like the lovely lawn with statue and flowers near the Bank Cafe (a tiny bit of it can be seen at the bottom of my Bank Cafe pic above). Oh, and one more thing I can say for sure: I had never seen so many rhododendrons in one place in my entire life as I saw in Pawtuxet. All Rhode Island is virtually flooded with rhodos! :-)
All historic buildings in Pawtuxet are clearly marked with a plaque that states their name and date of origin - fans of the old architecture will love to tour the village!
The Carder Tavern (goes back to 1740, as you can see in the picture) in Post Road was the main inn or stop for old stagecoach travellers. Gee, the Post Road name makes sense now if it was the main route to and through Pawtuxet. I can imagine the stagecoaches brought in all the mail to the village...
There are various stories about who stopped overnight at the tavern and who did not... One story mentiones Chan and Eng, the famous Siamese twins, who stopped there on their New England tour in 1829.
This lovely house in Post Road is now a private residence, and don't be misled by the 'cafe' name... The building has quite a place in Pawtuxet's history - it is placed in the National Register of Historic Places. It goes back to 1814 and was built by the Rhodes brothers (Christopher and William) as a bank to serve their textile business as well as Pawtuxet's coastal trade. Interestingly, the bank was located on the groundfloor, and the second floor was used by a private school for girls, the Pawtuxet Union Academy. Well, wasn't this village well organised in the early 1800's?
Why the name Bank Cafe then? The bank moved to Providence, and in the 1870's James Tinker established a hotel & cafe in the building (it was the same Tinker who introduced RI Jonnycakes). After that, the building had many owners. It's a bit sad the house is no longer a cafe...
Favorite thing: Swans and ducks are nothing unusual in the Cove, kids screamed of joy as the birds swam close to the deck. And some people caught really big fish while I was on the deck. A very quiet and relaxing spot the cove is, you feel like you're in the countryside. What a change from the noise of New York City which I visited just 2 days before!
Pawtuxet waterfront is quite versatile. Take a stroll in the park and stop on the wooden deck by the boathouse for a wonderful view of the Neck penninsula and the Pawtuxet Cove as it opens up to the Narragansett Bay and then to the Atlantic Ocean.
Or go to the Neck - then you'll have the Cove behid you and the Bay in front of you. And to think I had to go to Pawtuxet to really see the difference between the two English words cove and bay! ;-)
Lots of people do boating, kayaking and fishing there! Just the place to be in for a quiet weekend... as long as it is not during Gaspee Days, for then you'll see crowds :-)
During the Gaspee Days, you can buy various items with Gaspee logo, and all the proceeds go to support the Gaspee Days Committee.
I found this one particularly interesting (not for sale, though!). It is a sculpture of HMS Gaspee made from one piece of wood by a local artist. Shame it was stuck in the corner of the boathouse, it could have taken a more dignified place to promote the local art. On the second thought, maybe it was more exposed in 1999, the year it was made :-)
The Aspray Boat House was originally a boat maintenance shop but now serves as a focal point for the Pawtuxet community and its non-profit agencies, including the Gaspee Days Committee - the organization that commemorates the revolutionary events of 1772.
When I was there for Gaspee Days in 2004, the boathouse hosted a children's postcard show which was a wonderful idea: kids wrote postcards to their predecessors, i.e. Pawtuxet kids of the 1700's, and put themselves in those kids' shoes trying to write back. What a great idea, it was a very moving experience reading about the life and feelings of the two generations separated by a few other generations. Those kids put so much heart to it!
The Aspray Boathouse is beautifully located at the Pawtuxet Cove and the adjoining Pawtuxet Park.
This group has been marching in the Gaspee Day Parade for decades. They have a very seasoned organization, very colorful in the line of march. The ribbons attached to the flags represent their awards at various parades and musters where they have performed. There is military protocol to be followed in the way the marchers are arranged in the parade. Host unit is first in the line of march, followed by the earliest chartered militia unit...and progressing to the most recently chartered unit. These militia units actually hold charters in their home state's National Guard organizations. In Pawtuxet, the Pawtuxet Rangers date back to 1772...so our Rangers are usually at the beginning of most parades. Of the 3 ancient units in Rhode Island, two are chartered in 1772 and one in 1774.
SEE MY TRAVELOGUE FOR MORE COLORFUL PARADE PICTURES
Favorite thing: Here is a particularly sharp unit in the Gaspee Day Parade. It's interesting to see what the style of uniform will be on these various colonial units. Personally I prefer this part of the parade to the portion with the floats and high school bands...beauty queens, fire trucks, and the usual participants in other parades. The colonial part of our parade is unique.
Favorite thing: Some of my favorite moments come when the parade is over and the village quiets down. The colonial militia units and fifers and drummers do an ENCAMPMENT in our local park by the water. They live in tents, cook on open fires, sing sea chanties, and talk about the life of the ancient mariners. It's wonderful wandering around the tents, talking to them about the old ways of life, and just enjoying the simplicity of those times.
Favorite thing: Lots of sailors around Pawtuxet village. We have two yacht clubs nearbye. One of them has a collection of sailors with old S boats made by Hereschoff of Bristol, RI. They race every Wednesday evening. You can see them from several places along the shoreline.
Favorite thing: Couldn't resist including this one...altho a little silly. It's a typical sight to see folks cleaning out their old attics and garages on a sunny weekend. Ad in the newspaper and a few signs on the telephone poles will get them there every time. Doesn't everybody love to poke around in someone else's cast offs?
Favorite thing: There is a little shop at the edge of the bridge named, "Dear Hearts" ice cream shop. As soon as the weather warms, you will see neighbors walking down in the evening....standing on the bridge with an ice cream cone. Rhode Islanders are known for their appetite for ice cream,,,and there is no better place than in the middle of Pawtuxet to enjoy a cone....with jimmies!