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Special Features : Bikes, Barges And Train Excursions : Blackstone River Valley

Bikes, Barges and Trains : (Part 2)

©May 2005 by Peter Lynn

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Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor : Rhode Island

Area Mountain Bike Trails: Blackstone River Valley, RI

Take a scenic tour of the Blackstone River Valley by train or canal boat excursion. Get out on or along the river to learn about the history and enjoy the wonderful natural resources of the area.

The Blackstone River Valley became the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution with the establishment of the Slater Mill in 1790. The river, with its 438 foot drop over 46 miles, provided waterpower for industrial development. Today, the river valley provides us with a significant concentration of 18th and 19th century historic, cultural and natural resources. Many early structures are still here, including dams, mills, canals, locks and mill villages. The Blackstone Valley Visitor Center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island should be your first stop. It houses a museum shop, state-of-the-art theater, relief map of the watershed, kinetic informational sculpture, transportation center and the offices of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

The tours described here are all offered by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. For schedules, fares and special events go to their website or contact at the address and phone number below.


The Blackstone Valley Explorer

Learn about valley history and lore on a 45-minute narrated tour aboard the Blackstone Valley Explorer, a 49-passenger riverboat. Spring and summer cruises depart from Central Falls and tour the Valley Falls “Wilderness Area”. Autumn cruises depart near the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket and tour from the “Thundermist” dam north. Group, student and public tours are available.



Samuel Slater Canal Boat

For a really unique experience spend a night aboard America’s only authentic British Canal Boat, the Samuel Slater (sleeps four). This floating Bed & Breakfast is also available for twilight cruises, wine & cheese cruises and "British Tea Tours" during the summer and fall. It is located in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The Samuel Slater was commissioned by the tourism council and built in England.  It is typical of the canal boats that transported goods and passengers along the river between 1828 and 1848, when the railroad became the preferred means of travel.



Blackstone Valley Scenic Railway Tours

Three tours are offered on the Providence & Worcester Railroad. The "Summer Shopping Excursion" (June 25) and "Fall Festival & Shopping Excursion" (October 22) are 7-hour 46-mile scenic excursions with historical narration, onboard lunch counter and a 2 1/2 hour layover in Putnam, Connecticut for browsing the antique shops. A "Polar Express" ride is offered in November.



Contact information:

Blackstone Valley Visitor Center
175 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860

Phone: 401-724-2200 or 800-454-2882