Last Chance Fall Fun

The temperature may be turning chilly, but there’s still time to enjoy the great outdoors.

The temperature may be turning chilly, but there’s still time to enjoy the great outdoors before winter sets in. Whether it’s a trip to your local farm to bring home late-fall’s bounty, or a bike ride or walk along Rhode Island’s many paths or trails, be sure to get out there this weekend before it’s too late.

Walk or Bike Rhode Island’s Bike Paths

There’s no need to travel to Vermont to see some incredible foliage. The trees along the East Bay Bike Path and Blackstone Boulevard are still showing off fiery reds, golden yellows and orange hues. Jump on your bike and pedal from East Providence to Bristol, or tackle a stretch at a time by parking at one of the many entrances, including along Veterans Memorial Parkway in East Providence, Haines Memorial State Park in Barrington, downtown Warren or at Independence Park in Bristol. Please note the path is closed from India Point and across the Washington Bridge. Blackstone Boulevard’s one-and-a-half-mile path may also be more feasible for walkers. And don’t forget the Blackstone River Bikeway that travels eleven miles through Cumberland and Woonsocket, and the South County Bike Path, 7.8 miles from West Kingston to Narragansett. For more information, go to dot.ri.gov/bikeri.

Newport’s Cliff Walk

Most Southern New Englanders have explored parts of the cliff walk multiple times, but have you ever conquered the whole three-and-a-half-mile path? Start out at the entrance at First Beach in Newport, and see if you can walk the whole stretch. There’s a short section that’s closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, from Ruggles Avenue to Ledge Road, but you can avoid it if you walk around the Breakers. When you reach the immense mansion, walk up Shepard Avenue, take a left on Ochre Point Avenue and keep walking until you hit Ruggles Avenue. Take a right on Ruggles and continue to Wetmore Avenue. Take a left, and the path continues at the end of the road (go right). From this point, you’ll wander past Rosecliff and the Marble House, then through tunnels that reveal the most breathtaking views of ocean cliffs on the other side. It is this rugged section of the cliff walk that I find most spectacular. For more information, go to cliffwalk.com.

Gourd Hoard

My favorite farm veggies include squashes of all varieties. So far this fall, I’ve experimented with sugar pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup, acorn and kabocha. You can bet I’ll be stocking up on gourds at my favorite farm, Four Town Farm in Seekonk, since these beauties can last through winter. I’ve stuffed pumpkins with meat and mashed potatoes and roasted them in the oven, I’ve pureed my way to butternut squash soup (with apples!) and I’ve become addicted to roasted acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. It may be daunting to prepare gourds at first, but all you have to do is cut the squashes in half, dig out the seeds and place them face down in a glass baking dish with a half-inch of water. I roast them at 375 degrees until I can easily stick a fork through the flesh. Then you can top with a dollop of butter and a bit of brown sugar, and maybe a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon and dinner is done. 4townfarm.com

Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge

 In my community travels, I tripped upon this hidden wildlife refuge at Touisset Point in Warren. There are a few miles of gorgeous trails that pass through fields, wooded habitat and marshes along the Kickemuit River. In one day, I spied a hawk, heron and woodpecker. And according to passerby, the refuge is frequently traveled by deer. The path begins at the Touisset Fire Station on Touisset Road, where there is parking available. asri.org/refuges/touisset-marsh-wildlife.html

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