Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Go Take a Hike: Fort Barton Woods, Tiverton, RI then eat at The Black Goose!

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon where the chill of winter was finally starting to wear off.  I've got cabin fever, and the only prescription, is sunshine and a walk in the woods.  I chose Fort Barton.

This is why you must go to Fort Barton.  It is has fabulous views of Narragansett Bay including the Sakonnet River, which isn't actually a river but a tidal strait, and Mount Hope Bay.  You can also see the Mount Hope Bridge in the background.

Here's another representation of what you are seeing:

The video was taken from the top of the observation tower at the very beginning of the hike.  A few logistical things first: Parking is on the street across the Town Hall and is free.  The location is a bit confusing so aim for the Town Hall.  The hardest part of the trail is the steep incline going from the street to the trails.  

After the initial steep incline from the street, the hiker will face a series of up and down inclines, with steps, as you make your way to the trails.  I find the ups and downs interesting and a good workout.  The novice will find it a safe challenge.  Once you reach the trailhead you have a few options of where you would like to hike.  For trail map click here.  With my brother and sister-in-law in tow, we decided to hike the entirety of the Red Trail.  Fort Barton has a total 3 miles of trails so I think that the Red Trail takes up about 2.5 miles of that.  

We start by walking over a few wooden bridges with streams gently flowing underneath.  Hiking in the woods is my zen moment.  Its also the perfect time of year to appreciate the little buds starting to form on the trees and shrubs.  Everything is about to wake up and you are there just as its about to happen.  

Beautiful rock formations, moss, and blue sky.

Lovely stream flowing near the Red Trail.

Speaking of waking up, as we are hiking I hear the call of wood frogs in the distance.  Wood frogs, along with other frogs, congregate at vernal pools this time of year and produce a beautiful chorus of calls.  I found such a pool and here is what it sounds like:

Throughout the hike we see a few families, obviously kid friendly, a few dogs and a few solo hikers.  Personally I have hiked this place many times and have always felt safe.  My only suggestion is for the eastern most end of the red trail, the signs get a bit confusing to the point where we went off trail.  Luckily though, and this is the scientist in me, we found an owl pellet.  An owl pellet is the remains of the food an owl eats that cannot be digested.  When found, you can dissect them and get a "birds eye" view of an owl's diet.

Roughly dissected owl pellet with a rodent skull, various other bones and fur.
While I was dissecting the pellet a few kids walked by with their father who were already well aware of what an owl pellet was.  Now those are some educated kids!  

Once we trecked back to the trail is was smooth sailing back to the beginning.  The Red Trail is a loop so its pretty clear where you will end up.  We crossed a few more bridges, and voila, back to where we started.  

We're so proud!

Always check yourself for ticks!!!

Now by the end of the hike we were starving.  The perfect place to go for a hearty, decently priced meal that overlooks the water is the The Black Goose Cafe.  I got the Godfather panini while my hiking buddies both got the Et tu Brute sandwich.

The Godfather Panini

Ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, provolone, roasted red peppers, baby spinach with a spicy mayo sauce

Et Tu Brute

Grilled chicken breast, bacon, fresh romaine lettuce and shaved parmesan with a stab of Caesar dressing on country white bread
Obviously fresh ingredients, freshly prepared with no skimping on anything.  Both were served with a side of potato salad and a pickle.  The panini did not leave me wanting anything and I left very satisfied.  The potato salad was adequate and the pickle was fresh and crunchy.  The view of Nannaquaket Pond isn't a bad way to spend a meal either.

So on the way out we notice all of the homemade pastries and utter deliciousness mocking us as we try to leave without one of them.  They win:

Needless to say, from the hike to the cafe, I've had nearly every sense awakened and fulfilled.  The zen from the walk, the camaraderie with my family, and a refuel for my tired muscles.  I do believe that this is a perfect day trip.  Its 30 minutes from Providence and an excellent way to see the beauty that is our own backyard.  So get out there, and take a hike!!!

Black Goose Cafe on Urbanspoon

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