With the Ten Mile River as its western boundary, Seekonk is a town on the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border, and part of the Providence metropolitan area.
Seekonk has an unusual footprint, on a long and pretty narrow strip of land. This varies from the busy, attraction-laden retail corridor between Route 6 and I-195 in the south, to the open spaces of the north, where there’s a wildlife refuge, conservation lands and a country club.
A chain of ponds on the Ten Mile River separate Seekonk from neighboring Pawtucket and East Providence, and on the Rhode Island side you can visit several lovely waterfront parks, all connected by the Ten Mile River Greenway trail.
1. Four Town Farm
Now in its fifth generation, the origins of this family-owned fruit and vegetable farm go back to the turn of the 20th century.
For decades, Four Town Farm was a wholesale operation but a farmstand that started out as a humble melon cart has evolved into the thriving store, rebuilt in 2015, that greets you today.
From June you can head out into the fields to pick-your-own produce, including strawberries, peas, flowers and then pumpkins in fall. During pumpkin season you can ride a tractor out to the patch, and spend a fun few minutes solving a corn maze here.
2. Seekonk Speedway
This ⅓-mile asphalt oval racetrack has been managed by the same family since it opened in 1946. The season at Seekonk Speedway kicks off in May hosting short-track, the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series on Saturdays.
Among the categories are Pro Stocks (Division 1), Late Models (Division 2), Sports men (Division 3), and Sport Trucks (Division 4).
There’s also lower-budget racing on Friday nights for hopefuls looking to make it on the big stage on Saturdays. On select Sundays throughout the season you can catch special Thrill Shows, with a mix of drag racing, enduro cars, monster trucks and demolition derbies.
People also head to the speedway on Sundays for a weekly flea market throughout the season, and there’s a haunted experience around Halloween which we’ll talk about later.
3. Audubon Caratunk Wildlife Refuge
In the remoter northern part of Seekonk there’s a wildlife refuge with close to 200 acres of forests, fields, streams, and ponds, streaked with miles of well-marked trails.
Although the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge is in Seekonk it’s managed by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
Ambling through this hushed space you may catch sight of a wide variety of animal species, among them muskrats, otters, painted turtles, screech owls, wild turkeys, and a host of songbirds in summer.
Audubon Society education programs and events take place here in a charming old barn, and if you visit after snowfall there’s excellent snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the 1.8-mile perimeter loop.
4. Ten Mile River Greenway
We’ll see that some sections of the Ten Mile River are accessible on the Seekonk bank, but if you cross over to East Providence, you can travel along this multi-use trail, three miles long.
The Ten Mile River Greenway opened in 2004 and twists through an undeveloped green corridor, connecting a number of public open spaces, including Slater Memorial Park (more below).
This trail stands out as one of the paved bikeways in Rhode Island not to be built on a railroad right-of-way. There are blissful views of the ponds along the river, and the scenery is unforgettable during the fall months.
5. Gammino Pond Conservation Area
You would never know it today, but half a century ago this peaceful natural space off Newman Avenue was a sand and gravel quarry.
The difference since that time is stark, as the once desolate shores of Gammino Pond now have dense cover from trees, shrubs and other plants.
The conservation area is on almost 60 acres, and is crisscrossed by trails like the blue-blazed path that borders the pond, touching the shoreline at various points.
From this property you can also get onto a trail that crosses into East Providence, hugging the shore of Central Pond and leading you into the Seaconke Sanctuary, a secluded parcel of woods across the pond from the southern trailhead to the Ten Mile River Greenway.
6. Seekonk Grand Prix
In that line of stores and visitor attractions along Route 6 there’s Seekonk Grand Prix, a giant family entertainment center with motorsports as the theme.
Awaiting you here is a series of karting tracks, among them a family track, a rookie track, a kids’ track and a slick track for drifting.
Also on hand is an indoor ropes course, a rock climbing wall, a virtual reality experience, 18 holes of mini golf, bumper cars, a new arcade/game room with a redemption counter, and bumper boats.
7. Old Grist Mill Tavern
This cozy tavern is a fragment of traditional New England, and seems like a million miles from the power centers on Route 6.
The story of the Old Grist Mill goes back to the first half of the 18th century, when the Runnins River was dammed and a water-powered grist mill was built on the south shore of the pond.
A saw mill was later added on the ground floor, and over time the complex became a restaurant.
Disaster struck in 2012, when a tractor-trailer truck overturned causing an explosion that destroyed the building.
After 2.5 years of reconstruction, the Old Grist Mill Tavern opened in 2014. There are still hints of what came before, not least in the preserved granite millstone at the front doorway.
A few menu highlights include the Boston scrod, the clams steamed in garlic, onions and white wine, the crab cakes, the baked stuffed jumbo shrimp, and lobster prepared any way you want .
8. Jacob Hill
One rewarding thing you can do in Seekonk is spend some time exploring some of its rural backroads. The best place to go is Jacob Hill, where you can peruse Seekonk’s largest concentration of historic houses.
Just off Route 44, these are on Jacob Street, Prospect Street, and some of Ledge Road. Many of the beautiful old residences on these quiet country roads are marked with plaques.
Look out for 736 Ledge Road (1785), the old school house at 102 Jacob Street (c. 1800), 120 Jacob Street (1723), 385 Jacob Street (1690), 150 Broad Street (1785), 540 Prospect Street (1800), and the splendid Aziel Carpenter House at 80 Walnut Street, raised in 1720.
9. Slater Memorial Park
In Pawtucket, the Ten Mile River Greenway leads past the town’s oldest and largest public park, on former farmland purchased in 1894. A remnant of the early days here is the Daggett House (c. 1685), the oldest extant house in the city.
The park is named for Samuel Slater (1768-1835), the English-American industrialist who built America’s first water-powered textile mill in Pawtucket in the early 1790s.
Slater Memorial Park is an awesome free attraction, landscaped and endowed with buildings like the historic Potter Casino (1917) in the early 20th century.
A family favorite for more than a century is the Looff Carousel, built in the 1890s and installed in the park in 1910.
On Thursday evenings in summer you can come for concerts by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, while in mid-September there’s the Slater Park Fall Festival, with scores of craft vendors, as well as food, live entertainment and activities for kids.
10. Fear Town Haunted House
When spooky season arrives, Seekonk Speedway becomes the home of one of the top haunted experiences in New England.
Fear Town is billed as a “haunted event”, comprising three haunted houses, adding up to almost an hour of scares. Before and after you brave the haunted houses you can make the most of a midway, packed with games, food and macabre entertainment.
What will grab you most of all about Fear Town is the creativity and the variety on show, with scenarios that make you jump in the most unexpected ways.
Hardened haunted house-goers may not always be terrified, but will be impressed by the production values in makeup, costume, props, and sound design, all underpinned by a big team of enthusiastic actors.
11. Monster Mini Golf
In Seekonk’s great lineup of things for families to do there’s a location for this national chain of indoor mini golf parks, ideal for a rainy day.
All year round you can head to Monster Mini Golf for 18 holes of spooky fun, in a large blacklight space filled with animatronic, glow-in-the-dark monsters, and with walls clad with eye-popping art and decades worth of lighthearted pop culture imagery.
There’s upbeat music from Monster Mini Golf’s own radio station, and an arcade with ticket redemption classics like basketball hoops and skee ball.
12. Funcity Trampoline Park
If you have kids with energy to burn you’ll be pleased with this indoor trampoline park along Route 6 in Seekonk.
Funcity has a diversity of attractions for a couple of hours of fun exertion. At the heart of everything is a huge trampoline court, filled with bouncy surfaces, as well as a ‘kiddie court’ designated for younger children.
Among the other features are a foam pit, an obstacle course, a dodgeball court, basketball hoop for slam dunks, a battle beam, a climbing wall, and a bumper ball area.
Parents with older kids who don’t need supervision can unwind for a while in one of the comfy chairs, with a refreshment in hand.
13. Seekonk Fire Museum
Opened in 2016, this museum at 211 Newman Ave is in the town’s old firehouse, built in the late-1920s and serving as the department’s HQ for decades.
There’s a trove of local firefighting memorabilia to check out inside, with equipment, helmets, newspaper clippings, decades of muster competition trophies, and a siren that used to sound when school was canceled on snow days.
There’s also a set of four fire trucks, including a 1953 Maxim fire engine of the kind that the town used from the 50s to the 80s.
When we put this list together the Seekonk Fire Museum was open for special events, and on the first Saturday morning of the month, June through September.
14. Hunts Mills Picnic and Recreational Area
Just over the line in East Providence, this idyllic space on the Ten Mile River has centuries of history to be uncovered.
The property was the site of the earliest mills on the river, and evidence from that time can be seen at the Hunt House (1750), maintained as a museum by the East Providence Historical Society, and open every second Sunday.
At the turn of the 20th century this landscape became an amusement park, while the river served as the town’s main water supply, with a pumping station taking the place of an old grist mill.
Now, there’s a picnic area next to a beautiful cascade at the point in the river where the pumping station used to be, and a fish ladder enables herring to reach their spawning grounds upstream.
15. Celebrate Seekonk Day
Seekonk Public Library and surrounding Library Meadows parkland is the venue for an annual festival launched in the last few years.
On the first Saturday in October, Celebrate Seekonk Day includes live entertainment, educational activities, culture, commerce, great food and plenty of fun for kids.
For an idea of what’s in store, there’s music by award-winning musicians like Bill Harley, as well as comedy, demonstrations by the Pokanoket Native Americans, a gallery display by local artists, painting workshops, a community quilt, shadow puppets for little ones, local food trucks, and a raffle.