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Welcome to Rhode Island - Blackstone Valley

Blackstone Valley: River exploration & mill history museums

Great Things to Do in Blackstone Valley, RI

This heavily wooded inland area of Rhode Island is traversed by the Blackstone River, the waterway that once supported the earliest water-powered textile mills in the United States. It is considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America, starting with the construction in 1793 of Samuel Slater’s cotton mill in Pawtucket. Slater Mill is now the centerpiece of the Slater Mill Historic Site, where visitors can see how the mills operated, largely with the labor of young women migrants from nearby New England farms. A similar attraction in the region is the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, which celebrates the contributions of French-Canadian immigrants who arrived in the 1800s to work in New England’s shoe and textile mills. Many of the old mills now are factory outlet stores, art studios, and artist’s work places.

Visitors are invited to see the region from the vantage point of serene, shady cruises aboard the riverboat Blackstone Valley Explorer. Pawtucket is also home to the Pawtucket Red Sox, the AAA farm club of the Boston Red Sox. Summer evening games at the intimate McCoy Stadium are inexpensive, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of watching the ball game in a quieter, simpler time. More fun for kids and people who love beautiful old things is the historic carousel at Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket.