By Katy Killilea
Nominally, they’re both farms, but neither is the kind where you can buy food. Coggeshall Farm is a farm museum, and Mount Hope Farm is a park for easy hiking. They are very close to each other and both are ideal little stops for kids in Bristol.
On our trip, we started at Coggeshall Farm. This is one of the first settled farms in New England, and the Poppasquash Road property is stunning. It provides a low-key way to get up-close to farm animals. There’s no gimmick here. It’s not a zoo. There are no signs describing the breeds, and the only people working there are carrying out their farm chores (not as in, “Look at me using ye olde tools”). Real farm work, just as it was done hundreds of years ago, is a vital part of the operation to maintain the farm today.
Speckled hens run free over the grass, baby lambs hide out in a shady stall, and a donkey, a cat, and giant cattle of some kind (no informational placards) munch grass and swat flies all within an arm’s reach. Our kids were very interested in patting the donkey. They also had fun pointing out heaps of sheep poop in the grass and chasing the chickens, who proved to be uncatchable. There’s also a house to explore, with old cooking pots, a wool spinning wheel, and a loom.
Then we moved on to Mount Hope Farm, which provided us with very easy hiking trails. Paved hiking trails. Our kids loved dashing ahead to see what would be around the next bend. The answer? Even more lush raspberry and honeysuckle bushes. We made a lot of stops to drink the nectar from honeysuckles. Luckily the other mother in our group remembered how to dissect a honeysuckle flower to pull out the nectar.
Either of these beautiful spots could be visited for an hour or so, and each is a great spot for expending some energy!
Coggeshall Farm – Poppasquash Road, Bristol, RIÂ 02809
Mount Hope Farm – 250 Metacom Avenue, Bristol, RIÂ 02809
Photo Credit: Katy Killilea