Udderly great historical farms to visit this spring


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

Coggeshall Farm Museum is located at 1 Colt Dr. in Bristol, RI.

Emily Dvareckas, Photo Editor

With the weather warming and the desire to go outside heightening, outdoor museums serve as a great option for students. Historical outdoor museums allow patrons to immerse themselves in history while also having plenty of opportunities to remain distanced from other patrons. The following locations are close to the RWU campus and provide great experiences for people of all ages.

Coggeshall Farm Museum

The land that Coggeshall Farm Museum sits on was purchased by the state of Rhode Island in 1965 and was the property where the historic Samuel P. Colt house resided. In 1968, the Bristol Historical Society signed a lease so the property could become a museum and in 1973, Coggeshall Farm Museum became its own entity.

Since then, it has served as a location for visitors to see what life was like in 1750 Rhode Island. Recently, in 2020, Coggeshall Farm Museum partnered with Old Sturbridge Village, which is located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Coggeshall Farm Museum sits on 48 acres of land and allows patrons to become immersed in the experiences of salt marsh farmers.

The property has several buildings, including the forge, the spring house, the cheese house, the tenant farmhouse and others. The farm is also home to several animals, adding to the realistic feel of the museum. Visit https://www.coggeshallfarm.org/ for more information.

Hours: April 17 to Oct. 11. Open Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $10 for adults

Location: 1 Colt Dr., Bristol, Rhode Island

Prescott Farm

Prescott Farm is a great place for students to visit to enjoy the outdoors and experience a little slice of history. Located in Middletown, this farm sits on 40 acres of land and functions as a tribute to the agricultural history of Aquidneck Island.

The land was purchased in 1969 by Doris Duke, who has established many historic buildings on the site. Most of the buildings on the property were saved from demolition. The farm has an impressive garden that is tended to by Master Gardeners from the University of Rhode Island. They harvest and donate an average of 700 pounds of food each year. Visit https://www.newportrestoration.org/prescottfarm/ for more information.

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Cost: Free

Location: 2009 West Main Road, Middletown, Rhode Island

Watson Farm

Watson Farm is located in Jamestown, Rhode Island, and it offers a glimpse into early 1800s farm life in the state. The property was purchased in 1789 by Job Watson, who used the land to pasture his sheep and cattle. The farm has stayed in the Watson family and has remained a functional farm. For more than 200 years and spanning across five generations, the Watson family has cultivated the 265 acres of land.

The residents of the house have opened their farm to the public. They produce grass-fed beef and lamb, as well as wool blankets, which are sold at local markets. Patrons are welcome to visit the farm and experience the vast land, visit the outdoor workshop, walk along the shore and see the grazing livestock, which consists of more than 100 cattle.

The farm is open to the public beginning on June 1 and closes on Oct. 15. More information can be found on the Historic New England website: https://www.historicnewengland.org/property/watson-farm/.

Hours: Open June 1 to Oct. 15. Open Thursdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5 for students and $10 for adults

Location: 455 North Road, Jamestown, Rhode Island