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Bleachery Pond — Loved & Trashed

What to love and loathe about living in East Greenwich this week.


RAVE:
A few years ago, my neighbor Liz invited me to go on a walk and introduced me to what is now one of my favorite routes in my neighborhood.

You may already know about the waterfall and pond that live near Cragan Field. You may even be forming your own rant that I am about to blab about it.

Sorry. But jewels like this need to be shared.

We call the body of water “Duck Pond,” but I believe its official title is “Bleachery Pond.” The path winds along the pond, drops with the twenty-foot waterfall and meanders by the small stream towards Post Road.

If the winter is very cold, the falls actually freeze, creating a winter grotto wonderland – perfect for impromptu afternoon tea parties with the kids. During the summer, the intrepid can balance along the top of the waterfall and test their shoe’s slippage abilities.

The easiest way to get to pick up the trail is next to Shoreside Apartments. By the way, what is that place? It doesn’t seem to be a nursing home or assisted living facility per se though that does seem to be one of its functions. Anyway, what a wonderful and weird location!

So. Back to the nature hike. If you are facing the Shoreside Apartment’s main door, the trail is to the left, adjacent to the pond. You can also walk through Historical Cemetery #36 further along on Sixth Avenue and look for the Land Trust marker on the far side of the graves. Be warned — the path is steep here and often overgrown.

The truly intrepid can poke around Post Road at the Cedar Avenue intersection. This is where the path finally egresses, but you’ll want to wear long pants – not because of tics, although I am sure there are many, but because the brambles make the Prince’s assault on the castle where Sleeping Beauty lay look like a walk in the park.

The waterworks are a leftover from when New England was a thriving mill center. I heard that these sort of ponds got their name because nearby residents could predict the upcoming season’s popular colors for clothing by watching the dyes passing by the banks of the river.  Which is the sort of devastating historical fact that I just love.

Today, the water is clear and the banks are chocoblock with life — brush, birds and, unfortunately, bugs.

The area is now managed by our town’s Land Trust. This is the organization responsible for protecting and/or conserving local natural, scenic, recreational, agricultural, historic, or cultural property and they do a fine job managing just over a dozen properties on what is essentially a very small budget (I doubt I could do as well running my own household).

We have so few spots like this left in town — most of our natural spaces are landscaped for recreational use which seems to translate as walking, running, ball playing, cycling, and fishing but not necessarily enjoying nature in its true wild essence. So hurrah for Bleachery — a once-tamed place wild again!

RANT: My rant this week is also about Bleachery Pond. It seems that some of those who know about this hidden treasure have mistaken it for our town’s next dump. On a recent stroll, I picked up a Hefty bag’s worth of trash — chip packets, plastic drink jugs, bits of Styrofoam, crushed cans, plastic bags. Some of the litter really took effort to deposit — old tires, what seemed to be the chassis of a car and — ironically — a crushed garbage can. I really don't get how people can just toss things on the ground without a second thought. Apparently their parents never made them pick up after themselves.

The good news is that Earth Day is just around the corner. Perhaps an intrepid group of scouts or simply civic-minded souls can splinter off from the usual coastal clean up to tidy the area. Who knows? We might even find Jimmy Hoffa!

Steve Whitney April 07, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Very timely piece, Lisa. The Boy Souts will be doing a trail maintenance and cleanup project at Bleachery on April 28. Hope people get out and explore it!
Lynn Krim April 07, 2012 at 12:29 PM
So happy to hear about the Boy Scouts' project. We use to skate on Bleachery Pond when I was a teen, being very careful to stay away from the falls. My dad took us on a tour to show us the unsafe spots. In those days we were trusted to have a bonfire to keep ourselves warm. It was a great time.
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) April 07, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I got to skate on the pond a few winters back — it was cold for weeks, with no snow. As a So. California girl, I found it thrilling and beautiful.
Evan Carpenter April 07, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Hello Ms. Sussman, I am the Boy Scout leading the project. You or any of your friends are welcome to come help- it would be greatly appreciated.
crip454 April 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
i grew up at that pond. it starts from a swamp off of divison and goes through brisas cir. i am 42 now and i still go back there from time to time i love that area it brings back nouthing but the best memorys of my childhood learning how to fish,ice skate,and catch frogs and turtle's as a kid in the 70's
crip454 April 07, 2012 at 11:59 PM
i love the area and hearing storys about about some of the hidden spots that only the locals know about like the bleachery!!
Lisa Sussman April 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Thanks - let me know what time and where you are starting and my family will be there!
Lisa Sussman April 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Thanks, Steve - my family will be helping out. Now, how about a stepping stone bridge from Scalloptown Park to Old Forge Road for an Eagle Project?
Lisa Sussman April 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Delighted to be called a "local" - is that like being a second cousin to a "townie"?
Giulio April 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Is it humanly possible for me to do your project and Scott's? I alread said i would go to his but I really want to go to yours too.
Evan Carpenter April 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Great to hear you will be there Lisa. Please be at Saint Patrick's cemetery at 9 a.m. on April 28th. Giulio- I will be sending an email out shortly to solve this problem. Basically, if you want to attend both, you can leave my project at around 11 a.m.
Lisa Sussman April 28, 2012 at 07:15 PM
hi - we did come down but did not see you. i ran into another parent who told me you were down there so it must have been our poor tracking skills! thank you for the clean up!
Rachel Perrone June 29, 2012 at 02:22 AM
somethings going on down there anyone know?
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Rachel, I was down there a few days ago and wondered the same thing. Seemed like a pretty drastic "clearing." I see what I can find out....
Joelle Perrone June 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Thanks Elizabeth. We haven't seen anything in the news but from what Rachel said and the pictures she took it is extensive work.
Eric Carpenter June 30, 2012 at 11:16 AM
When I first saw this post, I thought everyone was referring to Evan's Eagle project, and I was thinking to myself, "Wow, it didn't seem like we cleared so much brush that it could be referred to as 'drastic'." So, I took a walk to the trail this morning, and I see what everyone is talking about. Holy mackerel, what is going on down there? That's clearly a road someone has cut down to the falls. I'm certainly curious as to who did that.

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