Smithfield is a small town north of Providence, Rhode Island and home to Bryant University. British colonists first settled in the area and it officially became a town in 1731. The Quaker community in the area strongly influenced the abolition movement during the 18th century.
Many waterways in the area made Smithfield an ideal location for industry. Newly built roads brought in more residents and a cotton mill and foundry flourished. At the turn of the 19th century 3,120 people lived in Smithfield. Seventy years later the population had more than quadrupled.
As the textile industry diminished in the 20th century, Smithfield became known for its apple orchards. The population grew rapidly and it’s now primarily residential. The I-295 runs roughly north-south through the town, but many residents still live in densely-wooded rural locations or on agricultural lands away from the town center.
Today’s Smithfield offers all the modern amenities. You can find a licensed arborist to prune your trees or clear away stumps. Geoff Mongeon attended Bryant and studied accounting, but he’s been running his tree business since 2005. People tend to stay, because Smithfield has much to offer.
This town blends the old with the new. You can enjoy traditional American dishes such as meatloaf or chicken pot pie at Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern, but you might be pleasantly surprised to know that they also offer gluten-free options. It’s the ideal spot to stop in with a date, business lunch, or when you’re flying solo.
This part of Rhode Island also has many Latino immigrants, so you can enjoy authentic vegan, vegetarian, and Mexican recipes at Condesa Restaurante Mexicano. They feature homemade tortilla chips with four salsas and guacamole prepared at your table.
Smithfield still has family farms, too. You can visit Jaswell’s Farm during apple, pumpkin, corn, and berry season and pick your own. They also have an onsite bakery which features cider donuts and homemade pies.
The Mowry Conservation Area is an excellent spot to wander the quiet trails to observe wildlife. You could see turkeys, deer, or coyote on either of the two short hiking trails. This small state park isn’t usually busy, but you might cross paths with a hiker or two. The area has other hikes you can check out when you visit the area.
If all this sounds too tame, try skydiving! The Boston Skydive Center at North Central State Airport accommodates everyone from first-time jumpers to seasoned skydivers. Instructors jump with beginners in tandem, calm your nerves, and ensure you’re safe. You can even buy a video of your jump so you can relive the experience and share it with friends and family.
Even though Smithfield is a small town with less than 25,000 people, it offers everything a visitor could ask for. Untouched wilderness, family farms, and modern convenience make it an attractive place to visit, or perhaps call home.