When looking to escape to the rural areas of Rhode Island, the town of Exeter makes for a good destination. While the town of Exeter is small, the township itself is rather large. It extends from the border of Connecticut to the town of North Kingston, where the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace can be found. Stuart is a renowned American painter who was born in North Kingston in 1755. Stuart is best known for his portraits, the most famous of which is The Athenaeum. This unfinished portrait of George Washington is the image that is portrayed on the one dollar bill. A visit to the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum is a welcome addition to any Exeter travel itinerary, and tours of the home and an old gristmill can be enjoyed from May until October.
When you're not exploring the old gristmill or checking out reproductions of famous paintings at the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace, you can go hiking on the museum's half-mile-long nature trail. You can stop to visit an old burial ground from colonial times along the trail, and you can also get an up close look at a colonial fulling mill. Walks through an herb garden and rowboating excursions on nearby Carr Pond are just some of the other things that you can do when you add the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace to your Exeter travel agenda. While this museum is not open during the colder winter months, the Yawgoo Valley Ski Resort is always there to keep the winter doldrums at bay.
The Yawgoo Valley Ski Resort is often an overlooked Rhode Island attraction, as the state is not exactly known for having quality ski slopes. The Yawgoo Valley Ski Resort might not come close to rivaling the larger ski resorts in places like Colorado, California, or even parts of New England, but it does well to offer visitors a fun skiing or snowboarding experience regardless of the fact. There are four main trails here and two chairlifts to get you to the tops of them. You can work on your tricks at the small terrain park when you're not cruising downhill, and there is also a snowtubing park here that features its own lift so you don't have to lug your inner tube back uphill. The Yawgoo Valley Ski Resort becomes a water park destination in the summer months, and splashing around in the pools and riding the water slides here is among the top summertime things to do in Exeter for families.
While swooshing down small hills and zipping down water slides are fun Exeter travel pursuits, some visitors might prefer to get out in nature for a relaxing walk or something similar. In addition to the trail at the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum, those looking to do a little hiking in and around Exeter Rhode Island can always head to the Fisherville Brook Wildlife Refuge to take to one of its trails. You'll likely spot some small woodland creatures and an array of birds while hiking on the trails here, and you might break at the pond for a little while after crossing the Fisherville Brook Waterfall. Outdoor enthusiasts can also consider adding Arcadia Wildlife Management Area visits to their Exeter travel itineraries. This state management area is the largest in the state, and it boasts white pines, wetlands, ponds, scenic rivers, and more. Fishing for trout, bass, or pickerel in the area's ponds and rivers is something that anglers will surely enjoy, and hikers and mountain bikers will relish in the many trails that are found here.
Ten Rod Road is a main road in the township of Exeter Rhode Island, and if follow west along it towards the Connecticut border, you will eventually see signs for the Beach Pond State Park. This park is best known for its scenic Stepping Stone Falls, which is a series of small waterfalls that can be found along the Wood River's route. The Browning Mill Pond is another recreation area that you can visit when looking for fun things to do in Exeter Rhode Island, and it's close to the Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum, which deserves a look as well. Should you be interested into delving further into Rhode Island history during your Exeter getaway, there are some neat attractions in the area that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These attractions include the Fisherville Historic and Archeological District, which boasts Greek Revival architecture, and the Exeter Baptist Church, which was erected in 1838. Checking out the Mercy Brown gravestone in the church's cemetery is among the more curious things to do in Exeter. Mercy Brown was believed to be a vampire by some Exeter residents, and her body was exhumed in 1892 so that banishing rituals could be performed over it.