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May 10, 2014: Boston Globe: Chicken, it’s what’s for dinner at Wright’s Farm

The culinary students were not impressed. But the travel and tourism majors tended to see the bigger picture. I was eating lunch at Wright’s Farm Restaurant with 33 Johnson & Wales University students — and about a thousand other diners. We were having what they were having: family-style chicken. Every year Bob Billington, an adjunct professor at Johnson & Wales who is also president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, takes his Ecotourism students to Wright’s Farm to experience this uniquely northern Rhode Island tradition. The focus of the course is sustainable tourism, he said, noting that the Blackstone Valley is just now emerging from the grave it dug itself into over the last century by destroying its natural resources in the name of industrial progress. And part of sustainable tourism is the effort to preserve cultural traditions. More

The Pawtucket River Bridge will be receiving a Section Award from the Illuminating Engineering Society and will be showcased at their annual Illuminations Awards Banquet at the Marriot Longwarf Hotel on May 22, 2014.

Mondo Arc Article: page 81-83. More

December 6, 2013: AIAri Design Awards Winners - Honor Award Urban Planning/Urban Design Pawtucket River Bridge No. 550 Northeast Collaborative Architects More

October 10, 2013: Boston Globe - Mill Town (Pawtucket) Reinvents Itself as Tourist Destination Download PDF

November 7, 2013: Woonsocket Call - Ghost Army Storms the Stadium Richard D. Fazzio, 88, knows plenty about Woonsocket’s role in World War II after participating in the first wave landings on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. But Fazzio was interested in learning more about Woonsocket’s role in the military deceptions the U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops orchestrated during the fighting in Europe and went to the Stadium Theatre Thursday evening for the Rhode Island premiere of Rick Beyer’s documentary film “The Ghost Army.”  More

November 9, 2013: Go Local - Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Announces Veterans Day Events  In honor of the 95th anniversary of the end of World War I, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council has announced a series of events for the Veterans Day weekend to celebrate the accomplishments, bravery, and sacrifices made by the men and women that have chosen to serve the United States in uniform. More

October 8, 2013: Boston Globe - Pawtucket, R.I., reinvents itself as tourist destination This hard-working town, located near the falls of the Blackstone River and the upper tidewaters of Narragansett Bay, likes to reinvent itself. It was here, some 220 years ago, that the first successful water-powered mill was built, helping spark the American Industrial Revolution and transforming the once quiet, tiny town into a bustling center of commerce. While the city has weathered economic changes over the decades, it remains an active manufacturing center. Many of the older mill buildings have been restored, housing spaces for artists; the Blackstone River has been cleaned up, and the new Pawtucket River Bridge just opened, providing a striking gateway to the city. It’s a great place to gawk at fiery fall foliage as you hike or bike riverside and back-country paths or take a guided cruise down the Blackstone River.  More

Read Providence Journal Story about the Ghost Army RI Movie Premiere

Pawtucket River Bridge Stories: Residents love the new Pawtucket River Bridge Lights blazed overhead, music played, revelers ate and drank, and for a few hours, city residents got a taste of what life down by the river could be like.  The new Pawtucket River Bridge, with a first-of-its-kind lighting system designed by North Providence's Katherine Abernathy and Abernathy Lighting Design, was a huge hit with the people it was meant to please, the residents of Pawtucket.  Valley Breeze | Pawtucket Times | Providence Journal | NBC10

August 27, 2013:  Pawtucket Bridge Lighting Ceremony on September 7. Press Releases | Pawtucket Time Story | Valley Breeze | Providence Journal

June 11, 2013: Providence Journal RI's first urban campground to open Friday night in Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa has never gone camping in his life, but that's about to change this week. On Friday night, Diossa, Fire Chief Robert Bradley and a local Boy Scout troop will join about 30 others for the opening of the state's first urban campground, along the banks of the Blackstone River. The event begins at 6 p.m. and features a community cookout, games and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 p.m. More

Hachiko: A Dog's Tale Statue Unveiling in Woonsocket News

October 11: - Foliage train scheduled for Blackstone Valley
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is hosting its annual Fall Foliage and Shopping Train Excursion Oct. 20 aboard the Providence and Worcester Railroad, which leaves the Woonsocket train depot in Rhode Island at 9 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. The foliage train travels through historic Blackstone River Valley to the many antique shops, restaurants and gift shops in Putnam, Conn., where there will be an arts and crafts fair, music, sidewalk sales, a pumpkin festival, bazaar and luncheon, at the Putnam Congregational Church. The train leaves Putnam at 2:15 and chugs back to Woonsocket by 4:30 p.m.  More

June 7: South County Independent - Celebrate South County
The atmosphere was warm and sunny inside the State House on May 8 as we gathered for the 20th annual “Celebrate South County Day ... and the Rest of the State!” officially kicking off National Tourism Week. The South County Tourism Council has hosted the event annually, showcasing the power of travel, and bringing recognition to the benefits of tourism as it enhances the economy and perception of our state.  More

May 20: Touring Rhode Island with Family Guy Eyes
The animated sitcom “Family Guy” has achieved success managing to make fun of American pop culture through random cutaways. Its most frequent references pay homage to the unique attractions of the Ocean State. The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council has created an entertaining, self-guided tour in honor of the program; Danny Smith, executive producer and Rhode Island resident; and Seth McFarlane, creator and former Rhode Island School of Design student. There are 25 sites to be seen and although “Family Guy” may not always be appropriate for families, this tour has plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages. Here are several of the sites that play a prominent role in the show and in the culture of the country’s smallest state. More | USA Today

May 21: Family Affairs - Sun Chronicle
Eighty or so years on, all-you-can-eat chicken dinners remain an extraordinarily popular way to feed a crowd in northern RI - and Mass. Northern Rhode Island has no beach, no sports arena, and no white-knuckle roller coasters, but that hardly means the region is bereft of tourists. They come by the busload, weekend after weekend, to partake in a gustatory indulgence found nowhere else in the world, a poultry feast Ocean Staters call "family-style chicken." "On a Saturday we'll serve about 4,000 people," says Frank Galleshaw III, CEO of Wright's Farm, a sprawling establishment in rustic Burrillville. "We serve two entrees, chicken and a 12-ounce steak, and we serve only about 50 steaks a year."  More

May 5: Johnston Bar a Stop on the Family Guy Tour - Johnston Patch
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is hosting a tour of locations parodied in the Fox television show — including the Drunken Clam in Johnston. More

May 7: Explorer Receives Grant to Provide Disability Access
The Riverboat Explorer has received a grant from the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities to upgrade access to the riverboat. The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council recognizes "People First"; that individuals with disabilities are - first and foremost - people. All are welcome on board the riverboat Explorer!

April 3: Valley Breeze - With agreements in place, Visitor Center expected to reopen shortly 
The Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, the Main Street tourist hub that was shut down in January as a money-saving measure, is expected to reopen to the public under a new funding plan within the next few days, according to city officials. Ongoing installation of a new floor, complete with an upgraded map depicting famous landmarks in the Blackstone Valley, was due to conclude by the end of the week, according to Mayor Don Grebien's administration.  More

February 27, 2012: Struggling Rhode Island city seeks to revitalize itself by selling historical chocolate bar  Mike Ritz is trying to help save Central Falls — one chocolate bar at a time. While Central Falls is often called a “failed city” that was taken over by the state and later filed for bankruptcy, a new project is highlighting a very different story: its history as a chocolate manufacturer during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. More

View Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame News  More

November 16, 2011: Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Coming Soon (WPRI-TV) -
Inductees will be announced this spring - Rhode Island is getting its own Music Hall of Fame. The non-profit corporation will honor the legacy of musicians, educators and industry professionals who've made significant contributions to the national and local music scene. The Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket donated space inside its Main St. building to display awards and memorabilia. More

October 25: Woonsocket Patch - 5 Things You Need to Know Today - Hug Some Trees with Largesse (Backyard Tour Nov. 5)
Nationally known arborist, local celebrity and self-styled ‘voice of the forest,’ Matt “Twig” Largesse of Jamestown will lead a daylong “expedition” of some of Rhode Island’s most magnificent trees and Old Growth forests on Saturday, Nov. 5, as part of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council’s “Tour Your Own Backyard” excursion series. More

September 8: Providence Journal - Pawtucket's Super Sendoff
The event that put Pawtucket on the cultural map, the annual Pawtucket Arts Festival, is back this weekend with a swirl of live music, street painting, dragon boats and enough food to fill McCoy Stadium. After a couple of days of miscellaneous happenings, the three-week festival officially gets under way Friday evening with a downtown gala offering live music on the banks of the Blackstone, and an all-you-can-eat blowout in the parking lot of the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue. More

August 27: World Fishing Network
Fishing in the Blackstone River - Love Your Lake - Blackstone River Project Video | My Town - Woonsocket Video

August 10: Providence Journal - Food Notes: Wright's Farm Honored as Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has named Wright’s Dairy Farm of North Smithfield as 2011 Outstanding Dairy Farm of the Year by the Rhode Island Green Pastures Committee. The winning dairy farmers from each New England state will be honored at an awards banquet in September at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. Wright’s Dairy is a fifth-generation family farm; 10 immediate family members are involved in the day-to-day operations. More

August 7 - Rhode Island Could Get National Park Designation - Providence Journal
Put Cumberland’s busy Mendon Road commercial strip in the rear-view mirror, turn onto Store Hill Road and suddenly, at the bottom of a hill, a small village of red-brick buildings emerges, quietly existing as if outside of time. Walk along a footbridge over the Blackstone River, whose waters used to offer only a bounty of discarded tires, dumped cars and textile-factory chemical bubbles, and in a space of feet you cross into Lincoln.  More

July 31, 2011 - Edward Fitzpatrick: Creating a new National Park in Blackstone River Valley - Providence Journal
As far as I can tell, the Blackstone River Valley doesn’t contain a single geyser, bighorn sheep or giant sequoia. But it’s still worth making parts of the valley into a national park. Now, we’re not talking about a national park like Yosemite, Yellowstone or Acadia. We’re talking about a national historical park such as the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park or the Adams National Historical Park, in Quincy, Mass., which includes the birthplaces of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Most of the 45 national historical parks aren’t “parks” in the traditional sense of wide-open green spaces. Rather, they’re urban areas containing historically significant buildings. More

July 28: Grab and Go, Fun in the Sun
Citizens Bank free public tours on the Blackstone River  More

July 26: Woonsocket Patch - Kid-Friendly Fun: Adventure Packs And River's Edge
Take advantage of time with your kids and get out and enjoy these hot spots. Your Patch Passport gives you options for great local spots for kid-friendly fun. More

July 18: The Times - RIPTA Unveils Trolley Hybrids  More

IN PAWTUCKET - Ceremony will be held on Thursday, July 14th at 9:00am

at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center  
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) announced today that there will be a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island at 9:00 am on Thursday, July 14, 2011. RIPTA, alongside City of Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and other city representatives, will be celebrating the arrival of two new classic hybrid trolleys in Pawtucket. The hybrid trolleys will service Route 73 (Fairlawn/CCRI) and Route 80 (Armistice Blvd.). More

May 25, 2011: Valley Breeze
Take a river tour aboard the Blackstone Valley Explorer
Come out to experience the hidden heritage and natural wonders abounding along the Blackstone River, as the 49 passenger riverboat Blackstone Valley Explorer operates for the 2011 season More

May 13, 2011 - Providence Journal
Fun Things to Do this Weekend (May 14, 15) - Bike Tours

Take a slow ride through parts of the Blackstone Valley on the first Behind the Scenes Leisurely Bicycle Tours, led by Blackstone Valley Tourism Council head Bob Billington. A typical tour covers about 13 miles, takes three hours and includes stops at historic sites and savory spots (think Portuguese pastries and Polish pierogi). Tours, $20, begin this Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, leaving from the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center in Pawtucket. For reservations or more info, call (401) 724-2200 or visit More

May 11, 2011 - Providence Journal
Slow Ride - Take it Easy with These Bicycle Tours (Providence Journal)

Bob Billington’s bike tours don’t attract a lot of people in Spandex. A typical tour covers about 13 miles, but it takes three hours. “We do more talking than riding,” says Billington, executive director of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and leader of Behind the Scenes Leisurely Bicycle Tours, scheduled to start Saturday, May 14. Two rides a month are scheduled through Oct. 22. More

May 11, 2011 - Attleboro Sun Chronicle
Family Affair
Tour winds past 12 Rhode Island locales made famous by irreverent, animated television show
Throughout Rhode Island, mention Seth MacFarlane or the hit TV show "Family Guy," and there is likely to be some sort of connection. Last Saturday, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council hosted a "Family Guy Tour" (one of seven the council conducted as part of its "No Place Like Home" promotion), and brought about 30 fans of the animated Fox hit to iconic spots mentioned or seen in the show. Among them: Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, the big blue bug (a.k.a. Nibbles Woodaway) above New England Pest Control along Interstate 95, and Wes' Rib House, Spooner Street and Waterplace Park in Providence. More

April 6, 2011 - Sun Chronicle - New England's Sistine Chapel
St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center boasts the largest fresco collection in North America
Walk through the doors of the former St. Ann Church and you might feel as though you've traveled through time and space.  More
| AAA Website

April 3, 2011 - Providence Journal
“Family Guy” tour among Blackstone Valley’s spring bus tours of hidden R.I. gems

Bob Billington wants everyone to see the Blackstone Valley, from Chepachet Farms in Glocester to the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Billington heads the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, which is sponsoring six different bus tours this spring, plus one wild card –– a statewide tour inspired by the animated TV show “Family Guy,” which is set in the mythical town of Quahog, R.I. In years past, the Blackstone Valley tours were part of a statewide effort called Tour RI, which started eight years ago and included more than 20 tours, with participation from tourism organizations in Providence, Warwick, Newport and South County. More

2011 RiverClassroom Programs Aboard the Blackstone Valley Explorer Begin in May City of Pawtucket Community Block Grant Scholarships Available for all Pawtucket Schools  The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council announces that reservations for the popular education RiverClassroom programs aboard the Blackstone Valley Explorer are now being accepted. Programs aboard the Explorer will begin in May. More

March 3, 2011 - Boston Globe
Blackstone Valley plans St. Patrick’s Day events
To many who know Rhode Island, it may seem its ethnicity is heavily Italian; the 2000 US Census showed that 19 percent of the state’s population boasts that lineage. But the state’s Irish ancestry is even more evident: According to the Blackstone River Valley Tourism Council, 23 percent of the state’s 1 million residents claims Irish ancestry. More

January 26, 2011 - The Times
Cherry Tree Running Festival invades Pawtucket on May 21
It may not be the Running Capital of Rhode Island, but Pawtucket is sure going to seem that way in the coming months. Just a couple of months after an expected 3,000 participants invade the historic city for the inaugural Irish 5K on March 5, throngs of runners and walkers are predicted to be back on the downtown streets for another first-time event, the Cherry Tree Running Festival on May 21.  More

January 24, 2011 - Providence Journal
New Cherry Tree race series coming to Pawtucket this spring

What started out as a modest 5K last year in Central Falls and Pawtucket is expanding into a full race series. Event organizers announced at a press conference this morning at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center that the Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival will serve as the host of three races on May 21 - the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon, the Cherry Tree 5K and the Cherry Blossom Youth 1K. More

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Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, On the banks of the Blackstone, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island  02860 
1-800-454-BVTC (2882)  Local: 401-724-2200 Fax: 401-724-1342