Dianne Mailloux, coordinator for the Blackstone River Valley Explorer, has stories about running the "quite lovely" waterway tours for the last three years.
There's the time someone won a tour during a fundraiser and invited the entire Central Falls Library staff on a Zombie Booze Cruise, with makeup artists preparing each partier in the appropriate look. "That was a fun adventure," Mailloux said.
Then there was the time they were participating in a river cleanup and two worn out kayakers couldn't fight the current to get back to shore. Mailloux and the Explorer fished them out of the water and got them safely back.
But Zombies and impromptu rescues aren't required to enjoy yourself during an explorer tour, Mailloux said. The tour explores the secluded Lonsdale Marsh, a RI habitat restoration project, now a haven for swallows, blue heron, swans and geese. "It's like you enter a wilderness," Mailloux said, "It's really quite lovely."
The program celebrates its 20th year this season.
Public tours, with a guide explaining the ecology of the river and surrounding wetlands interspersed with stories about the people and history of the region. are every Sunday through October. The tours leave from Central Falls Landing, about a 20 minute drive from either Smithfield or Woonsocket, at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.:
- Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
- Oct. 6, 13, 20
Most Sundays the cost is $10 per person, $8 for seniors and children. Tickets are available at the site, or online. The last Sunday of each month is free.