The Blackstone Valley (will be called "the valley" or "the region" on this page) is a National Heritage Corridor and National Historical Park located in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The region includes 25 towns and cities in Massachusetts (Auburn, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Leicester, Mendon, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Worcester) and Rhode Island (Burrillville, Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence, Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Providence, Woonsocket).
Now I'm not a historian - but I do know that the valley is the birthplace of the US Industrial Revolution. The first textile mill was opened in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in the late 18th century. Throughout the early 19th century, mill villages popped up throughout the region.
As of 2010, the Blackstone Valley is home to 788,021 residents. A complete town-by-town breakdown is below:
|Town Name||Population (2010)||Population (Est.)*|
* Rhode Island estimates from 2018. Massachusetts estimates from 2020 forecast, created in 2018.
The valley is served by quite a lot of numbered roads, those being: I-90, I-190, I-195, I-290, I-295, I-395, US 1, US 6, US 44 MA 9, MA 12, MA 16, MA 56, MA 96, MA 98, MA 122, MA 122A, MA 140, MA 146, MA 146A, RI 5, RI 7, RI 15, RI 94, RI 96, RI 98, RI 99, RI 100, RI 102, RI 103, RI 103A, RI 104, RI 107, RI 114, RI 114A, RI 116, RI 120, RI 122, RI 123, RI 126, RI 146, RI 146A, RI 246. I will go into further detail on routes 122 and 146 below.
The valley also has three rail stations, Worcester, Grafton, and Providence. An additional station, Pawucket/Central Falls is planned to open in 2022.
Two airports serve the region, those being T.F. Green (PVD / Warwick, RI) and Worcester (ORH / Worcester, MA).
For tourists visiting (not that we get any), route 122 is the best route for local scenery. The road starts in Pawtucket, and goes all the way to Orange, Massachusetts. The road passes through many former mill villages, and is a great way to see what the valley has turned into since the mills closed. Additionally, hop on route 9 in Worcester westward to Leicester to see more.
Route 146 is the expressway connecting Worcester and Providence. It's a highway most of its length. Nothing too interesting. However, this road is the most important asset for the valley's economy. Between 1981 and 2007, the entire 21-mile section in Massachusetts was upgraded to be an expressway, as the Boston suburbs pushed west. Since completion, we have seen population and economic booms throughout.
Even though the valley is known for its history, the region still has amazing recreational opportunities. Throughout the region, there is a partially-completed bike path, the Blackstone River Greenway, which I hope is completed some day.
Numerous state parks and forests are in the region as well. I recommend the following parks.