Guest Author - Lynn Newcomb Gaziano
I love flying kites and there is no better place in New England for kite flying than Colt State Park in Rhode Island.
The park is opened year round and contains 464 acres of groomed fruit trees, flowering bushes, and manicured lawns, many with rambling old stone walls.
The western side of the park looks out onto Narragansett Bay and has four miles of paved trails that are used for walking, jogging and bicycling. There are many acres of green pastures here and the strong winds off of the ocean makes it an ideal place for kite flying, fishing and other outdoor family activities.
There are six picnic groves available with approximately 300 picnic tables, ten open playfields for baseball, soccer, croquet, badminton and volleyball.
This is an ideal place for family reunions or any event where large numbers of people are gathering for an outdoor cookout or picnic.
There are well cared for public restrooms, a fifty-five foot observation tower, fishing pier, public boat ramp and a chapel where many weddings are held during the warmer months.
The main entrance to Colt State Park is guarded by statues of two Jersey bulls that once grazed in the fields of the farm.
These were Colonel Samuel Coltís prized bulls and he had sent photographs of the bulls to a sculptor in France, who created the bronze statues and shipped them to Bristol. They still stand on their marble pedestals to this day.
Samuel Colt, chairman of the board of the United States Rubber Company, bought and combined three farms in 1905 and designed a system of roads that linked them together as one, creating the Colt Farm.
Colonel Colt felt that the public should be able to share in his enjoyment of the farm. He was known for his charitable efforts around Bristol Rhode Island and he had an open invitation engraved in marble at the main entrance: "Colt Farm, Private Property, Public Welcome"
Colonel Samuel Colt died of a stroke in 1921. The Industrial Trust Company, the bank he had founded, (which later became Fleet Bank), continued the operation of the farm.
Many years of fighting over his will ensued. Colonel Colt left a will that was a complicated document full of rules and special provisions for the farm, and the fighting over it continued to plague the embattled property well into the sixties.
In 1965 the state acquired the property through condemnation for park purposes under the Green Acres Program.
The park has remained very well cared for and is a popular Rhode Island destination for its citizens and tourists alike, to gather and enjoy its remarkable beauty.
In these photos you can see a public restroom. The chapel is nearby in the woods just beyond one of many parking areas. The other photo shows how close the ocean is to the picnic areas.