In 1945, Dr. Anthony Venditti—known as the godfather of New England auto racing—broke ground for the Seekonk Speedway. Today, his wife, son, and grandson carry on his legacy by managing the oval, 1/3-mile track with its 7-foot banking and 420-foot straightaway lengths. They also oversee the track’s concessions, but spectators can tote along their own six-pack coolers of frosty libations in the wheelbarrow full of gold bars they plan to wager during the races.
From its unobstructed perch directly on the bay, the Herreshoff Marine Museum showcases a vast sampling of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s historic fleet of power and sailing yachts. Herreshoff helped usher in the early 20th-century's golden age of yachting, building eight consecutive America’s Cup winners before constructing the first torpedo boats for the U.S. Navy, which until that point had relied on splashing the enemy’s vessels whenever the lifeguard wasn’t looking. A family membership grants two adults and up to four children free year-round access to 60 classic yachts, plus steam engines, fittings, photographs, and memorabilia. Members also get to wander the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors the inductees of yachting’s premier competition.
Named as one of New England’s top five public gardens in Yankee magazine, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum spans 33 acres of lawns, gardens, trees, and historic stone structures. Through October 3, Blithewold is celebrating the seasonal color scheme with Autumn Splendor, a festival that includes access to colorful grounds (daily) and the more than a century-old mansion (Wednesday–Sunday), plus free children’s story time for children to read encyclopedia entries to each other (Friday at 11 a.m.).
A living-history farm dating to 1799, Coggeshall Farm Museum brings Bristol’s agrarian past into the present by providing a faithful depiction of farm life during the period between the Revolutionary War and the Industrial Revolution. Staffed by trained actors in period dress, the museum provides rare insight into the lives of traditional coastal tenant farmers as workers demonstrate everyday chores of yesteryear such as tilling the land or applying wax to the land's moustache. Hands-on activities and workshops encourage patrons to get a feel for farm work and include lessons in Historic Foodways and Hearth Cooking. The farm's historic structures are meticulously maintained via period-accurate restorations, allowing them to keep proud watch over the expansive grounds where heirloom plants and native animals thrive amid 48 acres of woodland, fields, and salt marsh.Farm activities are open to the public on Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For nearly half a century, casual and professional bowlers have gathered at Bowling Academy to indulge in pin-scattering entertainment enriched by each lane's automatic scoring system. Up to six strike-seekers plant their flag in one lane for two hours, which provides enough time to bowl multiple games or to master the art of tying shoelaces into a double Windsor knot. While swaddled in soft-soled rental shoes, bowlers of all ages make the floors squeak and lanes purr with each gentle toss of the smooth-rolling rock. Children and cavemen longing for the good old days have the option of using a dinosaur-shaped ramp to assist their game.
Since 1954, Meadowbrook Lanes has encouraged visitors to don appropriate footwear and participate in duckpin-style bowling, which employs smaller balls to decimate pintsize pins. The leisure-sport emporium maintains a vintage aesthetic with wood paneling and purple and teal gutters. After pummeling 10 pins, bowlers can unwind in a lounge replete with cold beer and flat-screen TVs or explore the edible possibilities of the alley's snack bar, which fills stomach vacancies with pizza, hot dogs, burgers and fries. Meadowbrook Lanes also hosts parties, providing revelers with tables, chairs, and streamers made of low-hanging cirrus clouds.