Rediscover the

Blackstone Valley



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Holiday Traditions: Food -

Cookies for Santa and Other Treats



Food plays an important role in some Holiday traditions from baking cookies to leave out for Santa at Christmas, to making Latkes for the Hanukkah celebration. Perhaps you make tamales or Bûche De Noël (Yule log) in your home.


Most of our food traditions at the holidays were probably brought over with Immigrants that settled in New England to work in our factories including the Blackstone Valley.


Making a La Buche De Noel is a holiday tradition of the French, Scandinavians and the Swiss.  The Buche is a Christmas dessert. Made in the shape of a log, it represents the Yule Log that goes back to medieval times. The pagans would burn the log to bring comfort in winter and symbolize the return of daylight (see last week’s blog). When fireplaces were replaced by wood stoves the Yule log lost its prominence and was eventually replaced by a dessert especially popular in France, Canada and Britain. It is traditionally a family-time experience to make La Buche De Noel; but if time is of essence, this dessert can be purchased in some of our local bakeries including Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery, North Smithfield and Ivy and Lace Bakeshop, Greenville. Hmm! We’ll have to try one this year.


Here are a few restaurants offering Holiday menus:  


·     Savini’s Pomodoro, Woonsocket - Catering for Christmas Eve and Christmas orders must be placed by Sunday, December 20 and picked up Thursday.

·     Andrew’s Bistro, Cumberland, is offering a La Vigilia Christmas Eve Dinner the Annual Feast of the Seven Fishes 

·     Make Chicken Family Style a Holiday tradition at Wright’s Farm in Harrisville - Order Curbside take-out and visit their extensive gift shop while you wait.

·     GottaQ BBQ in Cumberland offers some great smoked meals for the holidays for pick-up on December 24.


Read On





·     December 19 through January 3 - Discover Rhode Island History Challenge-Holiday Traditions, a virtual event with Rhode Island Historical Society/Museum of Work & Culture, Woonsocket. More Info.


·     Through January 2nd - Home for the Holidays, an Online Watercolor Exhibit, Rhode Island Water Color Society, Pawtucket More Info


·     Saturday, December 19 @ 1:00 -5:00 pm - Gallery Night - Blackstone Herbs & Coffee Bar3 Dexter Street, Cumberland. More Info


·     Saturday, December 19 @ 8:00 pm- Cherish The Ladies, Christmas in Ireland Livestream Event with Blackstone River Theatre, Cumberland More Info.


·     Monday, December 21 @ 7:00 pm - Culture Shock Virtual Music & Art Festival PawtucketMore Info.


·     Saturday, December 26 @ 8:00 pm - James Montgomery, Chans, 267 Main Street, Woonsocket. More Info.


·     Sunday December 27 @ 1:00 - 5:00 pm - Old-Fashioned Christmas Self-Guided Tours - Hearthside House, 677 Great Road, Lincoln. More Info

Looking Ahead

·     Thursday, December 31 @ 8:00 pm - Ring in the New Year with a Virtual New Year's Eve Dance Concert - Metamorphosis Dance Company & Ten31 Studios, Pawtucket 


More Events




At Home with Family

The Holidays is a great time with the family, and with family gathering at home more often, we would like to share a few opportunities for things to do with your kids.


Of course, with snow comes lots of fun things to do inside.


Plan ahead and check out the local libraries and other places for DIY crafts to check out or take home. Here are just a few in the valley that are offering some DIY crafts for adults, kids and families:


·     Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville has DIY mini gift bags, teen DIY holiday card kits and scratch ornament kits and be sure to check out the virtual escape room. See who can get through 2020 first. More Info.


·     Greenville Public Library offers virtual programs and a craft program on December 22nd. More Info.


·     Cumberland Public Library is offering a Movie Kit Madness in addition to crafty kids kits and book ornament kits for adults. More Info.


In addition, the Empowerment Factoryin Pawtucket presents 12 Days of Wishmas with opportunities for adults and kids to get involved with their community as well as creative opportunities.


Of course, with the recent snowfall, why not get outdoors and build a snowman, take a walk in the winter wonderland or find a safe place for some sledding with the kids.

Try winter birding, The Christmas bird count runs from mid-December until early January. Learn about the Christmas bird count.


Photo courtesy AJ Coleette


100 Ways to Buy Local

If you are looking for more ways to shop local this holiday season, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council has partnered with the Providence & Warwick Convention Bureau, RI Foundation and the other regional tourism council to compile a list of 100 ways to buy local.


Here in the Blackstone Valley and in Rhode Island our restaurants, retail shops and attractions need our support more than ever. We have shared a few places and you will find more by visiting buylocalri.


Below we are listing a few other shopping deals and online places to visit.


·     Wright's Farm gift shop in Harrisville is offering Exclusive VIP Holiday Shopping by appointment through December 22nd. You may also visit the shop during regular restaurant take-out hours. You can order a meal and while you wait do some shopping. Thursday & Friday from 4:00-7:00 pm or Saturday & Sunday from 12:00-7:00 pm.


·     With the newly fallen snow on the ground, maybe you are thinking of someone who likes winter sports. Did you know we had a ski shop in the Blackstone Valley? The Ski Shop Plus, a family-owned business, is located off 146 North in North Smithfield. They have skis, snowboards, and winter clothing for everyone in the family. They also rent and offer seasonal leases on equipment.


·     If you've been to our Christmastime Marketplace in Central Falls and were in awe of the wonderful decorations, you can visit our friends over at Vose True Value an independently and locally-owned True Value in Woonsocket. They have craft supplies or maybe some birdseed for the bird lovers on your holiday list. Better yet stop by our marketplace and see some of the wares along with specialty gifts from St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center, one of shop vendors.


·     You may also want to gift an experience by purchasing a gift membership or certificate from one of many attractions or restaurants.




Visit our Holiday Page


Give back this season with a purchase of locally made blankets from Northwest Woolen Mills! All proceeds benefit Blackstone Valley educational programs. 

Purchase an extra blanket, and we will donate it to a veteran in need.


FEMA is close to finalizing a request for the Pentagon to assign service members to support vaccination efforts across the country. The agency is calling for roughly 10-thousand service members to be deployed to more than 100 sites nationwide to help administer the shots. The Defense Department is also reportedly weighing options to assist President Biden's plan to vaccinate as many as one-point-five-million people within the coming months.        Weekly initial jobless claims are falling slightly. In today's report, the Labor Department says 847-thousand claims were filed last week, which is lower than the 875-thousand that economists had previously predicted. Despite the drop, some analysts say there are still 10 million jobs missing from the economy and people need help.        Former President Trump is expected to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Florida today. The exact details of their meeting are unclear, but they will likely discuss the Senate's upcoming impeachment trial. This marks the first time the two have met since McCarthy said Trump "bears responsibility" for the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, however he has voted against impeachment.        Many parts of the U.S. are bracing for more rain and snow as a result of several winter storms that are sweeping across the country. The National Weather Service says there is potential for arctic air and strong winds to impact much of the Eastern U.S. this weekend and into early next week, with wind chill values dropping as low as 10 degrees colder in some areas. The Central California coast could also see as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain from Monterey to Santa Barbara over the next three days.       A group of investors on social media are getting rich by driving up the stock of GameStop. Stock in the game store chain has skyrocketed over ten-thousand percent in the last month, thanks to a group of investors on Reddit called WallStreetBets. Ameritrade is now limiting share trading on GameStop, and Nasdaq says it will halt trading on stocks it thinks are being manipulated by social media.        A group of stranded motorists in Oregon are vaccinated against the coronavirus after being in the right place at the right time. The Josephine County Health Department says several healthcare workers were on their way back from a mass vaccination clinic this week when they got stranded in a snowstorm. They had six doses of the vaccine that were facing expiration, so they went car-to-car along the highway offering the shots to the other motorists.        ### Jeff Dwyer/jm