If you’ve driven on any road you’ve probably stopped at a rest stop or pulled over somewhere to have a bite to eat. Along some of the state highways in Rhode Island there are rest stops that were made during the Great Depression. The CCC ( Civilian Conservation Corps ) used RI people to make rest stops along some of the State Highways. Some of these places were pull-offs, and had picnic tables and a fireplace. I was born in the 1960s and I remember as a kid seeing these rest stops (they call them Picnic Groves around here ) with a fireplace and tables and we’d sometimes go and have lunch there or go there as a place to go. They were usually kept up pretty well, and as a kid they offered fun places to explore.
In the 1980s the state decided to give some of these picnic groves back to the towns and cities as long as they maintained them as open space or a picnic spot, and for years I have watched them disappear. Some have vanished completely and just become woods, others have become memorials where people just pull off and rest a bit.
I’ve been thinking of photographing these places but it’s proven to be a lot more difficult than I originally thought. Some are easy to find others are overgrown and hard to get to and still others are there and when you pull off to go there to maybe make a quick snapshot the police show up ( usually police officers who never even knew these places exist ). It’s a good conversation at least! I’ve talked to locals some know these places, and gave me directions, others never heard of these places ( they were either not from “around here” or were too young to know what was talking about.
A lot of places have different names now, the roads have been straightened out or widened, and these places are hard to find. I’m waiting for a pre super highway map to arrive, maybe it will offer up some clues that my vintage 1980s map doesn’t give me…