Group Tours at Watson Farm (1796)

Experience history, explore the land

Explore this 265-acre property that has a remarkable history of continuous cultivation. For millennia, Indigenous people lived well on Conanicut Island, using controlled burning to clear the land for hunting and growing. European colonizers sought the resulting grasslands for their animals. After 1657, the land was owned by three governors and worked by enslaved people and tenant farmers. In 1789, Job Watson purchased Watson Farm that would be passed down through five generations as a livestock farm.

Today, this 265-acre working farm is managed using innovative, sustainable practices that continue the tradition of pastoral husbandry, raising heritage Red Devon cattle and multi-colored sheep. On a self-guided walking tour, explore the open fields and pastures, see commanding views of Narragansett Bay, stroll along the shore, and observe wildlife and seasonal farming activities. The 1796 house, still used as the farmers’ residence, may be viewed from the exterior only.

455 North Road, Jamestown, R.I.

Hours of Operation:

Specialty Tours

We are happy to work with you to customize your experience.

  • Guided Farm History Tour: This in-depth tour takes you on a hike through the extensive seaside farm. A knowledgeable guide will lead your group from the front lawn past the farmhouse and barns, through the fields and pastures with grazing animals, to the shore and back; please allow two hours for your visit. Learn how the evolution of the farm relates to the local island community and Rhode Island history. Discover stories about the land, people, and natural resources of Narragansett Bay and learn how preserving our historic landscapes positively impacts local food production.

  • Medicinal Plant Tour: Join herbalist Kristin Minto on a 90-minute walking tour to discover which plants can help relieve common ailments and promote well-being. Discover the history of herbal plant use, identification, and medicinal uses. Learn simple techniques for using herbs in your daily life.
  • Farmers Tour: Farm Managers Max Sherman and Hunter Barto give an insider’s view of agriculture on this 265-acre sustainable livestock farm. As they lead a two-hour walk of the farm they will share their knowledge of rotational grazing, heirloom breeds, haying fields, and the deep connections between the historic landscape and progressive farming practices.

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