Before World War I, an influx of French Canadians immigrated from Quebec to Woonsocket to work in the textile factories. Over the years, they developed their own culture. Today, the town maintains a French-Canadian influence, most noticeable of which is a modified French language spoken among the residents.
The story of the wool factories and the plight of the French Canadians is well documented in the Museum of Work & Culture. This excellent facility uses exhibits and hands-on demonstrations to teach visitors regional history and what it was like to live and work in this blue-collar town.
Restored to its 1926 elegance, the Stadium Theater is the site of live entertainment in Woonsocket. Not only do the plays and concerts thrill an audience, the building itself is enchanting with intricate designs and beautiful woodwork.
Economically speaking, Woonsocket is a depressed town. But, it is crispy clean with a spirited lifestyle. It's perky nature stems from its connection to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, a 40,000-acre park stretching from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI.
Access to the river opens up a wide range of recreational opportunities. River fishing is a great pastime here for young and old alike. Walking, jogging and cycling along the river path provides a relaxing reprieve from the comings and goings of the town.
Canoeing and kayaking is also quite popular. Exploring the ins and outs of the river from one town to the next and observing the wildlife through a wide range of ecosystems is a pleasurable way to spend a lazy summer afternoon. In winter, the river freezes over and laughter emanates from it as children don skates and race back and forth between its banks.
Another wonderful way to enjoy a quiet interlude with nature is to meander through the peaceful trails in River Island Park in the heart of the city.
Woonsocket, an oddly appealing mill town, is located in the northeastern section of Rhode Island near the Massachusetts border.