2017-05-11 / Upcoming Events

Sheep shearing Saturday afternoon

It’s not spring until the sheep are shorn.

Sheep shearers and their trusty scissors will trim Watson Farm’s wooly flock beginning at noon Saturday. The sheep, which have been growing their thick coats through the winter, will lend their coats to crafters and spinners during hands-on demonstrations.

The annual May tradition includes more than just sheep shearing at the seaside farm on North Road. Visitors also will have the opportunity to pet baby lambs, view the herd of red Devon cattle and walk the scenic trails leading to the picturesque West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Children’s games, food trucks and live music complement the annual turn-back-the-clock festival.

The farm was purchased by Job Watson in the late 18th century and a 12-room farmhouse, which stands today, was built on the property — the date 1796 is carved into the stairwell.

The farm persisted through generations of Watsons during the hotel era and the introduction of bridges. Finally, in 1979, Thomas Carr Watson Jr., the original buyer’s great-grandson, bequeathed the 265-acre Watson Farm to Historic New England with the stipulation that it remain a working farm. The following year, the farm undertook extensive revitalization under the management of Don and Heather Minto. To this day, they operate the working farm.

The sheep sheering takes place rain or shine, and visitors should not bring their dogs. Admission is free for Historic New England members. Otherwise, cash admission is $10 per vehicle.

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