3 Days in Block Island
Three Days in Block Island
Block Island is an island 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It is a huge tourist destination in the summer. Travelers come to the island by private boat, small plane, or more commonly the ferry services which leave from various locations.
Tourism on Block Island has boomed over the years, with an increasing amount of new visitors and travelers bringing tons of new energy to the Island. It is a great place to travel for a vacation with the family and the kids, a trip with friends, or even a great relaxing solo experience. The summer months are busy and bustling, so any reservations should be made as far in advance as possible (ferries, hotels, house rentals, etc.).
This day will begin on Water St. and stay close to this location all day.
Morning: Mornings are the best time to enjoy physical activities and be outdoors in the sun before the summer heat takes effect. The journey will start today with renting a moped hourly or for a half day. Water Street, the main road across from the ferry dock has many moped rental venues including The Moped Man, and Aldo’s Rentals. ‘’Remember’’ most rental places require the driver to be 21 and have a valid form of identification. Leave Water Street and head toward the Northern Light which is about 4 miles away (there is no exact location of the lighthouse but the locals here are friendly so ask around the best way to get there). On the way stop at 130 Weldon Way which, the site of the famous Aldo’s Bakery( http://www.aldosbakery.com/ ), known for their breakfast delivery by boat. A traditional pancake or egg breakfast will cost you about $7 dollars, or try something from the bakery which they are known for. After exploring the lighthouse return the moped back to Water Street.
Afternoon: Leaving the moped rental shop, take the short walk to Ballards Beach (http://www.ballardsinn.com/about/ ) also located on Water St. next to the ferry dock. This is a great beach for tanning, swimming and playing volleyball and they even have waitresses to deliver drinks to your towel. Talk about relaxing. Try a frozen cocktail and dance to the music on the patio. You don’t have to leave Ballard’s or lunch, they have a popular restaraunt on site. The menu is mostly seafood. ‘’Remember’’ this is one of the rowdier beaches and may not be the best place for young kids
Night: Across from Ballard’s on Water St. is the National Hotel which is a great dinner location. The National serves mostly seafood and steaks and an entree will cost around $25 per person. You can look out on the ocean and people watch from the deck or enjoy a more formal dining experience from the inside. ‘’Remember’’ Block Island is busy on weekend nights so reservations are recommended.After dinner take the short walk to Corner Neck Road and head to McGovern’s Yellow Kitten Bar (http://www.mcgovernsyellowkittens.com/). Here you will find a great way to finish off your night with live entertainment, dancing, billiards, and drinks.
Sights and Sounds
Morning: The mornings in Block Island tend to stay nice and cool in the summer which provides an opportunity to get out and see the island's beautiful scenery without getting too hot. With over 30 miles in hiking trails throughout the island, many visitors and locals alike find themselves walking along the scenic paths that cut through nearly the entire island. The day will begin with a trip to the 1661 Inn for breakfast. Known for its breathtaking views fantastic breakfast, this is a great spot and only a short distance from the events planned for the rest of the day. You can expect to spend anywhere between $10 and $25 for your breakfast depending on how fancy you choose to get (a-la prime steak and eggs). After finishing breakfast you can head North on Spring St. towards Corn Neck Road, where you can find multiple hiking trails. There are two great trails that you could enjoy equally, but don't feel limited to only these choices as there are many more trails throughout the island! The first is Clayhead Trail – a fantastic trail because of its diverse options by choosing your route at a fork that will lead you to either the beach or you can also walk along what is referred to as “the maze” - an unmapped system of small trails that travel along the island's bluffs. To get there you will travel up Corn Neck Road about 2.6 miles until you come to post marker on the right-hand side. Turn right onto a dirt road and go straight about .3 miles until you reach a parking area where you will see the Clay Head Sign. The second is the Hodge Family Preserve – known for its great meadows and bird species that visit throughout the year this trail also boasts what some would call the best views on the northwestern side of the island. To get there you will travel north on Corn Neck Road 2.9 miles; on your left you will see a sign and parking area for the Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve.
Afternoon: Likely ready for lunch, there is a great farmer's market that operates on Saturdays where you could buy both fresh ingredients and prepared foods to eat. After returning back from your hike off Corn Neck Road you can begin to head south to get back towards town. You can take a right on to Beach Avenue and continue down the road until you reach Ocean Avenue on your left. Follow Ocean about halfway down and you will come onto the Block Island farmer's market – which operates only on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:30 so make sure you start your day early enough to get there in time! Filled with great locally produced goods such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked goods, crafts, shellfish and the added ambiance of frequent live musicians. The farmer's market only operates between June 11th and Columbus day, so if your trip falls outside of these dates you can grab lunch at one of two great places to eat only a short distance from where the farmer's market is located. Both Mohegan Cafe (213 Water Street) and Atlantic Inn (359 High Street) are great options for a classic but tasty lunch. You can expect to spend between $10 and $25. Again, don't feel limited as these are only recommendations that are in close proximity!
Night: As the day turns to night the island begins to come alive with live music and activities in every which direction. Likely ready for dinner you can choose to make your own with fresh ingredients that you collected at the farmer's market earlier or head into town to grab some food. Hotel Manisses is a great choice for a fantastic – albeit a little pricy – dinner. At the Manisses you can expect to spend anywhere between $15 and $30 for your average dinner. You can also choose to head into Captain Nick's Rock and Roll Bar and grab something a little cheaper and quick ($10 to $20 range). Captain Nick's is also a great place to end up on a Saturday night in Block Island. Often boasting live music on Saturdays throughout the summer Captain Nick's draws people, bands, and their fans from all over to add to the bar's already terrific ambiance. Live bands can range from blues to rock to electronica so it's always best to check the schedule at (www.captainnicks.com) to make sure you'd be interested in the act!
A Relaxing Day
Morning: Brunch is a great way to start off the day, and who doesn’t love a great view with their food? The Spring House (http://www.springhousehotel.com/) would be a great place to go. It sits atop a large open hill (52 Spring Street) overlooking the ocean (you can see it from the ferry located on the left end of the Island) and the harbor as well as parts of town. The Veranda Cafe, which is what they call the outdoor porch section of their dining facilities, is complete with beautiful white patio furniture/seating and an outdoor bar. ‘’The Spring House’’ does not offer a specific brunch menu, but their Veranda Cafe is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Depending on what you are in the mood for, accommodations are easily made. They have eggs made all kinds of way, fresh fruit and bread, or any kind of side you could want. From personal experience, I have not had something that wasn’t 100% enjoyable. They even try to solely use their own grown food and vegetables in the gardens located behind the hotel- you can’t beat that. The staff, who ranges from foreign young adults looking for a new experience, teens with a great attitude or some locals who have been around to see it all, you never know who you are going to meet. The overall atmosphere is perfect! Once you are done with dinner, you can take a walk around the property, go down the street to the farm located at the Atlantic Inn, walk into town (which is just down the road) or simply relax at the bar.
Afternoon: Especially in the summer, everyone wants to be doing something relating to the beach and the ocean. If you want an activity that combines the beach and scenery with no money involved, then head over to the ‘’Mohegan Bluffs’’. The bluffs, as locals call it, which is also located right next to the Southeast Lighthouse, and which has sadly suffered from a hurricane about a decade back, are still as beautiful as ever. As you walk down the extremely long staircase, so be prepared for a workout on the way up (and even though every time I go down them I attempt to count, I would guess around 130 steps) you are hit with a breathtaking view. Most people will stop and take a few pictures, so expect traffic delays on the stairs. The bluffs offer a small beach (that is decently smaller and a bit more rocky than it was pre-hurricane) with some of the larger waves for those interested in surfing, and for the people who know where to go, a natural mud bath. It’s nothing too special, but it’s worth a visit. Once you have made the journey down the stairs, start walking towards your left (the beach is to the right). You will soon see a small flow of water coming down from the cliffs, and if its muddy or clay-looking, stop there! Look on your left and you can see that its almost like a cut out or indent in the cliffs, so start climbing (its not dangerous or hard at all, you will most likely see people there about 15 feet up.) It is amazing that after the hurricane that this was not completely destroyed, but it is definitely smaller than it used to be. Now what do you do? Get dirty- literally, just rub the mud all over, face included (it’s great for you skin), let it dry, and then run into the ocean. I usually will spend a decent amount of my day there, and it’s my favorite beach on the island. Lack of facilities may deter many families with children, but if you plan accordingly, a visit to the bluffs is a must.
Night: One of the most classic places on Block Island to eat is ‘’The Oar’’. The name may seem dull and predictable, but you have to see it for yourself. Inside The Oar, which has now expanded to having an outdoor eating area and bar, is a typical casual block island eatery with great seafood caught by local fisherman and a menu that has something for everyone. The restaurant is located on the edge of the Great Salt Pond, and what makes it so interesting is that the ceiling on the inside is cover in oars. Now they are not just plain oars, but they are ones that have been made by locals, visitors, travelers, and many more, and then given to the restaurant to be hung somewhere on the walls. It is located right on the docks and has a grassy field area below the deck, so it’s a great place for children to run about while waiting to be seated or just enjoying a drink outside. They do not take reservations, and dinner time usually gets pretty busy so plan accordingly. They have recently “buffed” up their menu to include such things as grilled swordfish, sirloin, and fried chicken flesh out the old roster of nachos, lobster rolls, and calamari.