Visiting Block Island, Rhode Island
Whether you live here in southern New England or are just visiting the area, a trip out to Block Island makes for a fun and adventurous day. I have lived in New England pretty much all of my life, but it wasn't until the summer of 2011 that I finally made the trip to Block Island. I guess it’s one of those things that when you live here you assume you can go at anytime, and then you just never get around to doing it. Now that I've been, I can't wait to go back.
A Few Facts
For those of you not familiar with Block Island, it’s a small island, about ten square miles, located approximately thirteen miles off the coast of Rhode Island. There are only about 1,000 year round residents, however, the population triples during the summer months when visitors flock to the island.
There is a small airport on the island, but most visitors come via the ferry system from either Point Judith, RI, New London, CT or Montauk, NY. The island is also popular with boaters in the area, and during the summer months the marinas and harbor are dotted with private boats of all shapes and sizes.
If you are traveling here from the coast of Rhode Island, then Point Judith will be your point of departure. The Block Island Ferry from Point Judith is the only location that offers year round service and is also the only location that has Ferry’s capable of transporting vehicles. If you want to take your car please note that a reservation is required. For passengers only, a reservation is not needed.
A popular pastime on Block Island is bike riding so many people opt to take their bikes on the ferry. This basically solves the problem of how to get around the island once you get there. If you don’t bring your car or bicycle you can rent a bike or moped on the island or opt to walk the area around the ferry landing.
Block Island Ferry Schedule:
- Block Island Ferry
For information, schedules and on-line tickets.
What to See
Once on the island, there are a multitude of things to do depending on your interests. The island is famous for its seventeen miles of beautiful beaches and its spectacular bluffs. Crescent beach is the most popular of the islands beaches and it's within walking distance of the ferry landing.
To explore some of the outer beaches will require a bicycle or moped. The island has two historic Lighthouses that date back to the 1800s; the North Lighthouse Station and the Southeast Lighthouse Station. Both are open to the public and have tours available.
Block Island is also famous for its bluffs and the most famous of these is the Mohegan bluffs. The Mohegan bluffs provide one of Block Islands most spectacular vistas and should be a must see on any visit. A 25 minute walk or 10-15 minute bike ride up Spring Street from town takes you to this sweeping view on the south end of the island that is spectacular. Just before you get to the bluffs you'll see the Southeast Lighthouse so stop in for a visit.
What to Do
Besides touring the island, there are a variety of other things that you can do while here. Boating is a popular past time on the island and many sailors and boaters make their way here during the summer.
For a really adventurous afternoon stop by Block Island Para-sail and have them give you a bird’s eye view of the island. For a more grounded activity you can head out on a rented bicycle or moped to do some bird watching or rent a kayak and paddle around the harbor area.
For art lovers there are numerous art galleries on the island and if the movies are your thing stop by the Empire Theatre for a show. And if all you want to do is kick back and hit the beach then head to any of the seventeen miles of beautiful beaches that surround the island.
Pretty much any outdoor activity can be had on Block Island except golf as there are no courses. You can sunbathe, kayak, bike, hike, walk, run, explore, play tennis and of course eat to your hearts content.
When it’s time to shop, rest assured that Block Island has a vast array of specialty shops to satisfy even the most seasoned shopper. You can find everything here including clothing, jewelry, artwork, books and assorted unique gifts to bring home with you.
And when it’s time to eat, check out any of the islands numerous restaurants where you’ll find anything from a great burger to fresh locally caught seafood. We dined at The Oar Restaurant which is located on the inner harbor and has great views of the water and marina.
The area around the ferry landing has an abundance of shops, restaurants and Inns should you decide to just relax in New Shoreham. To spend the night on Block Island, check out any of the quaint inns or hotels on the island. For a review of hotels, B&B's and Inns check out TripAdvisor for honest feedback from travelers.
For a Special Treat
If you’ve never heard of Del’s Lemonade then make sure you stop by their stand located near the Ferry landing. Unless you are from Rhode Island you probably aren't familiar with this great tasting soft frozen lemonade that we native Rhode Islanders grew up with. Give it a try.
Enjoy your visit to beautiful Block Island. It has something for everyone and makes for a great day-trip from southern New England.
Nothing Beats a Beautiful Block Island Sunset.
© 2012 Bill De Giulio