If you are looking for a summer weekend getaway but feel Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are too crowded and developed, Block Island is the way to go. We wanted some relaxation and decided to do an extended weekend escape with my sister and her husband. This trip took planning though, because Block Island is still pretty popular and the good hotels and bed and breakfasts are booked far in advance in the summer. We managed to book two rooms at the Sea Breeze Inn in May for our July trip. We also reserved the ferry tickets in advance.
The drive took 3 hours from Manhattan to the ferry terminal in Point Judith, Rhode Island. From there, we parked the car and hopped onto the high-speed ferry to Block Island. The ferry took half an hour and went through some choppy waters, so I was glad to see the island’s famous cliffs grow larger as we approached.
Block Island looks like Swiss cheese on the map. It is dotted with ponds and is dominated by one particularly large one called the Great Salt Pond. The coastline is amazingly beautiful and is full of beaches, although some are better suited for sunbathing than others. Here is a brief recap of the highlights.
Our bed and breakfast was within walking distance to the commercial part of town, and yet it felt like it was miles away from civilization. This is the view from the backyard facing two ponds and the ocean beyond. You can see more stars out here at night than you would in the city.
We rented bikes at the inn and biked everywhere! It was a lot of uphill and downhill maneuvering. Not entirely relaxing, but it did give our legs some sorely needed exercising. I took this pic along the path to the southern lighthouse. It is so picturesque here.
Block Island is home to the endangered American burying beetle, also known as the giant carrion beetle. I had read about it on the ferry, but didn’t think I would see one. I found this guy at the southern lighthouse as it was scurrying away from me. In terms of insects, I was happy to see few mosquitoes on the island, but then I encountered biting flies. Ugh.
This is the lighthouse at the southern end of the island. It is technically called the Southeast Lighthouse. It was closed when we got there at 4pm.
We also visited the famous Mohegan Bluffs nearby. As you can see, the stairs leading down are a bit daunting, because you realize that once you get down to the beach, it will be a hard trek going back up! It was worth it though.
The northern part of the island holds a second lighthouse that we had to see. It was not as impressive looking as the southern one, but there was a rocky beach nearby where we had a good rest. Hubby took a stroll around the tip of the island and was dive-bombed by seagulls. I think he was near their nests.
The Great Salt Pond in the middle of the island is so immense that it actually acts as a harbor for boats and yachts along its rim. There is access to the ocean through an inlet to the west.
During our four days here, we ate an immense amount of seafood. It was gluttony at its best rationalized by all the biking we did each day.
My favorite beach was close to town, called Crescent Beach. It was clean and not that crowded. Someone practiced his surfing in front of us because the waves were high, but he didn’t do so well. We should have held up scorecards.
We enjoyed our weekend and wish we had more time to just sit and stare at nothing. I liked the laid back vibe and hope to find that again here or elsewhere next summer!
You can take the ferry to Block Island from three different terminals. The closest to the city is at Montauk out in Long Island, but if you factor in the Hamptons traffic on a weekend, it will not be the fastest route. There is another access point at New London, CT, but we decided to go further to Point Judith, RI on I-95 most of the way. Parking at Point Judith is $10 per day. The high speed ferry is $36 roundtrip. If you bring bikes, you will need to pay an additional $12 roundtrip per bike. You COULD bring your car on the normal ferry, at a cost of $100 to $115 roundtrip, but we thought it was overkill considering the island is pretty small and is highly bike-able. Once on the island, bikes, mopeds, and cars can be rented in town. We rented our bikes from the inn for $15 a day.