Talk about a place that’s all chill and no pretense: Block, the closest of the eastern seaboard archipelago, is also the smallest and thankfully, the least hyped. That’s good news for those seeking to get away and make time stop for a few days; the island is understated, laid back and quiet. About ten square miles total, a great afternoon is renting a bike and taking a ride around this quaint old whaling port (it’ll take you a few hours). Visiting the various beaches, either lighthouse or just taking in the quiet scenes will instantly hit the reset button.
There is no bridge to this island; access is either by boat or plane. Drive to Montauk and take the Viking Ferry—the high-speed will take about an hour. Block Island State Airport is open to general aviation and services New England Airlines from Westerly State Airport, RI. Once on the island, taxis abound.
Water Street, the main drag, hosts a handful of interesting shops featuring art, handicrafts and other wares you can bring home. Several boutiques make for good fall shopping for ladies and gents. And the homemade fudge and taffy shops, bakery and ice cream store will sate your sweet tooth (yes, they package “to go”). For dinner, the Spring House, a favorite of the Kennedy clan, is a large, stately beauty, whereas the Hotel Manisses offers a more intimate, romantic (but not stuffy) alternative. Cuisine around the island is predictably seafood based and as fresh as it gets.
At night, there are a few options, but the best is taking in the cool Atlantic breeze and listening to the crickets. The movie house usually has at least one current film playing and the experience of sitting in the small “theater” keeps with the relaxed feel of the island. But if you’re looking to blow off some steam, there are a few honky-tonk like places (follow your ears).
If it is lodging you seek, B&B’s are the way to go and few are bad. Our recommendations include a few from the Block Island Resorts group. All are professional, clean and close to the village, but this writer’s favorites include: Hotel Manisses, a sweet, 19th century romantic Victorian, the 1661 Inn, boasting picturesque water views in a smaller setting, Dewey Cottage, a restored farmhouse very close to the village. For a larger experience, try historic Spring House Hotel, where the Kennedy’s have held weddings and tend to stay.
The 1661 Inn (800) 626-4773 blockislandresorts.com
Block Island Chamber of Commerce (800) 383-2474 blockislandchamber.com
Block Island North Light (401) 466-3200
Block Island Resorts (800) 626-4773 blockislandresorts.com
Block Island Southeast Light (401) 466-5009
Block Island State Airport (401) 466-5511 pvdairport.com
Hotel Manisses (800) 626-4773 blockislandresorts.com
Dewey Cottage (800) 626-4773 blockislandresorts.com
Spring House Hotel (800) 234-9263 springhousehotel.com
Viking Ferry, Montauk (631) 668-5700 vikingfleet.com
Westerly State Airport (401) 596-2357 pvdairport.com