Spend enough summers on the East Coast and you will hear all about the glory of places such as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Fire Island. But Block Island is a different story. Although it’s easy to get to, it attracts far less attention than these more famous outposts. People who love it wouldn’t want it any other way.
More peaceful and less populated, Block Island is in Rhode Island, but you can get there easily via a high-speed ferry from Montauk (about an hour’s trip). There is also a car ferry, but you must make a reservation and leave from Rhode Island.
I first heard about Block Island from a friend whose family went every summer. He would get a faraway look in his eyes whenever he talked about it. They loved the natural beauty and the compactness of the island, which was great for hiking and fishing or just exploring via bike. Another friend used to go there on his father’s boat—anchoring in the Old Harbor and then strolling over to the west side of the island to New Harbor, in the Great Salt Pond, for dinner.
However you get there, and whether you’re ambitious enough for an all-day hike, kayaking in the Great Salt Pond or just sitting one of the wide beaches, Block Island seems to offer an awful lot.
When I finally got ready to go, my friends both recommended having a drink at The Oar (especially noted for the view from its outdoor bar). The downtown area has shops and restaurants right on the harbor. Not to be missed was Crescent Beach (within walking distance from the ferry landing). Also on my must-do list: the dramatic Mohegan Bluffs, which are 200-feet-high clay cliffs and the Southeast Light—a museum celebrating the old seafaring days. There are many hotels and inns, as well as smaller B & B spots. A few places are even dog friendly.