Block Island, nestled in the Atlantic 12 miles from coastal Rhode Island, offers the vacationer what does not seem possible anymore – simple relaxation in a startlingly beautiful place. The Island is famous for its miles of free public beaches, sparkling clear waters, dramatic bluffs, preserved open spaces, and fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages. Block Island has long been a haven for residents and visitors who have found here a quality of life that recalls the pleasures of a life that is simpler, slower, and somehow, more carefree. It’s no wonder that the Nature Conservancy has designated Block Island “One of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”
Fall on the Island is considered by many to be Block Island’s best season. It’s a time when everyone, locals and guests to our paradise alike, can walk along the island’s beautiful beaches without quite so many people. It’s a time to look forward to the seasonal festivities. You can find the farmers’ markets and the artisan’s markets, fall décor in the island’s boutique shops, a pumpkin coffee or cocktail on the area’s restaurant menus, and much more.
Block Island in the Fall is one of Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets. The water is still warm enough to swim, the businesses are open, the accommodations are at off-season rates and availability, the congestion in town is less and the sunsets are spectacular.
Block Island is the real-life New England island retreat authors love to write about. Complete with rolling hills, stone walls, tales of buried pirate treasure and vacation spots known for Kennedy sightings, Block Island is a vacation destination of choice.
At only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, Block Island can be explored by foot, bicycle, moped, or taxi. There is magic in the exploration of the Island; finding a secret spot, a quiet bench, a secluded cove, the perfect sunset spot…..
A treasure to be seen for those willing to put in the effort is the Mohegan Bluffs. Let us talk you into trekking down the 142 steps to the rocky and secluded beach below. The 150-foot bluffs are a sight to be seen from the beach level below, never mind the view from the top.
There are plenty of Fall adventures to be had on the Island if you are so inclined. Kayak tours, Paddleboarding, marine life touch tanks at BIMI, fishing from shore or from a boat charter. You can also take a walk on the many trails the island has to offer, keeping your eyes peeled for a glass float. Maybe rent a bike and ride along the coast. All you really need is a sweatshirt and a camera to capture a good time.
Once you’ve explored the island’s natural majesties there are many wonderful and unique stores and restaurants that stay open through the fall. You’ll leave wanting to come back for more, and we will be here!
Visit www.blockislandinfo.com to find out more on what there is to do on island this Fall!
**Guest post by Block Island Ghost Tours
Believers, skeptics, the easily spooked…you know them. Everyone has their own opinions on the supernatural, and everyone enjoys hearing stories and sharing their ghostly experiences. What better way to have fun and honor the rich history of Block Island than with a new experience? Block Island Ghost Tours.
When a group of friends with a love for chilling tales get together to form a business you know it’s going to be spooky! Rick has been an island resident for 20 years soaking up it’s history, fact and folklore. His brother, David, with his love of occult memorabilia is our resident skeptic . Holly is a firm believer in ghosts with an entrepreneurial spirit. Over the winter, they meticulously planned a route, researched Island history, and gathered ghost stories to create the Old Harbor Walking Tour.
It may be hard to believe that such a small island can have so many ghost stories! From the bones which lie in the rich earth to the foundations of these old buildings, the spirits of our ancestors are waiting for their stories to be told. Manisses, as the island was known by the first inhabitants, the Narragansett Native Americans, was a place for those who weren’t able to adapt to tribal life and so lived in exile. With the arrival of European settlers came violence and bloodshed. Since then, over a dozen shipwrecks, murders, pirate sightings and tragedies have become stories handed down through generations. It is an honor for the Block Island Ghost Tours team to curate and share the darker side of Block Island’s history with all who love this extraordinary place.
Block Island Ghost Tours currently offers two different experiences. The Old Harbor Walking Tour runs daily at 5, 7, and 9pm. This 80-minute long walking tour is about a mile loop through Old Harbor with 6 stops to explore the history and ghost stories behind some of the Island’s oldest buildings. It is $35 for adults and $25 for children under 12. The Spirits with Spirits tour is a pub crawl that takes place once a week on Fridays at 7:30pm. This tour tells stories while sipping on your favorite cocktails at four of Block Island’s most haunted bars. All attendees must be 21 or older and it is $100 per person. All tours can be booked at blockislandghosttours.com, by phone, or in person at our desk in the Harborside Inn. The Block Island Ghost Tours team of ghost hosts and sales ghouls are eager to share these experiences with you all!
Block Island Ghost Tours are just one of the tours offered on the island. The Block Island Historical Society offers cemetery and history tours at various times throughout the summer. Their tour schedule can be found on their website at blockislandhistorical.org.
Taxi tours are available daily through most taxi companies. These $75, hour-long tours bring you all over the Island highlighting points of interest and each taxi driver adds their own flair and stories to each tour. Call a taxi or stop by the taxi stand by the ferry to take one of these tours.
The Tourism Council has mapped self-guided walking and bike tours. Maps and details can be found on blockislandinfo.com or picked up at the Visitor Center.
Heliblock offers helicopter tours, for an aerial view of the Island and surrounding waters. They have 3 different tour options that start and end on Block Island offering areas of focus on the scenic beauty of Block Island, the wind farm, or all of it including a 2000 foot aerial view of Block Island and other islands in the area.
Pond and Beyond offers various kayaking tours from sunrise to sunset to full moon paddles. There are tours for all ages and experiences. Take a leisurely trip though the Great Salt Pond or an educationally packed tour to learn all about the GSP’s ecosystem.
Whether you’re looking for adventure from above, in the comfort of an air conditioned cab, at your own pace, or a little something spooky, industry professionals and island enthusiasts are just waiting to share their love of one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The Summer of 2021 is proving to be the season to break last year’s routines! Traveling is on everyone’s to do list. With that in mind we have taken a few minutes to highlight some of the more popular attractions the island brings you in this year of redemption!
- Check out the Beauty at the Bluffs
The Mohegan Bluffs stands about 200 feet above sea level. At this height, the views are undoubtedly some of the best on the island (in New England?), but it doesn’t end there. After taking in the scenery from the top, you’ll want to pack a water and gather up all your energy to make the journey down the 141 stairs to the beautiful beach that awaits you below. It may be a bit of a workout but the reward is more spectacular views and an uncrowded spot to lay your towel down for the afternoon and soak up the sunshine.
2. Take in the Scene
Once off the ferry in Old Harbor, you’ll be steps away from much that Block Island has to offer. Water Street, the main street, is many people’s first and last stop on a day trip to the island. It’s easy to stroll along the water and visit the shops, as they have all of what you need for a day of fun on the island.
We recommend stopping at one of the several restaurants open for the season and ask for their specialty drink. You’ll feel about as tropical as it gets in New England. If you decide to make a night of it; there are many hotels and B&Bs in this downtown area, all close to beach access. Word to the wise…book well in advance for an overnight.
3. Find your perfect spot on Crescent Beach
Depending on what you are looking for in a Beach, Crescent beach encompasses it all. 4 miles of white sand that stretch the East side of the island. Surf beach has no waves and shallow water and is closest to town. Fred Benson Town Beach has facilities, concessions and lifeguards. If you are interested in more of a “scene” the volleyball nets and bigger waves at Scotch beach may be your cup of tea. The northern most end of Crescent beach is anchored by the more secluded Mansion Beach where you will find even bigger waves and excellent body surfing. The white sandy beach is inviting and will remind you of what a vacation destination is supposed to feel like. No matter if you are looking for a quiet spot all your own or you want to be in the center of the action, you can find your perfect spot on Crescent Beach.
4. Explore the Island via Bike
Whether you want to ride with the island breeze in your hair or break out in a sweat, exploring the island by bike is definitely something to try. You can visit the island’s famous lighthouses, explore the nature trails, beaches, and Great Salt Pond, and take frequent stops for a bite or a beverage along the way. There are multiple businesses right in the heart of downtown that offer bike rentals and maps or bring your own bike with you on the ferry.
The Block Island Tourism Council has a self-guided bike tour of the island, offering 12 stops with video information circumnavigating the island. You can find information on the tour here: https://www.blockislandinfo.com/maps/bike-tour-map
5. Dine Around
There’s certainly no shortage of places to eat and drink on Block Island, find a spot and relax as you try one of the establishment’s unique dishes, many located in both Old Harbor and the New Harbor section of the island. You can find breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails and stunning sunset views. Not sure which cocktail to try? Those who frequent Block Island know that mudslides are the unofficial cocktail of choice while on island time.
6. Find a Glass Float
As of June 4, 2021, 550 Glass Floats (glass orbs about the size of an orange) have started being hidden on Block Island. Floats are dated, numbered and stamped with the shape of Block Island. The floats are clear glass except for 21 (because it is 2021), which are special colored orbs. If you find a float we ask that you register it by clinking here: https://www.blockislandinfo.com/glass-float-project/register-floats.
Floats are hidden on the beaches and on the Greenway Trails. They will be found above the high tide mark but never in the dunes or up the side of the bluffs. They will be within a few feet of either side of any Greenway trail they are placed on. Floats are never on Private Property. You’ll want some patience and remember; the float finds you!
It’s June on Block Island! That means it’s time to get outside and enjoy a hike along one of the many trails our island has to offer.
The Dickens Farm Wildlife Refuge will not disappoint. Walking these trails will give you panoramic views above the crashing waves of the Atlantic. There are two beginner level trails along the meadows where bird watchers have been known to see raptors, barn owls, northern harriers, peregrine falcons, merlins, American Kestrels, song sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers, and phesants.
The Clay Head Preserve is the definition of beauty on Block Island. Take in the breathtaking views of the clay bluffs overlooking the ocean and a bunch of intertwining trails known to the locals as the Maze.
Rodman’s Hollow is another popular trail for nature lovers near and far. Located in the southwest part of the island, you will see a wooden gate and turnstile marking the trail entrance. The gorgeous panoramic vista is worth the trip alone.
The many Greenway Trails of Block Island are maintained by the Block Island Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy. There are about 25 miles of walking trails available to you and you can find them all on one map. Pick one up today at the Nature Conservancy office on High Street or at the Welcome Center Building in Old Harbor.
Get out there and go green!
More information can always be found at http://www.blockislandinfo.com
We so look forward to seeing you on Block Island. We know you love it here and so do we. We are all stewards of this beautiful place. We have 6 Island principles that are just gentle reminders of how best to love Block Island.
1) Leave it as you find it. You won’t find trash cans on most Island beaches, we are carry in-carry out. Please take your trash with you and dispose of it properly.
2) Stay off the dunes. There are many, many access points to out beautiful beaches that are clearly marked. Please stay on the trails and walk-overs and off the dunes. Please also park bikes in bike racks and mopeds/cars in parking spaces. The dune grasses protect our beaches and many small species.
3) Keep pets leashed. Block Island is very dog friendly! We love to see your furry friends living their best life! Pets must stay leashed at all times in public spaces (please keep them off the dunes as well!). Please be sure to pick up after your pets and dispose of the waste properly.
4) Follow the rules of the road. Walk left, bike right. Helmets and close toed shoes are required on mopeds. The speed limit is 25 on Block Island. Please use the crosswalks.
5) Skip the plastics. Balloons and plastic bags are prohibited on Block Island. We encourage you to bring water-bottles and refill them at our 3 refilling stations located around the island. Skip the straw if at all possible.
6) Respect the Island. She belongs to all of us, and us to her.
Whether this is your first visit or your one hundredth visit to Block Island, you’ll be amazed at the beauty that surrounds you. Our charming island is opening up for the season, just in time to cure cabin fever for all painters, photographers, writers, and travelers alike.
Stay at your choice of picturesque rentals and bed-and-breakfasts. Dine at one of our delectable restaurants. Go for a walk or hike along our beautiful stretch of sea and sand. Shop local exquisite boutiques and bring home a souvenir and a memory. Everywhere you turn you’ll see an adventure to experience and a treasure to find.
While some Block Island establishments are open year-round others are seasonal and begin to open in the Spring, until by Memorial Day Weekend, most everything is open. To see a list of what is open, visit http://www.blockislandinfo.com/island-events/whats-open-on-block-island
Lucky for us, the sites to be taken in are open year round. A must see this Spring are the daffodils! Take a walk along the Clayhead Nature Trail and visit a site like no other. The thousands of daffodils are in bloom and photographers are in love. To reach the trail, look for a post marker on the right side of Corn Neck Road, about 3 miles from town and across from a big yellow farm house. Turn right down the dirt road and go straight for one-third of a mile until you reach a parking area.
For more on what’s happening on Block Island this season, take note that the 2021 Magazine will be out this month. You can request a copy by emailing your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or look for it on our website by May 1st. http://www.blockislandinfo.com
Because Block Island is a popular seasonal destination, it can be more crowded in the summer (July and August)and that is when room rates and occupancy are at their highest. Insiders will tell you that the best times to visit for many are the spring months of April, May and early June. The crowds haven’t yet arrived, the room rates are lower, and the weather is pleasant enough to enjoy many different outdoor activities.
Spring 2021 finds Block Island like a normal Spring – businesses are starting to re-open for the season, beaches and walking paths are all open. We are still following all State of RI and CDC guidelines around Covid-19 for travel and visiting. Whenever you feel ready to visit us, we will be here- safely- ready for you.
Spring is the perfect time of year to explore Block Island on two wheels. Our Self-Guided Bike Tour helps you do just that!
The bike tour consists of 12 “stations”, each highlighting a special spot on the island and each marked with a circular signpost with a QR code in the center. Shoot the QR code (you have to install a reader, free at your mobile device app store) and you get minute-long videos at each station. These videos will tell you a little about what you’re seeing or the history of where you’re standing. The full route is about 16 miles, and stretches up to the North Lighthouse, which is as far from downtown as you can get on the 7 x 3 mile island. Families may want to opt for the shorter 7.5 mile loop which circles back to town. The tour ends at Water Street which is the perfect last stop to reward yourself with lunch or dinner or even get in some shopping.
If you don’t want to take the cell phone on this adventure, wallet-size maps of the route (with short descriptions of the stations) are available free at the Welcome Center (off Water Street across from the ferry docks) and from most of the bike rental places in town. If you are planning on renting a bike, moped or car be sure to call ahead to check opening status: http://www.blockislandinfo.com/what-to-do/bike-and-moped-and-car-rental
If powering your own two wheels isn’t exciting you, the self-guided tour works just as well walking, or by car!
We will hope to see you soon.
Block Island welcomes you to witness the tenderness of late Spring on the Island. If you want to avoid the crowds that descend on the town in the Summer months, sneak in a visit this Spring. In May and June you can take advantage of all the tourist hot spots that are opening up shop. The weather will begin to warm up too. In May, you’ll rarely see a day below 50 degrees.
Lodging tends to cost less, parking is not a problem, there are no lines at your favorite coffee shop or restaurant. It’s also an ideal time to shop. You can get some great deals on items the shopkeepers want to move before the Summer rush.
A must see this time of year is the daffodil fields at Clayhead Nature Trail. Bring your cameras and charge your smart phones as you’ll want to capture this beautiful site. The most photographed spot tends to be in front of the Bluestone, a large stone at the top of the hill. Don’t miss it!
The daffodils aren’t alone however, we have many gardeners on the island that love to show off their skills. The island’s colors really come to life when everything begins to bloom. Something easy to spot as you meander around the streets and lanes of the island.
Since you already have your cameras ready, take a stroll on any of the island’s beaches. The crowds won’t be there. You’ll be able to hear the waves roll in. You’ll want to snap a photo or two to remember the feeling of calm that takes over your body.
Whether you have been to Block Island many times or are looking to experience it for the first time, May and June are favorite months to be on island. Unless your vacation plans include swimming in the ocean every day, late Spring offers you almost everything that Summer does with the addition of a little more space.
While we don’t yet know what restrictions and regulations will be in place on Block Island this Spring, we do know that our businesses will be opening up with all necessary safety procedures, our beaches and trails are always open and free to the public and ferries and planes will be running. In short, we want to welcome you back to another season on Block Island and we will be following all recommended guidelines so that you (and we) are safe.
For more information on how to experience all that Block Island has to offer, please visit http://www.blockislandinfo.com/
I think we are all ready to say goodbye to 2020 and we are looking forward to traveling again in 2021. For this reason, take a hard look at your Holiday Shopping list this year and consider giving those you love the gift of a getaway. Give them an experience in which the memories made will last a lifetime. (To my own family, consider this a hint!)
An experience on Block Island is the perfect alternative to buying “stuff”. The trip will be memorable and will provide that warm feeling that you simply cannot achieve with an object. Let’s be honest, do you remember what everyone gave you last holiday season? But, if you ask them about trips they’ve been on, the stories will pour out with detailed explanations!
Stuff comes and goes, but experiences last forever in the memories we share.
Consider what happens when you go on a trip to Block Island together or give someone an experience to enjoy on the island… You can plan it together. You can visit the various sites together. You share the views on Mohegan Bluffs and the sunny days on the beach. You experience the laid back culture (you’re on island time). You enjoy the food at a local delicious restaurant, sitting out overlooking the ocean. You’re experiencing the trip together. Then, when you get back you have memories to call upon together.
If you can’t make the trip with them, you’ll still enjoy sharing the pictures and videos upon their return. You can talk all about what they saw while they were away, and almost feel like you were there with them. Gift the gift everyone wants this year. Plan a trip to Block Island in 2021.
For a comprehensive list of online shopping options and web-links to get gift certificates see here: http://www.blockislandinfo.com/island-events/shop-block-island-from-anywhere-anytime
Blog post by Holly Herdman of Block Island Marketplace.
2020 has been a year of firsts for many of us; Our day to day lives have changed, the usual and traditional summer plans were altered or canceled, and many of us were not able to experience and explore the Block Island we know and love. With the holidays on their way and the annual Holiday Stroll cancelled, online shopping has become more prevalent than ever.
Traditionally, Block Island has been a place to shop in person; A place to see your favorite shop owners, browse the shelves and clothing racks while chatting about your winter and what is new around the Island. This year, more Island artists and shop owners have joined the world of ecommerce to bring Block Island to you.
Now you have more of an opportunity to do your Christmas shopping safely from home and still get your favorite trinkets and artisan treasures to share with the ones you love!
“Who’s online”, you ask? Let’s break it down A-Z!
Block Island Marketplace is a new website to connect shoppers with local artists selling handcrafted items. All available products are one of a kind, constantly changing, and crafted with love of the island.
Adrift Eco Boutique has great clothing and accessories focused on being sustainably and ethically made. https://adriftbi.com/
BlockDuck has a collection of comfortable clothing and accessories in their original BlockDuck designs. https://www.blockduck.com/
Block Island Coffee sells various sustainably sourced and island roasted coffees and coffee beans. https://blockislandcoffee.com/
Block Island Day Dreams sells shirts designed with love on the shores of Block Island and printed locally in little Rhodey. https://www.blockislanddaydreams.com
Block Island Fishworks added a shop to their website for Block Island face masks, hats, and t-shirts, including new 2020 designs. https://www.sandypointco.com/shop
Block Island Sport Shop has all of your outdoor apparel and product needs with a broad selection and the best brands. https://blockislandsport.com/
B.I. Tees, Solstice, and True North Outfitters has a combined website to feature all of B.I. Tees’ custom designed t-shirts, Solstice’s unique gifts, and even hand blow glass by Eben Horton, creator of the Glass Float Project. https://bitees.com/
Block Island Trading Company has the largest selection of Block Island paraphernalia available online or in store. https://blockislandtradingcompany.com/
Blvck Market is a unique boutique with original clothing and jewelry styles designed on Island and made with exotic materials from around the world. https://www.blvckmarket.com/
Diamond Blue Surf Shop allows you to shop top clothing and accessories brands while planning family activities for next summer’s vacation. https://diamondbluebi.com/
DOCK is a woodworking business started by an Island native who makes boards, furniture, and custom items. https://www.dock-bi.com/
East of the River Nile is completely online now with their entire collection of jewelry, handbags, books, clothing, and more from around the world. https://eastoftheriverniletradingcompany.com/
Island Bound Bookstore has a large collection of literature for all ages including best sellers, Block Island books and activities, e-books, and can even do special ordering. https://www.islandboundbookstore.com/
Island Mist Natural Products is an all-natural skin care line hand-crafted on Island using high quality Island resources. 100% plant based and free of chemicals, dyes, and synthetic fragrances. https://islandmistnaturalproducts.com/
Littlefield Bee Farm sells Block Island honey, cinnamon honey, honey mustard, and beeswax candles on their site. http://www.blockislandhoney.com/
Mar Mar Boutique sells handcrafted jewelry by over 30 local artists as well as the famous BLOCKSTAR products. https://www.marmarboutique.com/
Mary MacGill Studio has an eclectic selection of high-end jewelry, clothing, accessories, books, textiles, and more. https://www.marymacgill.com/
Marye-Kelley has numerous options for handmade and customizable gifts and household decor to make the perfect holiday presents. https://www.marye-kelley.com/
Minnow is a new store on the Island selling kids games, crafts, and activities. Their website is new, so check back for new products regularly. https://minnow02807.com/
Mutt Hut carries lots of great brand’s dog supplies and their online shop has Block Island exclusive pet items for your pups, grandpups, and fur friends. http://www.mutthutbi.com/
North Light Fibers sells handcrafted yarns made 100% on Block Island as well as beautiful designs created to reflect the Island. https://northlightfibers.com/
Photo Dog now sells their collection of handmade signs, picture frames, ornaments, and other home decor items online. https://www.thephotodogartgallery.com/
Pop On The Block has a selection of their gourmet popcorn and other treats available on their website. https://popontheblock.com/
Royal Jewelers offers Block Island designs and royal fine finds that you can buy right on their website to add to your Block Island jewelry collection. https://www.jennifersjewelry.org/
Salty Dog has their Fish The World clothing and sticker designs available online, as well as Yeti drinkware. https://fishtheworld.us/
Seas Mtns Co is a small creative photography studio based on Block Island that sells framed prints and cards. https://seasmtnsco.pic-time.com/art
Traveling Seamstress sells handmade and hand-dyed clothing accessories that have a constantly evolving offering of items. https://www.travelingseamstress.com/etsy-shop
Wild Flowers Boutique is a shop dedicated to extending island style far beyond the Island. Shop clothing, accessories, and decor to bring the Island home. https://www.wildflowersbi.com/
While many stores do not have an online checkout option, you can browse their websites and contact them to place an order. Some of those include:
D. Chatowsky Art Gallery https://www.dchatowskyartgallery.com/
Jessie Edwards Gallery https://jessieedwardsgallery.com/
Malcolm Greenaway Gallery http://www.malcolmgreenaway.com/
My Oyster https://myoysterbi.com/
Spring Street Gallery https://www.springstreetgallery.com/
If you don’t see your favorite store listed, find them on social media or contact them directly. You may still be able to order from them and have the items shipped to you!
Remember, shop small this holiday season. Shop local to support your community and those around you so they can be around to serve you again, in person, next Spring!