Located about 13 miles (or a short ferry ride) from Point Judith in Narragansett, Block Island is a getaway in South County’s backyard. This secluded island spends most months as a sleepy rural hideaway, but in the summer it morphs into a booming resort town. That lively tourism industry is but one facet of an island that also boasts some of the most beautiful and unspoiled green spaces found anywhere in the country.
The island awaits – but first you’ve got to get there. You’ve got two options.
By sea: The Block Island Ferry (401-783-7996, blockislandferry.com) departs from Point Judith (Narragansett) and Newport, with both a high speed ferry (both locations) and a traditional, slower option (Point Judith only).
By air: New England Airlines (800-243-2460, block-island.com/nea) can get you from Westerly airport to the island in 12 short minutes, with flights running every hour on the half-hour in peak months.
Block island is easy to navigate without a car, whether on foot or otherwise. Three of the most popular options are cab, bicycle and moped.
Taxi: McGovern’s Cab (401-862-6087, mcgovernstaxi.com) and Mig’s Rig Taxi (401-480-0493, migsrigtaxi.com) operate into the later hours. Try Block island Taxi Tours (401-466-2562) for a more guided tour.
Bike: Old Harbor Bike Shop (401-466-2029, blockislandtransportation.com).
Moped: Aldo’s Mopeds and Bikes (130 Weldon Way. 401-466-5018) or The Moped Man (435 Water St. 401-466-5444).
Eat, Shop, Play
Water Street is the main drag that greets visitors as they step off the ferry, and there is plenty of food, shopping and entertainment. Ballard’s Inn (42 Water St. 401-466-2231) has its own beach and offers drink service right to your chair. You can also grab a bite ranging from classic seafood on the go (Rebecca’s Seafood Takeout, 435 Water St. 401-466-5411) to a leisurely lunch on a grand porch (The National Tap and Grille, 1 Water St. 401-466-2901). Locals hang around Dodge Street and Corn Neck road. Highlights there include frozen mudslides on the porch at McGovern’s Yellow Kittens (Corn Neck Rd. 401-466-5855, mcgovernsyellowkittens.com) and Captain Nick’s Rock N Roll Bar (34 Ocean Ave. 401-466-5670), which hosts the annual Block Island Music Festival (June 10-15, blockislandmusic.com).
On the other side of the island, the scene in new Harbor is clustered around three marinas (Payne’s Dock, the Boat Basin and Champlin’s Marina) that are packed with bars and restaurants. The Narragansett Inn (Ocean Ave. 401-466-2626, narragansettinn.net), is also worth a visit for the great views from the porch at sunset.
If you’re more interested in the great outdoors, Mohegan Bluffs are magnificent clay cliffs providing spectacular views and a steep climb down to the beach (don’t worry – there are stairs). The Greenway is a 12-mile hiking trail that covers much of the southern half of the island, while the Clayhead Trail explores the northern end and is a great spot for bird watching.
To learn more about Block Island’s extensive green spaces – it’s been named “one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere” by Nature Conservancy – visit the Block Island Conservancy (234 Weldon’s Way. 401-466-3111, biconservancy.org)