Another Summer has come and gone and I can’t help but look back on the wonderful memories I’ve had over the last three months. I’ve been to many coastal towns in my 29 years, but it’s hard to top the charm of Block Island.
Three summers ago, my work wife invited me to spend a weekend in one of her favorite places in the northeast: Block Island. It was where she spent her summers after college and where she met the love of her life. Believe it or not, they just got married here last weekend and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been part of (not to mention, they threw a hell of a party).
Over the last three years, I have been fortunate enough to see most of Block Island because of my best friend and her husband. The island is charming but marvelous, laid back but lively and completely worth visiting. If you’re ever looking for a low-key get away, consider visiting Block Island. The island may be tiny, but it offers plenty to do between its charming shores. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Getting to Block Island | If you’re traveling from Boston like I usually do, it’s about an hour-and-a-half drive to the Point Judith ferry terminal in Narragansett, Rhode Island. From there, you can catch either a traditional (60 minutes) ferry or the high speed (30 minutes) ferry to the island. The boat sells booze, so you can enjoy a beer while you journey to the island. Pro tip: if you get seasick, I highly recommend taking the high-speed ferry to cut down on travel time.
If you’re traveling from Newport, New London, Fall River, or Montauk, there are other ferry options available here.
Getting Around | Rent a bike or scooter from Island Moped and Bike! Feeling lazy? There are plenty of cabs that can escort you around the island.
Atlantic Inn | Set on a hill overlooking the harbor is the Atlantic Inn, an upscale Victorian hotel that dates back to 1879. The hotel is within walking distance from the Block Island ferry and provides the most beautiful sunset views from its veranda. If you’re looking for a truly traditional hotel, this is the place to stay. The quaint rooms are decorated with ornate bedding and antique furnishings. There is also an alpaca farm across the street if you want to make some furry friends!
The National | Directly across from the ferry terminal stands one of the most prominent buildings on Block Island — The National Hotel. This charming and historic hotel is in the heart of Block Island and has incredible views of the ocean. In addition to being in a prime location, The National also has great food. Order a hot lobster roll or their award-winning clam chowder. On weekends, the bar features live music until 11PM.
Block Island Beach House | The island’s only beachfront hotel was recently renovated and I cannot express how adorable it is. The iconic hotel, which was originally built in 1873 for the island’s resident doctor, sits on the beautiful Crescent Beach and provides a nostalgic beach vibe for its patrons. Just outside the lobby’s back door is the new Beach Bar, a super casual outdoor space with comfy couches and colorful ceramic tables that overlooks the beach. Even if you don’t stay here, you can still grab a drink and enjoy the views of the water.
Mohegan Bluffs | I’d argue that the Mohegan Bluffs provides some of the most breathtaking views on Block Island. Plus, it’s completely free to visit. If you’re feeling really adventurous (and physically fit) you can walk down a steep set of wooden steps (144 steps to be exact – I counted) to the beach below. For reference, the bluffs rise about 200 feet above sea level and stretch for nearly three miles, so there is plenty of beach to stroll along.
South East Lighthouse | After visiting the Mohegan Bluffs, swing over to The Southeast Lighthouse, located about a block away. The lighthouse is considered a National Historic Landmark and one of the most architecturally sophisticated lighthouses built in the 19th century. I would highly recommend taking the tour up the lighthouse, especially to see the incredible Fresnel Lens. Fun fact: A big boulder close to the bluffs marks its original location; in 1993, it was moved 300 feet inland as it was in danger of falling off the Mohegan Bluffs due to extreme erosion.
North Shore Lighthouse | If you’re looking for a beautiful sunset view or even a scenic place to take a walk along the beach, you should consider visiting the North Shore Lighthouse. The lighthouseis a fifteen-minute walk from the parking area
EAT & DRINK
The Oar | I think it goes without saying that mudslides are the unofficial cocktail of Block Island. One of the best around (and made with real ice cream) is at The Oar, a casual outdoor spot overlooking the Great Salt Pond. This is also a great place to snap a few pictures as the walls of The Oar are adorned with personalized oars of visitors collected over the years.
Persephone’s Kitchen | If you’re looking for a good brunch, Persephone’s Kitchen is the place to go. Gluten-free? Vegan? No problem. Persephone’s has options for every dietary restriction. This adorable cafe is located within walking distance from the ferry and has some of the best breakfast options on the island. Their splendid egg sandwich and smoothies are definitely worth trying.
1661 Inn | Two words: flaming coffees. Aside from being a bed and breakfast, the 1661 is a great place for pre-dinner cocktails. Their signature cocktail is the flaming coffee. The secret of these blazing beverages is 151 Rum. First, wine glasses are dipped in a dish of the rum and flamed. They are then frosted with brown sugar and flamed again. Both times, the rims of the glasses are engulfed in vaporous blue flames. Finally, the coffee is poured into the glasses and is set down on the cart. I promise this is a treat you won’t want to miss.
Three Sisters | All you need to know is that Three Sisters has THE best deli sandwiches on the island. I’d recommend grabbing a sandwich and one of their jumbo chocolate chip cookies and bringing it to the beach to enjoy. The deli is small (literally the size of a shack) and sometimes it’s busy, but it’s completely worth the wait. Personal favorites: the Twisted Sister (turkey, bacon, and cheddar) and the Big Sister (roast beef and provolone).
Yellow Kittens | Good ol’ Kittens. Yellow Kittens is Block Island’s oldest tavern. During the day, this low-key tavern is home to the best nachos on the island and their infamous “mini mudslides.” By night, it’s the go-to hang out spot for drinks, dancing, live music, and DJs. If you want to play darts or pool, they’ve got that too! No visit to Block Island is ever complete without a trip to Kittens.
Captain Nick’s | If you’re looking for live music, you may want to check out Captain Nick’s Rock and Roll bar. This seasonal watering hole is a music venue and another great place to snag late-night drinks. Dueling pianos, Monday night disco nights, and cover bands – this place does it all. Captain Nick’s always offers a fun atmosphere and a guaranteed good time.