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Block Island Tourism Council



Close To Home, A World Away

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Block Island Beckons! For anyone who loves the outdoors like I sure to see the dramatic Mohegan Bluffs, do, Block Island is the place for you. From historic lighthouses and a sunset from miles of pristine beaches to our nature Grace’s Cove. trails, this truly is “one of the last great Planning to spend the night? Many inns, places.” hotels and guest houses offer a wide range Block Island offers endless activities for of accommodations. Several scenic island the adventurer and is the perfect destinalocations make unforgettable venues for tion for those looking to relax and get away weddings or group gatherings. For longer from it all. stays, check out the weekly house rentals For the foodies, there is no shortage of offered by island real estate offices. outstanding dining options. From fresh For those looking to kick up your heels, local seafood to farm to table cuisine, you check out the Music Festival in June or the will be pleasantly surprised by your culisummer Blues on the Block concerts at the Zena Clark with husband Jamie nary experiences here. Town Beach. Music enthusiasts will not Johnston and their son Fisher at Shoppers will love the variety of bou- Grace’s Cove Beach. be disappointed with the variety of talent tiques and galleries in and around Old passing through the pubs and nightspots Harbor. throughout the season. Ferries to the island depart from Point Judith; Newport, Outdoor activities, music, art, dining, scenic beauty, and R.I.; Fall River, Mass.; New London, Conn.; and Montauk, accessibility — Block Island has it all. Whether it be for a N.Y. day, a night or a week, please join us for your next getaway. Scheduled flights run frequently from Westerly, R.I. It’s We look forward to welcoming you to beautiful Block never been easier to explore this 7 x 3 - 1/2 mile island just Island! 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Zena Clark Rent a bike, moped, or hop in a taxi for an island tour. Be President, Block Island Tourism Council

Coast To Coast In 12 Minutes

Daily Flights Free Parking at Westerly Airport

The Fastest Way to Block Island

Information & Reservations 800.243.2460 Block Island 401.466.5881 Westerly 401.596.2460

Block Island’s Resident Airline Since 1970

Close To Home, A World Away


and Holiday Festivities.

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Beach Real EstateKimberly’s

e b r m i K ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ly ’s

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Can you picture yourself here? For a week or a life time, we are here to serve all your Real Estate needs with friendly, competent service. Contact us now to see how we can help you!

“Let us show you the most beautiful properties on Block Island.”

Ave., Block Island • (401) 465-6243

Mary E. Stover and Nancy D. Pike, Brokers Sandra Hopf, Associate Broker

P.O. Box 1468, 84 Chapel Street, Block Island, RI 02807 401-466-2312

NEW LOCATION! 2 Close To Home, A World Away

Block Island is more than just home to rare and endangered plants and animals. It also supports a vibrant, active human community with a strong sense of its cultural and natural heritage. — The Nature Conservancy

Crescent Beach

Block Island: Close To Home, A World Away is produced jointly by the Block Island Tourism Council and The Block Island Times.

The Block Island Tourism Council Center Road, Box 356, Block Island, RI 02807 President Zena Clark Vice President Steve Filippi 2nd Vice President John Cullen Secretary Sven Risom Treasurer Julie Fuller Members Brad Marthens, Logan Mott Chase Executive Director Jessica K. Willi

Table Of Contents 1. Block Island Beckons!

20. The Goods

3. Table of Contents

22. Living History

5. You’re Closer Than You Think!

24. A Room with a View

7. B.I. Basics

29. Nightlife

9. Endless Beaches

31. Favorite Times and Happenings

12. A Natural Beauty 16. Rest, Relaxation, Recreation 18. New England’s Boating and Fishing Paradise

Ocean Avenue, Box 278, Block Island, RI 02807 Phone: (401) 466-2222 Fax: (401) 466-8804 Publisher Michael Schroeder Editor Kari Curtis Writers Brent Lang, Judy Tierney, Jessica K. Willi Photographer K. Curtis Contributing Photographers John Gasner,Tom Rosenzweig, Rose Schaller, Vaux Finnimore, Michael Benson Photography, Katie Slater Photography, Ralph Gabriner, B.K. Angeletti Photography Brittany Adams Photography, Wild Souls Studio Production John Barry of Macsperts © 2016 Block Island Tourism Council & The Block Island Times

Cover photo by Erin Walsh

26. Good Eats

33. Our Island Community 35. The Perfect Place for a Wedding 36. Group Tours

About the Cover Photo: Our cover photo this year was taken by Erin Walsh. Erin, who is from PA, took the photo while on vacation with her family and posted it to our Facebook wall.  We were so taken with the photo we asked to use it.  As it turns out, Erin used to live in the other lighthouse on Block Island, the Southeast Lighthouse.  In the mid 60’s Erin’s Dad was a Light Keeper in the Coast Guard and was stationed on Block Island.  Erin reports that, because of this, Block Island holds a special place in her heart and she tries to get to Block Island with her family as often as possible.  We are glad she does and that she took the time to share her photos with us. Thank you, Erin! The Block Island Tourism Council is always on the lookout for photography of Block Island for these pages, so feel free to post on our Facebook Page ( or email us at  We look forward to seeing the island through your eyes.

SPONSORS: The 1661 Inn, Block Island Reservations, Spring House Hotel, The Atlantic Inn, Ballard Hall Real Estate, Beach Real Estate, Block Island Conservancy, Block Island Express, Block Island Fishworks, Interstate Navigation, Lila Delman Real Estate, New England Airlines, Newport Convention & Visitors Bureau, Payne’s Harbor View Inn, Poor People’s Pub, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sullivan Real Estate, The Surf Hotel, Kimberly’s, Green Airport Close To Home, A World Away


Est. 2000

401-466-5392 & 401-742-3992

The Atlantic Inn A Block Island tradition Featuring the

K. Curtis

Susan Sancomb

Restaurant 1879

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4 Close To Home, A World Away

The Atlantic Inn 401-466-5883

You’re Closer Than You Think! More than 20 million people are within a four-hour drive of the ferries and airlines that bring visitors to Block Island, and more than 10 million can reach a ferry or airplane in less than two hours. By Ferry

Block Island Ferry/Interstate Navigation provides year-round service from Point Judith, Rhode Island (304 Great Island Road, Narragansett, R.I.) to Old Harbor, Block Island. This is the only ferry that can take vehicles to the island, and reservations for them are required (the sooner you can do this the better). Passengers do not need reservations for the roughly one-hour trip. You can find schedules and travel and reservation information for Interstate Navigation at (866) 783-7996 or Block Island High-Speed Ferry/ Interstate Navigation runs a high-speed catamaran from midMay through mid-October that gets you from Point Judith (304 Great Island Road, Narragansett, R.I.) to Old Harbor, Block Island, in 30 minutes. A second high-speed catamaran runs daily from Fall River, Massachusetts, to Newport, Rhode Island, and on to Block Island. For schedules and more information call (866) 783-7996 or visit

Block Island Express gets you to Old Harbor in just over one hour on a high-speed catamaran from a terminal in New London (2 Ferry St., New London, Conn.) that’s right next to the Amtrak train station. It runs May through September. Block Island Express also offers connections to Block Island from Orient Point, Long Island, via its Cross Sound Ferry service. The two services have matched-up schedules making it convenient and quick to take the fast ferry from Orient Point to New London and connect to the ferry to B.I., all in 2 hours and 45 minutes, including layover. Schedules and connection information for Block Island Express are at (860) 444-4624 or Montauk Ferry runs between the tip of Long Island, New York (462 West Lake Drive, Montauk, N.Y. ), and Block Island during the summer. The trip takes just under two hours. Schedules and information at (631) 668-5700 or vikingfleet. com.

By Private Boat

Dock your own boat at one of four full-service marinas or anchor in either Old Harbor or New Harbor. For more information on marinas, moorings, and anchorage, visit

By Commuter Plane

New England Airlines has provided daily scheduled air service to Block Island from Westerly, Rhode Island, since 1970. The airport (56 Airport Road, Westerly, R.I.) is just off Interstate 95 and is an easy drive or train ride from anywhere in the northeast. (Amtrak serves Westerly with daily trains between Washington/

New York and Boston.) Flight time is 12 minutes. Find schedules and information at (800) 2432460 or

By Private Plane

Block Island State Airport welcomes private planes on its one lane runway. There is no control tower, but pilots should announce themselves on frequency 123.00. For more information visit or call airport manager, AvPorts, at (401) 466-5511.

Just off the coast of Rhode Island, this secret gem is a throwback to the mid-1800s: antique-filled Victorian inns, miles of pristine rolling hills, and towering cliffs with stunning views of the Atlantic. —

Close To Home, A World Away


Whether looking to rent, buy or sell, please contact us for all of your real estate needs. 61 DODGE STREET 401.466.8777







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B.I. Basics The Facts 1661 The year Block Island was founded. 1672 The year the Town of New Shoreham was incorporated. Area 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, Block Island is shaped like a pork chop, and covers 6,000 acres. Location 12 miles off the southern coast of Rhode Island. Population 1008 year round; as many as 20,000 in summer. Ponds Legend has it there are 365 freshwater ponds, one for every day of the year. Stone walls 300 to 400 miles of

manmade stone walls. Nature Trails 28 miles of trails. Open Space More than 46 percent of the island is preserved open space. Beaches 17 miles worth, all free, all gorgeous. Education One K-12 school with 112 students.

Getting Around On Foot The sneaker express is an easy way to enjoy the shops, restaurants and hotels in Old Harbor. It’s a 15-minute walk from the ferry to the main beach. On Bikes Bicycles are an

affordable and enjoyable way to explore the island. Rental stands offer bikes to fit the needs of the entire family or bring your own over on the ferry. On Mopeds Mopeds can be rented around the island, and can accommodate one or two passengers. Mopeds may be driven on all paved island roads, but are not allowed on dirt roads. By Taxi Taxi service is available island-wide. A taxi stand is located by the ferry docks in Old Harbor, and taxis regularly wait for customers at New Harbor and the airport. Most offer island

tours as well. By Car Depending on your itinerary, you may or may not require a vehicle while here. In the busy summer months, keeping the number of cars on-island to a minimum is encouraged. However, the spring and fall provide comparatively empty roads.

More info at: Or at the Visitors Center in the ferry parking lot; call (800) 383BIRI (2474) or (401) 466-BIRI (2474).

“Just 12 miles off Rhode Island but a world apart, Block Island is a walker’s paradise: dramatic bluffs, rolling grassland, dunes, ocean and views of the mainland.” — Los Angeles Times

Close To Home, A World Away


Safe Haven by Whitney Knapp

Sullivan Real Estate is now doing business as

Sullivan Sotheby’s International Realty We are proud to announce our new affiliation with the Sotheby’s International Realty Brand, representing distinctive properties at all price points on Block Island.

Your Hometown Realtors with International Reach Safe Haven by Whitney Knapp



Cynthia Pappas, Broker • Rebecca Pappas Clark and Linda Spak, Associate Brokers • Gail Heinz, Shannon Morgan, and Tony Pappas, Sales Agents Colby Millikin and Tori Satti, Office Assistants • Lynn Poston, Office Administrator Each office independently owned and operated


#BIC1972 #Blockisland Join us on Instagram for details!

8 Close To Home, A World Away

Endless Beaches 17 miles of sandy fun and peaceful bits of paradise

2 Mansion Beach

4 Town Beach lifeguards


3 Scotch Beach

Baby Beach

7 Ballard’s Beach

1 Settlers’ Rock

Surf Beach

Close To Home, A World Away

6 9

9 Vaill Beach


11 Dinghy Beach

Mohegan Bluffs

Mary Conant, Freshman at the Block Island School

Mary plays varsity soccer, basketball and softball at the Block Island School.

Growing up on the island has instilled in me a deep passion for its natural environment and for the ocean, whether it be swimming, surfing or sunbathing. It also has taught me the importance of community; the togetherness and camaraderie felt by living in such a small and close-knit town. Logistically restricted from the conveniences of 24-hour department stores, fast food restaurants, malls and movie theaters, one naturally becomes both resourceful and creative. There are countless opportunities that living on Block Island affords us, which we might not have if we lived on the mainland. Whether it is being able to distinguish a bird simply 10 Close To Home, A World Away

by its call, receiving the signature wave from a passing driver, or having to plan an entire day to the mainland just for groceries, Block Island offers us these unique characteristics. Since childhood, we become hard-wired to be in touch with nature, value fellowship, and hold a clear understanding of time management, advanced planning, and flexibility. Being accustomed to this has taught me to think out of the box and not be afraid to try new things. I am comfortable with and look forward to conversations and sharing time with adults and peers alike. Having lived on Block Island for fourteen years, I have experienced the frustration of not being able to see a new movie without going off island, or missing the boat that could ruin a whole day. However, those few occurrences do not compare to the numerous positive advantages Block Island offers. For example, all throughout soccer season this year, my two friends, Julia Gasner, Fiona Crawford and I had a schedule we followed basically every day. We would leave school and go right to Heinz Field for practice. Following that, we would walk to Fresh Pond, have a snack at

10 The Bluffs at Black Rock

My Block Island our favorite spot along the water’s edge, do our homework, and then go for a swim. That is just one of the beautiful experiences and memories I have, which probably wouldn’t exist if I did not live on Block Island. Living here provides a perspective rarely encountered. Block Island is being dropped off by the school bus at Town Beach after school in September, surfboard in one hand, books in the other. It’s an impromptu ice-skating party on the one day of frozen ice we may see all winter. My brother Tom once wrote, “Block Island is huddling around a bonfire on a cold winter night, enjoying the sea spray while your toes dig into the sand. It’s knowing which types of local plants make a delicious salad and reciting the names of the birds flying overhead. It is enjoying a night sky or picturesque landscape more beautiful than could ever be portrayed on a movie screen and being genuinely interested in how you might help your neighbor.” Block Island is lifelong friendships and the place I will always call home. I am thankful for all of the timeless lessons and priceless values I have learned while growing up on Block Island.




12 Andy’s Way





Coast Guard Beach 15









13 West Beach

Block Island Beaches 1. Cow Cove is near Settlers’ Rock. Although the shoreline is rocky, it offers some of the best coastal views and also sports the historic North Light. This is not a place for swimming because of a strong riptide. Be careful where you walk too: the beach is a nesting area for many rare birds. 2. Mansion Beach lies at the end of a dirt road with the same name. The island’s most stately mansion once sat here until fire destroyed the house. It was never rebuilt. However, the beach fits the name by being one of the island’s grandest. Mansion marks the north end of what’s known as Crescent Beach. 3. Scotch Beach is a quarter mile north of Fred Benson Town Beach. Scotch is a sandbox for kids and the place boaters end up when they cross Corn Neck Road from Dinghy Beach. A small parking lot sits between the road and the dunes. 4. Fred Benson Town Beach is home to Block Island’s fully equipped bathhouse. In addition to showers, lockers, food, and rental items, the beach is staffed with lifeguards in the summer months. 5. Baby Beach is a well-sheltered beachfront toward the south end of what’s known as Crescent Beach (Mansion marks the north end), where children can easily play in the shallow waters. 6. Surf Beach, named for The Surf Hotel above it, is an ideal place to snorkel





Charlestown Beach

and check out the abundant sea life, such as small crabs and starfish, and to hunt for shells and sand dollars. Surf Beach marks the south end of what’s known as Crescent Beach. 7. Ballard’s Beach is located on the south side of the Old Harbor breakwater adjacent to Ballard’s Inn and its restaurant that serves on the beach. Staffed with lifeguards throughout the summer months, it is also a popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, and volleyball. 8. Mohegan Bluffs beachfront is found at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, 141 steps to be exact. It’s pretty treacherous going at the base of the stairs, so take care. The payoff is a secluded and spectacularly beautiful, if rocky, place to swim and surf. 9. Vaill Beach is a large beach at the bottom of a hollow. The path to it is located at the bend in Snake Hole Road. The surf here is rough and rocks line the shallows, so swimmers should exercise caution. 10. Black Rock boasts expanses of sand and a series of coves at the base of a cliff. Swimming is difficult because of the large number of rocks, but it’s a perfect place for an oceanside hike. The area takes its name from a large, dark rock that rests offshore in about 15 feet of water and has spelled the end for many ships. Located a pace off the main road, it’s best to walk or bike to get there.

a place for boaters in New Harbor to tie up their rafts and dinghies. There are majestic views of Great Salt Pond, making it a good backdrop for photos. 12. Andy’s Way is the island’s premiere clamming spot. Standing at the end of a dirt road that bears the same name, it’s a good place to take a stroll. Just north is Beane Point, U.S. Fish and Wildlife property that is home to many rare birds. 13. West Beach is narrow, but it’s lightly trafficked and has gentle surf and stupendous views of the North Light. 14. Coast Guard Beach is at the end of Champlin Road and derives its name from the decommissioned Coast Guard station there. Don’t swim here, but it’s a good place for clamming and fishing. 15. Charlestown Beach is popular with fishermen because it has a long jetty at its end. Typically uncrowded, it’s a nice spot to watch the boats come into New Harbor. 16. Grace’s, Dory’s, and Cooneymus Coves are secluded beaches on the west side of the island. Perfect for hikers and those looking for an out-of-theway spot to catch a sunset.

11. Dinghy Beach, also known as Mosquito Beach, is located just across the road from Scotch Beach, providing


Close To Home, A World Away


1 Clay Head (The Maze)

2 Rodman’s Hollow

A Natural Beauty Twenty-eight miles of walking trails, acres of open space, many of the most beautiful beaches on the eastern seaboard, spectacular havens for fish and wildlife — it’s no wonder Block Island was named one of the last great places in the western hemisphere by The Nature Conservancy. More than 46 percent of the island is preserved, and walking is an excellent way to take in the rolling hills, lush farmland, and stunning vistas. Look for peregrine falcons and red-tailed hawks in the sky, ring-necked pheasants and American woodcocks among the abundant wildflowers, and seals perched on beach rocks. Block Island is renowned for its beauty and commitment to preservation. Once you visit, you’ll understand why.

12 Close To Home, A World Away

3 North Light walkers

3 Bluffs hiker


5 Ocean View Foundation Program

Abrams Animal Farm

Close To Home, A World Away


3 Southeast Lighthouse

6 Durfee Conservancy Trail

11 Seals behind St. Andrew Parish

8 Kayak Tour

9 Bicycles at Old Harbor

“Whatever you are searching for, Block Island seems to have it: art galleries, hiking, fishing, bars, food and shopping are all available within arm’s reach, and you’ll be no farther than a 20-minute bike ride from the southern and northernmost points of the Island.” — 14 Close To Home, A World Away

10 BIMI building on Ocean Avenue

Don’t Miss

1. Clay Head Nature Trail, also known as The Maze, offers walkers unparalleled views along the northeastern shore of the island. Off Corn Neck Road, its paths meander along the bluffs before ending at Settlers’ Rock. 2. Rodman’s Hollow is a wild and beautiful cleft in the rolling terrain left over from a melting glacier. Hawks and deer are among the wildlife that populates the hollow. Its trails lead to Black Rock. 3. Both lighthouses on the island are open to visitors. Southeast Lighthouse, east of Mohegan Bluffs, provides a magnificent coastal view. On clear days it’s even possible to glimpse Montauk, New York, some 20 miles away. At the end of Corn Neck Road, a walk down the beach from Settlers’ Rock brings you to the beautiful North Light. 4. Abrams Animal Farm offers a diverse collection of exotic and domestic animals maintained by Justin Abrams, whose family owns and operates The 1661 Inn. Visitors to the farm can view and pet llamas, emus, sheep, donkeys, goats and more. There are even kangaroos, lemurs, and a zedonk (zebra/ donkey).

7 BIock Island Conservancy Education Center

5. Ocean View Pavilion is a comfortable sitting area near Old Harbor that offers stunning ocean vistas. Maintained by the Ocean View Foundation, the area marks the spot where the magnificent Ocean View Hotel once stood. The Foundation runs environmental education programs year round. 6. Walking Trails crisscross the entire island. The Greenway is a web of trails that connects miles of natural habitat and provides memorable hikes for visitors. Among many other worthwhile hikes is the one pictured here, which winds through the recently conserved Ray-Durfee land on the West Side. 7. A new Education Center on Weldon’s Way (pictured above), run by Block Island Conservancy, and an office on High Street housing The Nature Conservancy, provide a wealth of information about the island’s wildlife and plants, and the island’s ongoing efforts to preserve open spaces. Stop by to pick up trail maps or bird checklists and find out about nature walks and other free programs. 8. Explore the island Ponds and Inlets by renting a kayak or paddleboard (available at both harbors).

12 Glass Float

9. There’s no better way to see B.I. than by bicycle. Just last summer the Block Island Tourism Council unveiled a 7.5-mile Video Bike Tour. The loop begins and ends at the Tourist Center off Water Street in Old Harbor. Just scan the QR codes on signs along the route to get the video tour. It includes nine stops along major sights at the southern end of the island, plus an option to add another 8.5 miles of island beauty. 10. BIMI (Block Island Maritime Institute) runs many sailing and marine exploration programs from its “offices” in New Harbor (near Dead Eye Dick’s restaurant), which is where you’ll find their popular touch tank and squid dissection workshops. 11. Seals The island has two seal populations in winter, often visible from the lawn of Saint Andrew Parish Center and off Coast Guard Beach. Keep your distance; they are protected mammals! 12. The Glass Float Project has become one of the island’s most popular activities in recent years. Find these grapefruit-sized orbs along beaches and trails, then register your find at www. Visit the same site for more information. Close To Home, A World Away


Rest, Relaxation, Recreation WHETHER YOU SURF, SAIL, KAYAK, snorkel, or fish, Block Island offers plenty of ocean and pond adventure. The pounding surf and temperate waters are perfect for surfing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, parasailing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, and banana boating and there are a number of local businesses that rent equipment and offer lessons and summer camps. There’s offshore adventure in the form of sail and powerboat charters. Inland pursuits include biking, hiking, and all manner of exercise classes, such as yoga, Nia, aerobics and more — you can even take yoga classes on paddleboards at dawn. Or you can hit the spa. Or simply hit the hammock! For more information, visit the Block Island Tourism Council’s web site at

Banana Boat rides

16 Close To Home, A World Away

Painting in New Harbor

Relaxing on Surf Beach

Bike and Moped rentals

Rustic Rides trail ride

Surffing Lessons

Block Island Club

“The attractions, for the agenda-compulsive, are mainly found outside. There are 12 miles of exceptional white-sand beaches, all open to the public and free (including parking). The ocean waves are the real deal, high enough for great body- and board-surfing and capable of beaching a whale. The best swimming spots with easy access are along Crescent Beach, just north of Old Harbor.” — The New York Times Sailfish in New Harbor

Dinghy Dock

Kayaking the Great Salt Pond

Walking the beach

Close To Home, A World Away


New England’s Boating and Fishing Paradise BOATERS FROM AROUND THE

sailboat races.

WORLD find harbor in more

Or take to the miles of sandy

than 50 acres of anchorage and

beaches and rocky shoreline for

more than 100 public moorings.

fly fishing and surfcasting. Shore

No boat? No problem. Rental boats

access is unrestricted around the

and a charter fishing fleet await to

entire island. Just don’t forget

take visitors out on the Great Salt

to stop by the island’s two tackle

Pond, the Block Island Sound, and,

shops for bait or suggestions

of course, the Atlantic Ocean for

about where the action is. And

striped bass, bluefish, tuna, bonito,

don’t forget about the clam flats,

mahi-mahi, shark, and more. The


island hosts premiere races and

For mooring, anchorage, licens-

fishing tournaments including the

ing and docking information, visit

Tri-State Canyon Shootout fish-

the Block Island Tourism Council’s

ing tourney and the Storm Trysail

web site at

18 Close To Home, A World Away

Striper caught off a charter

The “Cut” at the old Coast Guard station

Fishworks is a local bait shop in New Harbor

Fishing charter boats leave daily from Old Harbor

Hank Hewitt, Resident Fishing Guru I love “My Block Island.” The island for me is a truly special place. To say I am an avid fisherman is a huge understatement. I spend countless hours every year seeking to catch my finned quarry. As a student of the angling arts I seek proficiency across a myriad of fishing techniques. The uniqueness of the island provides a multitude of different terrains and water types which not only challenge my catching ability, but also provides many opportunities when wind or weather becomes a variable in the catching equation. Perhaps it may be argued that the Great Salt Pond makes the island most unique. There is no other place along the Eastern Seaboard which is located, almost offshore, yet has a saltwater bay, often called an estuarine environment. Due to the location of the island in the ocean, and given the fact it has a nursery for various fish which an estuarine environment provides, there is a great variety of species of fish to catch. Any of these species could not be found near the mainland. One never knows what they may catch, and quite often,

My Block Island

Hank with a fresh catch of false albacore.

where there’s water on Block Island there are fish to catch. I could go on with many words to express what constitutes “My Block Island.” Suffice it to say that while I came to Block island to catch fish, because of this Island’s location and uniqueness, Block Island has caught my heart. Funny how a catcher may become the caught. I love this place. Close To Home, A World Away


Chapel Street shops

Block Island Sport Shop

Pottery at Lazy Fish

Spring Street Gallery

The Goods DO A LITTLE CREDIT CARD damage in some of the

Block Island’s natural beauty, its rolling hills, vivid skyline,

island’s fine clothing shops; pick out a memento or Block

clifftop vistas, and fog-cloaked hollows have inspired scores

Island-themed sweatshirt as a keepsake from your island

of poets, painters, potters, musicians, and photographers.

vacation at one of the charming gift shops; or browse for

Its solitude and grandeur have also created a vibrant

fine art and pottery in the downtown’s many galleries.

community where artists can create in a place that, in

Only steps away from the ferry dock in Old Harbor is

the off seasons, is removed from the hustle and bustle of

the heart of Block Island’s historic downtown. Most island

ordinary life and, in summer, is filled with visitors seeking

stores are Mom and Pop businesses and the range of items

to view and buy their work. From the Highview Hotel’s

offered is truly astounding. Homemade honey and candles

frescoed scenes of simple island life, created by H.D.

vie for space with designer handbags and fashionable

Wetherbee in 1948 in exchange for whiskey and rent, to

bathing suits and board shorts. Forget something? Not a

Malcolm Greenaway’s landscape photography, Block Island

problem. There are a host of choices to hook you up with

art has become world-renowned.

everything from fishing and surfing gear to sunscreen and paperback books.

Local artists and craftsmen show at the many galleries that dot the downtown, during the Arts and Crafts Guild

In addition to the shopping in town, there are farmers’

shows hosted on the Historical Society lawn a few times

markets where island artists, chefs and farmers gather each

each season, and at the twice-weekly farmers’ markets. Be

Wednesday and Saturday morning to sell their wares. It’s

sure to pencil in the Holiday Shopping Stroll for late fall:

a great way to pick up locally grown produce, home-baked

During the Thanksgiving Day weekend, island stores open

goodies, locally made preserves, handcrafted jewelry, and

their doors and offer dynamite discounts just in time for the

much more.


20 Close To Home, A World Away

Shops on Dodge Street

The Glass Onion on Water Street

Ila Manner Schulman, Owner/Operator Golddiggers Jewelers

Ila Manner Schulman

I grew up in the south and loved vacationing in the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands. I thought that there was no other kind of island lifestyle that could ever appeal to me until 14 years

ago when I took a small New England Airlines flight to Block Island. Immediately I was in awe of the crisp, clean, ocean air, the abundance of nature and amazingly unspoiled beauty everywhere. The tour I took left me breathless. I really loved it, and did not want to leave when the time came. This infatuation with Block Island prompted a retirement sale of the successful fine jewelry business I ran for many years in Westchester, NY. I knew I wanted my passion for precious metals and gems to continue on Block Island so I could spend as much time here as possible. I opened Golddiggers Jewelers on Chapel Street. Having a shop filled with unique and classic fine jewelry and being able to do repairs on the premises was a great idea. We are celebrating 10 years this summer!  It has been the most fun I have ever had as a gemologist and

Jewelry at HeartSpace Studio

My Block Island goldsmith. This is such a happy place, filled with laughter and people that can’t help but make this their favorite destination. Everyone that visits the shop becomes a new friend that I look forward to seeing every summer. As for the community, I feel we are one big family. We look after our island. We love, support and protect it. So many fun events throughout the season insure there is never a dull moment. We have great fund raisers, celebrations and food. My husband and I have fished all over the world, and no fishing compares to Block Island. Our family looks forward to more wonderful summers and memories to reminisce about. We all love this magical place, and the people that are drawn to it the best. I don’t think I could enjoy any place as much as Block Island—it is a real treasure! Close To Home, A World Away


Living History

Farming is still a small part of the island’s modern day life

BLOCK ISLAND’S HISTORY is a rich one, encompassing

mentioning shipwrecks. While some have become the stuff

Native American tribes, Revolutionary War heroes, legend-

of legend, others remain accessible for sport divers. Among

ary shipwrecks, and its emergence in the late 1800s as one of

the legendary is the Princess Augusta, which inspired John

New England’s premiere summer attractions.

Greenleaf Whittier’s 1867 poem “The Palatine.”

Learn more about the island’s history by visiting the His-

Block Island’s rough seas and rocky coastlines would

torical Society Museum and gift shop downtown. A white

certainly have claimed more ships were it not for two

mansard-roofed building, the Historical Society houses an

lighthouses. The North and Southeast Lighthouses have

extensive collection of furniture, textiles, quilts, oral histo-

achieved iconic status, revered for their historic significance

ries, fishing gear, tools, and Native American artifacts. Then

and as symbols of the community spirit that has allowed

head to Isaac’s Corner, at the intersection of Center Road,

them to be restored and preserved.

Lakeside Drive, and Cooneymus Roads. Named for the

The Southeast Lighthouse made national headlines in

island’s last full-blooded Native American, who died in 1886,

the early 1990’s when, after years of erosion, it found itself

it is near the Indian burial ground and the stone monument

just 50 feet from the cliff’s edge. Islanders banded together

erected just last year in honor of the Manissean Indians.

to save the beloved structure, raising nearly $2 million in

On that same corner, overlooking Fresh Pond, sits the

federal and private grants, and donations to move the Na-

gambrel-roofed cottage of composer and poet Arthur Penn,

tional Historic Landmark 245 feet back from the bluff.

who lived there with his wife Nell in the 1920s. His song

You’ll want to see the North Light, too, by hiking past

“Smilin’ Through” is named for his Block Island home.

Settlers’ Rock. The lantern on that lighthouse was recently

No history of Block Island would be complete without 22 Close To Home, A World Away

restored and re-lit, and its small museum renovated.

The Block Island Historical Society

Pam Gasner, Executive Director of the Historical Society

Old views from Grace’s Cove Road

Tour at the Island Cemetery

Old West Side views

George Dodge, Island Resident and Blues on the Block founder

George Dodge

What means the most to me about this great island is my family heritage. It all started at the age of six weeks when my mother brought me by train to Stonington, Connecticut where my grandfather, Linus Dodge picked us up in his dragger and brought us over for my first visit. This was the beginning of my love for this wonderful place and while I hadn’t the slightest inkling then, the start of a lifelong seagoing career. It is also the place where I had the great fortune

My Block Island and luck to meet my future wife, which in turn produced a family of four children and three grandchildren, who are now the 13th generation of Block Islanders in the Dodge family. When asked why I started Blues on the Block the answer is simple, I love going to each event. What better way to spend a warm summer night on Block Island than at the Town Beach, surrounded by others of all age groups, listening to good music. It doesn’t get any better than that. Close To Home, A World Away


The Surf Hotel

The National Hotel

The Inn at Spring House

Hotel Manisses

A Room with a View

Rent a cottage for a week or choose among dozens of hotels, inns, and B&Bs Block Island has the largest collection of Victorian era

to hand out advice about things to see and do. For longer

hotels of any vacation destination on the Eastern seaboard.

visits, Block Island has a slew of rental properties and able

Among the architectural gems are the Atlantic Inn, the

real estate agents to help you find the picturesque vacation

Spring House, Hotel Manisses, the National Hotel, and the

home that’s just right for you and yours. There is higher

Surf Hotel. For the luxury traveler, new boutique hotels and

availability for accommodations and ferry reservations the

Inns provide modern amenities. The island is also famous

week after July 4 and in the last week of August.

for its quaint bed and breakfasts and guest houses. You’ll find friendly and knowledgeable proprietors who are eager 24 Close To Home, A World Away

For specific accommodation information visit the Block Island Tourism Council’s web site at

Payne’s Harbor View Inn

Blue Dory Inn

The Inn at Block Island

New rooms at the 1661 Inn

The Atlantic Inn

Frank DiBiase III, Hospitality Manager, The Spring House Hotel

Frank DiBiase III in front of The Spring House Hotel.

It was 1989 when my dad announced to my family that he was purchasing a hotel on Block Island. Back then, the island was nowhere near as popular as it is today. I heard stories of people calling him crazy, but his vision for success has always been one of his strongest qualities as a person. You could say he fell in love at first sight. Built in 1852, standing 164 years old, you can only imagine how much hard work, time, dedication,

and money it takes to revive and operate such a historic piece of real estate. I was only three years old at the time and the hotel was under receivership. It was run-down and vacant. That is when his journey and our future on Block Island began. When I was about 16, I started working for my dad and staff at the Spring House. Every summer I worked in different departments of the hotel. One summer I would bus tables, another prep in the kitchen. At the age of 18, I started bartending and to this day, it is still my favorite part of the business. I love the fast-paced environment, great conversations, and the opportunity of meeting new people. Today, 26 years later, with my father’s vision and with the help of loyal management such as David Houseman, who has been by my family’s side since the beginning of this amazing journey, our business has grown to be open yearround featuring our popular restaurant, The Barn. In addition to the Spring House Hotel, we now own and operate 11 rental homes, apartments and a brand new 10-room inn called the Inn at Spring House. Today my obligations are managing the day-to-day operations of

My Block Island the hotel and restaurant with the help of an amazing staff. My personal mission is to help create the same warm and inviting environment for new and returning guests, giving them the chance to experience Block Island the way I did growing up. Not only do I enjoy working hard all summer, I also make it a point to take the time and enjoy the simplistic beauty and cherish every moment our beautiful island has to offer. Whether you enjoy the award winning beaches, the beautiful hiking trails, some of the best fishing on the East coast or even taking part in Block Island’s Music Festival at Captain Nick’s, Block Island is known for bringing families and friends together from all over the world. It allows us to create memories and traditions that last a lifetime. The Block Island community is filled with so much happiness, it really highlights the simplicity of life. The Nature Conservancy and Historic District Commission do a wonderful job on preserving Block Island’s beauty. The Nature Conservancy doesn’t call Block Island “One of the last great places” for nothing. Thank you Block Island for bringing us all together! Close To Home, A World Away


The Oar

Poor People’s Pub

Spring House porch

Persephone’s Kitchen

Pots & Kettles


Old Island Pub


from the beach or ferry. Bite into one of our legendary fish

Block Island can satisfy your hunger at any of nearly 40

sandwiches, snack on clam cakes or mahi-mahi, feast on

restaurants and pubs.

buckets of shrimp and enjoy the spectacular ocean views.

Seafood lovers will delight in the dizzying number of ways

But Block Island offers more than just seafood. Hungry for

our local chefs prepare fresh catch. Many of the island’s

falafel, eggplant rollatini, sushi, pad thai, freshly-made ba-

most beloved seafood joints are less than a five-minute walk

gels, or a lemon-lime gelato? Block Island has you covered.

26 Close To Home, A World Away

Payne’s Donuts in New Harbor

Lobster Roll at Ballard’s

Southeast Light Delights

There are day visitors who take the ferry to Block Island for no other reason than to dine at one of the isle’s elegant restaurants. Perhaps this is because many of the island’s fine dining establishments boast views that are every bit as impressive as the food. — Finn’s Seafood Restaurant

Surf Hotel porch

Rebecca’s Dockside

Kimberly Ward, Owner/Operator Kimberly’s and Catering by Kimberly

Kimberly and Norman Ward

I first came to Block Island for an end-of-summer party at Captain Nick’s in 1982. Who could not fall in love with this island? My husband Norman and I were married on the island in 1984 at the Champ Starr property, with a reception to follow at The Manisses. Norman and (the late) Joan Abrams planned the whole reception; I did not have to do one thing! You may know me from my years as Manager of Dead Eye Dicks or as Manager/Owner of the Beachead Restaurant. I enjoy being in the front of the house greeting people and making sure things run smoothly. Norman has been along for the ride as well, all these years, but he is behind the scenes. Kimberly’s was established in June of 2014 in the former home of Harry’s

My Block Island Restaurant. While the restaurant is relatively new, the people behind it have been mainstays in the industry, on Block Island and New England, for decades.  Norman, together with Terry Smith and Patty Crowley make up the “Back of the House” managers, and while you may not see them in person too often, they are always there, in the kitchen, sending out creative, delicious and fresh dishes.  Most of my staff has been with me for years, and are local island year-round residents. From waiters to dishwashers, cooks, hosts and bussers....some go back more than 30 years with Norman and me. I love running our business on Block Island. The people and the wonderful community are amazing. I am thankful to be a part of it. Close To Home, A World Away


Come Home To

Block Island

Real Estate Sales and Service Whether you are looking to purchase that special Island property or planning a relaxing vacation, Ballard Hall Real Estate is on-island year round to assist you. Sign-up at our website,, browse our listings and connect with one of our agents for buyer or seller representation. Principal Broker: Gail Ballard Hall Associate Brokers: Blake Phelan, Judith Cyronak Licensees: Michele Phelan, David Graham, Chelsea Phelan, Laurel Littlefield, and Elizabeth Carlson (RI & CT) Office Assistant: Heidi Tallmadge Corner of Ocean Ave. and Corn Neck Rd 401-466-8883

28 Close To Home, A World Away

Espresso Martini at Aldo’s

Mahogany Shoals at Payne’s Dock

Bonfire on Scotch Beach

Yellow Kittens Tavern

Poor People’s Pub

Cocktails at the Atlantic Inn

Dancing at Captain Nick’s

Nightlife AFTER A DAY OF SWIMMING, fishing, sailing or hiking, you need to relax — just not too much! A different island adventure awaits you after dark. Block Island bars and nightclubs are among the best in New England. You’ll find local brews, mudslides, and margarita madness to go Blues on the Block

with the live music that will keep you dancing well into the night. Close To Home, A World Away


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lce boating on Fresh Pond

Wintertime fun — Pond Hockey

Groundhog Day census

Soapbox Derby

Fourth of July fun

Adrian holding the flag

Lobster Pot Holiday tree

Blues on the Block concert at Town Beach

Favorite Times and Happenings Block Island’s best kept secret may be the pleasure of its

Polar Plunge 2016

popular Blues on the Block concerts; and fall classics like

shoulder seasons. Spring and fall are quieter and perhaps

the the Soap Box Derby and the Arts and Crafts Guild /

even more gorgeous than summer!

Farmers’ Market Fair, as well as new favorites, such as the

Sample island food during Restaurant Week June 12 to

Glass Floats Treasure Hunts, in which visitors and islanders

17 this year. A Taste of Block Island weekend, September 16

alike comb beaches and trails for handblown fishing-float-

to 18, gives guests a chance to sample the island’s inns, res-

style glass balls stamped with an island image.

taurants, and activities at a deep discount. Popular annual

Winter happenings include the Holiday Shopping Stroll

celebrations include the Fourth of July, of course, but also

over Thanksgiving weekend, the Polar Plunge on New Year’s

races such as the Shad Bloom Run in early May, the August

Day, and the Groundhog Day census. Find a full listing of

triathlon, and September’s 15K Run Around the Block; art

events in 2016 at

and music festivals throughout the summer including the

Close To Home, A World Away


The Ideal Spot For The Times Of Your Life

J. Fuller

Overlooking New Harbor Suites with jacuzzis Private decks

Satellite TV Breathtaking views Antique furnishings

Large rooms with whirlpool tubs

Corner of Ocean and Beach Avenues 401.466.5758 •

Ranked #3 best airport in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler Whether your final destination is Ft. Lauderdale or Frankfurt – traveling from Green Airport will get you there faster and easier. Green Airport is conveniently located and accessible by car, bus or train. Once here, Green Airport keeps you moving with a smooth check-in process without the long lines.

travel easier. faster. further.

32 Close To Home, A World Away

Lunch Bunch volunteers

Block Island School 7th grade sailing trip

Hometown Champions

Halloween costume parade Prepping for hay at Sprague Farm The entire Block Island School, K-12

Our Island Community “Do you like living out here?” This is a question I get

Easter Egg hunt

BI Volunteer Firefighters

to me might be different for another resident. In fact, there

asked almost daily in the summer. The answer is always, and

are many differing opinions about all sorts of things out

unequivocally, yes. The things I don’t like I can count on

here. These are a passionate people. What we all agree on,

one hand.; no movie theater in the winter, weather delaying

however, is our love for this island. We all want what’s best

boats and planes, high electric rates, and I really miss being

for our home. I love talking about Block Island and I love

able to go to Target on a whim. But that’s it. The things I

showing people Block Island, like a mom showing off her

love about living on Block Island are far too numerous to

child’s accomplishments. If you visit,for an hour or a week,

mention. Nature tops my list; the beaches are beautiful, the

I’m confident you’ll understand why we love where we live.

cliffs are dramatic and the ocean is spectacular in every

Come on out and let us show you our home.

season. What you can’t see as easily is the sense of community. With only about 1000 year-round residents we pretty

Jessica K. Willi Executive Director, Block Island Tourism Council

much all know one another. What makes the island special

Close To Home, A World Away


On the island, take it slow.

To the island, make it fast.

Get to Block Island in just over an hour via the fastest ferry from the mainland. Service May – September | | 860.444.4624

Make your first stop the

NEWPORT VISITOR CENTER Open 7 days a week 23 America’s Cup Avenue Newport, RI One block from the ferry dock Share a review on

Seasonal Daily Departures to Downtown Newport | 800.326.6030 34 Close To Home, A World Away

Katie and Michael Wedding by Wild Souls Studio

Christina and Peter Wedding by Michael Benson Photography

Bridgette and Evan Wedding by Katie Slater Photography

Caitlyn and BrandonWedding by Rose Schaller

The Perfect Place for a Wedding

Lauren and Brian Wedding by Brittany Adams Photography

It’s no secret anymore how much fun it is to have your wedding on Block Island. Every year more and more couples choose the island for a close-to-home, but worlds-away destination celebration. Whether it’s just the two of you on a dock or at a lighthouse, or hundreds of friends and family members renting houses together for a week of parties, you’ll have a picture-perfect time.

Kate and Marco Wedding by Vaux Finnimore

Rebecca & Christina Wedding by Ralph Gabriner

Close To Home, A World Away


Class at Historical Society

Cemetery and History Tour

Group Tours Whether you’re a community recreation department, a family wishing to reunite, a cyclist group, a private or charter school, or a company looking for a fun place to retreat, there’s a Block Island experience just right for you. Tours are especially good for gatherings of friends, family,

Nature Trails Tour

trip ferry tickets, island tour, lunch, and of course free time for exploration. “Group tours bring a whole different dynamic to Block Island,” says Jessica Willi, executive director of the Tourism Council. “This market is wonderful for first-time visitors to

classmates or colleagues who’ve never been to the island

the island because they don’t have to worry about logistics.

before and want to maximize a day or a long weekend by

Everything is included in their day. And, as we know on

taking part in this rapidly growing island tradition.

Block Island, one visit will turn into a lifetime of visits. If

“We’ve had classic car associations, military reunions, and lighthouse aficionados come out,” says Megan Moran, sales manager for the Block Island Ferry. What appeals to folks is

you come once, you will want to come back!” For more information, go to or

the inclusive nature of a tour, she says. You get your round-

Welcome to Block Island. We Saved You A Seat.

Spring and Fall Packages Available At Tourism Council

36 Close To Home, A World Away

Stay with us and enjoy our home. (401) 466-2421 (800) 626-4773

Many Newly Renovated Rooms

Take in Our Expansive Ocean Views

Tour Our Farm & Gardens

Block Island Reservations Block Island Reservations Block Island Reservations Located in the lobby of the Harborside Inn, directly across from the Old Harbor Ferry Located in the lobby of the Harborside Inn, directly across from the Old Harbor Ferry

Located in the lobby of the Harborside Inn, directly across from the Old Harbor Ferry

One stop shopping for lodging on Block Island! One stop shopping for lodging on Block Island! • (800) 825-6254 • (800) 825-6254 One stop shopping for lodging on Block Island!

(800) 825-6254

Enjoy unparalleled unparalleledbeauty beauty Enjoy and endless endless activities activitiesfor for and your Island getaway. your Island getaway.

Enjoy unparalleled beauty and endless activities for your Island getaway. Visit for all your accommodation needs including hotel rooms in historic Old Harbor, suites, cottages & apartments. We offer packages with 2 nights lodging, bikes or mopeds, dining & ferry starting at $359 for Visit for all all your your accommodation needs including Visit for accommodation needs including hotel rooms in historic Old Harbor, suites, cottages & apartments. We offer hotelguests rooms midweek. Browse Harbor, suites, cottages &for apartments. We offer two our website details and packages with nights lodging, bikes bikes or or mopeds, mopeds,dining dining&&ferry ferrystarting startingatat$369 $369 packages with 2deals! other great for our website website for fordetails detailsand andother othergreat greatdeals! deals! for two two guests guests midweek. Browse our

Photographyby byK. K.Curtis Curtis Photography


2016 Block Island Tourism Magazine  

Close to home, a world away.