A Day on Block Island

Like I mentioned in my post about the day trip we recently took to Newport, August was absolutely amazing in Rhode Island this year. We couldn’t have asked for better weather! So when a close friend from high school planned a visit back to her home state (all the way from Washington State!), we knew we had to take advantage of the opportunity to bring her husband to one of our favorite places – Block Island.

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If you’ve never heard of Block Island, I wouldn’t be surprised. Surrounded by more famed summer sites – Newport, Montauk, and Fisher’s Island – the Block is an undervalued beach vacation site in the Sound. In fact, the Nature Conservancy placed Block Island on its list of “The Last Great Places,” alongside only 11 other beautiful spots in the Western Hemisphere.

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Upper deck seats on the Block Island Ferry

The usual (and cheapest) way to get to Block Island is by ferry.  The ride takes off in Point Judith, with a traditional ferry ride taking an hour and a high-speed ride cutting that time in half. Having done it so many times in my life, I often take for granted the sights around me. I usually spend my time perched up on the top deck, taking in the morning sun while we cross the Sound.

Most people who arrive by ferry instead of personal boat stay in Old Harbor – a quaint area of this 9 square mile island with shops, lighthouses, and a massive beach bar called Ballard’s (otherwise known as Vegas on the Block). My friend had wanted to rent mopeds to see the rest of the island, but when we got the chance to rent this convertible PT Cruiser instead, we had to take it. To our surprise, it was more wallet-friendly than the mopeds and we got to chat along the ride.

We did, however, learn the hard way that the Block Island Police don’t love the idea of young women snapping selfies on the back of a moving convertible. Woops!

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Once we showed our friends the historic Southeast Light and hiked down the Mohegan Bluffs to see the ocean, we launched our “Mudslide Tour” of New Harbor, the opposite side of the island. We started out at Champlin’s Marina, one of the largest marinas in the entire Northeast, and a great spot to people watch and hear some 1980’s party music.

Once we checked Champlin’s off the list, we scooted over to The Oar, Mike’s and my favorite place on the Island. They have the best mudslies around, and their sushi is hard to beat and handrolled right inside the restaurant. There’s not a blank space on the walls inside the building – instead they’re covered in painted oars given to the restaurant over the past 50 years. It’s got so much character, and the huge piece of land allows for sightseeing over the Great Salt Pond or lawn games, which they provide for you.

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Our final stop brought us back to Ballard’s, where we all caught some sun for the last 2 hours of the day – except Mike, who spent his time hiding under this baby tent my mom gave him for protection. Relaxing on the beach and watching the parties going on around us was a great way to end a long day of island touring.

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Since we were gone the whole day, Mike and I had left Reese Witherspoon the Dog at my parent’s house, in Westerly. Logistically, it would have been a pain to ferry an hour back to Point Judith, drive 30 minutes south to pick her up, and then back 50 minutes north to our house to meet other friends for a cookout.

We took this as our opportunity to check something off both of our bucket lists – flying Block Island Airlines, which actually only flies between Westerly and Block Island. The flight was so fun! I’d never been in a plane that small before, and everyone was so friendly.

All in all, this was the perfect trip and a great time to reunite with one of my closest friends. Have you ever been to the Block? What are your favorite sights?

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Newport Lobster Shack

This August in Rhode Island has been an absolute beauty. We’ve been blessed with the kind of sunny skies, calm waters, and hot weather that makes you want to take advantage of every moment outdoors you can.

One of the nice things about living on the coast is our easy access to incredible seafood. Last weekend, we had a beautiful, calm day and Mike and I decided to take a short boat ride with his dad out to Newport, RI. If you’ve never been to Newport, it’s best known for its Victorian Mansions and pristine beaches. To the locals, Newport is also a great spot for dockside eats.

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We’re all big lobster fans, and it was about lunchtime, so Mike’s dad took us to a lobster spot I’ve never been to before – the Newport Lobster Shack. I didn’t know this until after we ate there, but the Shack is owned by local Newport fisherman, many of whom have been fishing off of Aquidneck Island since childhood – and the Shack’s profits help fund the fare, which is fresh caught right off the coast.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when we pulled up to the dock, but this is a great operation! A small picnic area serving great seafood out of their food truck, and a market where you can also buy fresh catches and Shack gear.

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Mike and his dad picked up lobster rolls, which looked amazing, and I indulged in the best lobster bisque I’ve ever eaten.

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We enjoyed our lunch while we cruised through Newport Harbor, looking at the massive yachts and sailboats at the docks. Soon after, we headed home towards the famous Pell Bridge, one of Rhode Island’s most recognizable landmarks.

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This quick trip was such a nice way to spend 2-3 hours in the afternoon. I’d highly recommend the Shack for anyone looking for an amazingly fresh lobster this summer!

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