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New Shoreham, Rhode Island
—  Town  —
Block Island, shown in red, off the coast of the State of Rhode Island.
Coordinates: 41°10′11″N 71°34′48″W / 41.16972°N 71.58°W / 41.16972; -71.58Coordinates: 41°10′11″N 71°34′48″W / 41.16972°N 71.58°W / 41.16972; -71.58
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Washington
 - Type Council-manager
 - First Warden Kimberly H. Gaffett
 - Land 9.734 sq mi (25.2 km2)
Population (2000)
 - Total 1,010
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02807
Area code(s) 401

Block Island is part of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 13 miles (21 km) south of the coast of Rhode Island, 14 miles (23 km) east of Montauk Point on Long Island, and is separated from the Rhode Island mainland by Block Island Sound. The United States Census Bureau defines Block Island as Census Tract 415 of Washington County, Rhode Island. As of the 2000 census the population of 1,010 lived on a land area of 9.734 square miles (25.211 km2).[1] The island is part of the Outer Lands region, a coastal archipelago made by the recessional and terminal moraine that resulted from the Wisconsonian Laurentide glacier retreat, about 22,000 years ago.

The Nature Conservancy added Block Island to its list of "The Last Great Places." The list consists of twelve sites in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 20 percent of the Island is set aside for conservation.[2] Presidents Bill Clinton and Ulysses S. Grant visited Block Island.[citation needed]

The only town on the island is New Shoreham. The island is a popular summer tourist destination and is known for its excellent bicycling, hiking, sailing, fishing, and beaches. Two historic lighthouses are present on the island: Block Island North Light, on the northern tip of the island, and Block Island Southeast Light, on the southeast side of the island. Much of the northwest tip of the island is an undeveloped natural area and resting stop for birds along the Atlantic Flyway.

Every summer the island hosts Block Island Race Week, a highly competitive, week-long sailboat racing event. On odd years, the event is held by the Storm Trysail Club, and on even years by the Block Island Race Week organization. Yachts compete in various classes, sailing courses in Block Island Sound, and circumnavigating the island.

Other popular events include the annual Fourth of July Parade and celebration. During these times the island's population can triple over the normal summer vacation crowd.


A Brief Native History

The Niantic, whose tribe eventually merged with the Narragansett people, called the island "Manisses" which means "little island of Manitou".[3][4] Archaeological sites indicate these people lived largely by hunting deer, catching fish and shellfish, and growing corn, beans, and squash. They migrated from forest to coastal areas to take advantage of seasonal resources.[5] Artifacts found in the area suggest that Native Americans inhabited the area as far back as 1300 BCE.[6] In 1662, natives on the island numbered somewhere from 1,200 to 1,500. By 1774, that number had been reduced to fifty-one.[7]

Former Massachusetts Governor John Endicott attacking the Niantic_(tribe) on Block Island in the summer of 1637.

Due to intrusions by the Pequot and Mohegan in the early 17th century, the Niantic were split into two divisions; the Western Niantic, who allied with the Pequot and Mohegan, and the Eastern Niantic, who allied with the Narragansett.

The Niantic_(tribe) defending themselves on Block Island in the summer of 1637.

In 1634, Western Niantic defended their tribe by killing John Stone, a "renegade" Boston trader, who was known for stealing Pilgrim vessels, near the mouth of the Connecticut River. Despite the fact the man was trying to kidnap native women and children to sell as slaves in Virginia, the colonists became furious. The English demanded that the Pequot (who spoke for the Western Niantic) surrender his killers. This was refused and began the slide towards war. In the summer of 1637, the Western Niantic killed another Boston trader, John Oldham, near Block Island.

Without consulting the Connecticut colonists, Massachusetts, in August, sent a punitive expedition of ninety men under John Endicott to Block Island with instructions to kill every Niantic warrior and capture the woman and children, who would be valuable as slaves. The expedition was ordered by Massachusetts Governor Henry Vane to "massacre all of the Native men on the island". The expedition killed fourteen Eastern Niantic and burned their village and crops. The English burned sixty wigwams and the corn fields. They also shot every dog, but the Niantic fled into the woods, and the soldiers only managed to kill fourteen of them. Deciding this punishment was insufficient, Endicott and his men sailed over to Fort Saybrook before going after the Pequot village at the mouth of the Thames River to demand one thousand fathoms of wampum to pay for the murder of John Oldham and some Pequot children as hostages to insure peace. This incident is seen as one of the initial events that led to the Pequot War.[8][9][10]

A Brief Colonial History

Southeast Light is a Block Island landmark.
First view of southside Block Island from ferry from New London, Connecticut
Historic Harbor Church, Baptist-affiliated, is perched on a high hill on the western side of New Shoreham, Rhode Island.
Two-story Block Island Historical Society building

In 1524, what later became known as Block Island was sighted by Giovanni da Verrazzano, who named it "Luisa" after Louise of Savoy, the Queen Mother of France, and the mother of Francis I. However, several maps of the era named the island "Claudia," in honor of Claude, the wife of Francis I. Verrazano described Luisa (Claudia) as "about the size of the Island of Rhodes." In fact, they are shaped very similarly. When the founders of Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations surveyed the land, they thought that Aquidneck Island was the place referred to by Verrazano. In 1614, Block Island was charted by the Dutch explorer Adrian Block, who named it for himself.[11] English settlers from the mainland first arrived in 1661 led by Captain John Underhill, when the island was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The island became part of the colony of Rhode Island in 1672 and the island government adopted the name "New Shoreham." A Dutch map of 1685 clearly shows Block Island, indicated as Adrian Block Island ("Adriaen Blocks Eylant").

In 1699 the Scottish sailor William Kidd visited Block Island, shortly before he was accused of piracy and hanged. At Block Island he was supplied by Mrs. Mercy (Sands) Raymond, daughter of the mariner James Sands. The story has it that, for her hospitality, Mrs. Raymond was bid to hold out her apron, into which Kidd threw gold and jewels until it was full. After her husband Joshua Raymond died, Mercy moved with her family to northern New London, Connecticut (later Montville), where she bought much land. The Raymond family was thus said to have been "enriched by the apron".[12]

In 1829 the original North Lighthouse was built, but it was replaced in 1837 after it was washed out to sea. This lighthouse was also claimed by the ocean. In 1867, the lighthouse that can be seen today was constructed.[13] A few years later in 1873, construction began on Block Island's other lighthouse, Southeast Light.

Since Block Island has no natural harbors, in 1870 breakwaters were constructed to form Old Harbor. Block Island's other harbor, New Harbor, wouldn't be created until 1895 when a channel was dug that connected the Great Salt Pond to the ocean through the north west side of the island.

The Island Free Library, Block Island's only public library, was established in 1875. Block Island's school was built in 1933, replacing five one roomed schools.

During World War II several artillery spotters were located on the island to direct fire from the heavy gun batteries at Fort Greene, Point Judith that protected the entrance to Naragansett Bay. Lookout positions for the spotters were built to look like houses. The US government offered to evacuate the island, as it could not be effectively defended from enemy invasion. However, the islanders chose to stay. Days before the war ended, the Battle of Point Judith took place 7 miles to the northeast of the island.

The island's airport was opened in 1950 and remains open today as a general aviation airport. In 1972 the Block Island Conservancy was founded. The Conservancy and other environmental organizations are responsible for protecting over 40% of the island from development.[14] In 1974 Old Harbor Historic District was declared a National Register historic district.


Block Island's weather is greatly influenced by the surrounding ocean and prevailing winds that generally blow offshore. The climate is oceanic (Koppen Cfb), a rarity on an east coast in the Northern Hemisphere. Because the ocean stays cold during the Spring and Summer months, Block Island stays cooler than the mainland during this period. However, summers can still be hot on Block Island although July and August average in the mid and upper 70s instead of low and mid 80s that New York and New England experience. Block Island's record high temperature is 95 °F (35 °C). Block Island stays warmer than the mainland during the fall and winter months when the ocean remains relatively warmer than the mainland. Block Island's record low is −7 °F (−22 °C).

Block Island's High and Low Temperature Averages and Precipitation Averages:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F 39 40 45 53 62 71 77 77 71 62 53 44 58
Avg low °F 27 28 33 41 49 58 64 64 57 49 41 32 45
Rainfall (inches) 3.68 3.04 3.99 3.72 3.40 2.77 2.62 3.00 3.19 3.04 3.77 3.57 39.79


Beach waves near the National Hotel on Block Island
Swimmers in smooth waters at Block Island
Settler's Rock is the most northerly part of Block Island accessible to motorists.
Steep bluffs at Block Island

Crescent Beach can be viewed from the Pt. Judith Ferry on the way to the island. It contains three smaller beaches, Fred Benson Town Beach (still popularly known as State Beach due to its former status as one), Scotch Beach, and Mansion Beach, all of which are located on Corn Neck Road. State Beach and Ballards Beach are the only beaches on the island with on-duty life guards. State Beach has a pavilion with food and beach rentals. The so-called Baby Beach begins at the Surf Hotel, near the Beachhead Restaurant on Corn Neck Rd. Scotch Beach is located just north of Fred Benson Town Beach and Mansion Beach is located north of Scotch Beach.

North of Mansion Beach are Clayhead and Pots & Kettles. Clayhead is a set of cliffs which can be seen from the ferry in from Point Judith or New London. This area is rocky and contains iron-rich clay deposits, and is a popular area for shell and rock hunting.

Cow Cove, Settler's Rock, and Sandy Point make up the northernmost point of Block Island. Here lies the North Lighthouse and the postcard sunsets. Settler's Rock is located at Cow Cove, where the settlers landed and swam to shore bringing with them the island's first cows, which they pushed off the boats and forced ashore. Attached to the rock is a plaque naming the original settlers of Block Island. This beach is not ideal for swimming on the ocean side, especially at the point, due to strong rip currents. On the other side, however, is Sachem Pond, fresh water and good for swimming.

On the south side of the island, Black Rock Beach is widely regarded as the best beach for surfing on the island due to its high surf. However, the beach tends to be very rocky and has a reputation for being a nude beach, despite laws against nudity on Rhode Island's beaches. It is located near the Mohegan Bluffs and Southeast Lighthouse.

Coastguard Beach is situated between the Great Salt Pond and the ocean on the north west side of the island. It is a popular beach for fishing and walking, but not particularly good for swimming due to the large number of boats traveling nearby.

Ballard's Beach is on the southern side of the Block Island Ferry Dock and jetty. Set right in front of Ballard's Restaurant and Inn, popular with boaters and with the young crowd. There are cocktail waitresses on the sand, and daily live music outside. There's also a busy volleyball court with daily games and tournaments. There are lifeguards on duty at Ballard's Beach.

Bluffs Beach is accessed by parking at the Mohegan Bluffs entrance and walking down the stairs. There are 141 steps to this rocky area, known for its spectacular view. At the foot of these steep wooden stairs are big rocks leading to the beach. A word of caution also about walking near the bluffs. If you look up at the steep cliffs along the sand you will see where the island is eroding. This can be very dangerous as there is no warning as to when a chunk of land will fall from above. This has proved to be fatal in the past, so do not walk or sit too close to the bluffs. The same is true for when you are at the top of the bluffs, be mindful and watch your children. Do not walk too close to the edge. For this reason the main bluffs overlook is now closed to sightseers. Continuing south from the Bluffs you'll run into Vail Beach. Access this beach by parking at the first left on Snake Hole Road, where the painted rock is. There's only room for two or three cars here and the path can be a difficult walk. This is a popular surfing spot when the surf is up. You won't find many people here. It's very rocky, no sand and the surf is usually too rough for swimming.

Tourist attractions

Harborside Inn is a restaurant and hotel on the south side of Block Island.
Ashley House hotel on Block Island

Southeast Lighthouse is located at the southeast corner of the island on the Mohegan Trail. The lighthouse was constructed in 1875[15] and remains to this day an active US Coast Guard navigational aid.[13] The lighthouse was moved in 1993, in danger of falling off of the bluffs due to erosion. In addition to offering tours of the tower, the lighthouse has a museum that is open during the summer season.[16]

The Mohegan Bluffs are located a short distance to the west of Southeast Lighthouse. The bluffs are the site of a pre-colonial battle between the invading Mohegan, and the native Niantic in which the Mohegan were driven off the edge of the tall cliffs to their deaths on the beach below. A long staircase of over one hundred stairs leads to the bottom of these clay cliffs and looks out over the Atlantic. On clear days, Montauk, New York can be seen in the distance from the southern and western sides of the island.

Rodman's Hollow is a 230-acre (93 ha) glacial outwash basin, near the southern shore of the island. The hollow has several walking trails.[17] Horseback rides through Rodman's Hollow are also offered.

North Lighthouse is located at Sandy Point on the northern tip of Block Island. The North Lighthouse warns boaters of a sandbar extending from this end of the island. The surrounding dunes are part of the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, home to many species, including the Piping Plover and American Burying Beetle.[18] A short walk away from the North Lighthouse lies the tip of the island, with ocean on both sides of a thin strip of land.

U-853 is a U-boat wreck 7 miles (11 km) east of the island, lying in 130 ft (40 m) of water. Recreational divers frequently visit the wreck, though at least three have died there.[19][20]


Boating is popular around Block Island.

The island is connected year-round by a ferry to Point Judith, and in summer to New London, Connecticut; Montauk, New York; and Newport, Rhode Island. The traditional ferry, takes about an hour to reach the island from Point Judith. A high-speed ferry on the same route takes 35 minutes. Another high-speed ferry from New London, Connecticut to Block Island takes an hour and a half. It is usually necessary to book ferry reservations months in advance for the summer season if you want to bring your car over. New England Airlines offers regularly scheduled 12-minute flights to Block Island State Airport from Westerly, Rhode Island.[21]


Rhode Island has approved construction of a wind farm with six turbines approximately 3 miles southeast of the island. It would be the first offshore wind farm constructed in the United States. As of 2009 the Island electric grid is supplied by diesel generators, which are extremely expensive to operate. Under the plan, Block Island would source most of its power from the wind farm with backup power provided by a submarine cable to be installed from the mainland.


This house was formerly the United States Weather Bureau station on Block Island.

The area around Block Island has been the site of numerous shipwrecks, including the Steamer Larchmont in 1907 [1]. The 1738 wreck of the Princess Augusta (also known as the Palatine ship) was later immortalized by John Greenleaf Whittier in his 1867 poem, "The Wreck of the Palatine," among whose verses the words "Circled by waters that never freeze, Beaten by billow and swept by breeze, Lieth the island of Manisees," have become well-known. Two submarines also sank off of Block Island: the United States Navy USS S-51 in 1925,[22] and the German U-Boat U-853 in 1945.[23] One shipwreck in particular sank in the 1800s just south of the southeast lighthouse. Its mast lies submerged approximately 4 feet below the water's surface. The area remains closed off to passing boats.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Block Island include:


  1. ^ Census Tract 415, Washington County United States Census Bureau
  2. ^ "One of the last great places". Providence Journal, June 9, 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica; Block Island
  4. ^ Providence, RI : The Islands
  5. ^ The Pages of Shades : Native Americans
  6. ^ Jamestown & Newport, RI History
  7. ^ A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, p. 16
  8. ^ History of the Mohegans
  9. ^ History of the Niantic
  10. ^ pgs. 18-25 History of Pilgrims and Puritans, Volume 3 by Joseph Dillaway Sawyer, published in 1922
  11. ^ Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State; Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State; retrieved on October 23, 2007
  12. ^ Caulkins, Frances Manwaring (1895). "History of New London, Connecticut". p. 293. 
  13. ^ a b Rhode Island Light Stations; United States Coast Guard; retrieved on October 23, 2007
  14. ^ The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island - Block Island; The Nature Conservancy; retrieved on October 30, 2007
  15. ^ Block Island South East Lighthouse National Historic Landmark Nomination; National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program; retrieved on October 23, 2007
  16. ^ Daytripper's Guide: Block Island; University of Rhode Island Sea Grant; retrieved on October 22, 2007
  17. ^ "Rodman's Hollow". Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  18. ^ "Block Island National Wildlife Refuge". Retrieved 2007-10-05. 
  19. ^ Robert M. Downie (1998). Block Island—The Sea. Book Nook Press. , page 194
  20. ^ "Probe into scuba instructor death could take two months". Retrieved 2007-07-23. 
  21. ^ Besides New England Airlines, the island airport is used mainly by small, privately-owned aircraft, with a huge increase in activity at the airport during the summer months when many of the grass areas around the aprons and taxiways are used to park aircraft. The airport is officially called Block Island State (code: BID) and has a single, paved 2,502-ft. long runway, in an east-west orientation. The airport elevation is 108 ft above sea level and the terminal is about one mile from the town center. There have been several fatal air crashes over the years on Block Island. On August 26, 1995, a Cessna 185 seaplane carrying four people crashed while attempting to land for the third time in the waters off of Old Harbor Beach, an area not normally used for seaplane landings. The plane cleared a dune but hit a power line causing it to crash into a restaurant, G.R. Sharkeys, and hitting a car at the islands only gas station. All four people on the plane perished as well as one person on the ground. Nobody was hurt at the restaurant, which was destroyed by the impact of the plane and resulting fire, but a woman was killed sitting in her car as it was being fueled. The plane severely damaged the gas station when it crashed but the two pumps did not explode. On July 5, 2006, a plane carrying three people crashed about 1/2 mile west of the airport during bad weather. The aircraft had just taken off and was on its way to White Plains, NY, and carried a prominent surgeon, his wife, and mother. "New England Airlines". Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  22. ^ The Block Island Times; The Block Island Times; retrieved on October 30, 2007
  23. ^ Shipwrecks - Northern Maritime Research - Northern Shipwrecks Database - Famous Shipwrecks of the Last 400 Years; Northern Maritime Research; retrieved on October 30, 2007
  24. ^ Martin, Douglas. "K. H. Bacon, an Advocate For Refugees, Is Dead at 64". The New York Times, August 15, 2009. Accessed August 16, 2009.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Block Island [1] is a small island off the coast of Rhode Island. The entirety of the island is officially considered to be the town of New Shoreham, but 'Block Island' is much more widely used to describe the area. There are less than 1500 year-round residents, with a significantly larger summer population. Block Island is a wonderful place to visit for a relaxing getaway. Block Island is small and easy to get around, cars will not be essential regardless of where visitors stay. The island is so simple that there is no problem by traveling the island on foot or by bike and if necessary there are plenty of taxi services. The atmosphere and character of the island is soothing, delightful and comforting. The beaches and scenery are distinctive and incomparable. The island is filled with activities for all ages. If you are looking for a place to escape from your hectic lifestyle or a place to visit for a family vacation Block Island is your perfect destination.

  • Block Island Ferry, Phone: +1 401-783-7996 or Phone: +1866-783-7996,[2] Departs year round and daily from the village of Point Judith, in Narragansett. You have the choice of the passenger-only High Speed Ferry (runs only in the summer), which arrives at Block Island in 30 minutes or you could take the "traditional" car ferry which arrives at Block Island within an hour. The Ferry’s schedule of departure is every few hours during the winter and fall or every hour during the summer. Prices are reasonable for each ferry, whether it be round trip or one way and children and senior citizens have a discount. Tickets can either be purchased at the box office (located at the ferry departure) or online where you can have them mailed to you or held at the box office.
  • In summer there is also seasonal, passenger-only ferry service between Newport, New London, Connecticut(view schedule) , and Montauk, New York (view schedule). (These ferries do not take cars.)
  • These rates are for the ferry departing from Galilee to Block Island
  • High Speed Ferry

Adult One Way $16.00

Child One Way $8.75

Adult Same Day Round Trip $29.85

Child Same Day Round Trip $13.50

  • Traditional

Adult One Way $11.15

Child One Way $5.45

Senior Citizen $10.65

Adult Same Day Round Trip $18.25 Child Same Day Round Trip $8.65

Senior Citizen Same Day Round Trip $17.25

  • Different day Round Trip

Adult $22.15

Child $10.90

Senior Citizen $21.15

  • Resort Air, Phone: +1 401-466-2000. Flies in private or commuter sized airplanes.
  • New England Airlines, 56 Airport Rd, Westerly, Rhode Island, 1-800-243-2460. Flights between Westerly and Block Island.

Get around

Most areas of Block Island are easily within walking distance of each other but there are plenty of other modes of transportation. If you prefer to travel by car you can flag down a taxi or rent one on the island. For a nominal charge, the visitor may bring a bicycle on ferries that serve the island. Bicycles and Mopeds are also available to rent and are so convenient that you may rent one as soon as you walk off the ferry. The "traditional" ferry from Point Judith, RI is the only ferry that takes cars. (For rates and schedule, see Interstate Navigation)

  • Block Island Taxi, Phone: +1 401-466-2562
  • Clark's Cab, Phone: +1 401-741-0038
  • Kirby Taxi, Phone: +1 401-466-2928.
  • Mary D's Nightingale, Phone: +1 401-474-6377.
  • McGovern's Cab, Phone: +1 401-862-6087.
  • Minute Man Taxi, Phone: +1 401- 466-3131.
  • Monica's Cab, Phone: +1 401-742-0000.
  • Nat's Taxi, Phone: +1 401-477-4744.
  • Oscar Berlin, Phone: +1 401- 741-0500.
  • Sam's Van, Phone: +1 401-741-4567.
  • Southside Cab, Phone: +1 401- 782-7105.
  • Kody's Taxi, Phone: +1 401-595-9004.
  • McAloon Taxi, Phone: +1 401-741-1410,
  • Mig's Rig, Phone: +1 401-480-0493,
  • Rondo, Phone: +1 401-466-5550,
  • Aldo's Mopeds and Bikes, Phone: +1 401-466-5018
  • Beach Rose Bicycles, Phone: +1 401-466-2034
  • Block Island Bike & Car Rental, Phone: +1 401-466-2297
  • Champlin’s Bike Rentals, Phone: +1 401-466-7777 [3]
  • Island Moped & Bike Rental, Phone: +1 401-466-2700
  • Moped Man Bike Rentals, Water St. Phone: +1 401-466-544
  • Old Harbor Bike Shop, Phone: +1 401-446-2029 [4]
  • Seacrest Inn Bicycle Rentals, Phone: +1 401-466-2882
  • Block Island Ferry, Phone: +1 401-783-4613 or Phone: +1 866-783-7996, [5] will bring your car on deck if you call ahead and make reservations. No reservations are required for bicycles.


There are many different sights to see around the island during the summer. All you need is a gorgeous summer day and a pair of walking shoes in order to enjoy all of the sights that Block Island has to offer. Here is a list of some of the main attractions on the island:

  • North Light, Corn Neck Road. Built in 1867, this is the fourth lighthouse built on Sandy Point, where exposure to the elements and shifting sands make keeping a lighthouse in one piece difficult. The lighthouse is on the grounds of the National Wildlife Sanctuary, which contains hiking trails.
  • Mohegan Bluffs, 122 Mohegan Trail. On the southern end of the island, the bluffs rise 200 feet (61 m) above the water and run along the coast for about three miles (5 km). It's the site of the Southeast Lighthouse, built in 1875. This is one of the most visited places on the island due to the gorgeous views and breathtaking sites. Be warned though, to get down to the bluffs on the beach you have to climb down numerous flights of stairs which isn’t the problem, the only problem is coming back up. Be prepared for a good workout.
  • South East Lighthouse, Mohegan Trail Phone: +1 401-466-5009, Stop over and take a visit to one of the most magnificent and beautiful lighthouses in America. The view from the lighthouse looks out from the Mohegan Bluffs which are over 200 feet (61 m) above the water. The sight and atmosphere is so breathtaking it will definitely be worth your while. [6]
  • Lewis-Dickens Farm, Cooneymus Road. Coastal grasslands set on the bluffs above the Atlantic provide habitat for raptors and passerines.
  • Block Island Historical Society, Old Town Road. The Block Island Historical Society houses permanent and special exhibits that chronicle Block Island's past.


Although Block Island mainly consists of 17 miles (27 km) of beachy shore there is still plenty to do:

  • Beaches If you are looking for a place to spend some quality time at the beach Block Island is ideal. The seashore is everywhere. The Island encompasses 17 miles (27 km) of beaches and offers many choices. Within walking distance of the ferry landing is three-mile Crescent Beach, which is divided into three parts: the Fredrick J. Benson Beach, Scotch Beach, and Mansion Beach which is positioned beneath cliffs and the stone walls of a vanished mansion. The beach has lifeguards and restrooms. Food is available from nearby Old Harbor restaurants and concessions. Parking and beach admission are free.
  • Block Island Parasail & Watersports Old Harbor Dock, Phone: +1 401- 864-2474, Provides an abundance of fun and diverse watersport activities such as banana boat rides, parasailing, jetboat rentals, sunset cruises and island tours. [7]
  • Boating Charter boats are available for deep-sea fishing or you can simply cast your line in the surf. The 365 fresh water ponds are home to bass, perch, and pickerel. You can snorkel, scuba dive, kayak, or parasail.
  • Block Island Fishing Charters, LLC New Harbor, Phone: +1 401- 787-2321 or 466-5944, Inshore and offshore trips for experienced anglers and newcomers alike. Target striped bass, blues, fluke & gamefish with licensed, professional captain. Nighttime trophy bass trips and island tours also offered. more info
  • Children's activities include a story hour at the library, Nature Conservancy hikes, and a petting zoo.
  • Hiking on The Greenway. Hikers can enjoy twenty-five miles (40 km) of trails through grassy meadows, stone walls, inland moors and Mohegan Bluffs.
  • Rustic Rides Farm.West Side Road,Phone: +1 401-466-5060,Provides guided horseback rides on the beach, pony rides for children, and carriage rides for weddings and other special events.
  • Block Island Sport Fishing, Old Harbor, 401-487-2425, [8]. Fishing charters from Old Harbor, Block Island for striped bass tuna, and sharks on a safe and fast diesel powered Ridgeway express. Block Island's best charter boat!  edit


Lucky for anyone with a love of shopping, Block Island is filled with quaint little gift shops:

  • Chapel Sweets, Chapel Street at Weldons Way. Chapel Sweets is a candy store that specializes in fudge and taffy.
  • Island Bound Book Store, Water Street. Featuring many books of Block Island for adults and children.
  • Star Department Store, Water Street. This old fashioned general store has everything any traveler could want. Clothing, candy, and jewelry; this store is a fun filled stop for many visitors to the island.
  • 234 Water Gallery and Gift, [9], 234 Water Street-South end of Water Street near the Statue of Rebecca in the Figurehead Building. An award-winning Gallery and Gift shop located in downtown Block Island on Water Street, minutes from the Block Island Ferry. 234 Water has a unique collection of handmade works by American Artists,eclectic Home Accessories and Gifts and fun Block Island inspired gifts for the whole family.
  • Eli's, 456 Chapel Street, +1 401-466-5230, [10]. May-Dec. 5:30PM-10PM. Features local seafood, pasta dishes, and grilled items. Old-fashioned look. $16-$28.
  • Rebecca's Seafood, Water Street, +1 401-466-5411, May through October, 7AM-2AM. Serving breakfast, lunch dinner and a special late night menu. Fresh local fish, (specials tuna + mahi-mahi when in season) from local fisherman, landlovers menu chowder, clam cakes, salads, and burgers. Eat in or outside. $4.00-$12.00 "Best prices on the Island" Also visit Rebecca's on the Beach located on Fred Benson Town Beach. Serves hamburgers, grilled tuna, soft serve ice cream. Open 9 am - 6 pm
  • The Oar, 221 Jobs Hill Rd., +1 401-466-8820. May through October, 8AM-1AM. Buffet breakfast and full-service lunch and dinner, including grilled swordfish, sirloin, fried chicken, nachos, lobster rolls, and calamari. $8.25-$25.
  • Ballard's, 42 Water St., +1 401-466-2231, [11]. 11:30AM-11PM. Menu has something for everyone, including a kids menu. Several bars and frequent live bands. $8.25-$23.
  • The Beachhead, Corn Neck Road., +1 401-466-2249, [12]. Contains a very diverse menu from cheeseburgers to seafood entrees.
  • Harbor Grill, Water Street., +1 401-466-2828, [13]. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner overlooking Old Harbor. Affordable wine list, nightly salad bar, fresh seafood, convenient location.
  • Mexican on the Deck, Corn Neck Road., Phone: +1 401-466-5855, [14]. Not a fan of seafood? No worries, Mexican on the Deck serves tacos, nachos, wings, burritos and much more!
  • Mohegan Cafe & Brewery, Water Street., Phone: +1 401-4665-5911, [15]. 11:30AM-9PM. House brewed beer in a family atmosphere. Menu includes wide range of burgers, vegetarian options, Tex-Mex and Asian options. Enjoy A/C in the heart of Old Harbor.
  • Sharkey's, 596 Corn Neck Rd., Phone: +1 401-466-9900, Sharkey's is a very laid back and casual restaurant that serves mostly American food. This place is great if you are sick of seafood.
  • Harry's Cafe, 30 Water St., +1 401-466-5400, Harry's serves American cuisine and offers take out.
  • Atlantic Inn Restaurant, High Street, +1 401-466-5883. Serves a four course candle-lit dinner. The Atlantic Inn is a favorite for many famous celebrities.
  • Hotel Manisses, 1 Spring Street, +1 401-466-5844 466-2836, [16]. Contains an a la carte menu featuring fresh seafood, beef & poultry, their own fresh garden vegetables, succulent appetizers & mouth watering homemade desserts.
  • Spring House Hotel, 52 Spring St., +1 401-466-5844. Serves contemporary cuisine and is well known to host many weddings.
  • Winfield's, Corn Neck Road,+1 401-466-5844, [17]. Contains a menu influenced by French, Italian, American and Asian cuisines.
  • Captain Nick’s , 69 Ocean Ave, 401-466-5670. Pool, large dance floor, dollar beers and drink specials, live music Tu-Su.
  • Club Soda, Connecticut Ave, below the Highview Inn. 401-466-5397. Where the locals hang out. Pub food year round, open mic night, karaoke, and unique island ambiance.
  • Albion Pub (next to Nick's), 3 Ocean Ave, 401-466-9990. Features Guinness and Bass on tap as well as over 40 other varieties of beer. Full liquor bar, large screen TV, jukebox and pool table, along with other bar games.
  • The Spring House, 902 Spring St, 401-466-5844. Monday night is Martini Night! Dress up and drink cheap martinis. Insider tip: Order them on the rocks. Same price, more alcohol, less spillage/glass breaking.
  • McGovern's Yellow Kittens Tavern (or "Kittens"), Corn Neck Rd, 401-466-5855. Tuesday night is reggae night! There's a cover, but they always reel in really good live reggae artists. Darts, pool, outside deck, dreadlocks.
  • The Oar, West Side Road, 401-466-8820. Every night is dollar draft happy hour and awesome sunset hour! Check out the ceiling inside.
  • Trader Vic's (at Champlin's Resort and Marina), end of the dock, New Harbor, 401-466-2641. Go get a banana mudslide and mingle with the yacht owners. Make sure to go early before the milk sours, Now. Not your scene? Go get a banana mudslide, and head over to the back of the movie theatre where staff housing is located and play some beer pong. (After the mudslide.)
  • Ballards's Inn and Marina, 42 Water Street, 401-466-2231. Cocktail Volleyball. Everyday on the beach. Costumed theme parties inside at night (TBA). Marina tourist boat-after-parties at dawn.
  • Dump Beach, end of West Beach Road. The site of all after parties (1am - ?). Bonfire, beer, guitars.
  • 1661 Inn and Guest House, Spring St., Phone: +1 401-466-2421 or Toll Free: +1 800-626-4773, Fax: +1 401-466-2858, [18]. 23 rooms. Known for their friendly hosts. 1661 ensures a relaxing and comfortable stay. $$$$
  • Atlantic Inn, High St., +1 401-466-5883 or +1 800-224-7422, Fax: +1 401-466-5678, [19]. Is within walking distance from Old Harbor. The Atlantic Inn is a perfect place to lodge if you're desiring peace and quiet, scenic views and delectable food. 20 rooms, 1 suite. $$$
  • Ballards Resort, 42 Water St., Summer: +1 401-466-2231, Winter: +1 401-334-1997, [20].If you are yearning for excitement on Block Island Ballards is the place to stay. Ballards is located in the center of it all, just feet from the ocean, and a very short walk from the Island’s shops, restaurants, pubs and ferry boats. Not only is it a great place for those looking to let loose but it is also a wonderful place to lodge for a family vacation. Ballards is very child friendly by comprising an arcade, a toy shop, and lifeguards on the beach. $$
  • The Inn at Block Island, 474 Old Town Rd +1 877-324-4667 / Fax: +1 401-466-5880,[21]. The Inn at Block Island is known for its warmth and hospitality, the Inn is a century old Colonial situated on a knoll in Old Harbor. It was built in 1900 for a sea captain and his family and converted to a B&B in the 1980’s. The Inn offers nine guest rooms and a cottage, all with private baths, air conditioning, some with private entrances and ocean views. Located on the left just past Chapel Street on Old Town Road. It is convenient to both Old Harbor and New Harbor, the airport, town, beach and ferry. $$$
  • Barrington Inn, Beach Ave.,+1 877-324-4667 / Fax: +1 401-466-5880,[22]. The Barrington Inn is located on a hilltop overlooking the New Harbor area. The mood is quiet and welcoming. The Inn offers six guest rooms and two apartments with private baths, decks and ocean views. The Inn is in walking distance to the town, beach and ferry. The Barrington Inn is situated on the corner of Beach and Ocean Avenue. It is convenient to both Old Harbor and New Harbor, the airport, town, beach and ferry. 6 rooms, 2 apartments. $$$
  • Jane Marie Cottage, 209 Old Town Road +1 877-324-4667 / Fax: +1 401-466-5880,[23]. The Jane Marie Cottage is a seven bedroom home tucked away in quiet setting off Old Town Road. It can comfortably accommodate up to eighteen people. It is perfect for a family in town for that special Block Island wedding or family gathering. The cottage is rented by the week during the summer months from June to September and by the night September to May. Open floor plan with comfortable furniture and bedding. This is a pet free and smoke free home. $$$
  • The Bellevue House Inc, +1401-466-2912. The décor is charismatic, the location is idyllic, and the views are pleasant. The location is more private by being set on a hill a little out of town which is ideal if you are looking to stay away from commotion. However, it is located in easy walking distance to all attractions. Bed and Breakfast. $$$.
  • Blue Dory Inn, 61 Dodge St., +1 401-466-2254 or +1 800-992-7290,[24]. 12 rooms, 4 cottages, 3 suites. Beautiful Victorian style within a few feet of the sea. Also, has been newly renovated and has also been said to be Block Island's most romantic Bed and Breakfast! $$$.
  • The Island Home, +1401-466-5944 [25] 10-Room Victorian B&B with a relaxed atmosphere. Set on a hill, conveniently located between the center of town and New Harbor, with panoramic views of the harbor, ocean and surrounding countryside. The warm & comfortable setting, with inviting rooms, cozy nooks and sprawling lawns make the inn ideal for a quiet retreat or family getaway. A short walk to town, beaches and marinas. Private Baths $$$.
  • The National, Water Street., +1 401-466-2901, [26] The National is a landmark of Block Island it is located in the heart of the historic district and is just minutes from the restaurants, beaches, shops and ferries. The rooms overlook the docks and enclose a very warming New England atmosphere. $$$.
  • New Shoreham House Inn, Water Street., +1 401-466-5504, [27] The New Shoreham House Inn is a shared bath inn with competitive prices located directly across the street from the Old Harbor Ferry Landing. Easy walking to beaches, shops and restaurants. Deck overlooks town and Old Harbor. $$.
  • Old Bakery Guest House, Water Street., +1 800-825-6254, [] The Old Bakery is located on Water Street in the historic district of Old Harbor. This quaint seaside guest house has two suites. The ocean view two bedroom suite and the island view two bedroom suite. Both have access to a large ocean view deck. The Old Bakery is nicely furnished with original hardwood floors and is pet friendly. For your pet there will be an additional charge of $50 per night not to exceed $150 for your stay. 4 guests maximum per suite. $$$$
  • Old Town Inn, 508 Old Town Rd, +1401-466-5958, [28] . Has a charm of a Bed and Breakfast with the feel of an Inn. Located out of town and just down the road from the airport, which is very convenient. $$$.
  • The Spring House Hotel, 52 Spring St., +1 800-234-9263 or +1 466-5844, [29]. The Spring House Hotel is the most elegantly recognized historic landmark on Block Island. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island foothills. All rooms have queen beds and full service telephones. A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning. The Spring House Hotel is preferred by many famous celebrities. 50 rooms. $$$$
  • Harborside Inn, Water Street., +1 800-825-6254 or +1 466-5504, [30]. This 36 room historic inn is located across the street from the ferry landing in Old Harbor. The Harborside Inn offers quaint seaside charm with the convenient location in the center of town. Wireless internet, luggage storage also available for guests. $$$
  • Island Manor Resort, 215 Chapel St., +1 401-466-5400. Great place to stay for a family vacation. It is in walking distance to Captain Nick’s and all of the lovely shops.
  • Water Street Inn, 213 Water Street., +1 401-466-2605 or +1 800-825-6254, [31]. The Water Street Inn offers 10 rooms all with private bathrooms, ceiling fans and small refrigerator. Some rooms offer views of the ocean while others include A/C. Recently renovated and located in the historic district. Walk to beaches, shops and restaurants. $$$
  • Many Block Island homes are offered as weekly rentals during the summer months.
  • Block Island Chamber of Commerce, Water Street., +1800-383-2474 We can assist you with lodging availability. Office has staff who are ready to help plan your visit. Brochures, maps, lockers, ATM and restrooms available at the Old Harbor Ferry landing Chamber Office.
  • Block Island Holidays, +1 800-905-0590, [32]. Country homes, cottages, and condos available for summer rentals. Check out the website or call to learn more about summer rentals, group packages, and tours!
  • Block Island Reservations & Real Estate, +1 800-825-6254, [33]. Featuring hotel rooms, cottages, suites and apartments. Nightly and weekly rentals available. Midweek spring & fall "Stay, Dine & Bike" package available for 2 guests starting at $299.
  • Suite Dreams Block Island, [34] 1 401.466.8600, Water Street, The Figurehead Building. Luxurious waterfront accommodation with a convenient in-town location. Tastefully appointed with furnishings from our unique Gift and Gallery-234 Water. Suite Dreams is just minutes from the ferry terminal at Old Harbor and within walking distance of beaches, bike rentals, boating and fishing activities, restaurants and wedding facilities. Let Suite Dreams enhance your vacation 'on the Block' by offering the following: friendly check-in, private bath, air-conditioning, exceptional waterviews, relaxing covered deck, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, Queen size Tommy Bahama bed, Flat Panel LCD TV w/150 Satellite channels, AM/FM/CD player, and wireless DSL access.

Get out

There is a ferry service that leaves Block Island and goes to Point Judith every day of the week and throughout the year. There is also a ferry that travels to Newport and New London, CT every Monday through Sunday but only operates between the dates July 1st and September 6th. For more information see the get in section.

Stay Safe

According to a survey conducted in January of 2005 on health and safety Block Island was rated 20th overall out of 39 towns and cities in Rhode Island. It is ranked the 7th most dangerous town based on accidents and crime rates. This numbers are not necessarily accurate because they are based on the year round populations. Many of the crimes and accidents occurred during the summer months when the population rises due to vacationers and tourists.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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