Block Island Rhode Island’s Little Secret

April 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

Block Island is a refuge for people and nature. You’ll discover towering cliffs, stunning views and some of the best beaches on the New England coast… and without the crowds. You see Block Island takes a little bit of effort to get there, and this is good news for you, as most people won’t take the trouble to take the one-hour ferry ride from the mainland.

But it’s their loss… and your gain.

Block Island is a seaside jewel lying 12 miles off the southern coast of Rhode Island. This is a place where nature clings to every pond, stone-walled trail, beach, and everything in between. It’s a paradise for cyclists, and a haven for those ready to leave the trappings and demands of the mainland behind.

Most people take the ferry from Port Judith, which takes one hour across The Sound, and plants you in the hub of Block Island at Old Harbor. A Seasonal ferry service also runs from Newport RI and Montauk NY.

Coming to the Island is a shift in time, with its rugged undeveloped reserves… and open field farmlands… and narrow roads lined with stone walls and wild roses. Block Island invites you to relax in dress and time. It’s a chance for you to rediscover nature again, and appreciate this geological remains from the last Ice Age.

Here’s suggested destinations to help you enjoy Block Island to its fullest…

THE VIEW FROM MOHEGAN BLUFFS…

You don’t want to miss the view from Mohegan Bluffs. Take the Mohegan Trail from the village of Old Harbor out to the Bluffs.

Mohegan Bluffs overlook the southern coast of Block Island, and on a clear day you can see Montauk, NY on Long Island, about 18 miles away. The cliff’s tower 200 feet above the shoreline and offer stunning views of the landscape and the Southeast Light. A steep set of wooden steeps leads down to the beach below.

At this beach a marauding band of Mohegan Indians were repressed by the local tribe, and gave name to the bluffs.

THE BLOCK ISLAND LIGHTHOUSES

Block Island has two lighthouses: Southeast Light and North Light.

Southeast Light sits atop Mohegan Bluffs and was moved back from a perilous position on the cliffs in 1993. This is an attractive redbrick lighthouse built in 1875, and contains a museum inside for you to explore.

North Light is at Sandy Point on the northern tip pf Block Island. This is the fourth lighthouse in this location and was built in 1867. Two of the previous lights were washed away and the third was dismantled because its position did more harm than good.

North Light is within the boundaries of the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, and that’s where we were heading anyway…

BLOCK ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Located on the North End of Block Island the refuge is now a 127-acre habitat for wildlife and for visitors to enjoy the wonder of this natural environment.

If you’re a bird-watcher then the fall season offers a spectacular opportunity to view migratory birds, especially songbirds. Bring your camera and binoculars for a very special trip to a very special refuge.

The shoreline area runs from Settler’s Rock to Sandy point and the North Light, and then from here to Great Salt Pond. This is an ideal area for walking, bird watching, and breathtaking views.

BLOCK ISLAND BEACHES & PONDS

Block Island beaches are the first stop for many first time visitors. The choices are many and varied. It has 17 pristine miles of gorgeous beaches.

The two-mile Crescent Beach area consists of four beaches: Frederick J. Benson Beach, Scotch Beach, Mansion Beach, and close to the ferry landing is Ballard’s. These tend to be the most popular, but don’t forget just a few minutes bike ride away are deserted beaches, where you can enjoy your own spot of peace and harmony.

For such a tiny area, Block Island boasts an amazing 365 ponds – that’s right – one for every day of the year. So as you bike and hike around the island, it doesn’t matter where you’re at… you’re only a few feet away from water.

Permits are required to fish the freshwater ponds.

Other things to do on Block Island include: visits to Manisses Animal Petting Zoo, Settler’s Rock, located at the end of Corn Neck Road near a beach on Rhode Island Sound – the rock marks the landing point of European settlers of Block Island in 1661, and kayaking in New Harbor.

Block Island is a well-kept secret. Very few people know about it as a superior vacation destination. And to be honest that suits me just fine. I’ll continue to take my trips and enjoy the sanctuary it offers. But I’ve shared it with you now, so you have to promise to visit… soon.

While Block Island is a great place to visit for the day, you’ll get more time to enjoy the island if you stay overnight, or even longer, at any of the varied lodging available. But advanced booking is a must.

Inns and bed and breakfasts abound on the island, with many located near the village of Old Harbor and nearby New Harbor.

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