Reasons why we love Block Island
The Great Salt Pond
It may be packed and crazy to get into during holiday weekends, but it is a large anchorage that is well protected, has plenty of depth, and a bottom that holds well. Within a 10-15 minute dinghy ride, you can access: a) multiple beaches, both on the pond and on the ocean side with access by way of Dinghy Beach; b) several restaurants with perfect sunset locations; c) taxis to get you anywhere else you might want to go on the island. While on the pond, amenities come to you with a water boat, free pumpout service, and Aldo’s bakery with breakfast treats and evening appetizers. Whether anchored or on a mooring, the Great Salt Pond was a wonderful place to spend time.
If staying for any amount of time, renting a bike is essential. If you have kids, they have pull behind carriers that work for kids and/or groceries. Island Moped and Bike is who we used and they gave us a great deal on a month rental.
All the Greenways
We didn’t hit them all this year, but exploring more of the vast number of island trails is on our “to do” list for next year. Clay Head, Rodman’s Hollow, and Nathan Mott were definitely our favorites. The well maintained grass paths made for delightful barefoot hiking for the kids and as much as we heard about ticks, we never found one on us. Our big hope was to find a glass float on one of our hikes, but no success. Another task for next year.
It doesn’t matter which one you go to as they all had the same clear and “refreshingly” cool water. Each beach we explored became our new favorite. Coming from the southeast, we are used to ocean beaches in which you can’t see more than a foot in the water. It was quite the surprise how blue and clear the water was. My most memorable would be spearfishing at Baby Beach with the father of a family we met from Providence who let me borrow a wet suit and spear gun. You wouldn’t know it standing on shore, but with goggles on, there is a forest of marine life under the surface. The kelp looked like trees rising out of the sand with red seaweed imitating Spanish moss. The sea grass grew in fields around the kelp and swayed in the current. Swimming through the forest were skittish Scup, camouflaged Skates, and monstrous Stripers. I did not catch a fish, but it didn’t diminish the experience.
The Block Island Club
This was definitely one of the corner stones of our time here. Not only do they have a great morning camp for kids where the time is split between sailing, tennis, and crafts, but it is staffed by young men and women who I am sure have very proud parents. The staff was great at handling the kids, clearly skilled in the activities they teach, and were so approachable by kid or adult. I want my kids to come back to camp just to be able to spend some time with the accomplished and knowledgeable staff. In addition to the camp, the Block Island Club was a great jumping off point for us – we could tie up at their dinghy dock and hop on our bikes that we left on their bike racks. We also occasionally took advantage of the hot showers and the picnic tables to enjoy lunch or evening appetizers while taking in the spectacular views of the Great Salt Pond.
During our time on the island, we met some of the most wonderful and helpful people! In addition to the amazing Hillios family with whom we are buddy boating this summer, we also connected with vacationing families who travel to Block Island every summer, and locals who have lived on the island for years. The folks we met were so generous and opened their hearts and homes to us. When we needed to travel to Providence to get a cast for our younger daughter’s broken arm, one of the families we met offered their home in Providence if we needed to stay overnight.
Family Friendly Island Events
The day after we arrived on Block Island, we ventured to town and met some wonderful folks at the Chamber of Commerce who provided a plethora of information about things to do on the island. From an unforgettable 4th of July parade, to Blues on the Block, movies on the beach, bingo at the fire hall, the Glass Float Project, a great town playground, kid activities at Block Island Maritime Institute, the 1661 Farm, Block Island Fishing Academy, programs at the Nature Conservancy – the list is endless!
The Restaurants of Block Island
We did not hit every restaurant, so this is not a ‘best of’ list. All in all, we didn’t have one bad meal. Below are our highlights.
Pots and Kettles food truck at Scotch Beach
Lobster Roll on the beach – what a great lunch! And the girls working the truck made the experience even better.
Pizza…doesn’t matter which one you get because the crust was reason why we loved it. Their breakfast pastries are amazing as well!
They say small plates, but the portions are huge and delicious. If you have a hungry crowd, get the Nachos
Payne’s Killer Donuts
The name says it all. The day we were there, the guy who was ordering in front of us had on a Dunkin Donuts hat, so I thought that was a pretty good indorsement. Three simple choices – plain, sugar, and cinnamon. Best donuts I’ve ever had.
Any restaurant that commands that sunset view and serves best sushi I have had since we left the Chesapeake Bay needs some recognition. The Mudslides were pretty darn good too.
Dead Eye Dicks
The very first restaurant we stopped at and they let our 2 girls run around the place after our 10 day passage up here. Recommendation: Avocado Lobster Roll for lunch and Fra Diavola “Fresca” for dinner
Del’s Frozen Lemonade
Wherever we could get it!
Bethany’s Dinner at the airport
Another kid friendly spot where they can have chocolate pancakes any time of day while watching the small passenger planes landing and taking off. A real throwback to pre-TSA days with family and friends greeting arrivals at the tarmac.
The Spring House
With an amazing location high on the southeast end of the island, we visited the Spring House a few times while on the Island. Our first visit was on July 4th and we thoroughly enjoyed spending the afternoon in Adirondack chairs in the yard as the kids rolled down the hills. The tapas lawn menu has some great options and the service was fantastic. We also enjoyed lunch on the veranda one afternoon when family was visiting and the views were enjoyed by all. Our girls particularly enjoyed going to visit the chickens!
The Barn at the Spring House
We didn’t get to you this year, but you will be one of our first stops next year when we can find a babysitter.