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Things to Do in Block Island, RI

posted Feb 17, 2010, 9:03 PM by Richard Lee   [ updated Jul 26, 2010, 7:35 PM ]



My wife & have been going to Block Island for the past 6 years - it has quickly become an annual summertime tradition for us to spend a long weekend in a place that still feels "undiscovered" and "unspoiled" in many ways.  Here's an overview of our favorites when we're on our favorite New England island.

Three Sisters Restaurant


How to Get There / Getting Around Block Island

We take the Block Island Ferry from Point Judith, RI (which is about 30 minutes SE of Newport and 90 minutes SW of Boston).  The nice part is that typically the traffic isn't nearly as bad as Cape traffic from Boston.  We take the traditional ferry which costs us $11 / per person each way - total time about 1 hr.  You don't generally need reservations if you're not taking a car - but if you're planning on bringing a car, make sure you book reservations months in advance!

When you're in Block Island, it's pretty easy getting around (especially if you're staying at a hotel near the downtown area).  The entire island isn't very large (less than 10 square miles!), so getting around is pretty easy especially if you have a bike (plentiful to rent).  Personally, we stay about 1-2 miles from downtown, so we like to bring our car over (cost is less than $100 on BI Ferry).  Parking is VERY easy in town and at beaches, since there are so few cars on the island.

Where to Stay in Block Island

We always stay at the Flounder Inn (401-465-2614) - one of our favorite B&Bs on Block Island and anywhere really!  Mike & Becky Ballard are amazing hosts and have two adorable bedrooms in the main house, plus a small cottage on their lovely property.  We've only stayed in the main house (cost is about $135/night) - but the cottage would be perfect for small families (only rented by the week).  The Ballards have an amazing yard, with nice views of the BI Sound, a relaxing hammock, and an enviable garden.  



Best of all, Mike makes the BEST breakfasts with fresh vegetables and herbs from his garden.  He whipped up this masterpiece this year - a sausage, egg & cheese soufflé that was literally the best breakfast we've EVER had.  


We prefer B&Bs and prefer more peaceful, relaxing vacations - but if you're looking for a little more action, there are plenty of hotels in-town.  Best to check out the Block Island Chamber of Commerce - they're always up-to-date on room / house availability.  It's how we originally found out about the Flounder Inn!

Where to Eat / Drink in Block Island

Block Island has some great restaurants - here are a few of our favorites haunts:

We love to eat at Eli’s (but the place is small and usually crowded, so not the most kid-friendly).  But generally considered one of the better places to eat on the island – definitely get the tuna nachos appetizer (it's a classic!).  Make sure you get there early, as they don't take reservations (or just put your name in and do some window shopping).

Go to Winfield's - one of the nicer restaurants in town - their Beet Salad was amazing, and their Grilled Pork Chop was a thick, juicy, perfectly cooked piece of meat (with an amazing shaved fennel and radicchio side with texas caviar).

We also like to eat / grab a hot coffee drink at the Hotel Manisses – they’ve got a great patio for cocktails and they also do a really nice after-dinner drink (coffee cocktails).

Grab a mid-afternoon cocktail at The Oar (West Side Road)  – drink a mudslides or a 'Gansett (only $2!), play some corn hole and watch all the pretty boats! 



Get a picnic lunch from Three Sisters 

What to Do in Block Island

We like to swim in Fresh Pond – there’s a small place to park your bike right on Lakeside Drive – you have to look for it closely…

You should also try to hit the Mohegan Bluffs – it’s on the south side of the island near the lighthouse – not a great kid-friendly beach since you have to walk down some crazy stairs, but an amazing view – biggest waves on the island if you like to body surf.   

A kid-friendly beach is one we found down Champlin Road that we like too – it’s pretty quiet and secluded down a long dirt path – if it’s too wavy or cold, we also hit Cormant Cove, which is down Champlin Road, but actually part of the Great Salt Pond where the kids can definitely go in the water safely.  Just watch out for the marine wildlife - if you look closely, you can see the skate in the water below Lisa's feet!  

Get a picnic lunch from Three Sisters and bike ride around the island – like I mentioned, it’s a VERY hilly island so there are some difficult climbs – a nice ride is actually going all the way up Corn Neck Road (it’s a long slow climb).  Park your bike at the end and do a little walk to the North Point… or ride your bike down West Beach Road (about halfway up Corn Neck) to get to another secluded part of the island. 

There’s also some decent hiking up this way which isn’t overly strenuous…  we usually also rent kayaks by Trim’s Pond and do a half-day of boating


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