Richie and I finally had a day off together where the weather wasn’t terrible and we wanted to take full advantage of it. We’d been talking about going to Block Island together since we started dating (close to four years ago!) and finally we were able to go!
There are about five ferries leaving New London for Block Island daily, each about three hours apart. From New Haven, you can take the train and then walk across the street to the port or you can drive, where parking for the day costs $10, which is about the same price as a one-way train ticket to New London. To get to Block Island it takes just over an hour by ferry and for the last five or ten minutes of the journey you will get to see Block Island to the left, since the New London ferry ports closer to the south of the island.
For us, the water was quite choppy on the way there, but it could have been much worse. I wouldn’t suggest sitting backwards during this time, as it made me pretty queasy and I never get seasick (knock on wood). However, we docked mostly unscathed at around 1 pm and were ready for a full day of adventuring. But first, food.
On the main block of streets there are quite a few restaurants, sandwich shacks, and bike rental booths. We only wanted something quick so decided on Rebecca’s for some sandwiches before going around the town. They have limited outdoor seating and were quite busy when we got there, but we were still able to sit while having a bite to eat. I want to point this out though: be aware that as an island, it can raise the prices higher than you may be used to on the mainland. Such as the packie we went to after eating (liquor store if you’re not from the area): nips I can buy at home for a dollar were almost $3. Steep! But it’s always nice to have a shot with your beautiful sea views, so we decided that this time it was worth it.
We then went down the street to rent some bikes for the day. We originally wanted to rent a moped, but because I am the only one with a driver’s license, I would have had to drive and the weight distribution wasn’t good for that setup, so bicycles it was!
Here’s my advice for this part: get a mountain bike. You don’t need to take the first one they offer you, make sure you want to be able to ride it for a while. Block Island is not exactly flat and I, not having a mountain bike, was struggling to get up those massive hills. Getting down was very fun, but my legs were hurting for the next day. I need to get back in shape!
We didn’t have much of a plan for the day of exploring past the bluffs that I wanted to visit. Even then I didn’t know much about them but the pictures looked pretty and we’re both suckers for a good view. We struggled up the painfully winding hills to get to the cliffs, stopping along the way when we found a few trails (one of which turned out to be someone’s driveway. Whoops) and of course to see the lighthouse.
The lighthouse on this side, the Southeast Light, is the newer of the two lighthouses on the island. It is a beautiful brick building with a food truck at the entrance to get drinks and a quick snack and sit on the grounds watching the waves rolls in. This is where they keep wind turbines that are used in aid for both animals and ships. Off diagonally to the right of the lighthouse you can see the bluffs we were making our way towards as the waves came up on them. Keep going towards them!
On a whim, we found a side path and had to see where it led. At first, we thought it was someone’s yard but there didn’t seem to be a house anywhere near us. So, then we tried to follow it to see if it led all the way down to a beach area. While it made it far, there was a very nasty looking drop at the end that we decided not to attempt and instead shared a shot together. Because why not?
The roads had mostly leveled off and biking was a bit easier now. We made it to the edge of the cliffs and were about to get off our bikes to see the views when the sky decided that that was the perfect moment to open up. This led to the oh shit moment where we grabbed the bikes and hauled ass back down the mountain so we didn’t get caught in any storm on the edge of a cliff.
We found shelter in Mohegan Café, the only brewery on the island. If you like home brews, this is going to be your only choice around here. But it is very good and while it was a bit pricey, it was worth it. The food is fresh and portions are decent sized, so it was good for a place to stay while we waited out the storm. Which, lucky for us was mostly a passing shower and by the time we finished a couple drinks and some appetizers, the only evidence it had been there was the darker color on the streets. Now we wanted to get to the older lighthouse at the north point of the island before the sun went down.
This lighthouse is in the opposite direction of the buffs and no less hilly. Again, I struggled to get up the higher hills and was cursing the whole way that I haven’t been going to the gym anymore since I graduated college. Again though, the views were worth it here. This one was much better than the new lighthouse, but then again, I am a history buff and we got there at sunset.
We parked our bikes in the parking lot and had to walk across the length of the beach to see the building. At this point it was already closed so we couldn’t get inside but it was still cool to walk around. The walk there is long and due to the dunes, the sand is very soft so I would suggest taking off your shoes and walking in the water, it was the easiest option in my opinion.
Once at the lighthouse you can check out the dunes surrounding it, pay some respects at the 9/11 memorial in the back, and then the beach behind the dunes. When we got there the sun was setting and a couple had made camp, complete with a fire and a hammock hanging within the slide. I thought it was a great idea and will have to do the same when the chance arises.
We raced back down to the docks just in time to catch the last ferry back home. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to try Ballard’s, the restaurant facing the port, though we’ve been told by friends it is one of the best so based on those recommendations alone, we will have to go back to try it eventually.