Blogging from Block Island: New Shoreham, RI

A visit to one incredible place.


Named after the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, Block Island is located off the coast of Rhode Island and is home to some 1,000 residents. One of The Nature Conservancy’s “Last Great Places,” the island offers restaurants, scenic hiking trails, lighthouses to explore, a working animal farm, and various lodging options scattered throughout the countryside.

After a 9:30 AM ferry ride from Narragansett, we arrived at the heart of “downtown” Block Island and immediately began to explore the shops.


Multiple stores and restaurants placed a focus on four-legged animals such as cats. The photograph above shows just a few of the products offered in the shops. Another store was named “Peppered Cat,” and there was even a pub called the “Yellow Kittens Tavern”!


The Empire Theater, constructed in 1882, offers a selection of movies for visitors and residents to enjoy. It originally operated as a roller skating rink and began playing silent movies in the 1900s.

In addition to cars, mopeds and bicycles were available to rent. We opted for a Jeep to make traveling around the island a bit easier and ensure we could reach attractions on time.


Taken from the road, this image depicts the beautiful Spring House Hotel. A Block Island historic landmark, the hotel offers views of the Atlantic Ocean, as shown below.


We ate lunch at Rebecca’s, a quaint seafood restaurant located on the main road. The prices were relatively reasonable for Block Island (some of the restaurants are very expensive with a typical meal priced at $20). I ordered the Santa Fe Chicken Wrap with Guacamole. The wrap was filling yet deviated from the typical greasy food one might expect near the beach. In addition to wraps and sandwiches, Rebecca’s offers burgers, lobster rolls, seafood dinners, and salads.


Though Block Island real estate is undoubtedly expensive, taking a drive past its homes is an attraction in itself. The photo below is of a resident’s backyard—note the stone sheep and stunning view!


During the drive, it was impossible not to notice some of the unique (and often hidden) features along the streets. A New Yorker with a slightly cynical streak, I would never think to use the “honor system” and trust tourists to pay for their own lemonade, yet this photograph reminded me it’s okay to occasionally let my guard down.


The first stop on our drive was the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1973 and home to the North Light, the first of two lighthouses we visited on the trip. Built in 1867, the North Light was sold for one dollar in 1984 to New Shoreham and is made of brown granite. This lighthouse actually uses solar power and the help of a wind generator to operate.


After a windy drive in our green Jeep, we arrived at the second stop——the Southeast Light, situated on Mohegan Bluffs. Made a National Historic Landmark in 1997, the lighthouse was constructed from brick, concrete and granite. It is modeled after the Gothic architectural style.


Though every attraction on Block Island has something new and exciting to offer, my favorite was Abrams’ Animal Farm, also known as the 1661 Farm and Gardens. Across the street from The 1661 Inn, the farm is home to a variety of animals, including emus, camels, pigs, alpacas, and yaks.


An emu slyly sneaks through my shot.


An imposing yak munches on a well-deserved piece of fruit.

One animal in particular caught my eye. Wallace, a blond Scottish Highland steer, was friendly…


…and very curious about the unfamiliar object I was pointing at him!



After some time at the animal farm, another shop caught my interest. North Light Fibers, a micro yarn mill and store located in the middle of Abrams’ Animal Farm, produces high quality yarn wholly produced on Block Island. They work with the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, which teaches elderly and visually impaired citizens knitting and weaving skills, as well as Zene-Za-Zena (Women-for-Women), an organization aiding women in countries such as Bosnia.

Getting to the mill, however, was not as straightforward as it may seem. I was instructed to trek through a field of curious alpacas to reach North Light Fibers, which provided an opportunity to get up close and personal with these animals.


Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the quantity of products offered, from skeins to kits to handmade merchandise. The yarn is expensive—165 yards’ worth of one blend cost $39—but the opportunity to purchase what cannot be found elsewhere was difficult to pass up. I bought a skein of “Lavender Field” for a relative and eagerly explored the rest of the store.


As our 5:15 ferry was rapidly approaching, we opted for dinner at the Mohegan Café & Brewery, a casual restaurant overlooking the water. Though more expensive than your typical evening fare, it was still a better deal than some of the nearby steakhouses and pubs.


I ordered the Café Burrito, a vegetarian dish served with rice, salsa, and sour cream.


As we boarded the return ferry to Narragansett, with the wind whipping around our hair, I reflected on the visit. Though I am unsure if I would ever stay there for more than a day or two—being a tourist is expensive—Block Island is certainly worth the trip.







Blogging from Black Point: Narragansett, RI

Black Point Trailhead is truly a hidden gem among the attractions dotting the Narragansett, RI shores. I stumbled upon this spot yesterday after one too many hours of sun and the desire to travel to whichever spot caught my interest. Grabbing sneakers and a sand-weathered baseball cap, I maneuvered my car through the winding roads until I reached the start of the trail.

I could spend hours describing the incredible landscape before me, but I hope these pictures speak for themselves! They serve as a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty existing in even the smallest of things.


Pools of water reflected the cloudless sky overhead as groups of tourists paused for photos on the boulders. This picture was taken a few seconds before a colony of seagulls flew just a few feet over the pool.


Though this image contains so-called “earthy hues,” its simplicity is perhaps the most striking feature. The weathered rock, reminiscent of desert-like stone, drew my attention because it was unlike the features I’ve come to associate with those of Rhode Island. The deep blues and greens we often connect with shoreline landscapes are nowhere to be found.


Yet beneath the surface, one can see this environment is anything but colorless.


Barnacles and snails dotted the red rocks, providing a beautiful contrast from the tens of thousands of black clams. This “valley” was actually a mere four feet of water.


I spotted several crabs scurrying beneath in seconds. Though this picture shows their undersides, these little guys were very much alive.


A gorgeous contrast from the others, the rocks became home to beach towels as spots were quickly claimed to watch the crashing waves. Black Point, a popular fishing area, is an excellent place to unwind and relax during a hot summer day.


Another pool, this one closer still to the ocean, received some traffic in the afternoon as visitors stopped to take pictures or eat an early dinner on the rocks.


The visit emphasized all the awe-inspiring forces—weathering, erosion, and so many others—making this beautiful place what it is today.  Black Point is one of those trails you cannot help but frequent over and over again.


Across the Creek

via Daily Prompt: Relieved

There’s something about returning to your old high school stomping grounds during an evening walk. I experienced this the other night with a friend, and it posed an opportunity to reflect on my life before college.

Sometimes I need to revisit the places I’ve been to remind myself what is in store for me now. This was no exception—as we walked through the tennis courts, running our fingers across the chain-link fences and kicking those forlorn green balls out of our path, I couldn’t help but remember this same moment just a few years ago. Call it déjà vu, call it coincidence, but as I kicked the last of the tennis balls into the grass, my mind wandered to the days when we’d play, six to a team, for those last forty-six minutes of the morning before rushing to the next class.

The conversation lapsed into one of recipes—seared steak served over a tomato and blue cheese salad, maple salmon with walnuts—like many things in life, it comfortably circled back to food. We climbed the hills surrounding the brick school buildings, alone save for a janitor shutting the power off for the night. Rabbits, shifty ones with nervous eyes and powerful back legs, darted across the overgrown reeds. After a shortcut through the adjacent neighborhood, home to residents who often called school officials to complain about students parking haphazardly in front of their driveways, we reached the elementary school.

Having never attended public school until my teenage years, I held no connection to this place. But its friendly sign, decorations in pastel colors, and impressive playground held vague memories of childhood and all that comes with time. Named for the creek running through one section of the forest, the school became crowded by New York residential developments over the years. Even as we cautiously scaled the hillside, my friend and I were aware of neighbors murmuring from their patio sets.

Wading in the creek is a pastime from our parents’ generation. It was times like these I longed for the cornfields and overgrown swamps of my own childhood. We were older now, but the creek invited the curiosity we often miss as adults with obligations and schedules. Crossing it was another thing entirely.

I held my breath, steadying myself as water rushed over the slippery rocks. One step, a wave of relief, and the moment was cut short by the realization I would need to make it a little further across to capture that perfect shot. My sneakers filled with water as I raised my arms, balancing as wire-walkers do on a taut line.

I made it across the creek that day with minimal scratches—an impressive feat for a self-proclaimed klutz. And as I waited for the camera to focus, sunlight peeked through the trees and bathed the forest in golden light.

There was more to this evening, of course. Hot fudge sundaes at the nearby convenience store, a four-mile walk through the neighborhoods, and subsequent admiration of each home’s eclectic features. Conversations about movies, music, democracies, and fireflies. I made it home as the first lightning strikes pierced the sky.

My life is far different from the one I lived in high school. But as Dr. Seuss once said, “Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll go!”