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BLOCK ISLAND, Rhode Island

sandy hook short

Discovered by the Dutch Explorer Adrien Block, the Bermuda of the East, as some have come to name Block Island, is a fine gem of the New York and Rhode Island area. It is blessed with a microclimate much like Newport, Rhode Island. This climate is the influence of the dominant Southwestern winds which blow ocean air to the mainland. While thunderstorms and cold front sweep violently from the ohio and hudson valley and bring tornadoes to the catskills, and the connecticut shore, these tend to stall and dissipate on the Long Island sound, and on the south shore of Long Island. By the time they reach Block Island, they have all but fizzed away their energy and the convective generated energy is no longer. It is my experience that Block Island shows sunshine, and Fog, more than the areas to the north. And, it is not accessible enough to have lost its quaintness.

The trip to Block in Frog's Leap averages 14 to 18 hours, depending on wind, tide, etc. The last trip I did was 15 hours. The place has a great infrastructure, and we have made it a tradition to go with the children for many years.

A typical morning in early summer brings fog as the humid air from the continent cools in the cold ocean waters surrounding the Island. Finding the entrance with GPS and Radar is a simple matter, but this was not so 27 years ago when I first arrived. With good training and instruments in working order, today's mariners have no problems in finding the narrow cut which forms the entrance to the Great Salt Pond harbor.

Frog's Leap moored off the basin. Outside the peak season the Island takes on.. well, an Island pace. Bumper stickers stating "slow down, this is not the mainland" appropriately convey the sense of priorities exhibited by the locals. This philosophy drove away large development interests (condo builders, large resorts) and has preserved the quality of fauna, flora, food, and friendly local residents. You could be eating at a bar, sitting between a very rich person on one side, and the opposite on the other, without knowing which is which. This is a casual place, not one for arrivistes. No miracle mile shopping district can be found.

An Eerie blanket lets one divine the scenery, but shrouds it in mystery

The Old Town Inn on its namesake Road.

Millstone at the corner of Old Town Road and Center Road

My favorite duck pond is on Old Town Road. There are numerous pretty ponds, of course, in a more natural setting than this one, but this one always seems to be populated with mallards. There is no shortage of water on the Island. It is formed by the last glacial age, as terminal moraine and clay layers keep the water from running out. In fact, one can see the clay in the cliffs of Mohegan bluffs and on the Eastern shore north of the old harbor by the maze.

Faithful servant to the anchored yachts, the launch provides reliable - and dry - transportation when needed.

Working Boats still adorn the smuggler's cove and other areas of the Island.

As a tidal pond empties, it erodes its own miniature Grand Canyon leaving you to discover sand mixed with the carbon deposited by mil lena of vegetation growth in the boggy ponds.

If you ever visited in July or August, I am certain you are amazed at the scant number of dinghies at the dock.

The Gothic Inn on Dodge Street



Small Garage, small vehicle



Mohegan Bluffs, where the Manisses Native Americans drove a war party of Mohicans to their deaths in 1590. The bluffs are constantly eroding.

The Eastern Shore north of Old Harbor looking Southeast.

Caribbean color of the turquoise waters lead you to believe the water is warm. It is a bit on the nippy side, however.


The Coast Guard Station in New Harbor, Great Salt Pond.

The Maze is a very productive conservation area. Habitat to Birds, butterflies, and insects. You can hike there and be away from the ferry and beach crowds. This is a lesser known retreat.

The lighthouse was moved back from the cliff approximately 300 feet using Steel beams, hydraulic rams, and rails. The structure was moved in one piece over a 19 day period at a cost of $2,000,000, half of which was raised by the foundation and the other half granted by the Federal Government.

Children taught simple fun of nature: finger paint the rocks with natural white clay from the cliffs.