Block Island, Rhode Island: "One of the 12 Last Great Places in the
Block Island, Rhode Island. Photo by Timothy J. Quill (Timothy J.
Quill) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA
by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/28/16
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Warning: stay away from Block Island, RI, if you have an
affinity for shopping malls, automobiles, ATM machines, laptops,
smartphones, and other conveniences.
If you are inclined to pristine ocean and beaches (some with dramatic cliffs), beautiful harbor
views, rolling green fields
and pastoral farms, picturesque lighthouses, abundant plant and
wildlife, and a slower-paced, laid-back
lifestyle, then by all means plan a visit to what the Nature
Conservancy has designated as "one of the 12 last great places in the
It's easy to see why. With the exception of a small downtown, Block
Island's 21 square miles -- 12 miles south of Rhode Island's main
land -- provide a treasure chest of unspoiled terrains -- the perfect
place for a New England summer vacation. Most people walk, ride bikes
or drive motor scooters to trek around the island. What they will find
is their own beach, their own forest, their own special place, their
own travel discovery. Walking off the beaten path will surely lead you
to nowhere. And nowhere is a beautiful place to visit.
The blatant "tourist traps" aren't bad, either, like the Southeast
Lighthouse, which stands almost 200 feet above the sea, courtesy of
some dramatic clay cliffs. North Lighthouse leads to a wildlife
sanctuary and a seemingly endless beach, sometimes inhabited by no one.
By the way, while you might not see many people, you will most likely
meet up with 40 rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Bird
watchers,for example, will no doubt meet their destiny, here.
If it's people you seek, Fred Benson Town Beach is a delightful place
with warm ocean water, well behaved families and plenty of area to find
your own spot. The sand is fairly soft and the sun seemingly brighter
than back home, whereever that may be. It's the perfect family beach,
the ideal New England summer vacation destination.
The downtown area offers lodging, dining and shopping. It is all
interchangeable, as nothing really stands out in our experiences. You won't go wrong with
any Triple A approved lodging. Many restaurants offer some great
outdoor dining (location, not always great food). No place we've tried is solely
worth the trip. The real reason to visit Block Island is for the
abundant nature. With the exception of Maine's Acadia National Park and
Vermont's Green Mountains, not one specific New England area offers as
many uninhabited areas as Block Island.
Block Island is accessible by ferry from Montauk, Long Island, N.Y.,
New London, Conn., Point Judith, Providence and Newport, R.I. For
more information on Block Island, log onto the Block Island Tourism Council web page.
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