This was the day we were waiting for. We got to “sail away on the Block Island Ferry, take a trip back to carefree times…” Might be a bit more carefree if it didn’t cost so darn much. But that quote is actually the jingle used in the advertisements for the ferry, and features a Caribbean type steel drum in the background. There are definitely not too many Caribbeans out on Block Island, but the tune is still catchy and we sang it all week.
Waiting to Back Onto the Ferry (our car is the white one in the front with the shamrock)
The sun and the gods and goddesses were all shining on us today because we managed to be the first car in line for standby on a completely packed ferry at 10:30am. And it was not fun backing my daughter’s car onto the ferry. I started freaking out because I am not used to her car as much as my own, and a nice red-headed guy jumped in to take over for me. Thanks! Didn’t want to back right through the side of the ferry.
The Port of Galilee, Rhode Island, where the Block Island Ferry departs from.
The 55 minute cruise over is beautiful with the Rhode Island shoreline in view part of the way and then the Block Island dunes visible in the distance. The island is just 12 miles off shore, but it feels like a world away. Right before we docked the kids and I headed down to the car and mercifully drove forward off the ferry onto the island.
Salty Brine Beach as seen from the Ferry
I have been to Block Island several times, but this was the second visit for my daughter Tally and the first time for Alex. Even though I have been a few times, I desperately wanted to see more of the island than just the Old Harbor where the ferry dumps you out. Finally with the car, and my daughter as my mapping copilot, we set off out of the busy commercial Old Harbor to explore the smallest town in Rhode Island.
The Rolling Green Hills of Block Island
We drove down the winding roads, constantly dodging folks on bicycles and mopeds, the rental of choice for most people since they are cheaper. There is no darn sidewalk or even any room on the side of the road for the bikers and some of these looked like they hadn’t been on a bike in a very long time. But we managed to drive out to the North Light on one end of the island, which actually is a dead end road. So back around to find the Southeast Lighthouse.
The Southeast Lighthouse, Block Island, Rhode Island
Did I mention that the better cartographer was my 12 year old son sitting in the back
The Wedding of Sarah and David
seat taking in all the sights? We made a few wrong turns, looped back a few more times, but eventually made it to the Lighthouse. This lighthouse was actually moved 80 feet back from the edge of the cliffs in 1993 to prevent it from toppling into the Atlantic Ocean. I finally got to experience it. And while sitting on the porch trying to grasp the slight breeze rolling across the lawn, we actually watched a wedding! Right in front of us with the Justice of the Peace. That was a different activity to enjoy on Block Island.
Headed back into Old Harbor for fish & chip lunches for all at the Mohegan Brewery. They may be famous for their brews, but we stuck with the water. Lunch was delicious and quite a bargain for just $12.95. You have to expect higher prices for seafood when in a tourist destination, but the portion was large, and none of us actually finished our meal.
Back out into Old Harbor to wander about the shops. I feel too many of them sell the same thing; t-shirts, sweatshirts, and inexpensive trinkets. All I bought were postcards of the 2 lighthouses which I will frame and hang in my room. A quick stop for some gelato and then to wait in line to back onto the ferry again. And this time was much easier. Phew!
I had an amazing day with my 2 children. Their enjoyment and appreciation of the natural beauty of Block Island made me see it with new eyes. The bustling harbor is fun and quaint with the old buildings, but the natural landscape is priceless.
The Bluffs Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the Southeast Lighthouse
(P.S. My son wants to move out to Block Island.)
Maybe we can live in one of these houses…