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The Coastal Traveller Block Island

 An Off Season Getaway – You won’t want to leave one of the most beautiful islands in the world for walking, biking, or simply looking out to sea.
“Close to home, a world away …” how do we tackle a Block Island trip? The place the Narragansett Indians called Manisses (Island of the Little God). With limited time and many options, flying to Block Island, it’s less then a half hour from our home airport, in Chester, Connecticut. We highly recommend the superior customer service from Chester Charter.
As the island’s contours emerge above the southern horizon, we first spy North Light, built in 1867 near the island’s northern terminus. “Cow Cove,” where the original European settlers are said to have pushed their livestock overboard upon arrival in 1661, forms a sweeping arc before the lighthouse.
Next is Clay Head, a bluff on the island’s northeastern side, often mistaken for the even more majestic Mohegan Bluffs on the island’s southern side. Speaking of perspective, as you pass Clay Head, note that just an island’s-length to the east –7 miles–a World War II-era German submarine lies on the ocean floor, sunk with all hands mere days before war’s end.

As we take a cab ride to town, Old Harbor, behold its facade of Victorian-era hotels, we do indeed seem a world away.

South on Spring Street is Southeast Light. Built in 1874, this National Historic Landmark has been visited by Ulysses Grant. It would have fallen off an eroding cliff if not for a grass-roots effort to move it back from the edge nearly 20 years ago.

Working west, stop at Payne Overlook for a view from the Mohegan Bluffs. Anticipating company, one option is to continue west to an unmarked entrance just south of Pilot Hill Road. The view from this vantage point is worth the walk, and it’s where the cabdrivers usually go.

Heading for the ultimate Block Island destination–the Spring House Hotel, the 19th-century wonder that commands a beguiling view of the eastern sea.

The island’s oldest hotel and resort is long on historic charm and ocean views, but also options. The main building, built in 1852, features 33 guest rooms; in the property’s gardens you’ll find the 17-room Mott House; nearby, the Barn offers a trio of luxury suites situated over a farm-to-table restaurant. Plus, there’s a newer, 10-room boutique hotel, the Inn at Spring House. Factor in four rental homes on-site and six more in town, and it’s safe to say that Spring House has its bases covered, beautifully.  

Spring House Hotel has the best ocean breezes on Block Island. And it is considered one of the Island’s most elegant historic landmarks.

The current family has managed the property for 26 years. Though changes and upgrades are constantly in motion, maintaining its famous old-world charm is the top priority. The most recent expansion includes a brand-new luxury inn, The Inn at Spring House.

We stayed at the Inn at Spring House and we were blown away! Very modern rooms, beautiful views and a private chef comes in to cook breakfast to order for the Inn guests and a wine & cheese hour. But the best part was the Inn Keeper, while we were there the Inn Keeper saw to it we had a wonderful time. She was amazing! She provided information on restaurants and activities and was available to take is where we wanted to go. She made you feel very special.

The Spring House Hotel is located just a short walk uphill from Old Harbor, making it easy to get to and from the ferry and shops.
You can saunter along past town to The Poor Peoples Pub on Ocean Ave. Nothing fancy, just good grub, tasty cocktails, and friendly folks. Try the Junk Fries.
Close by a four-way stop, the closest the island comes to a busy intersection; there are no traffic lights.) Tuck into a “Molly’s Meatloaf” or “Twisted Sister,” among many other local favorites.

Just down Corn Neck Road from Three Sisters is the entrance to the truly incomparable Crescent Beach. Extending north for about two miles, this strand is open to anyone and everyone, no key or fee required. Collapse on your own patch of sand, or take a long walk to the ramparts of Clay Head, where a series of Greenway trails called “the Maze” are hidden. Careful … you could be there longer than planned. Other options include renting a paddleboard from Diamond Blue Surf Shop and taking a kayak tour of Great Salt Pond, replete with herons and oyster catchers, with Pond & Beyond.

Much of Block Island’s land is designated as protected, meaning that the many beautiful seaside views are nearly untouched. There are plenty of things to do on Block Island that make it perfect for a off season day trip, and its delightful restaurants and hotels make a longer stay worth your while, too.
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