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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Our Anniversary Rhode Island Getaway Part 2: Block Island During Off Season

You can read Part 1 (Newport and Narragansett) here.

I'm just going to start by saying ... I LOVED BLOCK ISLAND. I loved it. I felt like I was somewhere so far from the rest of the world, but I was only four hours from home.

Block Island is definitely a summer destination (you know, being that it's ocean adjacent on all sides), and we definitely felt it when we stepped off the ferry. There were very few people around, and while it didn't feel completely deserted, it was just really quiet and somber. While the ferry does have an option to bring your car aboard, we opted to tackle the island by foot. So en foot, we were off to find our hotel.

One of the things I loved about BI is that the ferry drops you off right in town, and most everything is centrally located there, including a lot of hotels. Our hotel was, at most, a 10 minute walk from the ferry. We stayed at the Avonlea hotel, and I'm not gonna lie, I kind of wanted to stay there because when I was younger, I was obsessed with Anne (with an E!) of Green Gables and the TV series Avonlea. Aaaaaaand, I also have to be honest that the fact that the room we wanted had a freestanding pedestal tub was also something that sealed the deal for us.




This hotel was amazing. It's hard to even put into words how much I loved it. While it was located a short walk into town, it was also right on the ocean, and very quiet. Oddly quiet, actually. Not sure if it was because it was off season, but a party-type bar (Three Kittens) was right next door, and we never heard a peep from them later in the evenings even though we saw plenty of people out there, and heard the music playing as we walked by on our way back at night. It felt like we were miles from town, actually. The hotel, or inn, I guess is more accurate, is affiliated with the Blue Dory. BUT, if you're planning a trip here, and are deciding between these two hotels, go with the Avonlea. The Blue Dory is right on the main street by the ferry drop-off. Especially during peak season, I can imagine it would be a little noisy, and the views aren't quite as nice. Plus, the Avonlea has a killer wrap-around victorian deck that's perfect for watching the waves at any point during the day.


Our private balcony with perfect views of the ocean.


The room was so airy with views from all the windows.
We chose the Amethyst room at Avonlea, which was one of the more affordable rooms, but I don't understand why because I loved it. It's small. Like, when you walk in, you're face-to-face with the bed. BUT, this little room has the awesome bathroom with the tub (also a walk-in shower) and a private balcony with a stunning view of the ocean. It's also off a little corridor in the house, so it's a little more secluded. It was designed just right with clear glass panels in the door, and windows all around so when they were all open, you just saw the ocean. It was perfect.

Our first day on the island, we just decided to get our bearings and walk around to see where everything was. We headed downtown to explore, and we stumbled upon a jetty. I'm a sucker for jetties, so we spent quite a bit of time walking on it as the sun was setting for the day.




We also quickly realized while walking around that because we were there at the end of September, off season had officially kicked in, and most restaurants were closed for the season. Our dining options were limited, but that night, we ended up at a great little place downtown called Mohegan Cafe and Brewery. At night, we went back to our room, and left the windows open to fall asleep to the sound of waves. Oh, and I took a bath. Every night we were there. It was awesome. I need this bathtub in my life. It's actually the exact one I had picked out for our bathroom someday, so I got to test it out beforehand. I approve.



The next morning (and every morning we were there), we enjoyed breakfast on the front porch of the hotel, which I loved. One thing I don't love about B&Bs is eating breakfast with other people (Oh hey, I'm Sam, this is my husband Josh and we have morning breath and haven't brushed our hair, but we changed out of our PJs for you, so you're welcome, and where are you guys from?). At Avonlea, there were plenty of individual tables with a buffet style breakfast, and it was lovely. No forced small talk with strangers. This makes me sound like a recluse, but I'm just not an early morning, full-on conversation person until after I've eaten. Food is like my coffee. Ask Josh.

Typical breakfast. Our innkeeper is a trained chef that used to work the Newport, RI restaurant scene.
His breakfasts were amazing.
Later that morning, we rented bikes to explore the island. Josh is an avid biker (of the bicycle variety, not the Harley variety), but I'm a little less experienced. Thankfully, I picked it up pretty quickly, and we were off to explore Mohegan Bluffs. Although, Josh had to look over his shoulder like every five seconds to make sure I wasn't passed out on the side on the road (I prefer going downhill, apparently, not so much uphill. I struggled).



The Bluffs were incredible. I could have stayed there all day with a picnic. The view from the top and bottom of the stairs were both insane. Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, you have the option of going down to the rocks to get closer to the water for even better views. It's steep and slippery, but there's a rope there to help you get down. Josh was iffy, and I just decided to go for it. I believe my exact words were "eff it, I'm just doin' this." It was worth it.





After the bluffs, we biked all the way up the island, making a pit stop at The Oar restaurant. A while back when we booked this trip, quite a few people said this was a great lunch spot. I was ready for a lobster roll, and Josh was able to get a veggie burger as big as his head. Plus, the view wasn't too bad.



Then we got back on our bikes and headed to the very top of the island near the wildlife sanctuary and the lighthouse. And finally, after that, we made our way to Clayhead Trail for a short hike. Since we were kind of on a time crunch with the bike rental, we couldn't stay long, and that's one thing I regret is not having enough time to explore the trail. I've heard it's more amazing the further you go. During the hike, it spit us out at a beach, and I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was. If there weren't teenage boys there, I was ready to strip down to my underwear and jump in the waves (they were huge that day and it was hot outside). But, you know, I'm a lady and stuff so I kept my clothes on, and went on with our hike. Next time, though, I'll be more prepared for an impromptu swim.



That day, we biked 15 miles and my FitBit recorded 18,000 steps (we had to walk to and from the bike rental place, plus hiking). I was pooped. We got back to our hotel, and we decided to just relax. The day before, we saw that it was calling for rain the last day and a half of our trip, and with not much else to do on the island, we stopped at the local book store and bought books in case we were stuck inside. Even though the weather was still gorgeous, we both wanted to take advantage of the views from the hotel, and we just sat outside and read books in the chaise lounges.



Side note: I loved this book, The Husband's Secret. I thought it was just going to be a quick, easy light read, and while it was kind of all those things, I was surprised at the complexity of the human experience in this one. It caught me off guard. Not the best book I've ever read, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. When I got home, I ordered another one by the same author. Yay!




Our hotel also had cocktail hour every night, and they provided light snacks, wine and their famous cookies, the Block Island Barnacles. We totally were down there right when it started every night. We were those people. Hey, it's that couple in the Amethyst room eating all the cookies again!

Views during cocktail hour.
I'm not sure why, but being at this hotel made me feel like I was on Prince Edward Island or something. I didn't feel like I was in Rhode Island, and it was rather surreal. I couldn't get over the fact that everywhere I went in the hotel, I could listen to the sound of the waves.



For dinner that night, our options were limited because it was a Monday, and some restaurants that were still open for the season were closed on Mondays. So, we ended up at the Poor People's Pub, which was about a quarter mile from our hotel. Really great pub food, and we were able to sit outside on the deck.

On our last full day, we didn't have much planned. We decided to visit some of the local shops, but I will say, BI is not a shopping destination, but I didn't expect it to be, either. We popped into a few places, and I'm usually the kind of person that will buy like ten things on vacation, but we left with one little print of a BI map to hang on our wall at home. And that was pretty much it. There were some nice little boutiques, but nothing spectacular.


We walked back to The Oar for lunch (partially because of limited options, partially because we just really liked it). Oh darn, we have to eat delicious food and look at the water again.

It was threatening rain on and off all later in the day, so we just decided to go back to our hotel to read and relax the rest of the afternoon (you know, until cocktail hour time). It sprinkled on and off, but it wasn't so bad that we had to close our windows and door, so we left them open to hear the ocean, and just read, took a nap and relaxed. Usually on vacation, we're all about being busy exploring and being out and about, which is relaxing to us in a way, too. But this time around, it felt so good to just sit and do absolutely nothing. Especially with working full-time, and renovating a house, we never really have down time anymore, so this was the perfect excuse and the perfect place to do it.



When we got back to our room, we found this waiting for us, so some champagne consumption may have taken place. Happy Anniversary two days ago to us!

For our last dinner, we went to a Mexican restaurant called Calaveras, and we were literally the only ones there. On our walk there, it felt like the island was, in fact, deserted. It was weird and kind of awesome and like 1% awkward.

Is anyone out there? No? Okay.

But, it was really cool to be the only customers at the restaurant. We got to pick any table we wanted, the service was impeccable, obviously, and the food was to die for. We shared the veggie quesadillas, and I got the shrimp tacos, and I was one happy lady when we left.

The next day, we had to say goodbye. And it down poured. It was raining so hard that we were soaked all the way through our clothes when we got to the ferry. AND, our ferry was cancelled. Thankfully, the next one was running, but I was kind of hoping, actually, we'd get stuck there for another night. I was already planning out what I would have during cocktail hour at the hotel when they said the next ferry was coming. I was sad. BUT, we had an incredible vacation. And now we're rested and recharged for more house projects!

Overall Verdict: I'm smitten with Block Island, and while I can understand the appeal for a summer vacation there, I think I, personally, would prefer it during off season. The hotel we stayed at had amazing off season rates (it was over $300 a night during peak summer season for our room) and we got it for about half that, plus a free night for a mid-week, off season special). So, it was relatively inexpensive for what you get (a great view, complimentary breakfast and cocktail hour). The island is small, and if this is a popular destination in the summer, I feel that personally, I could see myself getting overwhelmed by the crowds. Especially because the hotels and restaurants are clumped together in two main towns, and that's it. The rest of the island is either residential or nature-y. I loved the secluded feeling during off season, and while I was disappointed at first that many of the restaurants I had wanted to try were already closed, the few that were open were excellent, and it didn't really matter in the end because we weren't there for the dining experiences. BI is great for exploring and being active, and also, perfect for relaxing and resting your body and brain. It's the best of both worlds. And, if you're an Anne of Green Gables fan, I get the feeling you'll kind of feel like you're in that world a bit. So, that's a bonus.

4 comments:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous !! The pictures are beautiful.Happy Anniversary to Josh and you. Now I have one more place to add travel list when my husband and I relocate to the East Coast in the next month. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Aww, thank you so much! BI is definitely worth adding to your list for sure! :) So exciting you're relocating to this side of the country!

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  2. I really love watching all your vacation vlogs and now of course reading this blog. I'm creating a list in the hopes that next time I travel to America, that we can explore the East Coast and go to all these gorgeous towns.

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad! I will have a video up for this trip, but I'm having some technical issues with my DS card, so it's been delayed for a few days. Grrrr. I hope you get to the New England area some day - it's just beautiful!

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