DescriptionPreviously called Manisses (“Island of the Little God”) by the Narragansett Indians, Luisa by explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, Adriaen's Eylant by Dutch trader Adriaen Block and the Town of New Shoreham by the Rhode Island assembly, Block Island is a popular family vacation resort. The only town, New Shoreham, has the look and feel of vintage New England, with white clapboard Victorian buildings lining its waterfront street.
Sixteen families seeking religious and political freedom bought the 11-square-mile island in 1661 and established it as a democratic settlement.
Block Island is ringed by public beaches; the largest is Crescent Beach which encompasses a 5-mile stretch of the east side of the island. Many nature, bicycling and hiking trails as well as wildlife sanctuaries are available. Popular nature trails include the Clayhead Trails, 2 miles north off Corn Neck Road, and the Greenway Trails, a half-mile west off Center Road. There are more than 40 rare and endangered wildlife species on the island; phone Block Island Nature Conservatory at (401) 466-2129.
Mohegan Bluffs, rising to 200 feet along the southeast shore, affords an excellent view of the southern coast of Rhode Island. Southeast Light, a restored lighthouse built in 1875, still stands. Its lantern, 240 feet above sea level, sends light 35 miles out to sea.
Passenger ferries run from downtown Newport mid-June through Labor Day; phone (401) 783-4613 or (866) 783-7996. A 1-hour crossing aboard an automobile ferry is offered all year from Point Judith; phone (401) 783-4613 or (866) 783-7996 in advance for reservations. Island Hi-Speed Ferry offers half-hour crossings between Port Judith and Block Island aboard high-speed catamarans mid-May to mid-October as well as a two-hour ferry from Fall River, MA, to Block Island, mid-June through Labor Day; for information or reservations phone (401) 783-4613 or (866) 783-7996. Another high-speed ferry runs from Orient Point, Long Island, N.Y., to Block Island; phone (860) 444-4624 or (855)256-2547 for reservations. Additional ferry service is available from Montauk, Long Island, N.Y. Crossing time is approximately 2 hours; phone (631) 668-5700.
Scheduled air transportation is available from Westerly, while charters are available from other points, including Providence. Phone New England Airlines at (401) 596-2460 or (800) 243-2460.
Visitor InfoBlock Island Tourism Council 40 Center Rd. BLOCK ISLAND, RI 02807. Phone:(401)466-2474 or (800)383-2474
ShoppingThe New Harbor and the Old Harbor areas contain restaurants, specialty shops and galleries.
Things to SeeThe North Light
Horseback RidingRustic Rides Farm