Like most everyone else on the planet, these past 18-20 months or so have been filled with disappointments, cancelled plans, or worse.
Back in the Spring, Dave and I knew that we needed to plan some fun time at the end of the summer - we usually like to take a vacation in September, around the time of our anniversary.
But where? Without knowing if places would be open for tours, we decided to choose a spot where we had to plan our own fun. We chose a short-ish drive (six hours or so) to Rhode Island where we could take the ferry to Block Island for a few days of beach and bluffs. A short photo-journal of our trip follows.
We drove to Narragansett last Wednesday and we were met by a welcoming committee of Great Black-backed Gulls and high tide at the beach.
After a walk on the beach and a delicious seafood dinner, we headed to our hotel for the night near Narragansett.
The Ferry from Point Judith, on the mainland to New Shoreham, the only town on Block Island was quick and painless, if a little bit bumpy.
We couldn't check in to our B&B right away so we stopped for lunch at The National Hotel (the big white building right on the main drag).
Every day, we started with a short hike. There were bluffs, and more bluffs along the southern end of the island. It was wonderful to spend so much free time outside. All of the restaurants accommodated outside seating as well, so we felt very safe the entire trip.
We did a tour of the Southeast Lighthouse. Built in 1875 and dedicated by President Ulysses S. Grant, this brick and stone structure had to be moved (!) 150 feet from its original site to more stable ground. (It was originally too close to the bluffs!) The house is being refurbished as a museum and the light is maintained by the US Coast Guard.
The second lighthouse on the island is the North Light situated at the very northern tip of the island, accessible by foot.
The North Light residence is not in use, but the light is active.
And then there was the food. I made it a personal challenge to 'sample' a lobster roll for lunch each day we were on the island (5 days, 5 lobster rolls!). It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it (don't they?). Most places had a choice between cold (usually with veggies and mayo mixed in) or hot (pretty much just the lobster on a roll with drawn butter on the side). Not surprisingly, the competition was too close to call. All were winners in my book!
Is a trip to New England really complete without clams? I think not!
On a very windy, very sunny day, we ventured back to the north end of the island for a walk along the shore. Each day, we kept the field glasses handy in hopes of spotting and identifying a new bird or two.
These Black-bellied Plovers were new-to-us birds for our life lists.
The island (only about 7 miles long and 3 miles wide) is shaped a bit like a kernel of corn or a pear. Where it comes to a point at the northern-most tip of the 'kernel' the waves crash into each other from both sides. On this particular sunny day, about 50 harbor seals sunned themselves contentedly at this gathering place.
Whenever we ventured out onto the trails and beaches, we picked up bits of non-biodegradable waste and dropped it in our pockets to discard later. On this particular trip to the tip of the island we found a plastic bag in the surf and filled it with trash as we went.
A little bit adds up to a lot. It's the least we could do in exchange for enjoying such a beautiful location.
After a morning on the trail, we headed to the beach to relax (and digest lunch) with a book or something stitchy.
Our trip wrapped up with a full moon and clear sky over New Shoreham. All too soon the ferry wake left Block Island in our rear view, at least until next time.
It's about making the most of time when we can. It's about time outdoors spent in appreciation of this glorious planet we occupy. It's about time to let go of responsibility for a short while. It's about time we got away for a spell.
And it's nice to be back, refreshed and recharged.