Labor Day weekend can be pretty hit or miss in the New England area. Either you have an early tropical cyclone roll through (remember Hurricane Irene?) or you have the most perfect end-of-summer August weather. Luckily for us, this past weekend experienced the latter.
While my plans for the long weekend originally consisted of sunbathing poolside in my family’s backyard, those quickly changed once a day trip to Block Island was suggested. I haven’t been to Block Island since I was a youngin’, therefore, there was no way I’d turn down this spontaneous trip.
To start, my friends and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to drive from Fairfield, CT to Narragansett, RI to catch the ferry from Point Judith to Block Island. Due to some quick thinking the night before while at the bars, we made the smart move of buying tickets online for the 9:30AM departure. As we arrived to the port, about 100+ people were lined up down the block, waiting to purchase tickets. Seriously, there’s no greater feeling (well, maybe there is) than walking past a humongous line, knowing we already printed tickets and could hop right on the boat. But really, if you’re reading this and planning a trip to Block Island, take the extra five minutes to do this and print them prior (note: you must print your tickets, they do not scan tickets from your phone).
At 9:35AM, we crack open a celebratory beer and wonder how everything has suspiciously worked so well so far…. because, c’mon, nothing ever runs this smoothly.
From there, the ferry took off for the island and per usual, I immediately get sea sick. Thankfully, we’re always in sight of land and I have an hour long staring contest with Block Island, wishing that I could make it through at least one boat ride with out wanting to throw myself off it.
Eventually, we made it to the port, where we skipped off the ferry and made our way to find some bikes.
Since this is a very small island off of Rhode Island, the chance that there would be different options for renting bikes were very slim. We learned this pretty quickly upon arriving to the first bike shop we come across . After being slightly harassed by the sales associates and then given free reign to pick whichever bike we wanted (do not make the mistake of getting a bike with out gears), we were on our way.
Now, I haven’t been to Block Island for years and I had no clue what to expect when it came to island terrain. Prior to getting on our bikes, I asked my fiance if it was going to be a hard or easy biking day. Of course, when he answered with “I biked around this mountain no problem when I was in kindergarten,” I thought it would be a breeze.
No. Just, no.
By the time we made it up the fifth or sixth mountain (thank god for spin class), I was huffing and puffing and hoping we were close to our destination. It probably didn’t help that I was hangry, but once we turned the corner, locked up our bikes and got our first sight of the Mohegan Bluffs, I realized the trek was definitely worth it.
For those unfamiliar with this beach, you start on a small trail that leads to a wooden staircase. At this point, you’ll get your first glimpse of the beach and clay cliffs that rise about 200-ft high. Towards the end of the stairs, you’ll have to slightly push your way through the tourists that stop to take photos and begin the downward climb, mountain goat style. After a few slips, I realized it’s much easier to just take your flip flops off and hop from rock to rock until you’re about six feet away from the sand. From there, just jump and you’ll stumble not-so-gracefully… but you’ll have finally arrived on one of New England’s most beautiful beaches.
Once we claimed our spot on the beach, we dropped our towels, stopped for a quick bite of lunch (thanks Mrs. Pratt!) and set in for a relaxing day by the ocean. After about 10 minutes of sunbathing, we all agreed it was time to sprint for the waves.
Three hours later & bathing suits filled with sand, we gathered our gear and hop on our bikes….thankfully for a downhill ride.
After about a 15 minute bike ride (with one set back – my chain popped off my bike), we made it to the opposite side of the island to New Harbor. We desperately needed some grub and therefore, found ourself pulling up to The Oar. What’s in a name, you ask? As island tradition, the interior of the bar & restaurant is adorned by hundreds of personalized oars!
Of course, since being back on the east coast, whenever a lobster roll is featured on the menu, I have no choice but to order one. Paired alongside a cold brew, it made for an amazing end-of-summer dinner. Eventually we made our way outside to The Oar’s lawn, where everyone was either enjoying a drink, playing lawn games, checking out the view on the adirondack chairs, or taking photos in front of the wall of buoys (ok, maybe it was only us).
Sadly, we only made plans to visit Block Island for the day and had to make our way back to the ferry. While saying good-bye to the island, we were treated with the most beautiful sunset and promises to make the day trip an annual tradition.