…by Debbie Tuma…
While most people think of visiting Block Island in the hot summer months, with its beautiful oceanfront beaches and vibrant nightlife, others know that the best-kept secret is the fall months of September and October.
The water is still warm enough for swimming, the shops and restaurants are still open, but you will have more of the island to yourself, without the bustling crowds.
The Viking Super Star, a passenger ferry to Block Island, leaves from the Viking Dock in Montauk daily through September 23, and then weekends on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, until October 8, 2018. You can bring your bike and luggage, and there is a galley for coffee, snacks, breakfast, and beverages. You can sit inside, outside or up top for the best view and suntan. The comfortable trip takes only about an hour and 15 minutes. It leaves the Montauk Harbor and pulls into the New Harbor in Block Island, to Champlin’s Marina. For reservations and information, call 631-668-5700 or visit www.vikingfleet.com
“We like this time of year the best, because there is still lots to do, but it’s more relaxing—you can get a table in a good restaurant without waiting, the roads are not so crowded, and the stores have great end of summer sales,” said Leo Leone, Jr., whose family owns Aldos Mopeds, Car and Bike Rentals, as well as Aldo’s Restaurant, Bakery and Ice Cream Shop.
They rent both mountain bikes and cruisers, as well as new model mopeds, and for cars, they have VW convertibles, Jeep Wranglers, and Fiat 500 convertibles.
Leone said it is actually safer on the roads in the fall, without all the cars, and a better time to bike or moped around the island. “It’s a more scenic way to get around the island, out in the fresh air,” he said.
It’s also nice to have the beautiful white sand beaches more to yourself—and there are plenty of them all along the island. Some of the more popular ones are Crescent Beach, and over by Ballards’s Restaurant, where you can also dine on the outdoor patio, sit at the Tiki Bar, and listen to live music on the deck. Another great view is the outside bar at the Surf Hotel, where you can also dine on the water with a sunset view. At Dead Eye Dick’s, an old Block Island favorite, you can dine on the water view deck. The same goes for The Oar Restaurant, which has a fun crowd and outside picnic tables as well.
If you prefer the Victorian inns, you can stay and also dine at the Atlantic Inn, Narragansett Inn, and the Spring House. In the center of town is a historic, three story “Inn at Old Harbor,” with scenic views of the ocean. Another staple on Main Street is the National Hotel, and around the corner is the charming Blue Dory Inn and the Gothic Inn. Down the street, is the well-known Manissis Inn, and nearby is a sanctuary of exotic animals from around the world, open to visitors.
There are also some fun events in the fall on Block Island. The second weekend in September, is the annual 15K Race, called, “The Run Around the Block.” The runners go twice around the west side of the island, and finish at Champlin’s.
Another popular Fall event is the 12th Annual “Taste of Block Island” on September 21-23, which is sponsored by the Block Island Chamber of Commerce. It includes kayak, taxi and farm tours, wine and beer tastings, and even a “design your own sundae.” Throughout the island there are shops discounts, lodging packages, restaurant specials, and a Baggo Tournament. You can buy a “Taste of Block Island” button at the Block Island Chamber of Commerce for $5.00. For more information call the Chamber of Commerce at 401-466-2474 or visit www.blockislandchamber.com