In the summer of 2013, I visited my aunt in the US. A few months before I flew, she told me, “Just hop onto a plane and get here. I’ll take care of everything.” Those who’ve heard this from me before, have endlessly wished for an aunt like mine, but in vain.
Fortunately for me, my aunt is a travel junkie and that doesn’t mean that she likes checking off top tourist destinations. No no. It means that with her, you should be prepared to travel to the most obscure places. Who knew that one of those places would go on to become my all-time favorite #2.
My aunt wanted to take me to Martha’s Vineyard but our plan was kind of last-minute. The only accomodation options left were really expensive. So, we decided against it. A few hours of internet browsing later, another option came up on our radar. The Martha’s Vineyard of Rhode Island if you please. Block Island. It was relatively closer and was small enough for a day trip. It was decided then. Block Island it was.
To make the most of the day we spend in Block Island, we drove to Rhode Island a night earlier and spent the night at my aunt’s friend’s place. The next morning we woke up and drove to Point Judith, RI to catch the first ferry out. Back then it was at 8.30 AM. The ferry was a charming mode of commute, with a fully-stocked bar onboard and strong winds rushing through the hair.
About 45 min to an hour later, we docked in Block Island. It was the most dreamy little place. The entire Island was small enough to be traversed by foot but we didn’t want to wear ourselves out so rented a moped. My aunt drove it around for the most part but I posed on it of course!
Now, a couple of things stood out for me which made Block Island my second favourite place in the world. The houses, the food, the lighthouses, mist, the winding roads, the beaches and the endless Atlantic Ocean.
Starting with the houses: they had one of every color. Block Island’s population majorly comprises of old people. Thus most of these houses were retirement homes and designed with a lot of thought and detail. Most had beautiful gardens with the most intriguing show pieces. Some were converted to inns with stained glass windows and wrought iron furniture while others had stone walls and cobbled paths. Each looked like they belonged on a 20th Century European postcard.
Next on the chalkboard is the mandatory discussion about food. I was a non-vegetarian back then and had the renowned English Lobster Roll and clam chowder but I would like to focus on the vegan aspects of my meal. We dined twice at the National Hotel which is one of the oldest hotels in Block Island. They bake their bread in-house and I could smell the freshness in it. That was some of the best bread I’ve had in my life. It almost made me feel that anything put in a roll made with that bread, is ought to automatically taste brilliant! Next were the fries. They were thicker than usual fries but thinner than wedges and yet perfectly crispy. We loved our brunch at the National Hotel so much that we visited it again for our evening snack. Everytime I reminisce about Block Island, our meals at the National Hotel, definitely pop up in my mind’s eye.
Moving on to lighthouses. Block Island has some of New England’s finest. The Block Island North light is a small lighthouse surrounded by lush green shrubs, seagulls and a chilly but breathtaking beach. It covers the northern most ground of the island and like the other lighthouses on the island, it is wheelchair accessible. On the beach, someone had put up a tiny hut shaped structure with logs of wood and it provided the best photo-op!
Another noteworthy lighthouse was the Southeast Lighthouse. It was taller and had a red brick construction. The fascinating aspect of this attraction was the fact that the visibility of the ocean from the lighthouse lawn was just a few metres. This showcased exactly how the lighthouse acted as a lifesaver in the thick mist. It felt like I was standing in the heart of a climax scene from an Enid Blyton book.
Finally moving on to the roads, the beaches and the oceans. The roadside attractions were a respite for any pedestrian while the beaches were beauties to behold. The water was ice-cold to step into, even though it was peak summer. However, the walks along the beach were enough to soak in the grandeur.
As the day drew to a close we headed back to the mainland. Even though we left a misty place behind, the memories we made that day are anything but foggy.