Sunday, August 16, 2009

Block Island, Always Room for One More

We had a four hour motor from Newport to Block Island, one of my favorite haunts. When we had planned to retire, I had always thought we should start our future relaxed life by anchoring out here for a month. Well, a lightning strike got in the way of that plan, and this is actually the first time we have been back since we began our cruising life.

Arriving at 2:00 on a Friday afternoon, we found very little room to anchor. There are a few 50 foot deep spots in the anchorage that are surrounded by 30 feet of water, so it can be tempting. But it seems you can never get enough scope out to be comfortable. We found our friends on Sojourner who welcomed us to anchor almost on top of them, but we eventually found a decent spot and had to set the anchor 3 times before it would hold. Not a secure feeling. We proceeded to watch about 30 or more so boats over the evening come in and force their resting spot. It is crazy. Fortunately winds did not exceed 10 knots or change direction during our stay. So if you can avoid it, don't come here and expect an easy time of it on the weekend. The moorings get snatched up very early in the morning.

There are many great things about Block. It still resembles the working man's Martha's Vineyard, and I like that. The $5 cab ride that will take you anywhere on Block is now $11, but you can walk it if you have good legs and stamina. Scooters and bikes are available for rental, and you should do it at least once. Some highlights:
1. good, reasonable shopping for unusual gifts.
2. very cool bar, The Oar, with $2 drafts.
3. a couple of decent and expensive inns for fancy dinners.
4. a seafood market where you can buy culls, lobsters that may have given up a claw in a fight, sold at a discount.
5. Block Island corn on the cob (After 25 years of coming here, I found out that this very fresh and unusual corn sold in green mesh bags tumbling out of apple baskets is not actually from Block. Disappointing.)
6. Everything Aldo. In addition to owning most of the town's retail establishments, Aldo has an on-water bakery. A skiff scouts the mooring and anchorage field twice a day, selling bad baked goods. But it is worth it just for the fun.
7. Frozen Del's Lemonade.
8. Farmer's Market on Saturday.

We joined Linda and Rick on Sojourner for cocktails, requesting permission to invite our anchored neighbors Barb and Mike on Elan (SSCA commodores), and meeting Dave and Laura on Jack Rabbit, anchored next to Sojourner and interesting in buying a 44 Hylas. We gave them an extensive tour of First Edition.

I will now remember Block as the first place I took my first Actonel, resulting in incredible heart burn (complicated by the 3 Margaritas consumed the evening prior), and today, my methotrexate. Age does not become me.

I hope some day to get my granddaughter here.

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