By Dani Frank
40 Center Road
Block Island, RI 02807
(800) 383 BIRI
Included as a member of the recognized “tri-state area” and the neighbor of such hotspots as New York City and Boston, Connecticut is in the prime location for getting up and going, be it for some new scenery or a quick day getaway. For a taste of quaint, car-free serenity, leave your ride in New London and hop onto the Block Island ferry. The 3 by 7 mile island is filled to bursting with inns, eateries and sandy beaches. For an all-access pass to fall foliage, native bird watching and a ride on something that doesn’t guzzle gas, here is your guide to Block Island in Autumn.
Sight-seeing atop a six speed will be an infinitely more exhilarating experience than a slow-paced stroll. Visit one of the island’s seven rental agencies for a bicycle or tool around on an available moped. Just be sure to strap on a helmet for a speedy and safe ride. No need to fill up or utilize a GPS while on Block Island, unless of course you want to. Car rentals are also available at three of the island’s vehicle rental shops. Cycle out to the Southeast Lighthouse, a 1.5-mile trek from Old Harbor, for a seaside ride you won’t soon forget.
Grab your binoculars; birding season is upon Block Island. Warblers, vagrants and more are flocking to Block Island, and a comfortable scouting spot is all you need to get in on the action. A wildlife refuge stretching over 127 acres houses 70 varieties of migrating songbirds using Block Island as a rest stop toward a warmer locale. Block Island also lays claim to a rare species of bird, the piping plover, and the largest grouping of gulls in the state of Rhode Island. For an up-close look at some more exotic feathered friends, Block Island is the place to be.
A romantic ride any time of year, horseback riding on the beach is a fun and affordable day activity for both budding equestrians and seasoned riders. Rustic Rides Farm offers a stable of gentle steeds ready for a ride along Dory’s Cove, with rides taking place every hour and a half, beginning at 9 a.m. For an especially picturesque prance through the sand, the Sunset Ride takes place at 6 p.m., offering one or two-hour options for riders to best explore Block Island’s beaches. Riders are allowed as young as 9 years old so a family ride or trot for two is available at the visitor’s choice.
The renowned Greenway Trails stretch 25 miles through Block Island’s terrain, offering hours of trail blazing, and subsequently getting lost, to discover the island’s secret treasures. For a scenic route that won’t be too tiresome, Hodge Family Preserve is 25 acres of meadows and dirt paths that will leave the scents of fall thick within your nostrils. The preserve can be reached off of Corn Neck Road on the northern end of the island. For a more challenging path, take on Rodman’s Hollow, a basin covering 230 acres created by the melting of a glacier, of which Block Island used to be covered in. The slopes and valleys will make for a unique, rolling trail.