A Slow Day in a Smart Car

Our second day in Newport gave us a chance to head out on the ferry to Block Island, one of my favorite places on the planet. Since Jen had never been, and I hadn’t been for over 20 years, we took to the seas on a quiet morning not sure what the day had in store. No plans, no reservations, just a round trip ferry ticket.

We were there in the off season, so the only ferry still running left out of Point Judith, about 30 minutes from Newport. We opted for the “slow” ferry instead of the “fast” one since it wasn’t that much slower and the departure times were better. This was a risky choice, as we battled large swells for over an hour, pounding against the waves, watching people all around us succumb to seasickness. The fact that I took my first steps on this bay came in handy, but even Jen was a trooper, making it through without turning green. We were both happy to be on dry land when we arrived at Block Island.

Our first stop was the beach, where we took some photos with our new camera and watched the giant waves breaking against the shore. Being late September, the beaches were empty, but it was still a beautiful day with plenty of sun and a nice breeze to keep it from getting too hot. We wanted to explore the island by bike, but didn’t know if we had the stamina or time to clock 22 miles by bicycle.

We found a rental place right near the ferry landing and cut a deal with the owner for a tiny little blue Smart Car convertible. This is a great way to see the island, or in a VW Bug if you have more than 2 people or want a little more room.

Our first stop was the South Light, one of many sights on the island that seemed to be straight out of a movie. The flags blowing in the breeze and views from horizon to horizon were incredible.

We drove next to the Mohegan Bluffs, amazingly dramatic cliffs and rocky shores taking a beating for ages on the windward side of the island. There is a huge staircase you can take down to an overlook above the beach, which seems like a great way to get a better view… until you realize it’s 300+ stairs round trip and you’re only halfway done. Still – definitely worth the view and a good workout.

What is the best way to recover after any great workout? A nice local draft beer, of course. That’s when we found The Oar, a quaint bar and restaurant located near the center of Block Island on Great Salt Pond. The interior is lined with hundred of personalized Oars from past visitors, and the typical bar menu has plenty to satisfy your hunger or thirst. There are tables inside, as well as a patio, and some tables out on the grass overlooking the water where we decided to set up shop for a lunch break.

Our leisurely pace was making for a wonderful day, but it left us with time for one final stop, and we knew just what we wanted to see. We drove to the north end of the island to check out the picturesque North Light and sandy, grassy dunes around it. This was the perfect way to end our day on the island, a long beach walk well worth the effort as we stood alone in this amazing setting, nobody in sight. These are the moments when we both started to think about Block Island and Newport as something that would mean more to us than this little 2 day trip. It was becoming not a question of “could we get married in Rhode Island?” to “how could we get married anywhere else?”

The ferry ride home was calmer and much less eventful, and we got back to our amazing room at the Mill Street Inn just in time to get ready for our best meal of the trip at a place that would become our favorite Newport restaurant, 22 Bowen’s.

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