Take Two: Block Island Triathlon

Over the weekend I took part in one of my favorite events of the summer: The Block Island Triathlon. I competed last year and loved every second of it. This year was different, I had a race team.

IMG_1387I must have made it sound easy or something as my mother, Karen, and friend, Evan, decided to sign up as well. My mother is a fit lady who loves to be active in many ways (especially Jazzy ones), and Evan is a runner who has never competed in a triathlon.
Mom was pretty confident. Saying ,“Michael Phelps isn’t even a stellar athlete” as we watch him carry the US flag at the Rio opening ceremony the night before. I guess she thought she could take him on the swim portion if she had to.

 

As race day approach we were all nervous about the weather with storms predicted. I said my prayers and wished for the best. Luckily, Saturday arrived with sun and smiles. We prepped our transition stations with “recyclable” footbaths.

At 9 am the race went off. I was in the first heat. Ekk.

The race consisted of a ¼ mile swim at Fred Benson Town Beach. It was tough as I was running into the water and headed towards the same buoy as the rest of the pack. There was a lot of arm flaying and no apologies.

When I ran out of the water and went to throw my sneakers on I swear everyone else was dilly-dallying. I had places to be. The bike ride consisted of a few close calls with cars and other bikers and only once did I yell “MOM!” at the wrong lady.

13901547_1233309526699427_8045180890117176352_nBy the time I got to the beach, I was pumped yelling, “These are my roads” to everyone I passed. The run was tough as the high tide meant wading through calf-deep water at some points. I was cheered on my beach goers loving my St. Lawrence T-shirt (and Cole Hann shades).

I finished in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes, third overall female and first in my age group. For anyone else that did the race, I had to search far and wide for the results (here they are) I am now the proud owner of the coolest T-Shirt on Block Island. So yes ,this blog post is somewhat a humble brag, but I know you care.

Besides me, my mom did phenomenal. She finished 12th out of 20 people in her age group. Take those Tri Veterans! Her biggest feedback was that the race was the perfect choice for her. The mixed training was better than simply training for a half-marathon that she had been interested in.
IMG_0963Evan crushed the game as well placing 2nd in his age group. I had to say no when he mentioned a “cool down” run after the race.

Block Island is a great place to race. There is one more chance this summer to “Run Around the Block” on September 10th. I won’t be able to be here for it so you might have a chance.


Have you ever raced on Block Island? Is Michael Phelps a stellar athlete? How many scoops of ice cream did I eat after the race? (Wait, don’t answer that)

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She definitely earned her cone.
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Chopping Block: Southeast Light Delights

It’s a about a mile (UPHILL). I say it many times a day. People ask where the Southeast Light is and I have to inform them that it is a little of ways, but it is certainly worth their efforts.M333

Luckily, to reward their climb Southeast Light Delights and a lot of lobster awaits them. With a literal monopoly on the refreshments available nearby, the food truck could rest on it’s laurels, but IT DOES NOT.

Andre Boundreau is the funny man running the show at Delights. He dishes out high quIMG_1129 (1)ality food and drink for the flocking tourists. One of his children will likely take your order.

I had never been to the truck, but a serendipitous win at Bingo with my mother left us with a coupon for a Free- Range Lobster Roll, a Del’s Lemonade and an ice cream sandwich. Yes, all lobster is free-range by the way. This lobster happens to arrive fresh from Scarborough, Maine. Sorry, lobsters you can’t be free forever.

We biked up and enjoyed every little bitIMG_1151 of the winnings. Boundreau as pleased to have us come and collect. Even promising to my momma #blockislandfamous
The menu is not limited to lobster rolls (which at available both hot and cold), it also includes lobster grilled chesses, ricotta and berries sandwiches, hot-dogs, and more. For refreshing drinks, they offer Avery’s Artisan sodas, Maine Root beers and assorted soft drinks.

 

So plan for a picnic. This food truck provides chairs and blankets as well. Leave room for dessert. The ice cream sandwiches are layered: cookie, cookie-dough ice cream, cookie. Or if my last post has you craving gelato, the truck has two flavors that rotate daily.

The truck is located just inside the fence at The Southeast Lighthouse. Continue up Spring Street from Old Harbor (yes, about a mile) and you’ll find it. It is open daily typical 10am-4pm. Like Southeast Light Delights on Facebook for menu update and a dose of good cheer.

Do you prefer lobster rolls hot or cold? What’s the best picnic food? Did we cheat at Bingo?

Block Island Farmers’ Market: A Craft Fair With Some Cucumbers

I have mentioned it before, but never fully post on the Block Island Farmers’ Market. And It is well worth the mention.

The Block Island Farmers’ Market open Wednesdays 9- 11:30am at The Spring House and Saturdays at American Legion Park in New Harbor. Its’ season runs from mid –June until October boasting all Block-Island produce, foods and crafts.

13407059_1137679179626066_1671465165789616405_nMost of the vendors at the market can not be found elsewhere on the island. Some of my favorites include Block Island Sweaters and Block Island Wildflower Honey from Littlefield Farm (sold by the one and only Hope Brigham). There are a few exceptions like Mutt Hut and The Spring House (my haunt), but for the most part the farmers’ market is the only chance to score some the island’s best offerings.

IMG_0922Like island-famous scones. They go for $1.50, and they go fast!

If you are looking to fill your pantry, the market is a good place to start, but it would be hard to survive completely off of the provisions of the market. The Spring House has fresh produce for sale at the Wednesday market, but one can not sustain themselves on vegetables and baked goods alone.

Meg Vitcoo of Mutt Hut heads the market making sure all vendors are able to have a fair chance of your market dollar. That means no purchases until 9am, so don’t even try.

Hot Tip: Pack your cash, most vendors are cash only.

The new locations offer a view (at Spring House) and reason for New Harbor exploration (at American Legion). Take the chance on Wednesday to score an awesome seat for lunch on the porch at the Spring House after the market and on Saturday grab a donut from Payne’s on your trip.

IMG_0957Stop by the Spring House shed for Unlocked Block sightings. Mention this post and I’ll give you a wine cork keychain (a $5 value!).

Have you been to the farmers’ market? What are the fruits of your labor? What is your spirit vegetable? (Mine is eggplant)

Block-Buster: Movies on Block Island

Summer is the time for beach days and outdoor exploration, but sometimes we like to kick back our feet and take in the arts. Luckily on Block there are a number of options that stray from the typical Netflix and Chill scenario for movie watching. 

And with the occasional rainy day popping up during the season of summer blockbusters, it’s best to be prepared. 

Option 1: Watch a First-Run Film in the theater time forgot.

Empire Theatre is 134 years old and a jewel on the island. The historic space was recently renovated but remains true to its original structure. And if you’re a smartie, then you know that there were no movies in 1882, but there was roller skating. “Polo on Skates”1937empire-300x201 a form of hockey was played in the building when it initially opened.

Empire runs only one or two films a night. Check their schedule for updates. The offerings of films normal are the “big ones” of summer. Sadly, that means that the summer flick you’ve been dying to see might never see the Empire spotlight. The upside? No family drama selecting with movie to see. 

On rainy days Empire plays matinee films, check their website for updates.

Tickets are $12 for adults and  children and $10 for seniors. 

empire-interior-for-home-pageLike any good movie theatre, you will have to be sneaky with your snacks. Before you head in stock up at nearby Seaside Market (great candy shelf) or Pop on the Block (for not your average pop).

Enjoy pre-show entertainment from local kids on the piano. It is a unique experience, you won’t want to miss.

There is one other movie theatre on Block Island at Champlin’s Resort in New Harbor.I have not attended a film here, but let me know if YOU do.

Option 2: Watch the stars under the stars.

New this summer the Spring House Hotel will be showing family films on its front lawn every MONDAY evening at dusk. Don’t feel guilty about spending a beautiful evening inside a dark theatre. Attendance is free.

13495101_1064651043615046_2109429567314636823_nShow up a little early to grab dinner on the porch or to grab a bottle of wine from the bar. Wine specials begin at $19 a bottle.

Upcoming Films:

June 27th – Little Rascals (PG)

July 4th – A Bug’s Life (G)

July 11th – The Gonnies (PG)

July 18th – Monster’s Inc. (G)

July 25th – The Loin King (G)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to watching a movie and feeling like you’re at home (when you’re not at home)

IMG_0694So if you want to watch a movie in the comfort of your snuggle, head to the Island Free Library and check out one of their hundreds of DVDs. They have a pretty impressive collection. (BTW it is only free if you have a Library card, for RI residents it is free, for non-RI residents it is $25 for a card)

Take it as a chance in watch an old classic or long time favorite. Feel the notastal course through your veins as you remember those trips to the video store.

Don’t forget you’ll need a DVD player to watch it on. Rental homes often have them or go for the Laptop theatre. Don’t be afraid to ask your hotel if they have any lying around (Maybe with a $5 bill in your hand).


Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 4.56.29 PMHot Tip: Save yourself the trouble. Netflix is not going to stream on Block (make that any internet streaming service). Scope out local listings for TV films instead. 

Fun Hollywood Fact: The Showtime
The Affair was filmed an episode on Block Island at The Inn at Block Island. 

What summer film are you excited for? What’s your go-to movie snack? How many times have you watched 27 Dresses?

Type A Itinerary: Day Tripping Out

Whether it is because of your overzealous boss or your fear of commitment, sometimes an overnight stay on Block Island is out of the question. Don’t worry, a day trip to Block Island still allows for exploration and adventure (just squeezed in between the first and last ferries).

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Dressed for success.

The night before your epic trip: pack. Pack light, you will be turtle-ing around all day (that means carrying your home on your back). A backpack can’t be beat especially if you choose to hop on a bike.

In your pack: small beach towel, sunscreen, reusable water bottle, heat-resistant snacks (just not chocolate protein bars please!), lightweight coverup/outfit swap, CASH (and credit cards, if we’re being honest).
I suggest wearing layers: bathing suit, movable clothing, and a light sweatshirt. Bonus tip: if you have a sweatshirt you are ready to part with, wear/pack that and use it if needed or discard if it’s 80 and awesome.

The ferry will feel like home on a day trip. Scout out the best times. Push yourself to get out the door early. The first ferries will be a lot less crowded than say the 10 or 11am.

As you come off the ferry, don’t let the hub but of Water Street make you feel out place. You are just as Block Island as you believe you are. Just don’t act like like a totally new guy. That includes: not using a map in the middle of the sidewalk, asking a busy employee about a business that is not their own, or most importantly, saying you prefer the Vineyard.

Wheels. If you got ’em bring em. Moped or bicycle. It is cheaper to pay the ferry fee than the rental shop. Be sure to bring along your own bike lock. If you don’t have your own. There are a number of bike rental shops right when you get off the ferry. Be a know it all and go one street back to Aldo’s Bikes, beat the ferry rush and be on your way.

The wheels will expedite the exploration process and allow to see more on your short visit.

Time for Snack attack. If you skipped breakfast or am just hungry. Time to fuel up while you are near some great options. Old Post Bagels and Top Side Cafe are great quick options for breakfast fare. IMG_0038.jpg
If you are looking for a one of a kind sit-down meal early in the day, Bethany’s Airport diner is an awesome spot. Hop on those wheels and take a short ride to the airport where you can grub on and watch the beautiful people come and go on their aircraft.

IMG_4063.jpgLet’s go to the BEACH, BEACH. This is WHAT YOU CAME HERE FOR. Swim, walk, surf and chill on any of Block’s beaches. You know how to do this part.What I can advise on is if you are looking to rinse off after a sandy session there are showers located:

  • Fred Benson Beach Pavilion
  • Ballard’s Beach
  • Old Harbor (near the boats)

If you grabbed something to eat when you arrived then went exploring it may be mid-afternoon by the time you want to eat again. This is great because you don’t want to be chowing down a big meal minutes before your ferry depart. Have a nice linner (otherwise know as dunch). Don’t bother looking for a happy hour drink menu, it is illegal in Rhode Island to discount alcohol for given times. Inquire about late afternoon food deals, though, a common replacement. IMG_0004.jpg
If you are looking to relax (as if you were at home) the lawn at The Spring House or at The Oar are great options with great food, drinks, and lawn games.

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A cone a day, keeps the boys away.

When it is time to go home, be prompt. Ferries don’t care if you don’t have a hotel room. Save the trip back for instagraming your “carpe diem” kinda of day.

Plus, because you earned it grab some frozen happiness once you get off the ferry at Brickley’s Ice Cream in Narragansett.

If you were on Block Island for a day what would be your first stop? Do you have day trip tips? How many ice cream cones can you eat in one day?

Help Float the Glass Floats

The Glass Float Project returns once again this summer to Block Island. The hidden glass floats, otherwise known as “Orbs”, are a Block Island tradition that delights and frustrates visitors throughout the summer. The softball-sized, hand-blown glass balls are scattered across the island to be found by lucky souls.

The glass balls are crafted by Eben Horton, and funded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Block Island businesses. To support the project, a Kickstarter campaign in progress until May 19.

If you help fund the project you are REWARDED! Here are some highlights, be sure to check out the site to see the full details and to donate.

  • $10 or more: Glass “coin” and subscription to the email34c88b2336445ea426bccba4a37f839a_original alerts of when more floats are being hidden
  • $50 or more: Your own signed float
  • $60 or more: Pendant Block Island Necklace
  • $70 or more: Special extra large float
  • $90 or more: Solid glass float paperweight
  • $150 or more: Exclusive blue glass float
  • $250 or more: Signed Gold leaf float

So far the campaign has raised $6,500 of its $8,000 goal. The project works with the Nature Conservancy to encourage visitors to explore all that the island has to offer. Giving helps support this mission (and might help you find your own orb this summer!). Give here.

 

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All photos from The Glass Float Project.

 

Saying Goodbye to Block

Disclaimer, I am not typing this post from Block Island. I won’t be typing any posts from Block Island for a while actually. I am off-island and back to the mainland way of doing things like sitting at stop lights and ignoring eye-contact with strangers. The worst.

To bid my farewell I want to create a guide to help readers past and present get right to the good stuff of the blog and also to rate my top picks for Block.

What needs to be noted is that though I am off-island, life there remains. It thrives to be more exact. Early fall is a great time to visit with the ocean staying warm and keeping the island temperate. Weddings brings plenty of visitors on the weekends, but consider a mid-week September trip and you will find lower hotel rates, private beaches and romance in a bottle.

So if you visit in the fall (or want to be ready for next summer) here a few top picks to keep in mind:

Taxi Cab: Rondo’s Taxi; 401-466-5550, Rondo is your guy when it come to island transportation. He will answer your call and “be up in about 5 minutes”. Always. Fun Fact, he also writes religious books.

Best Breakfast:

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To-Go: Old Post Bagel Shop, corner of Ocean and Corn Neck Road; Open early (6:30AM) Old Post provides the goods with Mega Muffins, freshly baked bagels and coffee with a kick.

Insider’s Tip: Great Wi-Fi and outdoor seating!

IMG_3899 Sit-Down: The 1661 Inn, Spring Street, from 8-10:30am daily find everything you have every what to have for breakfast with an omelette station, bottomless Mimossas, stacks on stacks of pancakes, freshly-catched cod and did I mention it’s unlimited. #foodcoma

Beaches:IMG_3749

  1. Scotch Beach, sandy, swimmable and not to crowded
  2. Madison Beach- Little crowded but waves for body surfing like a pro
  3. Pebbly Beach- Close to town, super private, but surprise surprise “pebbly”

Events and Happenings:

  1. Block Island Triathlon– A reason to visit in itself, reward your training with a destination competition, early August IMG_4006
  2. Block Island Music Festival– Spend 6 days hearing over 40 Bands at Captain Nick’s, mid-June Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 9.21.57 AM
  3. Bingo– A yearly family tradition of Bingo night, lands you with prizes galore, multiple Tuesdays throughout the summer

Ice Cream: 

IMG_3385I take my ice cream pretty seriously, check out this post for the entire run down.

  1. Aldo’s Bakery- Everything you’ve ever wanted for dessert
  2. Rebecca’s- Your wallet will thank you
  3. Ice Cream Place-Get in line, but grab a spoon this is gunna get good.

Place to Stay:

IMG_3800The one, the only Spring House Hotel. 163 years old, the best restaurants in town, and don’t forget that cute girl that works at the front desk.

As you come or go from the island take a little advice with you, here are a few of my Pre-Iand Preparation pieces:

I spent the summer trying to complete my “Master Key”, check it out to see how I did. All uncompleted tasked will be rolled over to next summer when I plan to raise to bar (and stakes!).

The summer has made me pretty familiar with the island, enough to consider calling myself an expert. Too soon? Test me. Questions about visiting Block Island in the off-season, try me. As I bid ado to my island home, what does that mean for Unlocked Block? Well, it won’t be as regular, but I plan to continue posting about the island though I am removed. Check back for updates.

Until the next ferry ride, farewell Block Island.