Adventures Etc: Beach Reads

With the best beaches and most relaxing views, reading is a popular9780307408860 Block Island activity. I am proud of myself for the amount of reading I have done here. I just finished up Dead Wake by Erik Lawson. It is an historical nonfiction telling of the sinking of the Lusitania. I picked it up it because Lawson will be coming to the island this weekend and speaking, and signing copies of his book at the Old Harbor Church (Sunday 8/9 at 5pm). I read the book on my Kindle, so it might be awkward when I ask him to just sign my Battleship Board game set.

In reading on the island I have to deal with the options that exist for getting one’s hands on reading materials while on the island.

Island Bound Bookstore (Water Street, 401-466-8878) If you are looking for the newest reads, pick up your novels at the island’s only bookstore. The spot is a great place to find your next read with the front shelves flooded with the best sellers. In addition the store offers “Block Island” books, by local authors and on the subject of the island itself.

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The Island Free Library (Dodge Street, 401-466-3233)  Though the library has short hours (note they are closed Sunday and Monday), the library is a great choice for find your vacation reads. In order to check out books one must have a Rhode Island Library card (or can attain one with an Rhode Island ID) or pay a $25 charge to obtain a card. The library hosts numerous events throughout the summer and has great Wi-Fi if one needs to check in with the really world while on the island.

Harbor Church Book Exchange (High Street, 401-466-5940) Bring along one book to the island, but inhaled it in one afternoon? Have no fear, the Harbor Church’s book exchange is the perfect solution; bring your pre-read pages and swap them for someone else’s. This event happens intermittently thorough out the summer check the Block Island Times for upcoming times.

With plenty of places to find your reading material, next comes the question, what shall I read. I have done a fair amount of page turning this summer so I have a few books I can recommend, but it depends on what you are looking for…

 

If you are looking to become a greater assets to your trivia team…

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What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell

This book is a collection of short pieces by Gladwell that answer so many of the questions you didn’t know you needed the answers to. Learn why Americans have such high breast cancer rates, why dogs bite and others don’t or (my favorite piece) why there’s only one type of ketchup. You will be flooded with facts that will have you adding to the conversation at cocktail hour.

If you are looking to figure out why you’re still single…Unknown

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

With a new set of eyes taking on the wild world of romance, comedian Ansari does some real research into the changing dating world. He, along with a number of sociologist conduct surveys, interviews and share personal stories about dating today. The book focuses on the shift towards technology as a major player in budding relationships, and look to answer the question of why those three little “typing dots” appeared on screen but then vanished with no reply.

If you are looking to beat your friends in reading the “new Gone Girl”…

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The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Written by a Cosmopolitan Magazine editor, this chick-lit will have you spending your afternoon “binge-reading”. The sassy narrator is the girl you want to be, but love to hate. The twist and turns of the novel slowly reveal the not-so put together life of Anni. Definitely a girl read, but you will be one step ahead of your friends who are just finishing up Girl on a Train #slowpokes.

If you are looking to impress the cute History major…

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Set in Europe during the second World War this historical nonfiction is a riveting story of two separate souls living amongst the background of total war. The loss of innocence, and effects of separation from those we love all within the context of real timelines and sequencing makes the interesting story educational as well.

May your days be long and worries short. Now, I need get back to my latest page-turner.

What have you read lately? Is there a certain type of book you like to read in the summer?

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Pre-Island Preparations: Booking on Block

Block Island is a great day trip, but why would you want to limit your island adventures to just the sunlit hours. With an exciting nightlife and more activities than one could ever accomplish in a short day, come to Block Island, and stay a while.

In the choice to stay on the island for a night or few, hotel reservations come into question. There a number of hotels, inns and small Bed & Breakfasts on the island.With my job being what it is (Front desk employee extradorare), I have learned a thing about what it takes and what should be known in booking on the island.
3697928494_251bc4fdf7 The Hotel Manisses has a number of properties that it manages, this is it’s main building.

  1. Book early: The Block Island summer season is a short one. There are only so many weekends within that season and you’re not the only one who knows about this perfect weekend escape. That being said, there is no time better plan your trip than on a cold February day after your boss has yelled at you for missing the arbitrary 9:45am deadline. Your future self will thank you. Hotels mostly open up their bookings in October for the following summer, so if you can commit to a visit earlier do so. I know that last minute getaway is exciting or romantic, but try this, book the trip don’t tell your travel partner, and boom “Surprise Honey! We’re going to Block Island next weekend and we don’t have to sleep on the beach!” Tell me that isn’t exciting, romantic AND less itchy!
  1. Exercise your Right to Reserve: Most hotels have a two-week cancel policy. This means you put down the deposit (somewhere between half the cost of your stay or sometimes the entire), and have up to two-weeks prior to your arrival date to cancel your booking and only pay a cancelation fee (often around $25). So if you do book that weekend in July back in October, only to find out that’s the weekend Maroon 5 is in town, ring up your hotel and feel the good karma as some late comer on the wait list gets to live out your weekend while you and Adam Levine stare into each other’s eyes.

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The Blue Dory is located in downtown, has rooms with ocean views and daily fresh baked cookies!

  1. Age is Just a Number: There are a couple of extra consideration you must have when booking in BI. The hotels of the island are mostly Victorian style and with this beauty, comes age and with age comes experience. Okay the point, the hotels of the island are not the cookie cutter Holiday Inn, they are not sleek and simple, they are grand and historic. So rooms are sometimes awkwardly interestingly shaped, bathrooms a little bit smaller (you see. people used to be smaller you know), and yes, things will creek.With the age factor contributes another item to add to your deliberations, many of the hotels do not have air conditioning. Some do, don’t me wrong you can find it if you want it, but the structure of the older buildings has not allowed for AC to be added to many hotels. In defense of the rooms without AC, Block Island is a breezy place; it stays cool throughout the summer. There are hot days for sure, but you are unlikely going to be in your room in the heat of the day anyways. A last big note, there are not many rooms on Block Island that are Handicap accessible. The rooms in many hotels can be up a flight of stairs (or two!). If stairs are an issue, let the hotel know and they can do their best to accommodate and keep you on the lowest floor possible.images-2

An inside look at a room at the historic National Hotel

  1. Check Out of the View: ackurs_300x200Block Island is an ocean dream; the island sites are jaw dropping. Is it important to you that you have the ability to see a humpback whale leaping from the ocean while you sit in bed? If so, you can definitely find rooms that allow, but if you don’t mind leave the room for your site seeing, save a pretty penny and opt for a room without a view. When your eyes are closed and you are sleeping in bed (which is really why you have a room) what is visible from your window means a lot less
  1. Sharing is Caring: Another way to save a few bucks (enough for a few rounds of drinks, at least), is to accept shared bathrooms as an option. I know it sounds like a hostel, but the hotels of the island make sure it is kept classy. In many of the small inns, you are likely only sharing the lou with one or two other rooms. Many people say they don’t even see the other guests. So pack your shower shoes, you know you can do it; I mean if you use public restrooms for goodness sake, what’s the big whoop?

When it comes time to actually book be bold.  Ask about the amenities provided (free breakfast, beach towels, cots in the room), sometimes these are provided only if you ask. Ask for a discount, as well! It may sound like you are being cheap but when there is a real live person on the other end of the phone (not just booking through an online site), you much more likely to be received in your request. Last thing to note, let your hotel know if you are coming out to the island for a special occasion (i.e. birthday or anniversary). The hotels want you to have a great time (and might even comp some Champagne ;))  so that it becomes a annual event!

With a little background into what to think about (and when) in finding a place to stay on Block Island prioritize your essentials (i.e. timing, AC, your own golden toilet) and you will be able to find a room that does not break the bank but spoils you senselessly. For up to date availability contact the Block Island Chamber of Commerce at (401) 466-2982. They can often answer a field of questions about hotels, directions, and the island in general.

Where have you stayed on the island? What has your experience been in booking? When it comes to hotels do prefer to splurge or save?