Block Party: Blues on the Block

IMG_1236Blues on the Block is a Block Island tradition that brings together many of my favorite things: music, early evening activities, sand, the list goes on and on.

On select Wednesdays at Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion, join the “cool cats in town” for a shaking good time. This summer you still have one chance to go, August 3rd.

IMG_1226Go prepared. Music starts at 6pm going til about 8pm so make it a picnic. Serious tailgaters you know what to do here, but if you’re new to the game here’s your short introduction. Start with drinks, a nice wine says “I’m classy and I know it” and pairs well with a hummus spread. Throw in some pita chips and a quarter pound of sharp cheddar and you’ll be turning away the Queen from your beach blanket.

On Block with limited resources? Go the take-out route and pick up some pizza pies at Aldo’s. You won’t have to worry about utensils, and you’ll make your evening hassle free. Just remember “carry in, carry out” the seagulls are not hungry for your beer bottles.

So once your bottomless pit (stomach) is full, time to dance. The musicians at Blues on the Beach changes each night, but all of the groups play for the crowd and play very well. After 7pm once the crowd is really there, the platform in front of the Pavilion becomes a dance IMG_1229floor. To my surprise, people really dance (myself included) (yes that link is worth clicking)! Say awe when they slow it down for couples and enjoy watching older couples circle the floor (if your faith in love isn’t restored, you’re a cold one).
The night winds down as the sun sets and music fades. Blues on the Block is the perfect cap to a Block Island day.

If there is inclement weather, Blues on the Beach is held at Captain Nicks. So mark your calendars for August 3rd, you don’t want to miss this show.

Do you like Blues music? Is 6pm the new hot hour of the night? Is Bruno Mars considered Blues?

Bonus Blog

Today, I had my lovely grandparents on Block Island. They choose the perfect day to visit with calm seas, a farmers’ market and a natural-born tour guide with the day off. And hey, this isn’t their first time.

We had lunch at the Spring House because why go anywhere but the best? Then we were ready for a quick dip. We headed to Ballard’s beach because of its location, but I did so begrudgingly. Ballard’s is too crowded for me with too much alcohol to worsen the situation. But it did the trick. We dunked and dashed, dodging Ballard’s finest.

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It was a quick trip, but these two did it right. I tried to offer them a hotel room, but they forgot their toothbrushes. Thanks for visiting Grandma and Grandpa, see you soon!

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Block: 5 Letter Word for Paradise

If you haven’t heard, there are power issues on Block Island this weekend. A fire at the Block Island Power Co. on Friday evening is leaving some in the dark. The town is rotating which parts of town are receiving power at any given time in order to conserve the limited energy.

So in the midst of a crisis, keep calm and carry on. I present my Block Island crossword puzzle. Print it out, take it to the beach and enjoy! No electrical power needed just brain power (and some serious island know-how).

If you complete the puzzle, snap a picture and send it my way (jennamead7@gmail.com). I’ll send you a limited edition wine-cork keychain. I would say those who read the blog regularly have a big advantage on this.

Click here for a high-resolution copy: Block Island Crossword

 

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Dying to know the answers? Message me and I’ll send a copy.

What do you think of my crossword? Do I have a future as a puzzle guru? What did you get for 8 across?

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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?

Block Island Resturant Week

Sunday’s Bite of Block Island kicked off Block Island Resturant Week, which runs from June 12-17th.

 

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This chicken was clucking this morning at The Spring House.

 

Throughout the week many restaurants on the island will be offering specially priced pre-fixed menus.

The week allows diners to try multiple courses at the Island’s dining establishments. Rebecca’s Takeout, Persephone’s and Bethany’s Airport Dinner are even offering special breakfast menus for the week. Other restaurants will offer lunch and dinner. Don’t miss your opportunity to try an island spot you’ve been meaning to visit.

It is a week to let your stomach do the dictating and your head to put aside things like fullness and guilt. Be sure to check out the chamber website for accessing a list of participating restaurants and menus.

Stay hungry. What restaurant have you wanted to try on Block Island? What is the best dish you’ve ever had on the island?

 

Mead’s Leads: Digging Up History

Last week my piece on an archeological dig that is occurring on the island was featured on the front page of the Block Island times. Like the proud parent I am, this is me posting it to the refrigerator for all to see. So far the post has over 500 online views! Enjoy the read, and hey learn something!

Putting in a new driveway can reap more than just aesthetic rewards if you live in the Great Salt Pond archaelogical district.

In that area, before a new driveway can be put in, the landowner of the property is required to conduct an archeaological dig. The dig is meant to preserve the property’s history and artifacts. The driveway may only be a few hundred feet long, but the amount of history found beneath it can be staggering.

On Corn Neck Road, across from the Mitchell Farm, just such a dig is now underway.

IMG_3842Led by University of Connecticut professor Kevin McBride, the dig began last summer and will wrap up in the next week or so. Equipment stripped away the topsoil, which was about three feet deep. Dark spots, called features, mark the areas where there have been discoveries. Every flag in the dig marks a feature, and the number of features at this dig now totals more than 200.

McBride believes that most of what he and his team have found dates to a village that existed in the area between 1000-1500 AD. Many of the flags mark what McBride calls refuse pits. The pits likely functioned as a dump, essentially, where left over food scraps were tossed. Different shellfish, fish bones and mammal bones have been found in the pits. With this access to the unknown settlers’ waste, much can be inferred about the society and lives of the people who lived there.

Along with refuse pits, the dig has also uncovered storage pits. McBride said the pits would house grains, corn and other foods, but would then become refuse pits after their use expired. Additionally, the dig has found post molds, known as “Ghosts of posts.” These likely marked parts of the early lodgings of those island inhabitants.

Over at the Block Island Historical Society, there are cross-sectioned models of both refuse pits and post molds made from previous digs. This exhibit helps to understand what is happening on the dig site. Allison Malloy, who has been assisting McBride with the dig, works at the Historical Society.

Once the dig is complete, when all the features are recorded, the artifacts will be removed and the findings will be transported to The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center in Connecticut, to be researched and recorded. Then, at some point, the driveway will be covered with gravel.

McBride said he was pleased with the results. The purpose of the dig has been fulfilled; artifacts from the precious past have been preserved. “A cross section of an entire village has been unearthed here, the sheer magnitude of the collective space has exposed so much,” he said. “The dig has been a great opportunity.” Much of the time on the project has been funded by the site’s landowner, and students from the University of Connecticut have assisted in the dig.

McBride encourages anyone to stop by and check out the site. He is eager to teach about what he is doing, what he is finding and most importantly why people should care about Block Island’s distant past.

Dough Not Panic: Panye’s Killer Donuts

Funny story, and lesson learned. Don’t lock the key to your moped IN youmoped. It leads to high stress and lots of favor asking. Yes, yesterday afternoon I had a slight bonehead moment. I was distracted with my busy afternoon; a surprise visit from my favorite island dogs and sister Kerry followed by a great interview with island artist Ben Woleberg. With my mind tired and elsewhere, I made my big mistake.IMG_3940

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In the moment of realizing what I had done, I was on the brink of pancic, but the island walked me back from the cliff. Everything was going to be alright, these things happen. Chill.

And it was, I was able to pry the seat open this morning (with the assistance of my one of my Spring House fellows). On my cloud 9, I was ignited with the sense to share my utter joy. I used the chance to accomplish a Bucket List item, Panye’s Donut surprise.

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Panye’s Killer Donuts is located in New Harbor and is an island favorite. The shop serves traditional style donuts in three flavors; plain, sugar and cinnamon. They are served up hot and made just minutes before you are licking your fingers of the sugar post-donut. At $1 per piece the donuts can not be beat. They are extremely popular so there may be a line, but patience is rewarded.

My pleasure doubled with both the taste of these killers, and the joy of giving them to my co-workers.

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My roommate Hope received hers while still in bed, but she deserves it as she deals with my early bedtimes and crack of dawn wake ups.

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James needed a little spike in the blood sugar to provide supieor front desk service.

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It was a great Friday at the Spring House with a storm rolling in at sunset for some beautiful skies. Keep Calm and find a spot to watch the sky play. The Spring House is featured in an article by the Wall Street Journal, check it out. I am expecting a few extra inquires tomorrow due to the publicity!

Have you had Panye’s Donuts before? What’s your favorite type of donut? Stories of lost keys to make me feel a little less like an idiot for this one?

Adventures Etc: Like Mother Like Daughter

I have to admit that as I have gotten used to the island, I sometimes find myself not completely seizing the moments I have here. Luckily this weekend a visit from my dearest mother reminded me of the need for embracing every one of my island hours.

My mother’s visit was a short weekend, arriving late Friday and departing mid-day Sunday. This meant that we had to hit the ground running. We hiked, biked, kayaked and ate our way through as much island as possible. Here are the highlights.Take notes for how to squeeze in a whole lot of Block in a very short amount of time.

As soon as she arrived I knew we would have a great time, I started a count of how many things we went to do the same of, some included; wearing matching pants, carrying matching purses, ordering massive scoops of ice cream, bringing along a light jacket, waking up at the crack of dawn, and it doesn’t end even there . Hey, what can I say she raised me!

Dinner at the Beach Head was a great way to sink Karen into the island vibes with great seafood, views of the beach and sunset and it’s just a hop away from town. The highlight of the night was our ice cream cones scooped by my buddy Borris at Aldo’s. Flavors to try; Pralines and Cream and Coconut Chip. A beautiful sunset walk on the beach in-between course sweeten the pot.

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Saturday was planned to included as much activity as possible. To fuel our fun, we started with our Hotel Manisesses’ Champagne Breakfast at the 1661 House. I consider myself a hotel breakfast connoisseur and this place impressed. Starting with drinks, take your pick from hot coffees and teas, juices and milk oh and BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS. It’s self-serve so mix it up how ever you like, throw in a splash of cranberry if you’re feeling frisky. On to the buffet, place your order for a custom omelette of your choice, and continue to fill your plate with whatever else you fancy, most impressive to me was the giant cod choice. I took full advantage of the non-standard breakfast fare.

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Located directly across from the 1661 is the Abram’s Animal Farm. It is open daily, from dawn til dusk with free admission. The farm is home to a number of exotic animals kangaroos, giant turtles, black swans, lemurs and more. But I was there to cross off a major to-do. Pet the Yak. Check on that one.

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His name is Justice and he enjoys being served.

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We also met the one-eyed Zedonk. Yup, that’s a thing. Half Zebra, half donkey, and completely adorable.

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A short bike ride up to Clayhead, brought us to the edge. Don’t worry, we came back, but sadly empty handed. The orbs were hiding extra well on this hike, but Clayhead views make cloudy days mystical.

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If all this outdoor fun has your stomach growling, make like we did and stop at Old Post Bagel Shop. This place is my hangout many mornings, but this was my first lunch visit. And Old Post supplies! Try the #1, grilled eggplant, goat cheese, roasted red pepper, basil and balsamic drizzle to make you drool.

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Shark week was last week, but The Block Island Giant Shark Tournament plays by it’s own rules. With a grand prize of $5,000, the real fisherman were in town. We caught a glimpse of a competitive Blue Shark being weighed. In my opinion the following chopping up of the shark that occurs was happening way too close to the tournament t-shirt sale.

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Rounding out the Block Island Experience was a bike ride to Mohegan Bluff, where we joined the wave of rock stackers. #artsy

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The lesson I learned over the weekend was that, every day I have the opportunity to go do something that pretty soon, will not be an option. The benefits of the island life are numerous and a sometimes it takes an outsiders view to remind us of our own. So as comfortable as that beach chair is, try not to get too comfortable. The island’s adventure are endless.