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.

Time for Shots: Photography on Block Island

There are plenty of reasons to put your phone away on Block Island. With plenty to see and do, the island is a welcome escape from technology. But what is summer if you can’t remember it in the depths of February when the days are short and the temperature is low. Here are five of our favorite places on the island to dig into the backpack and pull out the camera (but more often cell phone).

Whether it be for a selfie, a screen saver or a family photo these spots “capture” the island. Snap away and if you share the photo tag #Unlockedblock .

1. The FerryIMG_0892

It’s not everyday you’re on a ferry. Grab a shot of your traveling companions, your Bloody Mary or your wind-swept hair. A before and after Block picture might show you smiling a little wider and sporting a new t-shirt. The Block Island Ferry has a Friday photo contest. Upcoming themes include:

  • July 22: Pt. Photo Theme: A selfie or groupie on the ferry
  • July 29: Pt. Photo Theme: Wildlife on the island or in the water
  • August 5: Photo Theme: Favorite cocktail on the island
  • August 12: Photo Theme: A selfie or groupie on the beach
  • August 19: Photo Theme: Best Biking Experience on Block Island
  • August 26: Photo Theme: Your favorite place on Block Island

Submit your photo on Facebook or Instagram using the hash tag #BIFphotofriday on the specific Friday before 3pm.

2.IMG_1031 Abram’s Animal Farm and North Light Fibers

The farm is great place for an unexpected shot of a camel, a yak or any of the many animals at the farm. Don’t get too close; all animals deserve their personal space. Score a selfie with Cindy the Zedonk, for a fabulous one of a kind Instagram post.

IMG_34913. Mohegan Bluff’s Staircase

From the bottom or from the top, the view is desktop background worthy. Known for being a popular shot on the island make your angle an interesting one, don’t be afraid to change you’re focal point. Be there at sunrise for lighting that will feel magical or be there at sunset and enjoy watching the sky dance. The stairs and bluffs combination will inspire you when paired with the quote “there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.”

IMG_33854. Your frozen delight

At some point during your trip to Block Island there is going to be ice cream or some other frozen goodness. If you can help yourself, pause yourself before you devour your frozen treat. Find a scenic background near your scoop shop of choice and savor the beauty of the cone in a “freeze” frame. Or make it a family affair, have everyone put his or her cones in for a group shot.

5. Sunset

With a sky that likes to show off, Block Island sunsets are clearly worth the shot. Head west for the best views and do not be afraid to wait. The closer the sun gets to completely disappearing the better light. And if you are looking for a good time to capture a picture of yourself or group, wait until the last hour before sunset. It is known as the “magic hour” by photographers, it makes for amazing lighting and for every side to look like your good side.IMG_1205

How many like have you ever got on a BI instagram photo? Pics or it didn’t happen? Does anyone else like taking pictures of other people taking selfies or is that just me?

POPportunity Knocks

Pop on the Block is the new kid on the Block this summer. This new shop is bringing the trendy treat of sweet and savory popcorns to the island.unspecified

The shop is eye-catching and mouth watering with something for everyone. Owned by a mother and son duo, there is something for everyone.

Popping Products

Prepared Popcorns

With 25 flavors to choose from you might be in here a while. Like any good store THERE ARE SAMPLES. Flavors range from candy inspired to spicy Siracha. My favorite sample (making my mother proud) was New England Maple. Come in try a few and note your favorites or recommendations on the wall. Owner Lisa Rose takes these notes serious.

Kernels and Spices

More of the independent type? Want your popcorn your way? Also for sale find numerous kernels and flavorings. Salts and sugars are available large and small. Small “make-your-own” variety packs come in clutch when you are the can’t-make-up-your-mind type.

Popcorn Pizzas

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I have never seen anything like these before. Small and large size “pizzas” combine popcorn held together with a chocolate “crust” and topped with other crunchy, sugar-filled toppings. No they don’t deliver.

Popcorn EverythingDSC_0665-31

Almost any toy, housewares or clothing item that has popcorn on it is here. Think Popcorn “Corn Hole” (which puns itself) and Popcorn jewelry.

Corn Hater? No worries, Pop on the Block also carries a range of candies and snacks. Making it a one stop shop before heading into Empire for a movie.

Pop in. See what new flavors are being added. I know it’s corny, but don’t miss your popportunity for a fabulous snack.

What kind of popcorn do you want to try? Should this place sell POP-sicles? How many popcorn pizzas am I going to buy this summer?

Pre-Island Preparations: Unsolicited Advice Part I

You didn’t ask for it, but here you go. A little advice never hurts, so to make your trip to Block Island #asgoodasitgets, follow these tips for a hole lot of awesome. As many find themselves finally headed to the island for their summer getaway, I have put together a short list of a few insider tips for your island time. With my first (over-night) visitors coming out next week, I felt inspired to share my “expert” advice.

Give it read, if you are already an island connoisseur, what would add? If it is your first trip, take notes, a little bit of preparation and foresight can make a world of difference to your much-deserved vacation. They’ll be coming at you in two parts, so keep an eye out for part two later this week.

  1. You Heave you LeaveIMG_3584

Well the classic Hot-dog eating competition slogan, can be applied to Block as well. The point here is that medical care on the island is limited. The access to medicine and doctors is available, but the island is not the place to treat real issues. So if you are truly sick, hurt or need special care, be prepared to leave the island. In addition, pack extra medications, painkillers, sunscreen, and etc. What is available on the island is very often more expensive than on the mainland. Or if you are not feeling 100% before your trip consider postponing your trip.Sometimes the High Speed is the Culprit for tummy troubles, plan meals accordingly.

  1. Can I Speak with Someone in Charge?

Yes, yes you can. As you go about the island, you will notice there are no chain retailers or hotels (the one exception is Ben & Jerry’s, but we’ll give them a pass). This means that all businesses are small and the owner is often in the building when it is open, if not taking your order at the counter. Knowing this, seek out the owners in the places you like best, the owners will likely love to hear your praise and make you their new drink of the day. This goes the other way too, if you are unhappy with the service, there will likely be someone ready to respond.

  1. Can I take your order?

In addition to the owners of many businesses being extremely present, the employees of the island seek to please. One thing to know is that many employees are living off the tips you are leaving, and many work multiple jobs to do that. With this, be patient with foreign employees, they will bend over backwards to help you and want to speak as much English as possible. Talk to worker, though they are seasonal they know the island, and can give the best advice, directions and know-how (they have even have a blog about the island).

  1. Pack Yo’ Bags

Considering the journey you will be taking, pack accordingly. I am referring to how you pack. The ferry trip and walk to your hotel may be a few extra steps that you are used to taking with luggage. Break out that mega rollie bag you brought to Europe and stuff it up, lightening the extra multiple bags juggle.

Another something to remember as you pack up is a backpack. Biking around the island is the best way to commute, but you will want to bring your things along (think towel, snacks, wallet). A backpack is a definite must have for island adventures. Plus they make a for an easy time on the ferry.

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Backpacks make for a better life.

  1. Two Wheels are better than None (or make that 4)IMG_3392

Don’t bring your car. Seriously, the island is small. You are able to get anywhere where you want to be in a matter of two miles or less, further if you are adventurous, but a bike or moped does the trick. Bring your own bike if you can and save yourself the rental fees, but even if you have to rent enjoy the island as some time away from the four-wheeled SUV that you have come to loathe. Remember to lock your bikes whenever you leave them, it is a very safe island, but bikes do disappear whether it be a greedy soul or a confused renter who mistakes yours for theirs. If a car is a must, make sure to make a reservation for the ferry!

IMG_3628There’s the first half of my list of good to knows. What have I missed? Experts what would you add? Newbies, what questions do you have left? Comment below, and I’ll answer anything I missed in Part II.

Getting On Block

This place is awesome.

I had high expectations, but so far this island has reach beyond my wildest imagination. But first, getting here. It was a slightly more than a hop, skip and a jump to reach Block (with the added difficultly of all my things). I decided to bring my moped to the island so bring it down required the help of my loving (and hopefully reading) father. We roped up the scooter on the trailer and pittered on down the high with each bump of the road making my stomach drop. We reach the Point Judith Ferry, parked the trailer, reloaded the bike and got in line ready to load the ferry.

IMG_8735To get to the island there are a couple of different choices. Depending on your price range, timing (of day and season) and amount of junk in your trunk (if you know what I mean) consider the following:

Traditional Ferry: The ferry from Point Judith can carry cars, bikes and mopeds, but takes slightly longer than the fast ferries, go figure. The boat had an interesting loading process in Point Judith of backing onto the ferry and I can only assume back off onto the mainland on the return trip. The boat offers snacks and more importantly a bar (sea sickness bags are available). The boat left on time and took just about an hour. There is also a slow (cough, I mean traditional ferry) from Newport with 2 trips daily.

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Wind in his hair, working the camera.

Fast Ferry: There are fast ferries from Point Judith, RI (30 mins); New London, CT (75 mins); Fall River, MA (180mins) and Montauk, NY. These boats will get you to the island faster, but all do not have spaces for the soccer mom minivans or even hot Italian guy mopeds. Additionally, the fast ferries charge for their top notch speedy  transportation, so bring the credit card, you’re not go to want to see this one.

Plane: This is for the beautiful people. Cape Air and New England Airlines service the island. NEA offers $95 round-trip flights from Westerly Airport (Westerly, RI). Fast option by far, be on Block under 15 minutes, can’t beat that. Make sure to have the driver waiting.

Yes, there are many ways to reach Block, but even the slowest route got me here. And a little bit a of patience has gotten me to my new home. I hope to not leave it for a while. Pro tip: Make a restoration! You are not the only one trying to get to paradise.