about half the size of Nantucket, with cliffs, beaches. harbors, an
airport, numerous lodgings, and a little more than a thousand inhabitants
year round, swelling to ten to fifteen thousand in the summer.
We spent a few days there as guests of B's brother and wife to celebrate
F's birthday. He is 83, nearly two years younger than B. We stayed
at a so-called luxury hotel with the two other old folks, while F sailed
from Newport in a large rented boat. His son skippered, accompanied
by six or seven others in the family. We stayed on land, even though
the weather was perfect.
S. and I had been to Block Island about fifteen years ago, on a day trip
with one of Cape Cod's tour groups. I remembered it as quaint and
charming. A local guide had bussed us around the sights for an hour or so.
We had lunch at a delighful sit-down restaurant just steps from the
ferry. There was one lone cab waiting across the street then.
That memory was erased immediately, when I saw the fast food
joint and picnic tables in the picket fence enclosure that had surrounded
the former establishment. Clearly the replacement was shoveling food
to the great unwashed as they came off the ferry. Block Island, and
its row of shlocky shops, had slid down the scale to the lowest
This trip led us to take a cab, among many, up the hill to the hotel,
where an adventure began that would take too long to document,
Suffice to say that we rated the experience, "poor," on the survey
card and detailed everything wrong . . . which was a lot. We left a
a day early, and had to roll the luggage down the hill to the ferry.
The family reunion was fine, in itself, but sort of helter-skelter, with
people getting on and off the boat. We only saw it from a distance.
Block Island sees lots of beachgoers, bicyclists, and rented mopeds.
They seemed to enjoy themselves on the island. But it doesn't
compare to Cape Cod and the Islands.