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  • Writer's picturelil pines


Biking, bluffs & beaches in New Shoreham, Rhode Island.

Block Island has an amazing landscape of bluffs and beaches, bike-able hills through farms and fields, two amazing lighthouses, a salt pond and a few freshwater ponds, and views of the first offshore wind farm built in the United States. Forty percent of the island is legally protected and set aside for conservation by The Nature Conservancy. From Point Judith, Rhode Island, you can take your bike on the Block Island Ferry to the island in just under an hour and spend a whole day or more exploring, from one side of the island to the other. From the South East Lighthouse near the Mohegan Bluffs on the southernmost end, to the North Lighthouse on the northernmost tip, it's about a six or seven mile bike ride, with many spots to explore in-between.

You can start the day by biking south on Spring Street from the ferry drop-off, heading straight toward South East Lighthouse, or on a detour between the ferry and the lighthouse, you'll find Block Island State Airport on Center Road. You can get breakfast right at the airport and eat on the patio while watching planes land and take off. Just past the airport going south on Center Road, take a right onto Cooneymus Road to get to Rodman's Hollow, a basin preserve that has trails throughout. This glacial imprint is home to varied plants and animals, including endangered and threatened shrubs and birds. Once you get to the lighthouse, you'll find the tower open during the summer season with guided tours to the top. In 1993 the lighthouse was moved about 300 feet back from the cliffs, to keep it safe from the constant erosion of the bluffs. The lawn of the lighthouse extends down to the cliffs, with an amazing view of Corn Cove and Lighthouse Cove, and further out into the Atlantic you'll see Block Island Wind Farm. This lawn is the perfect place to relax after breakfast.

The Mohegan Bluffs are cliffs of clay, just beyond the lighthouse, down a short trail and then down about one hundred wooden stairs. At the bottom of the bluffs is a rocky beach to comb through, and some monoliths to climb or have a snack on.

After exploring the bluffs, get back on your bike and follow the coast along the eastern side of the island, and back into town. The bike ride north on Spring street will give you expansive views of the coast.

Just past town, take a right onto Corn Neck Road and follow along the dunes to Crescent Beach and the Fred Benson Town Beach Pavilion. Off-season Block Island is the best time to enjoy this main beach, when it's quiet and breezy, but it extends for two-and-a-half miles so there are great spots to hang out the further north you trek in the summer.

After the beach, bike further north on Corn Neck Road to Great Salt Pond. You'll see the turnoff on the left side of the road, where a boardwalk takes you through a marsh to the pond. There's a small pebbly beach and some places to sit and have lunch in the sun. Beyond the pond is the Maze and Clay Head Preserve, 190 acres of some of the most unique landscape on the island, protected by the Nature Conservancy. The Clay Head Preserve trail is on the right side of Corn Neck Road, about 2 miles from town.

Continue to bike north on Corn Neck Road, with Sachem Pond on your left. Park your bike at the top of the pond and walk the final half-mile out to the iconic North Light. This iron and granite lighthouse was built in 1867. You can visit a museum on the first floor of the lighthouse on weekends, or daily during peak season. Learn about the treacherous waters around Block Island and the many shipwrecks of the past.

The weather will change quickly on Block Island. A fog will roll in and back out on one end of the island while the other end stays completely sunny. 

At the northernmost tip of the island, just past North Light, is a beach that extends out towards two converging currents. It's a wonderful place to watch the two tides rise and crash into each other.

If you get on the first ferry to the island and take the last ferry of the day back, you'll be able to bike most of the island and see many of the amazing views, perspectives and varying habitats and landscapes. It's a perfectly packed day trip.


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