Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I spent the weekend on Block Island, a beautiful, quiet 7-mile stretch of land off the coast of Rhode Island. It had its heyday as a vacation spot in the years after the Civil War and the “old harbor” is still dotted with lovely old Victorian hotels, some topped by widow’s walks. After the decline of the steamship and rise of the car, the island waned in popularity. Since the 1980s, however, it has been rediscovered, for better or worse. Development--including some truly ugly condominiums--is creeping in, but luckily at least 40 percent of the island has been preserved. The hot topic among locals is a proposal for Champlin's Marina in the "new harbor" to expand its docks, which I, for one, hope fails. (As I’m only there one weekend a year, I guess this is a little presumptuous. But so be it.) Christopher Walken, who owns a house there, also is rooting against the development and actually testified at the final hearing.
Block Island has so many incredible spots, it is hard to pick a favorite. But I do really love the Vail Beach, which sits at the bottom of the Mohegan Bluffs. The house I stay at overlooks the bluffs, and I wake up to a view of the ocean and the sound of crashing surf. The waves are rough there, so you need to be careful taking a dip. But on the beach I find it easy to imagine the past century has slipped away and I’m a guest at the Vail Hotel, swimming in an old-fashioned bathing costume.
Posted by Kate C. at 8:40 AM