Monday, September 6, 2010

I never thought we’d return to the same vacation spot every year: Falling in love with Block Island

I never thought we’d return to the same vacation spot every year, but my husband and I have fallen in love with Block Island, a tiny little island about 14 miles off the coast of Rhode Island.

You have to really love this place to put up with the hassles of getting there. Demand for rentals exceeds supply, so to rent a house you need to book in January and book your ferry reservations in January as well. Whenever the weather is bad, the ferry doesn’t run and you’re stuck sometimes for days waiting for service to resume. (This happened to us this year and we wound up spending 3 nights in Jamestown, R.I.)

But Block Island is worth it—gorgeous uncrowded beaches, unspoiled meadows and woodland, great restaurants--the perfect chill-out place. We rent a house big enough to invite friends and relatives. Rick is from Rhode Island and it’s an opportunity for him to see some of his RI friends and relatives and we always invite some of our Philly friends . Part of the fun is sharing Block Island with good friends.

The view from our deck:

The view from our deck at sunset:

Last year I wrote a post defending our low-key vacation. In a sense I was arguing with my younger self. From last summer’s post:

I remember giving my sister a hard time about her Jersey shore rentals: “For the kind of money you’re spending on these shore houses, you could be going to Europe!”

I no longer think our choice needs defending. We’ll go to Block Island every year as long as we can drive.

I love the ocean and for years tried to interest Rick in the Jersey shore. I’m a Philly girl so the Jersey shore is fine with me. And the Jersey shore is only an hour and half away!

But I have to admit the Block Island beaches are far more beautiful than the Jersey shore and I’m hooked--and I'm not at all apologetic about going there year after year.

If a summer goes by and I don’t spend time at the beach I get really depressed. I don’t need a whole summer—a week will do. But I need that ocean fix. (Freud was onto something when he referred to religious/ spiritual experience as that “oceanic”feeling.)

I noticed that I’m no longer constantly second guessing decisions and subjecting everything I do to hypercritical scrutiny. Psychologists tell us we get less neurotic as we age--compensation of sorts for the wrinkles, aches and pains that come with one’s 60’s.

Maybe this is what’s going on with me. I don’t feel guilty about not going to a foreign country and learning about a different culture. So what if we want to go to the same low-key vacation place every summer!


  1. Karen, I grew up in New Jersey and spent many happy times on the Jersey shore. I was dismayed when I went to college in Massachusetts and experienced the New England shore. Great lobster, yes, but water that was too cold for comfort (or at least my comfort), and no real waves. Is Block Island like that, too?

  2. Block Island is more like the Jersey shore than MA beaches—in terms of water temperature and waves.
    The water was warm enough for me to go in and I can’t deal with anything north of RI. It's a really magical place!

  3. Once I turned 50 I decided that no one could tell me what was or was not fun or right or should be done. It's the most wonderful part of the invisibility of old age, I think.

    For me, East Coast beaches are far and away more wonderful than those on the Left Coast. I love the broad flat bike-able sand of the Carolinas and the soft and warm ocean waves. Long island has white sand and wonderful surf, the Maryland shore has cracked crab to annoy your sunburned lips but I agree with karen - I can't deal with anything north of RI.