Ten thousand years ago, glaciers on the East Coast formed a landmass south of Rhode Island. Narragansett Indians called it “Manisses Island,” or “Island of the Little God.” Now named one of 12 “Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere’ by The Nature Conservancy, Block Island is entirely unique in its geography and balance of native species.
With only 900 year-round inhabitants, Block Island is a haven of conservation. A third of the island is protected land, safeguarding the island’s rare and delicate ecosystem, including the 150 foot Mohegan Bluffs, which tower over the island’s most beautiful beach. Meanwhile, the Block Island Historical Society preserves the island’s history through architectural renovations on lighthouses that were erected during the Revolutionary War.
Block Island contains 365 freshwater bonds and 17 miles of free and public beaches. Hike or bike the Greenway trails, which stretch for more than 30 miles over hills and meadows. Observe the eclectic wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife that inhabit Block Island, such as camels, llamas, sheep, and emus. Other outdoor recreational options include horseback riding, snorkeling, fishing, parasailing, kayaking, and sailing.
Despite the wealth of natural beauty at your fingertips, don’t forget to hit the town for additional man-made marvels. Window shop or find the perfect gift at one of the fifty stores and specialty shops, and admire the works of local artists featured in a multitude of art galleries. Play tennis or basketball, go charter fishing, or relax on any of Block Island’s pristine beaches.
Without a doubt if you are a sailor, Newport, Rhode Island is the place to be in the summer. My very favorite way to spend a long summer's day is sailing completely around Aquidneck Island. Newport is located at the lower tip of that island, which is surrounded by Narragansett Bay, the Sakonnet River, Mt. Hope Bay and Rhode Island Sound.
Newport is also the departure point for some excellent weekend cruises. After you clear Brenton Reef, you can follow the line of boats sailing to the southeast for destinations such as Cuttyhunk, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. If you follow the boats heading southwest, you'll soon arrive at Block Island.
The environs of Newport offer much more than great sailing, the traditions of the America's Cup and the home port of Capt. Nate Herreshoff. Architecture from the Colonial Era through the Gilded Era surround you when you are ashore. Sailing in to Newport Harbor, the towering classic spire of Trinity Church offers a glimpse into the history of the Church of England in colonial America. Built in 1726, its wine glass-shaped pulpit still sits in the center of the aisle in front of the altar, which emphasized the importance of the sermon for Newport Episcopalians whose congregation formed in 1698.
Fifty years before the first Anglican minister arrived in Newport, fifteen Jewish families fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions landed in Newport from Barbados. After their arrival in 1658, they formed what is now the second oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. In 1763, just a short walk up the hill from Trinity Church, this congregation built a permanent house of worship, now called Touro Synagogue. Designed in the Palladian architectural style, it reflected the wealth of the growing Jewish community. Jacob Rodriques Rivera introduced the manufacturing of sperm whale oil and candles to Newport. It became a leading colonial industry, which Newport kept as a near monopoly until the American Revolution, and it made the fortune of many families. Just how valuable was this commodity? Today, a barrel of Brent crude oil is just over $100 on the spot market. In 1823, a barrel of sperm oil sold for $200 (adjusted for the value of today's dollar) and by 1855 it had risen to more than $1,400 a barrel.
But it was the triangle trade that really brought position as a seaport. It would have made an excellent naval base for the patriots to stage attacks on New York City, which the British also controlled. However, by 1779, with the fortunes of war changing, the British abandoned Newport to concentrate their forces in New York. A year later, the French General Rochambeau, with an army of 6,000 men, anchored off Newport. King Louis XVI had finally made good his support for the American Revolution, if only as a way to harass Great Britain, France's traditional bitter enemy. In July of 1781, Rochambeau and his forces began their march to New York where they combined forces with the Continental Army led by George Washington. The two generals then decided that the British forces in Virginia under General Cornwallis were a better target than trying to uproot the British Army from New York. So Rochambeau and Washington bypassed New York, marched on to Yorktown and into history winning the battle that won the Revolution.
One hundred years after the Revolutionary War, America entered the Gilded Age. Mark Twain summed up this era best when he quipped, What is the chief end of man? to get rich. In what way? dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must. No city in America better exemplified the excesses of that time than Newport. During the late 1800s, America's wealthiest families began summering in Newport. The Vanderbilts and the Astors all built grandiose mansions along Bellevue Avenue, dubbing them cottages. These cottages were used for the brief social season and were the setting for fabulous balls and dinners. Today, many of the cottages are now preserved in a historic trust and have become a prime Newport tourist attraction. The tours of The Breakers, Chateau-sur-Mer, Marble House, The Elms and Rosecliff offer a glimpse into the lives of those titans of industry, banking and commerce, their families and their hired help.
And the perfect way to end the day is a stroll along Cliff Walk. As twilight begins and the expansive sea before you darkens, open a bottle of Champagne and toast to the beauty that is Newport.
Fire fuses with water in a stunning display that sparked a renaissance in Providence, Rhode Island more than two decades ago. On a full lighting night, some 80 blazing braziers stretch on the city's rivers. The wood fires reflect on performers and musicians lining the streets of this unique Rhode Island capital.The dichotomous art display is called WaterFire. It was first lit in 1994 as the city was rejuvenating its downtown. Today, its signature is on the thriving arts scene that exists here amid top-ranked colleges, much-lauded restaurants and cobblestone walkways. Dockage space is at a premium, but boaters can find facilities on the Providence River on Pawtuxet Cove just south of downtown or on nearby Bullock Cove. Another dockage option is about 15 miles south in Warwick, where you'll find Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina.Providence Rhode Island is defined by hills and neighborhoods. On College Hill, restored colonials line Benefit Street in a Mile of History near Brown University. Founder John Brown's home is a museum where exhibits include the sobering slave-trade artifacts that helped build Brown's wealth. The Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street will fan your intellectual flames for hours.
Nearby, The Independent Man, a 500-pound bronze sculpture, crowns the marble dome of the Rhode Island State House. Providence became a refuge for independent thinkers after its founding by Roger Williams, a renegade preacher who fled persecution in Massachusetts. It went on to become an active seaport until it was wracked by hurricanes in the first half of the 20th century.
Providence restaurants receive many accolades. World-renowned culinary institute at Johnson & Wales University can take some of the credit. Alums and students alike assimilate into area restaurants. The range of eateries downtown and on College Hill varies from haute cuisine on white tablecloths to burgers among the lively college crowd.Not to be missed, though, is the epicurean strength that comes from ethnic cuisine. Among the best is found on Federal Hill in Little Italy. Stroll around the old-school neighborhood with its grand architecture, and then enjoy authentic Italian cooking. For Portuguese dishes that hail from the old country, head to the east side of the city. No matter your choice, the fare in Providence is sure to keep your fires burning.
Just south of downtown in the village of Cranston, this 98-slip marina takes vessels up to 60 feet.
This 68-slip marina in the city accommodates boats up to 60 feet.
Al Forno (577 S Water St.) Since 1980, this upscale ristorante has been serving Providence with simple renditions of cuisine through creative techniques on signature dishes.
birch (200 Washington St.) birch Restaurant's Benjamin Sukle presents creative and modern dishes based on New England's seasonal offerings. Nearby sister establishment Oberlin Restaurant (186 Union St.) serves small plates with an unpredictable take on pasta.
Durk's Bar-B-Q (275 Thayer St.) Featuring quintessential Texas-style barbeque and classic comfort food, Durk's casual locale and collection of whiskeys leaves patrons raving.
Enoteca Umberto (256 Atwells Ave.) This intimate Federal Hill eatery features authentic Italian fare including seasonal pastas and unique wine pairings.
north (122 Fountain St.) Located in the Dean Hotel in downtown Providence, north provides guests with a hip dining experience and wildly creative menu offerings from global in uences.
For most people across the country, boat shows take place inside convention centers and arenas during the longest part of the winter, when cold, rain and snow dominate the forecast and make dreams of cruising difficult. But for the ambitious boater, the waning heat and refreshing air of autumn is the perfect time to float down the East Coast to some of the oldest and most respected waterfront boat shows in America. From the Newport International Boat Show in September to the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show in December, these five spectacular events are set in five equally spectacular cities, all with fabled and thriving boating cultures.
Your journey begins in Newport, Rhode Island, a historic town featuring an architectural panoply ranging from preserved colonial buildings (the most in the U.S.) to the decadent summer cottages of the Gilded Age. And, as a New England coastal paradise, boating is a big part of the local vibe. One of the largest in-water boat shows in the country, this event draws a who's who of boating's elite along with more than 750 exhibitors from around the world displaying many different styles of boats (up to about 85 feet) and any sort of boating-related equipment or gadget you can imagine. Each day brings high-profile events, seminars, parties and awards celebrations at multiple waterfront facilities on America's Cup Avenue, including Newport Yachting Center, Oldport Marine, Bannister's Wharf, and Bowen's Wharf.
Held annually at Norwalk Cove Marina (203-838-2326, norwalkcove.com), this is the most popular in-water boat show in the entire Northeast. Set in a picturesque location at the mouth of Connecticut's Norwalk Harbor off of Long Island Sound and alongside the town of South Norwalk, it attracts visitors from all around the state's eastern shoreline as well as the Greater New York City area, which is only an hour's drive away. As a major regional show, there's a real emphasis given to boating education, entertainment and all kinds of attractions, such as on-water demos, boathandling clinics and special activities for kids. But there's another reason folks flock to this part of Connecticut at this time of year: the seafood, especially oysters, which are farmed throughout the area.
It's only natural that the home of the U.S. Naval Academy puts on one of the biggest and most visually stunning in-water boat shows in the country. Featuring a huge variety of boat types, from luxurious motor yachts to high-performance racers to the latest in offshore fishing vessels, the U.S. Powerboat Show is a feast for the eyes and the perfect spot to quench your thirst for all things nautical. And with hundreds of exhibitors offering an incredible assortment of innovative boating gear, the latest fashions and high-tech gadgets, you could literally spend days trying to see it all. The crisp fall weather, with its warm days and cool evenings, is the perfect complement to lovely downtown Annapolis, right on the Chesapeake Bay. Everything seems to have been built especially to show off the rich maritime history of the area. While you're in town, don't miss the USNA Museum or the final resting place of Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones.
Settling into the Fort Lauderdale area during boat show week lets you instantly know that you've made the right move heading south at this time. With a constant breeze and relaxing tropical sunshine, along with a city plan that appears to be designed around a boater's every need, you'll feel at home from the moment you tie up at the dock. In fact, it's much easier to get around Fort Lauderdale by boat than it is by car on some days, with miles of canals and plenty of on-water amenities. As one of the best big boat shows in the world, FLIBS has a jaw- dropping yacht everywhere you look. Although it's spread out a bit, you can easily cover all the show's locations with convenient water access.
The final destination on your fall cruise is the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show. And what's not to love about St. Petersburg, Florida, in December? Set in a wonderful and walkable downtown area that's the perfect mix of nostalgic Old Florida along with magnificent culture and kitsch (like the Salvador Dali Museum and the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame), this show is located in a yacht basin complete with a park, a huge pier and even the marvelous Progress Energy Center for the Arts and Mahaffey Theater. Visitors can enjoy an impressive selection of powerboats and sailboats in water and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot tent housing all types of marine gear.
Welcome Aboard! We departed from our homeport in Vero Beach, Fla., headed north to Maine aboard our 78' Ocean Alexander, Rhythm 'n Blues. This journey took us to many ports of call, traveling over 5,500 nautical miles from Florida to Maine and back. The daunting task of making all of these marina reservations was made easy with the help from the Marinalife staff. The length of this cruise created a new rhythm for us which leads to the boat's name, Rhythm 'n Blues. Now hop aboard as we take you through our journey from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine.
This was one of the highlights of our trip. College friends who were married the same year as us joined us for our 35th anniversary cruise through the Chesapeake Bay. We made it our quest to find the best crab cakes on the bay. We began this leg of the trip at Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Va., The surf rider restaurant was the first of our many crab cakes!The next day brought us to The Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., We biked to The Dog and Oyster Winery and had dinner and of course crab cakes at the Tides Inn Restaurant.
Zahniser's Yachting Center in Solomons Island, Md., was beautiful. We took the dinghy all around the island where the topography was so interesting with cliffs and lovely scenery. We enjoyed crab cakes at Stoney's Seafood House.
Oxford, Md., was one of our favorites places to explore! All of the quaint homes were in perfect condition. Many residents partner with local artists for a contest in which they paint a portion of the resident's white fence, better known as onion tops. We stayed at the Brewer Oxford Boat Yard & Marina and had crab cakes at Schooner's on the Creek.St. Michaels, Md., was another fun spot with lots of shops and restaurants. We docked at St. Michaels Marina, which was an easy walk to everything. We actually had two crab cake tastings: The Crab Claw Restaurant and St. Michaels Crab & Steakhouse.
Annapolis was bustling with energy! We stayed at Annapolis City Dock and we were in the thick of the action. it was fun exploring the Naval Academy and all of the shops and restaurants that align the streets. Steps away from the boat was the winning crab cake, located at Dock Street Bar & Grill!
We finished off the Chesapeake Bay with stops in Chestertown, Rock Hall and Georgetown before cruising through the C & D Canal toward Atlantic City, N.J. Then we made our way to the Big Apple for an extended stay.
New York City, or should I say the Big Apple, will rate up there as one of the most memorable days of our trip. Bringing the boat right up to the statue of Liberty was amazing. We wanted to sing God Bless America at the top of our lungs!
After a night at Danfords Hotel & Marina in Port Jefferson (locally known as Port Jeff), we traveled to Mitchell Park Marina in Greenport and on our way we passed Plum Island. For all of you Nelson DeMille fans (novelist) you will know exactly where we are. Mitchell Park Marina is located in town and we enjoyed a nice walk to Claudio's for dinner (a Greenport landmark the oldest family-owned restaurant in the United States since 1870). The next day we biked to Kontokosta Winery and did a wine tasting at this beautiful winery overlooking Long Island Sound. There are at least 50 vineyards in this region, and we have been surprised by the quality of the wines.
We left Greenport and had a short hour and a half ride to Sag Harbor, an upscale little town that is not far from the Hamptons with very nice shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Page Restaurant and enjoyed the very good grilled octopus!
Our final stop on Long Island was Montauk. Montauk Yacht Club is very nice with two pools, restaurants, a beach and a spa. After watching the sunset, we were greeted with a supermoon.
Newport, R.I. is a city steeped in history and architecture. We docked at Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina and toured two of the Summer Cottages as they are called. The Cliff Walk was a wonderful winding walk that follows the coastline for 3 1/2 miles. Seeing the cliffs and the water crashing onto the rocks was quite a thrill!
We were happy that we docked at The Black Dog Wharf because Martha's Vineyard has a nice historic streets with shops and a few restaurants.Nantucket, Mass., has wonderful walking and bike paths throughout the entire island. We loved seeing the residential area with the immaculately restored homes on the cobblestone streets. The yards are lush and manicured with an abundant amount of hydrangeas in every color imaginable! We docked at Nantucket Boat Basin.
In Boston, we stayed at Constitution Marina located on Boston Harbor conveniently situated on the Freedom Trail. Boston Commons is unique with the swan boats and Newbury Street, the historic high-end shopping district with lots of outdoor cafes. We took the dinghy down the Charles River. It was the first time we have ever done locks in a dinghy! From the water we saw Harvard, Boston University and MIT.
We left Boston and headed to Newburyport, Mass., a wonderful little town. Arriving during their big Yankee Homecoming Festival, the streets were lined with white tents and the park had concerts during the day and fireworks at night. We tied up at Newburyport Harbor Marina and had delightful dinner at Ceia Kitchen Bar a small European restaurant.
The next day we headed to Boothbay, Maine. On our way we saw a water spout and, wouldn't you know, it was a whale! To be so close to such a huge creature was awe inspiring! The scenery and temperatures changed quite a bit as we made our way into the harbor. It was absolutely beautiful!
You know you have entered Maine when you can walk across the water on lobster trap buoys. It requires major maneuvering skills to make your way through the waterways and harbors. We took the dinghy out the next day to the town of Bath. Again, another amazing day of beautiful scenery spotting seals on our journey. The dockmaster asked us where we had gone and when we told him Bath, he said, "You took that little dinghy through Hells Gate, that's adventurous!" (I guess that's what they call that section of 6-knot rapids that we had to go through!)
We were in Rockland, Maine for a few days. We were able to dinghy over to Rockport (not to be confused withRockland) and also to Owl's Head Point. Very beautiful coastal countryside. Lots of art galleries for visitors to explore in Rockland.
We finally arrived to Bar Harbor, Maine and met our daughter Stephanie and her husband John. They hiked Precipice which is the most difficult hike in all of Acadia National Park. My wife and I had already hiked Precipice 20 years ago so we had our bragging rights! The guidebook says climbers should expect an experience physically strenuous and mentally stimulating. We decided that might be too tiring. The next day we all hiked Acadia Mountain together, which the guidebook called moderately strenuous. Let's just say their definition of moderate is a little different from Kristi's!