Posts Tagged ‘ Block Island ’

Block Island Southeast – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Southeast
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’24.56″N, 71°33’27.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 13, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Moderate with some elevation, optional strenuous stairs.

 

This walk from the ferry dock in Old Harbor leads to some of the most picturesque sights along the eastern seaboard. Though mostly road walking, the route visits the Mohegan Bluffs and the famous Southeast Lighthouse. In fact this route could easily be done on a bicycle if you choose to ride instead of walk. There are several bike rentals available on the island including Beach Rose Bicycles. Starting from the ferry dock turn left onto Water Street (southerly direction) towards the rotary with the Statue of Rebecca. At the rotary turn right onto High Street and start the slow climb uphill. Traffic tends to be busy here so stay on the sidewalk. The street is flanked by several cottages and B & B’s. On the left is a worthwhile stop. The Nature Conservancy’s Block Island office is here. There are maps available of the islands trails for a small fee. Just behind the Nature Conservancy building is the backside of Abrams Animal Farm which offers a collection of animals including goats, emus, lemurs, and kangaroos. Continuing along High Street you will come to the “last chance” for snacks, water, or supplies at the general store on the left. Ahead you will come to the Block Island School at the intersection of Payne Road. Continuing straight the road becomes Pilot Hill Road and continues to gradually climb uphill and eventually turns to a dirt road. At the top of the hill, 178 feet above sea level, is a monument to the pilots of Block Island. You will notice that the Dodge family dominates the list of names on the monument. Pilot Hill Road then passes John E’s Pond on the right. In May the shad brush that surrounds the pond (and most of the island) is in bloom. Soon Pilot Hill Road ends. Continue straight here and cross the main road into a dirt parking area. From here follow the short path to the first glimpse of Mohegan Bluffs. The view is quite breathtaking and reminiscence of Ireland. From this vantage point you can see the newly built wind turbines that supply power to the island. On clear days to the right you can see Montauk Point in New York. To the left you can see your next two stops, the stairs of Payne Overlook and the Southeast Light. To get to the Payne Overlook retrace your steps back to the main road and follow it to the east. In a few hundred feet there is a parking area with a large sign. The short trail here leads to the top of the stairs that wind nearly 200 feet below. At the end of the stairs, you can make your way down to the beach. It is highly advised to do this at your own risk. From here you get a sense of just how massive these bluffs are as the ocean waves break on the narrow strand. To the east from this point is the open Atlantic Ocean to Portugal. The next stop is the lighthouse. Start by retracing your steps, literally all nine flights of them, up the bluffs. Stop! Take a breather, then retrace your steps back to the road turn right and look for the Mohegan Bluffs monument on the right. The monument gives a short description of how the Mohegan Indians were driven off of these bluffs by the local Manissean Tribe. Just beyond the monument is the famous Southeast Light. Built in 1873, the 52 foot tower, with its lens, offers as a green flashing beacon that can be seen for 23 miles (20 nautical miles). The lighthouse and its museum are open during the summer months. In 1993, the lighthouse was moved inland several hundred feet due to the eroding bluffs. A large boulder sits where the lighthouse once did. For the remainder of this walk return to the road (Spring Street) and turn right. The road will lead you back to town descending for quite a while before coming to the waters edge once again. The road then turns abruptly left and slightly uphill as you pass the Spring House. This will be the first of several famous Block Island Hotels along Spring Street as the walk leads back into town. Spring Street ends at the rotary, continue straight back onto Water Street. The ferry dock will be on your right and several shops and restaurants will be on the left.

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Mohegan Bluffs and the Southeast Light.

Block Island Greenway – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Greenway
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’24.56″N, 71°33’27.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 25, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 9.0 miles
  • Difficult to strenuous due to distance, hills, and navigation.

 

The Block Island Greenway stretches from the Great Salt Cove through Rodman’s Hollow to Payne Farm traversing over some of the highest points on the island. There are several loops and side trails that make up the Greenway as well. For this hike, which starts at the ferry dock, 6 miles of the Greenway is covered as well as three miles of road walking to get to and from the Greenway trails. From the ferry, head to the road (Water Street), and turn right. You will pass several small shops and restaurants in the New England picturesque village. Note the National Hotel and the Surf Hotel, two sprawling wooden structures. The street then turns to the left and becomes Dodge Street. At the next intersection you want to continue straight onto Harbor Road. The road to the right (Corn Neck Road) leads to the northern end of the island. Soon you will be passing by some of the iconic Block Island watering holes, Poor Peoples Pub and Captain Nick’s. On the right you will catch a few glimpses of Harbor Pond before coming to the next intersection. Turn right onto Beach Road and then almost immediately left onto Ocean Avenue. After going downhill a bit you will catch a glimpse of the southernmost end of the Great Salt Cove to the right. Payne’s Donuts will be on the right just before you need to turn left onto West Side Road. Climbing up hill slightly, you will pass several fields encased in stone walls. On some days you may be greeted by cows. The road then splits. Stay to the left here and proceed along Legion Way. To the right is the American Legion hall. After passing the hall, cross the street and enter Island Cemetery. Follow the grass path up the hill of the cemetery to the dirt road. Turn right and then left to follow the road along the edge of the cemetery. Take your time here in the cemetery. There are several very old graves to check out and some very prominent names of the islands history including Payne and Champlin. After following the dirt road stay straight along the edge of the stone wall. Soon you will see a set of wooden stairs, known as a stile, that cross over a stone wall. You are now entering the Greenway at the Harrison Loop. The trail to the right, less than two tenths of a mile, is the extreme northern end of the Block Island Greenway. After crossing the stile turn left and follow the shrub and tree flanked, grass mown foot path. After crossing a driveway the trail continues to wind through the woods another half mile before coming to another dirt road. Follow the road ahead a few feet then turn right into a driveway. The Greenway continues to the right of a fence in garden with a “chef” in it. The trail then crosses a stone wall and turns right. After crossing the stone wall turn around and take a peek at the sign on the tree. The folks here on the island do have a sense of humor. The trail then zigzags another three tenths of a mile to Beacon Hill Road passing on the left a sprawling farm with horse, donkeys, and chickens. You will likely be greeted by them as you pass by. Beware of the fence though! After passing Beacon Hill Road, continue to follow the main trail ignoring side trails. The Greenway climbs uphill into Nathan Mott Park, Turnip Farm, and the Loffredo Preserve. A trail to the left, with stairs, is currently closed. Continue straight to a large open field. At the top of the hill you have sweeping views to the east of the airport and Old Harbor in the distance. Continue straight along the main trail keeping a large house to your left. When you reach a gate there is a trail to the right. Turn onto it and follow it. It loops back around and slightly uphill. Then turn left onto the next trail. This trail zigzags a bit as it heads west. At the next trail stay to the left. The trail soon passes another large open field before coming out to Old Mill Road. Three hundred feet after crossing the road you will find a bench along the trail. From here you can see Montauk Point 15 miles away. Montauk is the eastern end of Long Island, New York. On clear days you may be able to see the lighthouse that sits on the tip of the island. The Greenway trail then continues south to Cooneymus Road passing more open fields and crossing another stone wall. After crossing the road the trail winds into the entrance of Rodman’s Hollow. Turn right onto the dirt road known as Black Rock Road. It gently descends downhill pass rolling hills of wildflowers. Continuing straight and ignoring side trails you will see the ocean. At the end of the road the trail turns to the left and slightly uphill. There are two spots to take in the beautiful scenery of the southern shore of the island. The second spot, known as Tom’s Point, offers a bench to sit and rest. Be aware of the edge of the bluffs here. They are very steep and a fall will almost guarantee an injury if not more. After a break continue to follow the trail. It comes to a dirt road where you will want to turn right. In about four hundred feet or so look for a trail on the left and turn onto it. This trail winds through Rodman’s Hollow passing several shrubs including shadbush, which is spectacular when in bloom in May. A trail appears on the left, continue straight to the next intersection and stay to the right. The trail then drops down into the hollow before coming to the next intersection. There is a small sign here indicating the trail to Fresh Pond. Take a quick break here. The trail ahead can be downright strenuous to some. Though the section is short, less than a quarter mile, the elevation quickly climbs nearly one hundred and thirty feet. The trail then comes to a dirt road. Stop and take a breather! You will notice a granite post with directions. Follow the road north a few hundred feet and you will soon be back on a trail the leads through Peckham Farm and into the Fresh Pond Preserve. There is a short spur trail to the right along the way that climbs uphill for a view of the area.  After passing through Peckham Farm the trail passes a stone wall and turn lefts into a grass field. It continues downhill towards the trees then loops to the right and down almost to the shore of the Fresh Pond. Just before the pond is a trail to the left that leads over a small wooden bridge, briskly uphill, and then along a stone wall flanked field that overlooks the pond. The trail then comes to Lakeside Drive where you will turn right to follow the road. About two tenths of a mile ahead and to the left you will find another stile over a stone wall. Climb over it and continue to follow the trail, the Payne Farm Trail, as it winds through thick brush and open fields first through the Fresh Swamp Preserve before winding through Payne Farm and Sands Farm. The fields are covered in wildflowers and attract several bees and butterflies. At the end of the trail turn left onto Payne Road. This is the end of the actual Greenway. The remainder of the hike follows roads back to Old Harbor. Payne Road soon bends to the right passing the islands medical center and school. Turn left onto High Street and follow it as it winds down into town passing several homes along the way. Turn left onto Water Street and the ferry dock will be on the right. It is highly recommended that you obtain a copy of the trail map, and book as well, from the Nature Conservancy before taking on this hike. Though the island is only 7 miles long and 3 miles wide, taking wrong turns could add miles to your trek. Also, the island is very hilly. Be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

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Signage Along The Greenway

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Rodmans Hollow With September Goldenrod.

Martin Trails – New Shoreham

  • Martin Trails
  • Old Mill Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’54.07″N, 71°35’57.44″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 15, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

 

This small but very hilly property maintained by the Block Island Conservancy at the intersection of Old Mill Road and West Side Road is perfect for a short little stroll. The trails all follow the edges of stone walls that surround four open fields. This property is a good example of how hilly Block Island really is.

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Trail Along The Stone Walls

Rodman’s Hollow – New Shoreham

  • Rodman’s Hollow
  • Cooneymus Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’35.37″N, 71°35’28.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 15, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.5 miles
  • Moderate with some significant elevation.

 

One of the most famed spots on Block Island for hikers is Rodman’s Hollow and Rodman’s Hollow at sunrise is a spectacular place to be. Being the first to step foot into the property as the sun was rising I had the opportunity to see quite a bit of wildlife. Starting from the parking lot I made my way south following a dirt road (Black Rock Road) straight to just about the ocean passing a wooden gate with a turnstile and a metal gate, both on the left. The road winds through slight valleys with rolling hills and meadows on each side. There are also several stone walls along this stretch. It was along here I ran into a few white tailed deer. I also came across what I believe might have been pheasants or turkeys. I did not get a good look at them as they flew away after we startled each other. At the end of the road I turned left and followed it to the east. Soon there was another road to the left. I continued straight climbing slightly uphill to reach Tom’s Point. Here is a bench atop a hill that overlooks the surrounding area and ocean. Take some time to sit at and take it the almost inexplicable beauty of the coast. After taking a few moments I continued to follow the path along an open field. Soon it came to a road and I turned right. After following the road for a bit a trail appears on the left. Turn here. The trail leads you north towards the hollow. At the next intersection stay to your right and right again at the next intersection. From here the trail drops deep into the hollow. In mid-May this area is flanked by shadbush that is in full bloom. At the next trail intersection stay to the left following the Rodmans Hollow Loop. Soon you will be passing a stone wall with several of the shadbushes by it. They have a very distinct trunk. After climbing uphill a bit turn right at the next intersection. This will lead you to the turnstile. From here turn right and retrace your steps back to the car.

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Overlooking Rodmans Hollow

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Fields and Stonewalls

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The Coast Looking East From Rodmans Hollow

Block Island Southwest – New Shoreham

  • Block Island Southwest
  • Dickens Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’30.42″N, 71°36’9.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.9 miles
  • Fairly easy with some significant elevation.

 

Miles from the ferry landings in town, this portion of the island is rarely visited by the everyday tourist. The two properties that make up part of this hike are in nearly pristine condition. The trailhead is unmarked and is in fact at the end of an unnamed road. Turn onto Dickens Road off of Cooneymus Road and follow it south. At the intersection Dickens Road turns to the right. There is a trail to the left. Continue straight passing a house on the right and to the top of the hill. There is just enough room for one car. Across the field to the east is an opening in the stone wall. This is the trailhead. The trail immediately climbs uphill into the Win Dodge Preserve before coming to a trail intersection at the top of the hill. Here I turned right and followed the trail as it winded back downhill. At the next two intersections I stayed to the right. Soon I came to the first of two stone walls with weathered wooden stairs over them. After the second set I turned left following Dickens Road until I reached the trailhead for the Lewis Dickens Farm property owned by the Audubon Society. From here I followed the trail as it winded through fields on rolling hills. (A local who I met compared this part of the island to that of Ireland or Newfoundland). At the end of the trail is a Memorial Rock and just beyond that a towering bluff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Exercise extreme caution along this edge. From here I retraced my steps back to Dickens Road passing the weathered stairs over the stone wall that I had came in on. I continued to follow the road to the intersection and then continued straight onto a trail that would lead me back uphill and passing several cellar holes and foundations. At the next intersection I turned right and followed the trail back to the car.

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Dickens Trail

Mohegan Bluffs – New Shoreham

  • Mohegan Bluffs – Payne Overlook
  • Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41° 9’11.07″N, 71°33’18.53″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Moderate to difficult.

 

A short, but grueling one mile walk to one of the most picturesque locations on the eastern seaboard. The bluffs here are where the glaciers ended craving out these 180 foot drops to the beach below. A top the bluffs is the historic Southeast Light built in 1873. The bluffs got there name from a 16th century Native American battle in which a tribe of Manisseans (locals) drove an invading force of 40 Mohegans over the bluffs to their deaths. This is not an easy trek. Starting from the parking area at Payne Overlook, I followed the short path that leads to the stairs. I then followed the approximately 150 stairs down to a viewing platform about 3/4 of the way down the bluffs. From here I scaled down the steep incline to the beach. From this vantage point the bluffs are amazingly massive. I walked the beach in each direction for a bit before returning back up the base of the bluff and stairs. From here I walked back to the parking area and out to the road. Turning right I followed the road several hundred feet to the entrance of the lighthouse grounds. I wandered around the grounds briefly, taking several photos of the historic light, before returning back to the car parked back at Payne Overlook. Though a short walk/hike, it is without a doubt a must see.

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Mohegan Bluffs, showing the Payne Overlook Stairs and the Southeast Light. (Note the people on the beach for perspective)

Meadow Hill – New Shoreham

  • Meadow Hill Greenway
  • Old Town Road, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°10’17.27″N, 71°34’18.74″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 14, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

This short four tenths of a mile trail arches around the base of Meadow Hill. The trail runs from a marker along Old Town Road to that roads intersection with Connecticut Avenue. Though disconnected from the main portions of the Block Island Greenway, it is generally considered part of it.

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Along The Meadow Hill Greenway