Fall Guide

Enjoying the Water

Because the ocean doesn't go away in the cooler months


Ok, yes, summer in the Ocean State is amazing. But we don’t lose all of the great things about the ocean just because the school year starts up again. Here’s how to enjoy the water in the cooler weather.

Block Island may be Rhode Island’s summer playground, but here’s a little secret: the island is just as beautiful and warm in September, but all the crowds are gone. To celebrate, the island throws a lot of fun events worth checking out. The Inshore Fishing Tournament happens September 12-14, the Taste of Block Island takes over the island on the weekend of September 26-28 (read more about it on page 62), and the Block Island Historical Society hosts an Arts and Crafts Fair on October 11. Block Island’s annual Christmas Shopping Stroll takes place from November 28-30, when most of the island’s merchants ring in the holiday season with great discounts and festive happenings.

While the Newport and Fall River high speed ferries are for the summer months only, it’s easy to get to the island all year long at Point Judith in Narragansett. There, the Block Island Ferry has two options: the passenger-only high speed ferry runs daily through Columbus Day, and will get you there in just over 30 minutes; the traditional ferry runs through December. Bring a car, though, if you’re riding the traditional ferry, which is about an hour trip. You might want to consider doing without the car and renting a bike or a moped: once you’re soaking in the beauty of Block Island, that extra half hour lost is going to feel like a big deal.

If you’re one of those people who has lived in Rhode Island your whole life, but never crossed the border into Massachusetts to visit Martha’s Vineyard, well, we can’t blame you. The drive out to Woods Hole to catch the ferry isn’t terrible without tourist traffic, but it’s also not exactly a day trip. If only there were an easier option... like the Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry that leaves from North Kingstown. The 90-minute trip runs almost daily in September and October, through Columbus Day. Just like that, you’re officially out of excuses why you haven’t made the trip yet. 1347 Roger Williams Way, North Kingstown. 295-4040.

From the same port as the MV Fast Ferry, Rhode Island Bay Cruises offers a Lighthouse Cruise and Newport Harbor Tour. The cruise showcases ten iconic Rhode Island lighthouses and some of the state’s most beautiful properties, like Castle Hill and Hammersmith Farm in Newport, as well as up close views of several of Narragansett Bay’s small islands like Rose, Goat and Prudence. Ships depart almost daily in September, and on select dates in October. 1347 Roger Williams Way, North Kingstown. 295-4040.

When the weather gets colder, the ecology of Narragansett Bay changes. On the scale of cuteness (and which other one really matters?), that means that the seals come out to play. Starting in November, Save the Bay offers seal watching tours (pictured right) that depart from Newport and Westerly. Tours run on weekends and during school vacation weeks.

If you’d prefer to be a little closer to the water, visit the Kayak Centre. This water sports outfitter in Wickford offers daily demos, and several popular kayak instruction programs. Every weekend, the centre offers Oceanplay classes, which are daylong excursions that teach different kayak skills. There are six different workshops – all of which offer lunch – including one for kids only. 9 Phillips Street, Wickford. 295-4400.

If you’re a devotee of “the only good addition,” as Seven B’s says, then charter your own fishing excursion. Seven B’s offers year round deep sea fishing charters from Galilee aboard their 80 foot Lydia. Depending on the season, you’ll be fishing for cod, fluke, tautog, scup, striped bass, squid or black sea bass. Bait is provided, and rod rentals are available. Port of Galilee, Narragansett. 789-9250.

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