So Block Island

New Harbor

Dine and drink on the shores of the Salt Pond

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This cluster of bars, restaurants and hotels lining the southern shore of the island’s pristine Great Salt Pond is a 20-minute walk (or five-minute cab ride) up Ocean Avenue from Old Harbor, where the ferry arrives. Three marinas organize the layout. First comes Payne’s Dock (Ocean Ave. 401-466-5572), where a cluster of attractions includes the Block Island Maritime Institute’s sea-life touch tanks (Ocean Ave. 401-466-7938), a sure winner with kids or anyone who wants to see how fast a scallop can move (you’ll jump!) when a crab gets too close. The tanks are on the edge of the pond, right behind a building that houses the irresistible Payne’s Donuts (Ocean Ave. 401-466-5758). Next comes Dead Eye Dick’s (Ocean Ave. 401- 466-2654), an old island favorite that’s recently upped its game (think updated classics like Nicoise salad and truffled lobster fettuccini). The Narragansett Inn (Ocean Ave. 401-466- 2626) is a lovely Victorian that’s the only historic hotel still run by the family that built it, and features a gracious porch with outstanding views of the pond at sunset, plus cocktails and well-executed seafood standards. Ocean Ave. turns into wooden docks after that, where you can grab a good burger at The Burger Bar at Payne's Dock (Ocean Ave. 401-466-5572) or sip that island classic, a frozen Mudslide, while listening to local favorite Walter McDonough play Irish tunes at Mahogany Shoals, a small shack built over the water and surrounded by million-dollar yachts that provide opportunities for ogling.

Go up West Side Road and the Boat Basin marina (Jobs Hill Rd. 401-466-2631) beckons down a short road, including a small marine shop and great sushi and fried chicken at The Oar restaurant (Jobs Hill Rd. 401-466-8820). The next right leads to the large Champlin’s Marina complex (West Side Rd. 401-466-7777), with a suite of amenities including Oceanwest Theater, small boat rentals, a pool for guests complete with tiki bar and restaurant, and Trader Vic’s, another bar built out over the docks, with a breezy second-floor patio.

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