So Block Island

New Harbor

Dine and drink on the shores of the Salt Pond


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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