So Block Island

Water Street

Block Island’s bustling town center

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Most visitors arrive here first, off the ferries from Point Judith, Newport and New London, and a Visitor’s Center near the docks offers bathrooms, maps, help with last-minute lodging and other friendly guidance. Finn’s Seafood (Water St. 401-466-2473), a classic shore dinner hall, is still the best spot for raw bar and lobster dinners; it also boasts a small fish market with outstanding fresh offerings, and a takeout window for that last lobster roll before you board the ferry.

Walk up to Water Street proper, and bicycle and moped rental businesses line the strip alongside small shops and cafés. Just past the statue of Rebecca (a landmark erected in 1896 by the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement at the intersection of Water, Spring and High Streets), the post office building also houses Island Bound Bookstore (you know you don’t want to risk your Kindle on the beach – Water St. 401-466-8878) and Jessie Edwards art studio (Water St., 2nd flr. 401-466-5314). Beyond that are upscale dining destinations the Hotel Manisses (Spring St. 401-466-2421) and Spring House Hotel (Spring St. 401-466-5844).

Back in town, grab lunch to go, like solid, well-priced diner food from Rebecca’s takeout (Water St. 401-466-5411) or excellent breakfast burritos, falafel, grilled cheese and smoothies at Froozies, tucked away on the back porch of the National Hotel (Dodge St. 401-466-2230); or escape the heat at Mohegan Café (Water St. 401-466-5911), a brewpub with air conditioning. Don’t forget to check out the billboard of the historic Empire Theatre (Water St. 401-466-2555) to see what’s playing.

Fashionistas will delight in The Wave (Water St. 401-466-8822) and Bonnie & Clyde (Water St. 401-466-8895); kids will love Building Blocks and Star Department Store (Water St. 401-466-5541); interior designer types will find much to tempt at Glass Onion (Water St. 401-466-5161), Photo Dog (Water St. 401-466-5858) and Block Island Trading Company (Water St., at the National Hotel. 401-859-1524). Venture down Chapel Street to find original island-themed jewelry designs at Golddiggers (Chapel St. 401-466-2611); opposite is tiny fine-dining hot spot Eli’s (Chapel St. 401-466-5883). On Weldon’s Way, The Ice Cream Place (401-466-2145) and Aldo’s (401-466-2198) vie for best ice-cream.

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