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Discovering Block Island: 8 Must-Do’s After Labor Day

by Will / September, 14 2016 01:30

Sunset at Water Street on Block Island, Rhode Island

With shops still open, weather in the 70s and plenty to do, we totally agree with the NY Times; on tiny Block Island summer lasts longer. In fact from Labor Day to Columbus Day and even Thanksgiving, there’s still a lot to look forward to on our little gem. Plus the crowds thin out making the island feel like your personal secret getaway. As the Boston Globe puts it, autumn is fun and affordable on Block Island.

What to do once you are there? Here are a few of our favorites.

Belly-Up to the Taste of Block Island

This annual event usually takes place over a September weekend. It’s an opportunity to sample all Block Island has to offer at a discount. Just pick up a $5 button at the island’s Chamber of Commerce or on one of the ferry rides over. The button entitles you to discounts at restaurants, lodging (call in advance and ask if they have a Taste of Block Island package), taxis, beer and wine tastings, outdoor activities, free events and more. For the complete lowdown check out the Block Island Chamber of Commerce website which has a list of participating accommodations, events, restaurants, retail shops and transportation or the Block Island Tourism Council website here.

This year (2016) the Taste of Block Island is from September 16th to the 18th.

Catch the Inshore Fishing Tournament

Often coinciding with the Taste of Block Island (2016 is no exception) this annual fishing tournament starts on a Friday and ends with a weigh-in on a Sunday. There are several categories to participate in, many catch and release, and local businesses donate prizes for the winners. The tournament concludes with a cookout on Sunday and proceeds benefit the National Children’s Cancer Society.

The $40 fee ($30 for those under 16) gets you a t-shirt, entry into the tournament and access to the Sunday cookout. This year the event takes place from September 16th to 18th.

More info can be found on the Block Island Tourism Council site here and the Block Island Fishworks site here.

Attend Audubon Birding Weekend (or Bird Watch Any Time)

Block Island is known as one of the absolute best places in all of the United States for bird watching. Over 125 species make a stop on the island during their migration south for the winter. It truly is a birder’s paradise.

One of the best times to come is the annual Audubon Birding Weekend. This year (2016) the event is from September 30th to October 2nd. The Audubon Society runs the event and can take care of lodging, transportation, meals, tours and demonstrations for you. Just email them at programs@asri.org. You can also come on your own. The island would love to have you.

Specifics for the 2016 Audubon Birding Weekend can be found on the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s website here with general info about the annual event on the Block Island Tourism Council website here.

Walk the Annual Christmas Shopping Stroll

Another Block Island Annual tradition, this event takes place every Thanksgiving weekend. It includes discounts at many island stores, a raffle and our favorite, the annual Lobster Pot Christmas Tree.

Conserfest 2016 on Block Island - chalkboards with band playing in the background

The Block Island Tourism Council website has a good overview and more info here.

Run the 5K Turkey Trot

On the same weekend as the Christmas Shopping Stroll – the weekend after every Thanksgiving, the annual Block Island 5K Turkey Trot is a great way to sweat off those extra helpings of pumpkin pie.

This year the event takes place November 26th. You can register at the race for $30 or in advance online for $25 here.

More info is available online here about the Turkey Trot and the Christmas Stroll.

Bike or Moped Around the Block

The perfect way to see the island any time of year, it’s even better in the fall. The leaves are changing, the sunsets are still gorgeous, sunrise is a little later letting you sleep in, the crisp air keeps your day outside cool and there are fewer cars on the road. All these combine to make it a great time to see the island at your own pace. The Block Island Tourism Council has a list of places to rent bikes or mopeds online here.

Hit the Beach

Yup, Block Island’s 17 miles of beautiful beaches are still there and waiting to be explored. The weather may have cooled some but if you're tough you can still jump in. Or take a cue from many locals and simply walk the beaches. From seashells to driftwood forts to a happy dog you never know what you’ll come upon. It really is a beautiful time to explore.

Shop, Eat and Play Water Street

Most shops on the island stay open through Columbus Day with many staying open through or opening for the annual Christmas Shopping Stroll on Thanksgiving weekend. Water Street is the main shopping and dinning thoroughfare and you’ll find everything from local artisan take-homes to soothing spa treatments to delectable eats to commemorative island wear.

Check out these links from the Block Island Tourism Council for comprehensive lists of spas (Koru Eco Spa is where we got our start!), stores, and restaurants both on and off Water Street.

The Block Island Chamber of Commerce also has a good list of shops and restaurants.

More Must-Dos

There’s so much more to do on Block Island in the offseason. More than we could cover in two, three, or four articles. The annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge, the Glass Float Project (an island treasure hunt), and the Unofficial Block Island Census are a few that we covered in our previous post Discovering Block Island: The Off Season. Even more in depth coverage of things to do on Block Island can be found in our Discovering Block Island series and a list of activities can be found on the Block Island Chamber of Commerce's site under attractions and things to do or the Block Island Tourism Council's what to do section.

How to Get There and Where to Stay

So we’ve given you the fun things to do but how about the nitty-gritty details. Well, we have you covered there too. Our post Discovering Block Island: How to Get There – Planes, Trains, (Ferries) & Automobiles has your transportation covered while a great list of hotels and rental agencies can be found here and here.

See you on The Block!

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