Block Island: the last semi-hidden gem in the Atlantic Ocean

Get Midwestern courtesy with a New England coastal view

Fourteen miles east of Montauk, New York and thirteen miles south of the coast of mainland Rhode Island, there is a magical little island that comes alive during the months of July and August.

During the rest of the year, this island plays home to just under 1,000 residents — many of whom spend parts of the other year building up to these two months where their shops, restaurants, inns, and other businesses will be entirely packed, only to later become quiet again by the time the leaves think about changing. On this island, you'll find sandy beaches around every turn of a hill, a surprising amount of happy, roaming wildlife, and an endless amount of Del's soft frozen lemonade. You'll also find some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Welcome to Block Island, Rhode Island, considered one the "Last Great Places" on Earth. In my time spent there, I can say that is undoubtedly true. It's an incredibly special place with lush greenery, delicious seafood, and overall, a huge heart.

If you're looking for a getaway this summer (or this fall, because I've heard September is actually the best kept secret of the island), consider taking a ferry on over and heading to some of these spots for nature, shopping, and snacking.


Mohegan Bluffs

Mohegan Trail, New Shoreham, RI 02807

Forty percent of Block Island's land is conserved due to the work of the nature conservancy. One of the beautiful results of this is the preservation of things such as the Mohegan Bluffs, the place where the Mohegan Indian tribe used to reside that was formed from glaciers melted and forming steep slopes on the island thousands of years ago.

Southeast Lighthouse

122 Mohegan Trl, New Shoreham, RI 02807

One of the two lighthouses on the island, this is located just down the road from the Bluffs (the building is shorter because of its positioning on top of the natural structure). Having its origin back in 1874, the lighthouse was moved back due to erosion in 1990, an impressive task that required the funds and architectural skills to preserve what is now a National Historic Landmark.

Watercolors

60 Dodge St, New Shoreham, RI 02807

A shop located and inspired by the colors of the ocean, you will find an assortment of clothing, jewelry, and other things for your home in its many nooks and crannies. Spend time going through each little section, chat with owner, Mary, and enjoy one of the many "Dames of Dodge Street" businesses (most of the businesses owned on this street are owned by women!).

Lazy Fish

235 Dodge St, New Shoreham, RI 02807

This might be the only time you could be bummed not to have your car with you on Block Island, and only because owner Carolyn (another Dame of Dodge) has a number of found, vintage, or refurbished pieces of furniture that you will want to reclaim yourself and take home. Instead, maybe look at the vintage clothing in the back.

The Glass Onion

241 Water, Water St, New Shoreham, RI 02807

Filled with things as delicate and dainty as the name suggests, the store is home to unique gifts (think quirky and cool cups, mugs, and wine glasses), interesting reads, and fun jewelry pieces inspired by the sea. It's doubtful you'll be able to walk out without picking up at least a thing or two to take back with you to the mainland.

Finn’s

212 Water St, New Shoreham, RI 02807

Nothing says summer quite like the taste of a lobster roll or some fried shrimp...well, at least in my book. Both of these are available at Finn's. Whether you eat in or take out, you'll have the experience of what it truly means to have the best simple seafood at your fingertips, and you might miss it the most when you bid adieu.

Ballard’s Restaurant and Inn

42 Water St, New Shoreham, RI 02807

If you're looking for waterfront dining, entertainment, and a drink list longer than my required reading last semester, Ballard's is the place to go. There are thirteen different kinds of lobster to choose from alone! Start with a cup of New England Clam Chowder and work your way around the menu with friends, agreeing to share.

Aldo’s Bakery

130 Weldon's Way, New Shoreham, RI 02807

If you've saved room for dessert (spoiler alert: you should have), then make your way inland just a tad for one, or two, or more scoops of homemade, delicious and diverse ice cream from a family who has been making it and serving it to boaters for generations. If you're more in the food for soft cookies or chocolate-covered strawberries, those are also available.

It is guaranteed that you will find all of this and more on your travels to one of my favorite places in the whole world. If you're lucky, you might also find yourself.

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10 Endangered Animals to Weep Over

Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



SPONSORED

Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.