The Maze on Block Island, RI

Summer vacation was delightful.  Dave and I spent a week in Narragansett, Rhode Island where our days began with a run, morphed into some beach time, turned into a lounge-in-bed-with-a-book-kind-of-afternoon (or perhaps if we were feeling up to it, a –slightly-more-active-day-with-some-bike-riding), and then wrapped up with dinner and a walk. There was some diversion though, like a day spent on Block Island or a night at Theatre by the Sea, but for the most part this year’s summer vacation was all about relaxing!

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Dave grew up spending his summers in Narragansett, and this little town holds a very special spot in his heart.  Think of this as the location for Dave’s glory days – Life Guard Captain, summer love and lots of shenanigans that he and his friends always reminiscence about… basically it was the good ole carefree days of his youth!

Dave's Glory Days

I feel fortunate to get to spend a week every summer with Dave and his fam in Bonnet Shores, a sleepy little neighborhood that comes to life during the summers.  It is a quintessential New England beach town with a small pocket of private beach-front, a homemade ice cream shop, beach clubs, and beautiful Cape Cod homes.

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We were in need of a low-key vacation, so we decided to not rent a car this year and only rely on bikes to get us to and fro.  We were forced to stay local (or ride as the passenger) instead of running around trying to see everyone and anyone in 7 days time.  We hosted a party, where everyone came to us.  Forty of Dave’s closest friends came!  They are already talking about next’s years event.  (Sorry, no pictures were taken!)

The highlight of the trip for me though was a day spent on Block Island.  This island has to be one of the coolest places I’ve been to in the States.

We take the first high speed ferry leaving Point Judith arriving to Block Island around by 9 am.  We bring our bikes and set out to explore for the day. 

The island is pedestrian friendly, and even though the roads are narrow, the drivers are used to lots of bikes and walkers.  The hills make the bike ride double as a workout, which is always nice!

Last year we explored the western side of the island, but we ran out of time to make it to the northern tip.  This year I made National Wildlife Refuge our first destination point. 

I’m easily distracted though, and when I spotted a family exiting “the bush,” I hooked a u-turn and insisted we go see where the path led. 

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I love hiking.  I love hiking even more when I head down a path that I have no clue where it ends.   Don’t worry.  Safety first. 

The family we saw leave the path told us the trail went “on and on” but eventually led to the water.  How exciting!

We stashed our bikes and set out on a journey!  Not knowing how long this would last, we grabbed some water and snacks and set off.  If my friend Lorelei would have been with us she would insist we bring a cucumber.  That is required food when hiking she claims.  The refreshing cucumber hits the spot once you reach your destination or on a break.  Try it out. 

The trail was on private land, but there was a sign welcoming hikers.  There were lots of intertwining paths with no signs offering any sort of direction, so we just picked a way we thought might lead to the water and went for it.  Dave and I tried to mark each turn so we could get back, but we were making so many twists, we just said to hell with it, and kept trucking along.

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Oh, the adventure.

There were trees on both sides of the trail with heavy foliage, so we couldn’t see where we were going.  We did come to a pond, which we will call “Lily” and we took a rest and enjoyed the scenery.  It was magical.  And I swear I was only on granola bars.

We kept on trekking determined to hit the water.  About an an hour later, we came to this.  And the reason why hiking is so amazing.

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At this point we realized we had been on the road less traveled, which is the way I prefer to enjoy nature, but found ourselves on a main trail along the rocky cliffs heading back with some fellow hikers.  There was no way we could navigate back on “The Maze” to our bikes without being gone for hours.  And we were starting to get hungry.

We hiked back along the shoreline and came across a deserted home perched high on the cliff.  We stopped to enjoy the view on their front porch, where I’m sure many privileged Block Island teens have enjoyed their first beer or first kiss.  I could get used to living up here!

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After a few hours, we made it back to the main road, where we were a mile away from our stashed bikes and the secret path that lured me in for this adventure.  I was ready to stick out my thumb and hitch a ride back to our bikes, but before we knew it, we were at the trail head where it all began.

After grabbing our wheels, Dave and I headed into town where we dined at Froozie’s Juice Bar and Cafe, one of the few vegan friendly joints on BI. 

We spent the afternoon lounging at the beach, and then boarded the ferry back to Port Judith. 

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Maybe next year we’ll actually make it to the National Wildlife Refuge. 

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7 Comments

Filed under Travel

7 responses to “The Maze on Block Island, RI

  1. What a great adventure! I love the story about hiking down the random path. That is totally something that free spirited Chris would talk me into doing on vacation.

  2. That looks like so much fun! I was looking at your FB album and it looked so awesome that I told Mike that we need to go to New England for our next vacation!

  3. Ed R

    Sounds like a nice way and place to spend the week!

  4. Sounds like a great place to visit, I will be putting that on my bucket list.

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  7. David Tingue

    you were on the old Lapham property. david lapham and my grandfather were best pals and they spent endlesss hours on their tractors cutting those paths. Elise Lapham planted thousands of daffodils on the property and she banded thousands of birds that came across their property during their migrations. milk weed pods, across the yard from the modest, airy house, were the birthplace place of thousands of Monarch butterflies. i spent many summers with the laphams on Block Island. many great memories. I caught my first fish in one of the many ponds. we stood on the cliff during a hurricane that blew through in August of 1972, the same summer that Dave Wottle won Olympic gold for long distance running (remember that hat he wore?). Blue fishing off Sandy point with my grandfather. We dug for clams with our toes in Great Salt Pond, and enjoyed many longs days in the surf and on the beach. I remember when my father and grandfather “rode” stingrays in the shallow waters just below the cliffs of the Lapham’s maze. The Laphams never liked that the locals called it The Maze, but they learn to accept it because they so enjoyed knowing how much the land was appreciated. thanks for sharing this and allowing me to relive some fond memories.

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