We bunked at the National Hotel, an old Victorian era hotel with a great view of the ocean and a rocking bar and restaurant. The National is not known for its spacious rooms or air conditioning so I was not sure how family friendly we would find it, but I was surprised to find that we were quite comfortable there.
After first rejecting our 4th floor room with the gorgeous view (I have to say that I am the type of mom who will do anything to avoid carrying a child up 4 flights of stairs) we settled in to a comfortable garden view setup just one floor up from the lobby. Fine by me.
We spent a lot of time on the beach (is this obvious?) and the best thing I have to say about that is my utter amazement at my son, who at six is mostly obsessed with all things plug-in. TV, computer, video games at a friend's house, tiny ipods, you name it, he loves it. The best part of spending time on the beach with him was watching how little he needed to keep himself entertained for hours. I pack light when traveling to beaches (as in towel and sunscreen only) and Nathan made himself at home with just the sand, surf, and sea creatures he could scout out in the wake. This is the true testament to what children really need, and anytime I am feeling pressured to buy one more toy or some other plastic crap, I have to be reminded of the sheer joy that comes from spending time outside on the beach.
Our second day on island we rented bikes from a local bike shop, seemingly a harmless and fun family activity. Wrong. Biking around Block Island is not for the weak or the young (as in six). We made it (creeping along) maybe a 1/2 mile before Nathan collapsed into a heap on the side of the small winding road (no bike trails on this undeveloped patch of land) and cried "I can't do it anymore! We must turn back!" So it goes. If you're going to bike on Block Island, be sure you know your cyclists or you may be in for a huge waste of time and money. Grrrr.
Today we made up for lost time by renting a jeep to tool around the island and check out the spots we had missed. This was the highlight of the trip, and quite possibly of my children's lives. What says fun to a kid like riding around in a bright red convertible in the summer sun, screaming "Cruising the dunes baby!" at the top of your lungs. Clearly there is nothing like it, and now Nathan is insisting I look into trading in the van for a sportier ride.
Some gorgeous beauty on Block Island, I would definitely recommend checking this place out (although if you are bringing your kids also bring your car and maybe even rent a house to avoid eating out for every meal). It was refreshing to visit an island that has still avoided the built up commercialization that so many places are overrun with. With my skin taut from the beach and the smell of salt in my hair I will sleep well tonight knowing that summer has officially begun.