Block Island
A ferry tale come true

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

If you want old-school Hamptons-style rustic charm -- but without the mind-numbing traffic -- leave your car (and cares) behind in Montauk (or New London, Connecticut, or Port Judith, Rhode Island) and board the ferry to Block Island. There, amid the rolling hills and wide beaches, you can ride your bike (rentable at many venues on Water Street) to the Clayhead Nature Trail, out to the quaint southeast lighthouse, or around the Great Salt Pond, all in the course of a day or so. There are lobsters to be had at Ballards, along with amusing, low-budget entertainment -- last June, Nick Apollo Forte, co-star of Broadway Danny Rose, was in residence for several weeks. Fried clams and scallops are served seaside at the Beach Head, and for those weekenders who find themselves longing for the upscale cuisine they got used to in Southampton, there's the sophisticated fare at the Hotel Manisses dining room -- particularly ideal because you'll be staying upstairs in one of the Manisses's small but comfortable Victorian rooms.

Hotel Manisses, 800-626-4773 (rooms start at $145); Ballards, 401-466-2231 (opens for the season in late May); the Beach Head, 401-466-2249. For more info, visit