Food, Drinks, and Events for Everyone!
Everyone — from the outdoor enthusiast to the Baggo playing beer lover — will find something to enjoy at this year’s Taste of Block Island from paddleboarding lessons to wine tastings, book signings to lighthouse tours, discounted items to the absolutely free (and who can say no to free?). During the May 30 – June 1 weekend, you’ll be able to choose from 67 events and activities around the island, and that’s in addition to the 24 participating restaurants, 40 retailers giving discounts and 13 hotels offering weekend deals. I can barely create an itinerary worthy of all that I want to do (including weaving my own potholder and building my own ice cream sundae), but here is just a taste of the Taste of Block Island.
Five Reasons To Jump On Board (the Ferry)
1. Beer and wine, hooray!
For the past six years, the biggest draw has been — not surprisingly — the beer and wine tastings. As such, these events require pre-registration (see below for details) and spots fill up quickly. For an aphrodisiacal good time, check out The Beachhead Restaurant where the wine tasting comes with sensual $1 oysters. If beer sounds more your style, check out The Mohegan Café and Brewery. Ten lucky people will get a behind-the-scenes tour with the Brew Master himself, Dave Sniffen, and enjoy a flight of beer, light snacks and a 16 oz. freshly poured draft to end the session (only $12!).
Ah, what a glorious hyphenated sentiment. In addition to being surrounded by heavenly aromas, you can help decide which chef will be crowned Winner of Bacon Fest 2014! Hosted by the Poor People’s Pub and Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), this will be the first-ever BI Bacon Fest. Eight local chefs will put their best bacon dish forward (including Block’s of Fudge’s chocolate-covered bacon) and YOU can sample all of the delectable dishes and cast a vote. There will be giveaways, and the champion will earn a pig trophy. And if that doesn’t convince you, come for the free PBR (each person gets two) and the knowledge that proceeds from the entrance fee are benefiting a great cause, the Sloviken Project. This event does not require pre-registration, but you must purchase a $16 Bacon-fest Bracelet.
The Sloviken Project is a restoration project started by the BI Conservancy. They purchased the old, dilapidated ocean-front property and hope to create a public park where people can picnic, watch surfers and drink PBR.
3. Fire Pits and a Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar
The National Hotel is hard to miss when exiting the ferry — a big white monument of a building — and it’s a great place to begin or end your day. For early(ish) risers who come for breakfast, you’ll get to experience a free round of the Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar with the purchase of an entrée (a previous night’s hangover is not required). Late risers can stop by for lunch or dinner and get a free cup o’ chowdah with their meal, an award-winning recipe that took first place in last year’s chowder contest. Meanwhile, for those who only cross the threshold when the sun goes down, check out the National’s fire pit out back. This year they’ll be chewing the (bacon?) fat while roasting s’mores, and you’ll get a complimentary s’more when you order any cocktail. Accommodation discounts are also available for those who wouldn’t mind waking up to a Bloody Mary Bar every day.
4. Free Souvenirs
The Glass Float Project is now in its third year, and it’s a summer-long event in which tennis-ball-sized glass orbs, uniquely numbered and stamped with the year and a Block Island logo, are hidden across the island. This year they’ve upped the ante to 500 glass orbs, which will be dispersed sporadically in waves of 100 between May and September. Keep your eyes open because it’s finders keepers (but please take only one; the greedy have a special circle in Dante’s hell).
5. The Library is a Hot Attraction
Book nerds, rejoice! The library is a hotspot this year, particularly for free and awesome events. Check out Block Island’s debut Film Festival, featuring five short films starting at 8pm, and pick up your Scavenger Hunt list during the day. But be prepared to cross paths with me as I dart around the island and dominate the competition. (Ahem. Kidding.) For those whose competitive spirit is amplified (or nullified) by a cocktail, check out the free Baggo Tournament at The Oar Restaurant — grab a bean bag and play or cheer on the contestants.
Some very important information: In order to participate in the events and receive discounts, you’ll need to purchase a Taste of Block Island button ($5), which can be found on the BI Ferry or at the Block Island Chamber of Commerce. For events that are restricted to a small number of people, reserve a spot by calling 1-800-383-2474 or sign up in person at the Chamber. And most importantly, check out all of the events! Family friendly activities, such as Abram’s Animal Farm Tour, are great for young’uns, there’s kayaking and yoga for the exercise gurus, and museum tours and twilight walks for the deep thinkers. Find the complete list and peruse participating restaurants, retail stores and hotels at the Chamber’s website: blockislandchamber.com/taste-block-island.
Don’t miss out!