October/November: Block Island Salt Pond dinghy dock

It’s the sign on B.I. Salt Pond dinghy dock

There is no mystery here: This is the sign on the dinghy dock at the Boat Basin in Block Island’s New Harbor: The Great Salt Pond. You can see the Narragansett Inn in the background.

My husband and I travel about 2,000 miles a season – up and down the coast from Connecticut to Maine – in our Maine-built Sabre. Block Island is one of our favorite harbors; in fact, we are hanging on town mooring ball No. 3 as I write this email. We come often in the spring and fall to be sure to miss the summer crowds, and the scenery never disappoints.

We were just sitting outside at The Oar for lunch today, looking out over the harbor, and it was a perfect day – the sun was shining, the water was sparkling, and the boats were swaying in the light breeze. I turned to my husband and I said, “This is one of my favorite harbors because every time we come here – no matter how often – I am overwhelmed with joy and peace because of its beauty. What a special place!

Suzanne Sack
s/v Zanner
Essex, Conn.

We towed a Snipe there from Ohio

This is the southernmost end of The Great Salt Pond – New Harbor. The large, white building in the photo is the Narragansett Inn. We used to go to the inn for transient breakfasts in the mid 1960s. The dining hall is the single-story wing on the back of the inn.

We rented cottages for many years from Sullivan Real Estate. Trailered a Snipe there from Columbus, Ohio, and later visited by trawler from Annapolis. I still have a Block Island Marine T-shirt (formerly located where the photo was taken). An artist friend – Robert Baxter of Westport, Conn. – did a beautiful painting of the Narragansett Inn, painted from the back of our International Scout, which we towed from Michigan one year.

I could go on and write a book about our experiences on Block Island.

Bruce Krause
m/v Morning Glory
Waldoboro, Maine

Best mudslides ever are nearby

The Mystery Harbor photo was taken from the dinghy/launch dock at Block Island Boat Basin. The beautiful building in the background, on the left with the red roof, is the Narragansett Inn, with its wonderful restaurant. The dinghy dock at B.I. Boat Basin was modified recently, so that dinghies are now only allowed to go on the far side (shallow, rocky side) of the dock. At the head of the dock is the popular Oar restaurant, which serves some of the best Mudslides around.

Sally Small
Bronx, N.Y.

The dinghy dock keeps shrinking

Hello, Block Island, R.I., in New Harbor. The photo was taken from “dinghy dock” at the Block Island Boat Basin, in front of the Oar. The far-left structure is the Narragansett Inn – best food two years running.

The dinghy dock has become a somewhat controversial topic in the past two seasons in that space for transient dinghies has become less and less in New Harbor. The Town of New Shoreham is contemplating a boaters’ welcome center in the Great Salt Pond, but this is years away in development.

The Aug. 4 issue of the “Block Island Times” has an article about the initial meeting of Town Council on the growing concerns of boaters on the decreasing dinghy space available in New Harbor.

Jeff Tkacs, Vice Commodore
Point Judith Yacht Club
Narragansett, R.I.

Sunsets and Dark ’n Stormies

The answer to October/November’s Mystery Harbor is the Block Island Boat Basin. I’ve spent many an evening watching the sunset from the Narragansett, seen in background, with a Dark ’n Stormy.

Bill Haas
via email

A bad decision was made here

The photo is the end of the dinghy dock in Great Salt Pond, Block Island, right by The Oar. And that’s the Narragansett Inn in the background. Block Island is a great place to sail to and hang out. But the sign shows a bad decision by the Block Island Harbor committee or whoever is in charge. They cut the dinghy tie-up space in half by limiting it to the south side of the dock, which also happens to be the side that gets most shallow as the tide goes out.

Bob Miller
East Hampton, N.Y.

Head for The Oar at journey’s end

This is Block Island Boat Basin, right in front of the Mecca of southern New England sailor and The Oar, known as “the first shoreside destination for cruisers and racers.” The misspelled “dingys” sign is a dead giveaway. This has become a most inhospitable dinghy (not “dingy”) landing: It used to have north- and south-side access. Now north side is rented out, and the south side is, for the most part, impassible at low tide. Another good clue is the Narragansett Inn in the background.

Bob Hamel
Bristol, R.I.

Enjoy the view from The Oar

The Mystery Harbor is New Harbor, Block Island, R.I. The sign is at the end of the Block Island Boat Basin’s dinghy/launch dock in front of The Oar restaurant.

We have spent many afternoons enjoying the view from The Oar, and have enjoyed a few great meals at the Narragansett (which you can see on the left in the background) while watching the beautiful sunsets over New Harbor.

Without a doubt this is the best summer cruising destination for a family with many outdoor interests.

John Risebrow
Wickford, R.I.

A nostalgic look at Block Island

Sorry, as a recent winner, I still couldn’t resist: This picture was taken in Great Salt Pond, most likely from a southerly dock of the Block Island Boat Basin. The giveaway is the classic Block Island rooftop of the Narragansett Inn in the background.

When our kids were young in the 1980s, we spent several just-magical summers on the Block. There were still traces then of the old Block Island, before the old barns were converted to summer homes, before the old farmhouses on Southwest Point had been replaced by McMansions, and just before the onset of motorized scooters and mooring fields. Southeast light was still in its original location, and North Light was still an abandoned, romantic ruin. Such wonderful memories! Thanks to the Block Island Conservancy, Block Island is still a rare and wonderful place – particularly in October and November.

Art Watson
Washington, D.C

Blessing out of season

The Mystery Harbor is a blessing out of season, in the spring and fall – a place of tranquility in which to rest the spirit and soul. In season, a flock of locusts, from points east or west, turns their bows toward this harbor to explore Block Island while anchored in New Harbor and taking their dinghies or tenders to the Block Island Boat Basin dock – the location of the Mystery Harbor photo – to get ashore. For the record, this dinghy dock got split in half for available room, and the south side of the dinghy dock leaves much to be desired at low tide.
Heading to Block Island tomorrow to spend the night and do Halloween on Saturday at Yellow Kittens, then move the boat up Narragansett Bay to Wickford Inner Harbor for in-water storage and the ability to sail over the winter.

Dr. John Kansas
s/v Fate
Westerly, R.I.

Entertainment for all

The Mystery Harbor is on Block Island: New Harbor or the Salt Pond. The picture was taken from the end of the dock used by the launches to service the mooring field and anchorage, and for dinghies (more on that later). The dock is part of Block Island Boat Basin, and we’re looking east toward town at Old Harbor. The large building is the Narragansett Inn.

Block is a great destination for many reasons. The Salt Pond is a good place to stay. There is ample space to anchor on the east side of the channel. The town, New Shoreham, offers approximately 100 moorings on a first-come basis. There are three marinas: Paynes, Boat Basin, and Champlains. All have personalities. The Fourth of July weekend will see 500-plus boats in the harbor. Don’t miss the parade!

Block has something for everyone: great restaurants, easy beach access, and plenty of shopping. You can tour the island by renting a car, bike or moped. Block is about 15 miles from Montauk, N.Y., 16 from Watch Hill, R.I., and 35 from Cuttyhunk, Mass.

Its biggest drawback, if you’re anchoring or on a mooring, is dinghy dockage – or, more precisely, lack of it. The only official dockage is where your picture was taken. An already bad situation was made worse when dinghy space was cut in half this past season.

John Cummings
East Haven, Conn.

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