Photo by Tracy Finn
"So, what do you do all winter?" This is the question we get asked the most by visitors during our summer season. My favorite answer is "Sleep." Most of us optimize our short earning summer season by working six or seven days a week for the ten plus weeks of the summer. Often we work from sun up to well over sun down. Yes, it's manic, it's a bit crazy, it's not for everyone. Our island goes from its year round population of around a thousand people to over twenty thousand on any given day in August. And we do it with a smile, 'cuz our visitors are the ones who allow us to "sleep" all winter!
The days that end our summer season leading through fall and into the off season is what I consider the best time to be on Block Island. This is why I live here. After New Year's however, when there are extended periods of 'gray' is when stir crazy can set in. Many islanders take vacations during the long months of January and February. Having a schedule that allows for having off more than the traditional few weeks per year and having it off all at once allows for some quality vacations in the sun.
Photo by Tracy Finn
Thinking of spending an off season on Block Island? The island definitely becomes more affordable and housing begins to open up in late summer and fall. People always ask what goes on here in the winter. It's very quiet. Peaceful. Heaven for some people while for others it could be a hell. There's not a lot of the sort of entertainment you get in "America" such as the mall, movie theatres, convenience stores, Dunkin' Donuts & McDonalds or readily available and open restaurants. Somehow we seem to manage without those delicacies. The ferries on Mondays and Thursdays are usually packed, like a floating social event, with islanders going to appointments and shopping. The rest of the week the ferry schedule doesn't allow for such trips, especially on days like today when it gets canceled.
Our choices of restaurants go from dozens to about three. The grocery closes early as does the gas pump and the dump. You have to be aware of the those schedules or you can easily get stuck without gas or food for dinner! Our community comes to life during the off season. Lots of impromptu dinner parties and happenings at the library, the school and the fire barn. For example, this is the only place I know where the entire town shows up for the Christmas pageant at the school, whether or not you're a parent! January and February can be especially challenging, especially when the wind is whipping and it's gray for days on end. On the flip side, the winter sky produces the most amazing sunsets ever, and there are some days when the sun warms up the island for a solo walk on an empty beach.