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cthoops 09-03-2013 12:22 PM

Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Mr. cthoops and I are taking two weeks off beginning September 22nd to take our first "cruise" on our boat. Weather permitting, our plan is to sail from Groton to Block and then to Newport before working our way back via Point Judith and Stonington. We'll be on a mooring each night except for Point Judith (which doesn't appear to have any transient moorings). We've been building our skills all summer and feel comfortable enough to go for it. That being said, I do have a few miscellaneous questions.

For Block: Which NOAA buoy do you suggest referencing for conditions? The only one listed for Block is actually very far southeast of the island, so I imagine the wave conditions that it shows are not indicative of the area we'll actually be sailing through from Groton. Should I use Montauk? Buzzards Bay?

I've seen in prior posts that people suggest using the showers in the basement of The Oar, but I've also heard from others that the conditions are deplorable. Is that overblown, and perhaps less likely to be an issue this late in the season? I assume those showers are only available when The Oar is open? Has anyone tried the showers at the Old Harbor Dock? Are there also restrooms at the Old Harbor Dock showers? Any suggestions for where we could empty our Thetford while on Block?

Is it safe to assume that getting a mooring during the week in late September won't be an issue?

For Newport: If we arrive in Newport later in the day on a weekend in late September, are we likely to get a mooring? What about during the week?

Finally, if anyone has suggestions re: places to eat or favorite experiences in Block or Point Judith, I'd love to hear them. We've been to Newport many times (although never by boat) but we've only been to Block once for a day trip and never to Point Judith.


Sal Paradise 09-03-2013 01:19 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Point Judith - You can anchor in the harbor of refuge inside the breakwater near the lighthouse. Its a sandy bottom and protected. Nice swimming and beach....usually a few boats anchored there and the shore there is a park ( town owned I think) . You can walk 1/2 mile to Iggys clam shack which is the best clams -- ice cream and a couple sit down restaraunts are close to that.

tempest 09-03-2013 01:55 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
For showers on Block, I have walked down the beach road ( Corn Neck Rd) from the dinghy beach on the east side of great salt pond..toward town. There are public showers on the ocean side. I can't tell you whether they'll be open in late sept though. Just bring a back pack, with your stuff..then continue the walk into town after your shower. Fred Benson Town Beach - Block Island, RI

For weather/seas on block island sound, I've usually just checked the Noaa website coastal forecast for block island sound, and looked around, since I'm usually departing from the connecticut river

capta 09-03-2013 05:06 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Not to be an alarmist or anything, but I'd to point out that that is the height of the hurricane season. As the NE has been hit more often recently than in the past, it seems, I would like to suggest that you plan for at least tropical storm conditions and have a secure hole in your plans that can be reached from any location on your planned route, in 8 hours or so.
Better safe than sorry.
Have a great cruise and let us know how it went.

cthoops 09-03-2013 05:13 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Sal_Paradise: Thanks for the tips re: Pt. Judith.

Tempest: I'll check to see if the beach showers will still be open. It sounds like they would be pretty convenient.

Capta: Our plan is not to leave Groton if there are any worrisome storms brewing, and we'll be sure to check the forecast each day. If things look sketchy then we'll skip Newport and just head straight back to Groton from Block. Definitely better safe than sorry. Fingers crossed that it will continue to be a quiet hurricane season.

ACKward 09-09-2013 05:29 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Acknowledging Capta's astute word of caution, September is a terrific month for cruising the waters of RI & MA -- so long as Mother Nature doesn't send any unpleasantness barreling up the eastern seaboard.

We made our maiden voyage to Block in August of 2011; I hope we get back sooner rather than later. The harbor master directed us to the showers at the beach that Tempest describes. Pretty primative -- what one would expect for showers at a public beach -- but got the job done. Tokens were something like $3 each. Didn't know about the Oar showers; wonder if they'd have been better, worse, or the same. Will have to check 'em out next time.

Ate dinner al fresco at Hotel Manisses. I confess I don't remember it being as fancy or expensive as their website makes it look, but I guess perhaps it was. The food was spectactular though, as was the setting. Even more importantly though, avail yourself of whatever treats Aldo's brings around by boat in the morning. Just listen for the sounds of "Andiamo!" echoing through Great Salt Pond and wave 'em over!

Have a terrific week. . .

JimsCAL 09-09-2013 05:51 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Pretty sure the town beach pavilion on Block will be closed. And moorings should not be a problem that time of year. You'll probably be right in front of the docks.

Minnewaska 09-09-2013 06:19 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Showers at the Oar are brand new this year. Totally needed, but great now. The Oar itself should not be missed. You can reference the Block NOAA buoy, but it only gives wave height and period. You should check them all around for a trend, remembering that the buoy system is a current victim of the sequester and are not being maintained, so beware.

I would love to be as helpful as I can. Give me an idea of what you're looking for and I can point you in the right direction. Other than the Oar, right there in New Harbor, Eli's is one of our favs near Old Harbor. Newport has too many to list, narrow me down a bit.

HUGOSALT 09-09-2013 09:52 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Can recommend Matunuck Oyster Bar when in Pt. Judith,
is actually inside Pt. Judith pond west of Snug Harbor Marina.
Thinking you can access with dinghy if you go west just before
the marina. Oyster Bar is owned by fisherman who also has
oyster farm in Potter's pond behind the restaurant.

cthoops 09-10-2013 08:14 PM

Re: Advice re: September trip to Block Island and Newport
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

Minnewaska, thanks for the info on the Oar's new showers. A colleague of mine compared them, perhaps only slightly tongue-in-cheek, to that which you would find in third world countries. Good to hear that's not the case. As for Newport, we've enjoyed The Mooring a few times and will likely go again, but do you have any suggestions for places that are a bit more budget-friendly? Off the beaten path (if there is such a thing in Newport) would be great.

Any idea whether moorings in Newport (either later in the day during the week or on the weekend) will be difficult to get?

Thanks again!

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