Block Island in November. Getting Re-acclimated

November 23, 2009

It has been a while now since i spent any meaningful amount of time on Block Island.

I mean, i can count on my hands the amount of times i have returned home after going off to grad school.
Once to note that who my boyfriend was, really wasn’t — and that the man i really wanted to be my boyfriend would never be. The second was to show someone i love a place that i loved. The third was to show that someone what i used to do in the place i loved. The fourth time i began to question what i truly did love about both the place and the people who lived there. The fifth i defined the parts that could remain lovable and what my new home in Maine offers that BI can not. And the sixth time Cole and I brought Parker to show him that there were many things to love on Block Island and there are many things still to be learned as I continue to re-define this place.

Our plan was to arrive mid day and begin exploring right away. We drove the car from NH to Point Judith, without a car reservation, missed the 11 am ferry and had to kill six hours in southern RI without going too far or missing our car’s stand bye position to get on the 5 pm ferry. It was dark when we finished the hour ferry ride and landed on the island. We were hungry so we met up with the one and only, John Foster, for some dinner at the Albion and Parker’s first lesson: the game of pool.

The next morning Cole and Parker discovered the Mannissee farm animals. A collection of strange and peculiar varieties of camels, sheep, mules, zebras, rams, chickens, goats… my favorite are the fainting sheep. Then we went out into the rainy morning to explore all the nooks and crannies we could get our Outback into.

Beginning at in the southeast at the Mohegan Bluffs, Parker found clay sediments and signs of geological terms like erradic and slump. We walked the steep stairs down and began our rock collecting in the clay sediments at the bottom of the bluffs. Next, we went over to the second bluffs and found the even more beautiful steep and dangerous views down to where the Mannissees supposedly starved out an invading Mohegan tribe.
Then, around the island we went. Fresh Pond, Indian Cemetery, Cooneymus Rd. Beach, West Side Quarry, over Beacon Hill, and into town for a BIG (Block Island Grocery) deli sandwich. There we ran into just who we weren’t looking for, but wanted to see – Donnie Demers!

Donnie has a practice of going every morning, before work (stripping a roof the weekend we were there) to the North Point or the Dump Beach in search of Native American Indian artifacts. He had a truck floor full and a truck bed scattered with remnants of that morning’s outing. Donnie claims his classification of his artifacts are simply “speculation and conjecture” but, theorizing about Native American Indian technologies is what we were ready for. We made a date for Saturday night, after he got done with work, to come over to his place to see and talk about his massive collection of Mannissean Indian clubs, arrow heads, hammers, scraper, and grinding tools.  We made plans to visit Donnie — at home after he was done with work the next day — to see his collection and discuss all of his findings in their entirety.

Our day continued, eating our lunch on State Beach, at the sole picnic bench stashed above high tide at the Fred Benson Pavilion. We continued north down Corn Neck Rd. to reach the Dump Beach (Donnie believes this was an area where the tools were being made).  It is widely known that the north side of the island is where the most dense settlement of Native Americans (Manisseans) lived. We spent some time here and then went to the very end and trekked out to the North Light. Both of these spots (Dump and North Light) are places i never really hung out at because they are notorious party spots and i never gave them much credit for other things. There was no evidence of any partying in either place except for a beautiful fire pit in between some dunes near the tip of the island. It was windy as hell and we chased seagulls up into a cloud above us and then stood at the very tip of the island looking out at the vastness of the ocean in every direction.

The next day we hiked some of the Greenway trails. We own the “On This Island” guide book — authored by Scott Comings and Adrian Mitchell — and Parker chose to start on the Fresh Pond Greenway trail. This trail lolled its way through some meadows and lots of low shrubs surrounding the pond. We saw a few deer and tried to get a good eye on some birds. After what was a nice bird watching, deer siting walk around the pond, we went down into Rodman’s Hollow, and up onto the bluffs heading towards Black Rock. Here we took longer to get out than we liked and P began to get tired out. We fed him and hit the trails again. This time, our final stop past the Painted Rock and down to Vail Beach.

The sounds of the water running down alongside the trail to the beach with the ocean roaring ahead was my favorite part of the trip. We spent a long while walking Vail Beach looking for things that caught our eye and making our way to a fort i knew of that we found to have been be destroyed. We went back to John Foster’s to relax before our visit with Donnie, which ended up being the highlight of Parker (and i think Cole’s) experience of Block Island in November.


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