Friday, July 11, 2008

BIRI Mohegan Bluffs

Block Island, you can see, is shaped like a tear drop. The Great Salt Pond, where my little one does her crabbing, is the large body of water in the middle. Geographically, BIRI (Block Island, Rhode Island) is diverse. I wrote about Rodman's Hollow in the previous post; it's below sea level.

Mohegan Bluffs, on the other hand, are similar to the cliffs of Dover! 185 feet high, on the southern shore of the island, they are a beautiful sight to behold.

Each year we climb down the 250 steps to the beach below. Legend has it that the name of the bluffs comes from a battle between invading Mohegan Indians and the local Manises Indians. In 1590, the Manises drove a 40-man war party of Mohegans off the cliff to their deaths.

Looking out, you see only sand, Mohegan Bluff, and water stretching across the world to Africa. Block Island, like the entire series of islands stretching from Long Island to Martha's Vineyard, is made from the sand and stone piled up by glaciers. The bluff, reaching 15 stories overhead, recieves the strongest part of the Atlantic's pounding. The wind and rain and freezing and thawing drops huge pieces of land down to the beach in a "slump", which the surf then washes away a little at a time. The pebbles and sand make the beach. Huge granite boulders, "erratics", pushed here from the mainland during the Ice Age 22,000 years ago, remain well out in the surf, telling the story of where the land once was.

Right near the Bluffs is the Southeast Lighthouse, one of two lighthouses on the island. During the 19th century, Block Island was in the center of the shipping lanes between Long Island and Rhode Island sounds. The shallow shoals and frequent fog around Block Island were hazardous to vessels sailing from New York City to points North. As a result, Congress approved building a Lighthouse on the southeast end of Block Island in 1856. The adjoining light keeper's house was built a short time later. After all this climbing, we'll head back into town to climb the jetties off Ballard's beach. The view from the end, out into the Atlantic, is incredible!Then back to Water Street to get lunch at Eli's, or Three Sisters, Aldo's, or our favorite, Dead Eye Dick's. After all that climbing, we'll deserve it!

Well, you deserve it, too! After all, you've been right with us the whole time! :0)


Alison Gibbs said...

WOW - what a fabulous place. Thanks for sharing it with us

kelly said...

great trip-love that lighthouse!

Tracy said...

Loved this post, Tara--fab photos, and very interesting information. That lighthouse is wonderful. So nice to catch up with you and what you've been doing here. We're just back from London--had FAB time! This weekend we'll be resting travel-weary feet and doing laundry...vacation's over--LOL! Happy Days ((HUGS))

KarenHarveyCox said...

I really loved learning about Block Island and each corner of such a beautiful place. My mom loved visiting Block Island when she lived in the Hamptons, there is a ferry. I have often thought about going there because I am so near the ferry by Newport, Rhode Island. Have a lovely time. Karen

Donna said...

Hi Tara,
Beautiful photos, and this is such a wonderful place! You must be having so much fun.
I actually remember climbing those stairs on the banks. Love the lighthouse.

Pat said...

What a beautiful rustic place! Thanks so much for this tour! I love that lighthouse. Did you have to walk back up 250 steps? Huff puff -- talk about exercise!

I laughed at the cafe name "Dead Eye Dick's" !! Sounds like something out of Moby Dick! LOL

Have a good weekend!
Hugs, Pat

Sandi McBride said...

You make learning a lesson in History such a thrill, both mentally and visually. Thanks for the trip and the lesson

Mary said...

That's it, now I MUST go back to visit Block Island. Tara, your pics are marvelous!

Gina said...

Stunning coastline Tara..those steps are great exercise..well done! Gx

pve design said...

Oh how we adore the Block! We have been going since my daughter turned 2! I love it there. We hope to make it in August for a long weekend!

Cleverclogs said...

:) My family used to(my parents still do) spend loads of time on BI. I only wish I could join them!!! They drive their boat from Milford, CT to BI and stay long weekends. It's a magical place!