Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Block Island Running

I recently got back from a vacation to Block Island that happily coincided with my return to serious running. You might not think that there are many place to run on Block Island, considering that it's only 10 square miles, but there's a surprising amount of variability in the terrain. This is made even better by the fact that almost half of the island's land is conserved, meaning that there are a lot of open vistas and trails to enjoy.
A rocky path to the beach!

On this vacation, I was still testing out the knee that crapped out in the Burlington Marathon, so I only laced up the shoes three times. The first time was a road loop around the "meat" of the southern part of the island, a pleasant morning run through farmland and the panoramas over Rodman's Hollow. My second run was a quick trip up to Coast Guard and Crescent beach in the heat of the day - really too hot for comfort, despite the sea breezes that normally cool you off - being a pretty narrow island, the winds are prevalent there.
On the way to Coast Guard Beach
My favorite run was my last: a jaunt up Corn Neck Road to BI's northernmost tip.This one has it all: The sky dominating everything. Farms and beach houses everywhere. The red house.The view of the northern point over Sachem Pond. It's here, once you get past the crowds of Crescent Beach, that you really experience Block Island's true isolation. While you can reach it by plane, most come by ferry, meaning that the amount of cars on the island is limited. As such, it's blessedly quiet - no nearby highways! - and the roads, while narrow, are free of cars buzzing by you. Drivers expect a lot of walkers and bikers in the road, and slow down accordingly. This great experience makes for great road running up and down the neck: I'm looking forward to doing this one a few times next year.
A bridge over the backwaters at the narrowest point of the island
I'd recommend Block Island to anyone, runner or not. There are a lot of runs I haven't even mentioned - running on the empty beaches of the west side of the island; the 25 miles of trails - and any run you take is filled with excellent imagery. It's idyllic, really, and I look forward to going back again soon.

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