The 2019 Southern Tour began Thursday. This year we were joined by a first time crew, our special friends Jake Peggy from Austin Texas.
We met though our daughters who both attended Pepperdine. Jake and Peggy bought a home near us in La Quinta in 2007 and we’ve been best friends ever since.
It’s a good thing we’re great friends since Jake had to be first mate since Mrs. Horne’s out of commission with a broken arm. Jake knows pretty much nothing about boating which meant he took orders from Mrs. Horne for 4 days. Bless his little heart!
Our guests arrived Wednesday Afternoon and with a Thursday morning departure, that meant I’d be cooking (of course it would be my last night in the kitchen for six days).
Jake had requested 2 pound lobsters and I eagerly complied!
Third Time in Newport
The original plan was to reach Block Island after staying on Menemsha. The marina on Menemsha has a 48 hour cancellation policy and the forecast for Thursday never looked good so we switched to Newport for day one.
We had been at West Wind on Saturday, Newport Harbor Hotel on Sunday, and now we were staying at the third marina – The Newport Yacht Club, in just 6 days.
Since Jake and Peggy we’re still on “Austin Time” we stopped at The Sakonnet Point Club for lunch.
Our golf club in Mattapoisett – The Bay Club, has a reciprocal arrangement with Sakonnet Point, which is also a private club. This means we can dine there and charge it to our Bay Club account.
By the way, lunch was outstanding. Head Chef Christine was Soux Chef at the Bay Club before joining Sakonnet.
The nice thing about stopping for lunch at Sakonnet is that it’s only 30 minutes to Newport.
We arrived at The Newport Yacht Club around 2:00 and we had a great spot at the end of D Dock looking out at the harbor and America’s Cup Way.
Of Course it turned out to be a perfect beach day for Menemsha and really too hot for Newport!
We took Jake and Peggy out to see Newport, but ended up at Benjamin’s for oysters and drinks.
The we met the ladies back on Vigilant and conducted the 2019 Draft Lottery for Jake’s Stubborn Belly Fat Fantasy Football League.
Peggy and Mrs. Horne did the drawing to assure the integrity of this annual event.
As we headed off to dinner, we came across two buskers -Julio and Jorte doing some of my favorite Spanish Guitar songs…
Dinner at The Moorings
Despite the heat, it was quite pleasant inside The Moorings looking out at the water.
And as usual, dinner was exquisite!
The Lobster Fritters ($12) are my favorite. Unlike typical New England Clam Cakes (Fritters), which are mostly dough, these little beauties are full of lobster…
By the time we got back to Vigilant, it was dark and the temperature had coolest to around 75 – so magical!
Mrs. Horne and Peggy went for a Power Walk while I gave Jake a tour of The Newport Shipyard and breakfast At Belles.
Block Island Bound
We departed for Block Island at 10:30 AM. As we cruised past Point Judith, Mrs. Horne started talking about all the fun things to do on Block Island.
I fully agreed and decided to quietly investigate staying at Ballard’s for two nights rather than the one I had booked.
I popped open Dockwa and checked out our reservation for Saturday night in Mystic Connecticut. It was fully refundable (yippee).
I then went Ballard’s on Dockwa and it looked available (turned out that at the time it wasn’t).
I then opened the change of plans up for discussion and discovered that Mrs. Horne had recently mentioned that we were going to Mystic to her friend who had recommended it. It turns she didn’t recommend it at all!
So with that we shifted into Plan B.
New Manager At Ballard’s Marina
Breezy sent me an email telling me she was leaving, but she said the same thing last year so I kind of expected to see her.
Nope, the new manager is a guy named Owen (I’ll get a photo of him when we’re back there next week.)
He works just as hard as Breezy (maybe even harder). He knows his stuff, takes charge, but he has a very warm personality.
Friday Afternoon at Ballard’s Beach
Around 1:30 we packed up the beach chairs and umbrellas and took the 1000’ walk to Ballard’s.
As always, it was crowded, but we just went left and found a great spot.
Do you see that ferry in the background (behind my tasty Mai Tai?)
No sooner did take a sip of my Mai Tai did that Ferry let off a very long blast of the horn
Then it stopped and turned around. There was clearly something in the water and while I generally don’t trust my eyes that distance, it looked like someone waiving there arms in the water.
After about 5 minutes the ferry stopped and a side door opened. Someone with orange life jackets jumped in the water. After a few more minutes the door closed and the ferry returned to Block Island.
Here’s the entire scene condensed into a 40 second video…
Needless to say, I immediately hit Twitter looking for real-time information on what happened.
Nothing! Nothing all day or the next day. Nothing on The Block Island Times website or WLNE in Providence. The
That night I was speaking to some locals who told that jumping off the ferry and getting arrested by the Block Island Police had become a thing. My friends suspected the police had stopped reporting it in order to avoid a copy cat situation.
Then I found this story reporting the police are pressured to hush up crime. I also found this one from another paper claiming the Block Island Times has been censoring bad news on the island.
Who knows, but thus far, there is no mention anywhere of the Ferry incident last Friday…
Dinner At The National Hotel
We’ve eaten twice at the National Hotel. The first was dinner and we pretty much ordered bar food. As bar food goes, it was fine. We also ate breakfast there last year and it too was fine.
With Jake and Peggy visiting BI for the first time, I wanted to dine outdoors with a view and so I chose The National Hotel.
The back bar at The Surf Hotel may have a little better view, but The National stands tall.
The other thing I like about The National Hotel is that they take reservations on Open Table and allow you to select Outdoor Seating when you book!
Unlike the first time we dined here, we ordered more sophisticated dinners and I’m happy to report, the results were spectacular.
This was probably the best Steak Frites I’ve ever had. The Hanger Steak was very tender, perfectly seasoned, and smothered in a Blue Cheese sauce. The shoestring potatoes were extremely crispy and there was just the right amount of Parmesan. It also had garlic Haricot Verts…exquisite!
Jake ordered the Linguine with Clams…
I’m a huge fan of Portuguese Chorizo and it’s a great compliment to the clams.
Mrs. Horne and Peggy shared the Lobster Roll…
Since they shared it, and had the kitchen divide it, it didn’t look that great, so the photo above is from the National’s website.
Here’s what a half serving looked like…
Crazy Dancing At Ballard’s
After dinner we went to Ballard’s to see John Braille. We met Kevin and Rhonda who are huge JB fans. John had just taken a break and he came over to say hi. Kevin asked me “Are you going to sing?”
The John said “Wagon Wheel?”
Of course I said “sure…”
I love the crowd response when I sing at Ballard’s – always gracious and enthusiastic.
Speaking of enthusiasm, remember Seinfeld’s ex-girlfriend Elaine? There was an episode about her dancing technique…
After I did Wagon Wheel a couple took to the dance floor and the guy had moves that would have put Elaine to shame…
Some people may have disturbed by this sight, but I loved it. He was just “letting it all hang out” – yet another example that “Block Island is Spring Break for Old People.”
Trekking To New Harbor
Now that Mrs. Horne has broken her wrist and can no longer play golf or tennis, she’s decided to use her free time to walk at least 6 miles a day.
We also wanted to introduce New Harbor to Jake and Peggy, so we headed out to Kimberly’s new restaurant The Block Island Oyster Bar and Grille.
It’s a great restaurant with a nice vibe and view, but it’s a long walk (3 miles). In fact I’d say Dead Eye Dicks is about halfway!
But it’s worth the trek…
And as with everything Kimberly prepares, the food was great.
Spicy Red Fish Tacos
Although Jake and I seriously discussed taking a cab back to Old Harbor (after a beer on a hot day), we knew Mrs. Horne and Peggy were hoofing it and so did we.
Back on Vigilant, I did a few songs and we met the couple in the boat next to us.
Her name as Kyla and she was definite hoot. I think she was pitching the girls some special shampoo she was selling, but I’m not certain.
Dinner At Aldo’s
Aldo’s has definitely become one of my favorite spots on Block Island. We did have a little mix up with reservations, but Anna got us seated as fast as she could…
The mix up Was with reservations. We had stopped in on the way to New Harbor to make them and the lady at the host station said they only made them for parties of 6 or more. When we got there we discovered they do take reservations and ended up waiting about 20 minutes.
NOTE: ALDO’S DOES TAKE RESERVATIONS!
As is often the case at sea, by the time dinner comes around, we’re hungry, but not famished. Knowing this, we shared two salads and a pizza…
This was an Aldo’s Large and yes, that’s a cafeteria tray under the pizza. The four of us couldn’t finish it!
The Rolling Stones (well, sorta)
We didn’t go to dinner til 7:30 because we were determined to see The Rolling Stones Tribute Band at Captain Nick’s. The band was called Blushing Brides and they play there several weekends during the summer.
I have already published a brief report on the show that includes an 8 minute video compilation. I highly recommend it!
Sunday – Off To East Greenwich
After 3 great days on Block Island, we headed back to the mainland to drop Jake and Peggy off at our La Quinta friend’s home – Wayne and Carol.
Of course we couldn’t travel 35 miles on empty stomachs, so I took Jake to my favorite breakfast joint – Ernies, and we both got their incredible hash with eggs.
Ernie’s hash is totally unique. The potatoes are shredded and the other veggies are all julianed. It’s not grilled hard on the flattop like traditional diner hash, so it’s kind of light. Well, as light as hash can taste…
As we passed Jamestown it occurred to me that we should be listening to The Stones channel on Pandora.
What better way to end Spring Break!