As you may recall, Vigilant and her crew spent 6 days at Block Island in early August. I posted a mini “travelogue” each day that mentioned where we ate, but I deferred the restaurant reviews until later – well, later is now!
I have quite a backlog from that trip as well as the Maine trip and I’ll just get to them in chronological order. In the case of Block Island, I will also wrap up everything I’ve learned about it into a destination story.
Does Ballard’s Actually Have Everything?
I’m a talk radio nut and all summer long I’ve been listening to radio ads about how Ballard’s Has It All?
After visiting Balalrd’s 6 days in a row, I can honestly say that it’s a fair claim. We docked at the related Ballard’s Marina which actually sits on the other side of the Town Pier complex.
It’s only about 1,000 feet from Ballards Resort but it’s far enough to keep you from being disturbed by any of the live music performances at the Resort.
There are multiple eating and drinking venues at Ballard’s and all share the same extensive menus.
We had dinner there the first night on one of the outside patios overlooking the beach.
The service was quick and friendly. It appears that Ballard’s uses a team approach to serving with multiple senior waitstaff taking orders and delivering meals.
Rudy started out a specialty martini called Fly Me To The Moon…
This incredible cocktail consists of Kettle One, Triple Sec, Watermelon Liquor, Sour and Pineapple Juice mix. It was actually mentioned in a Block Island Times restaurant review.
He also started with Oysters on the Half Shell which were fresh, plump, and most importantly, perfectly shucked and served intact.
I had the Fried Clam appetizer which was a large enough portion for an entire meal. They served Whole Belly clams and a homemade remoulade (tarter sauce).
Ballard’s prides itself on serving lobster 13 ways so Gail feasted on their Lobster Ravioli…
We also ate (and drank) on Ballard’s Beach a couple of days. I think Ballard’s is unique in that they serve cocktails on the beach. They also rent beach chairs, lounges, and umbrella’s which is really convenient since so many people come their by ferry.
Ferries and Ballard’s
If you aren’t coming to Block Island by boat, you’re probably coming by ferry. I think there are three routes available – Newport RI, Point Judith RI, and New London CT. I can tell you the ferries make very little noise coming and going at Ballard’s Marina, but you do want to stay out of their way.
Here’s a few clips I took from Vigilant’s forward deck:
It’s amazing seeing the thousands of folks boarding and departing ferries each day.
Perhaps more amazing is seeing about a quarter of the passengers on every ferry bang a left and go straight to Ballard’s.
The Ballard’s Beach Scene
As you enter Ballards, be prepared to have your bags inspected by a security guard. They’re only looking for alcohol. You can bring bottled water, food, or beach furniture.
After you pass the entry, turn left toward the beach and you’ll immediately come to an outside mini amphitheater and a long bar.
The live music starts at 2:00 in the afternoon and tends to be a younger genre. I heard some hip hop as well as a few Jimmy Buffet style tunes.
We hung at the beach and ordered lunch from our favorite Serbian bartenders – Dusan and Igor twice.
They offer a number of great Tiki Bar Drinks and all are available in pitchers if that’s your thing…
I had a couple of Mai Tai’s and I can report they were first class. Not the sweet pink ones you often find on the East Coast, but rather the dark brown look with a strong pineapple and almond liquor aroma. I will also add that our Serbian bar tenders had a “heavy pour” so beware!
We also ate twice on the beach. We had Chicken Quesidilla and Blue Cheeseburgers. They were very good and came in solid plastic serving containers that keep them hot and made more than adequate plates for beach eating.
Mrs. Horne also had a California roll from their Sushi Bar which was perfectly adequate for a RI island.
Dessert With John Brazile
Another nice thing about Ballards is their evening live music show. They have a long term contract with a very takented young man from Worcester named John Brazile.
John plays there ever night of the season from 7:00 to around 10:00. He’s an incredible guitar player and a very good singer. He’s plays a lot of pop favorites as well as some contemporaries from Jack Johnson or John Mayer.
Completing my restaurant review is dessert at Ballards. We had the Chocolate Mousse one night and straight up Vanilla Ice Cream another.
Both hit the mark, but I preferred the vanilla ice cream.
We truly enjoyed Block Island and I think having Ballards Resort nearby as sort of a Home Base really completed the total island experience.
I can’t imagine going back to New Harbor and I imagine every afternoon I spend at Old Harbor will involve Ballards Beach.
Bonus Video – Leaving The Island