Block Island

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I would have thought that after some twenty-five years of having a home on Block Island there wouldn’t be much of the touristy stuff left that we haven’t done at least once anyway. But the other day, on the drive around the southern part of the island, my friend Ellen and I stopped at the Southeast Light.

Block Island Southeast Light

And–here’s the new part–we went in. There’s a gift shop in the ground floor of the light tower. As I peered admiringly up at the handsome circular stairs…

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…I became aware that a tour of the tower was about to get started. So of course I signed up. How could I not? This is exactly the kind of tower a person (well, me) wants to climb. The circular stair is graceful and elegant.

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The views from the top are expansive.

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And–best of all–there’s an actual functioning Fresnel lens! A moment’s diversion here. Fresnel lenses are arrangements whereby the arcs of the lens divert the light from a source so that instead of shining all around it’s focused in one direction. This makes the light source much brighter, so that it can be seen from farther away. I couldn’t get far enough away to take a complete picture of the entire lens, but here’s one of the Fresnel lens that used to operate at San Diego.

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The Block Island Southeast Light operates a green light that blinks every five seconds. I can stand right next to it and look at it without any pain or afterimages–and yet it can be seen eighteen miles out to sea. The light is inside a Type 1 Fresnel lens (large), of which there are only eleven or twelve still operating on the coasts of the United States.

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These two pictures are looking directly at the lens; here’s looking up from below:

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What the tour of the Southeast Light does not cover are the living quarters for two families that are part of the structure. This might be made into a B&B sometime in the future. What fun!


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Yesterday was one of those perfect days. It turned warm in the afternoon and sunny, promising a great sunset.

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There were clouds in the west, the kind of clouds that add just that romantic bit of haziness to the air.

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The sunset was as good as its promise.


Then an amazing thing happened. The clouds turned red across half the sky.

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And as the dusk grew, the sky became as red as blood.





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Last night’s sunset was exquisite. The sun’s moving north, and it’s now setting between Sachem Pond and the North Light. Streaks of clouds added vividness and color.

Sunset near Golden Grove, Block Island

The sun will also, alas, be setting sometime soon over our tenure in this wonderful location. We bought this unique piece of land the year my daughter was born; we built this house twenty-four years ago; and we have been coming here whenever we could ever since. We love this place, and it will always be close to our hearts.

But yesterday the house officially went on the market. The listing agent is Ballard Hall Real Estate, and you can view the listing here.

I hope whoever buys this wonderful home will find that it is a home not just for your visits and your things but also for your heart and for some deep place that defines who you are.


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Dan and I are back on Block Island this weekend, where the weather is crisp and fresh, cool and sunny. And so I interrupt this torrent of blogging about our trip to India to bring you last night’s beautiful sunset on Block Island, Rhode Island, taken, as usual, from the deck of our home here.

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We are truly blessed with a wonderful location with ocean and pond views all around at the very northern edge of the island.



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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Block Island sky scene in this blog. Time to remedy that. We’re back on the island after more than three months away. The autumn equinox is almost two weeks past, so the sun is setting and rising a little bit south of due west and east. That means the sun is now setting over Sachem Pond again.

September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

And it’s rising over the woods and bushes east of the house.

September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013

But the real sun show of the day yesterday was neither the sunset nor the sunrise. It was a fortunate late-afternoon confluence of clouds and sun that created a bright sundog.

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September 3, 2013

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It’s grey and cloudy today, but totally beautiful. Sachem Pond is calm, and the heavens are in the water below and the sky above. Block Island magic!


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Some sunsets are too beautiful to bear.


December 6, 2012

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It’s finally happened–a sunset so photogenic that I can’t winnow the photos down to just two or three. Yesterday evening it pretty much didn’t matter which vaguely southwesterly direction I was looking in or how far down the sun actually was or how much zoomed in the camera was–everything was perfect!

See what I mean? But I’ve narrowed it down to only six more, and so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present: December 5, 2012!




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It hasn’t escaped my notice that there’s a lot of heavy road-work equipment out by the parking lot (or I guess I should say, what used to be the parking lot, for the North Light. So I walked over to take a closer look and to find out what they were up to.

Turns out that what they’re up to is completely demolishing and rebuilding the parking lot because of damage from Hurricane Sandy. You would never mistake this piece of the island for a parking lot right now.

While I was there, I took a picture of the light on Sachem Pond, which was extraordinary. And of our home on the island, which I must say is also extraordinary.



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Sunset from the ferry to Block Island

Pt. Judith, Rhode Island, December 3, 2012


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