Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mohegan Bluffs

Although Block Island is not part of Long Island Sound, it would be incomplete to have a site devoted to the Sound that did not include it. There are ferries that arrive here from both Long Island and Connecticut, and the island is often visible from the eastern portions of the Sound. It would be like discussing Cape Cod without mentioning Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
Block Island is easily accessible to many boats and tourists who flock here in the summer months.
Sometimes it seems almost too accessible. Four years ago, I arrived here one day in July only to learn that no moorings or docks were available. The designated anchorage area was packed with boats as well; several boats (including my own) dragged anchor because there was not enough space to let out the proper amount of scope. The town was crowded too. It was not a relaxing visit.
Last year we visited in September and were truly able to enjoy all the beauty that Block Island has to offer. A good part of one day was spent visiting Mohegan Bluffs on the southeastern coast of the island. These are clay cliffs reminiscent of the Pacific Coast and Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard. In 1590, a war party of 40 Mohegan Indians was driven over these bluffs by Block Island Indians- The Manisseans.
A wooden stairway descends the bluffs and leads to a boulder-strewn beach with heavy surf. I walked along the empty beach watching the waves crash upon the large boulders. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of the Montauk Lighthouse, approximately 18 miles to the southwest. The Southeast Lighthouse, located at the top of these cliffs is no longer visible from the beach. Erosion of the bluffs had threatened the structure, and it was moved back from the edge of the cliffs in the early 1990's. I can still remember walking here years ago and having a Planet Of The Apes moment as I looked up from the beach at the iron above.
When the summer crowds are gone, you can almost feel as if you are the only living soul here. As Thoreau wrote about Cape Cod to the east: A man may stand there and put all America behind him.
The Nature Conservancy: Block Island


Miss Gracie said...

Great photos to look at any time. I grew up on Long Island and have yet to get to Block. It's gorgeous.

kate said...

...exactly why I vacation in September! Warm water, no tourists, lots of open stretches of beach.

Bethany said...

Lovely photos, great writing and quote.