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Mention Block Island and the first thing that comes to peoples minds is the indelible view of Mohegan Bluffs on a clear summer day.

I was told that Mohegan Bluffs are the reason why Block Island is known to many as the “Bermuda of the North.” I was excited to see what all the hype was about. After a hearty breakfast of French toast and berries fresh from the garden at The Sea Breeze Bed & Breakfast, we took our rental bikes available only to Sea Breeze guests. We stuffed the front straw baskets with towels, our camera, and sunscreen, and headed up the daunting hills on the South side of Block Island, towards Mohegan Bluffs. The best way to bike around the island is in your bathing suit so you can hop in and out of the water at any time. Trust me, if you’re biking all over the island, it gets really hot really quick!

The first stop we made was at the Southeast Lighthouse on Mohegan Bluffs. Southeast Lighthouse was created as a response to the number of shipwrecks that happened off the coast of Block Island. Between 1819 and 1838, there were 60 crashes alone due to the thick fog and perilous ledges of the island. It’s light is so strong, traveling over 22 miles, that it is considered one of the most powerful on the east coast. Over the course of the 20th century, Mohegan Bluffs continued to erode. The ledge of the cliffs kept inching closer and closer to the Southeast Lighthouse. It got so close (about 60 feet from the lighthouse) that in 1993, the lighthouse was moved further inland.

We hopped on our bikes and just past Southeast Lighthouse is a large, can’t miss sign for Mohegan Bluff’s overlook. We locked our bikes into the bike rack, and walked towards the overlook. A young kid was standing at the entrance selling fresh squeezed lemonade. I was so tempted given the heat on this day, but had no cash on me. Remember to bring cash and purchase lemonade and more from all the local kids in the area! To the left was a lookout of the red clay cliffs below Southeast Lighthouse. Now I didn’t take pictures here and with good reason. Personally, I found a better lesser crowded area to take pictures of the bluffs, which I will share below.

To the right of the overlook was a long wooden staircase that twisted and turned down to a rocky beach with dramatic 200 feet (61 meter) cliffs enveloping the sea. This was the flawless, long, anticipated view of Mohegan Bluffs. The staircase twisted and turned within trees and grass down to Mohegan Beach. The staircase had approx. 142 steps from start to finish. And you bet we did them all. It didn’t take us as long as we expected, I guess we were still in shape from our first fifth floor apartment in New York…! The beach was pretty empty, I guess because it was quite a trek to get down there which included walking through some rocks. This made it the perfect spot for a quick dip in the ocean.

Why are they called Mohegan Bluffs?
The Bluffs origin story and name have a pretty macabre past stemming from a Native American battle. In the mid-16th century, a battle between the Niantic and Mohegan tribes took place. It ended with the native Niantics driving the invading Mohegans over the cliff to their deaths…hence Mohegan Bluffs.

From the edge of Southeast Lighthouse, you can see the first-ever commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, the Block Island Island Wind Farm. The wind turbines are lined up about 4 miles from Block Island. The spinning of the wind turbines make for a visually interesting addition to the Atlantic Ocean. They almost look like abstract sculptures breaking up an otherwise continuous landscape. Block Island even offers tours of these wind turbines, up close and personal. But we didn’t have time to add this to our itinerary unfortunately. Next time!

As mentioned, Mohegan Bluffs overlook can get quite crowded. Pat and I continued down Spring Street towards our next stop, when I came across one of the many small paths that led out to the water. I decided to pull our bikes over and go see what was at the end of this path. There was not one single person on this path. From here you can see the bluffs stretch out along the beach towards Southeast Lighthouse. This was the spot to admire the view. In a way it kind of reminded me of the view from my secret location at Scala dei Turchi in Sicily…but sandier and rockier!

You know I’m not one to focus too much on overly touristy spots, but Mohegan Bluffs deserves its praise. Not only for it’s jaw-dropping beauty, but because of how well-kept and intact it has remained. The hills to get to the bluffs and walk down the 142 step staircase make it a difficult place to get to. And if you head here early in the morning like Pat and I did, you’ll have the entire beach to yourself. It’s a beach that is worth experiencing, it’ll feel like you’ve escaped to the tropics.

At this point in the day, we were getting fairly hot so decided to take a dip in the ocean. We headed down to a beach neighboring Mohegan Bluffs that the General Manager from the Sea Breeze Bed & Breakfast, Corey, recommended we visit. One that was less crowded and a bit more off the beaten path—Vail Beach.

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