To the Editor:
This is my first letter to The Block Island Times in years, and I am writing it to say “hurrah” for Kristin Baumann. I heard she stood up at a recent meeting and stated an obvious, but ignored, fact: Block Island needs real commuter service to the mainland all year-round.
The lack of a rational and regular off-season ferry schedule had a lot to do with my family’s decision to move off the Island after more than 10 happy years of full-time domicile there.
We spent many unwelcome overnight stays on the mainland when we had medical appointments, flights to catch, or other business to conduct that wasn’t feasible to arrange on the three weekdays when Islanders can actually travel to and fro.
Here is a partial list of the “homes away from home” where we often stayed: the Hampton Inn, the Holiday Inn, the Shelter Harbor Inn, the now-defunct but still recalled-with-love Larchwood Inn, the house of our bachelor loner friend (married twice, each time briefly) in Jamestown, the apartment of our son and his girlfriend while he pursued a master’s degree at Brown University.
Our friend eventually began to use the guest bedroom as a closet for everything he should have put outside in a tag sale. We got the message. He was tired of hosting us.
Our son turned down a PhD at Brown and moved to Europe to pursue one. He said he always planned that — maybe.
But they weren’t the only ones who had had enough of our unexpected overnights. We were tired of that life, too. I’m so over hotels. I dread the sound of a fan turning on in the ubiquitous hotel in-room heater, whirring through the night, the mini fridge motor going on and off, the trudge in the morning back to the boat. I remember missing my little house on Corn Neck Road, warm with hot water subtly bubbling through the heating pipes, my cat waiting to jump up and claw me, all the accoutrements of home. To this day, I am reluctant to leave home overnight to stay in a hotel, or couch-surf at a friend’s home.
While I worked as news writer for The Block Island Times, I researched and wrote an article on ferry services to other islands off the coasts of America. I learned that even ones with small winter populations had at least two round-trips a day to their mainland, and most had three.
Those islands included Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Catalina Island (California), Bainbridge Island and Bremerton (Washington State.)
Why can’t Block Island do the same? So thank you Kristin Baumann for trying to stir up interest.
Reminiscing about Corn Neck Road