Barking Block: A Dog’s Guide to the Island
If you are like my family, the thought of leaving Fido behind when you come to visit Block Island is inconceivable. Luckily, the island has many accommodations and areas that are pet friendly and allow both you and your pup to enjoy Block Island.
Be sure treat your dog with tick repellent before your trip; the island is known for its deer tick population and this leaves dogs running through the island's trails at risk. Be sure to pack dog food; there will not be many choices available once you are on the island.
One big thing to think about is the commitment to bringing along your furry friend. You will not be able to leave him for extended periods of time within the hotel and hot days can take the meaning of “the dog days of summer” to another level. Leaving dogs indoors on days like these is not an option.
Dogs are allowed on the traditional and fast ferries. According to the Block Island Ferry website, “Pets are permitted but must be on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Pets are not permitted on the seats or benches inside the cabins.” On high-speed ferries animals must be in carriers to remain inside the cabin, but can travel on leash if they stay on the deck of the boat.
Where to stay
There are a number of hotels and inns that are dog friendly on the island, some charge cleaning fees, and those that leave you within close quarters of neighbors often request you leave a cell phone number if you are going to leave your pup for a short while (in case he misses you too loudly). Other small inns and rentals allow pets, be sure to ask when you call.
-Spring House Hotel- The hotel has one seaside rental home, and 6 townhomes that are open to dogs. There is a $150 additional charge for pets over 35lbs and a $75 charge for pets under 35lbs, for cleaning after your stay.
-Darius Inn- $50 fee per stay, dogs are welcome in all rooms with private entrances.
-Gothic Inn-No fee in their one room and three apartments that are dog friendly. The inn also has one cottage for rent outside of town that is a “dog heaven” with fields, hiking and plenty of space.
-Blue Dory Inn-Allows dogs for a $25 fee in rooms and suites with outdoor exits.
-Inn at Block Island- Allows for dogs in some rooms. Be sure to book ahead as the rooms get booked quickly and are limited.
-Lynn’s Way Rentals-This vacation rental allows for pets to join you and your family on your trip. The website states, “Well behaved dogs are permitted with prior permission only”.
Shops and Restaurants
One great option on the island is the availability of take-out. Order up at your restaurant of choice; get it to-go and enjoy the all the spots the island has to offer.
-The National Hotel- On the back porch of the hotel, you and your dog can enjoy dining from the full menu of the hotel’s restaurant.
-The Harborside Inn- Outdoor wicker seating allows you to dine with the entire family. They even provides treats and water.
- Kimberly's - Sit outside on the front lawn and enjoy dinner with your entire family, including your pet.
-The Island Dog- Located just to the left of the statue of Rebecca, this shop welcomes pups and owners to come in and browse and buy items inspired by Block Island and those who bark. A great stop for a gift for the dog lover back home.
I spoke with Island Dog shop owner, Rae Lyn Burns-Dutra, about the uptick in pet-accompanying vacations. “Dogs are the new kids,” she said and I have to agree with her. This means Buddy can’t be left behind any more than the newborn baby can. She has seen popularity in her store grow with dogs being the new trend. Even if the animal doesn't come along for the getaway, he does certainly need a Block Island collar to be reminded of the week in the kennel (but don’t worry he loves you still.)
The town does have a leash law that requires dogs to be leashed in public areas, and non-accordance with the law can lead to fines. The Greenway hiking trails are great pet-friendly activities as well.
In speaking with a visiting dog owner, one woman says “The island is a great place for dogs, she (Maggie) loves it here; swimming, walks and people. She’s a people person not a dog person.”
The island offers a great getaway that lets the entire family come along, so if your best friend didn’t make this trip, bring him back a little something and a promise that he will surely be accompanying you on the next trip.