“Weather,” said Block Island Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Szabo.
“Weather,” said Old Town Inn owner Lucinda Morrison.
“Jimmy Ernst once told me, you can do all kinds of preparation, but at the end of the season it’s all about the weather,” said Steve McQueeney, President of the Lions Club. “But because everyone has a weather report in their back pocket, it’s now almost as much about the forecast as it is about the weather.”
The question posed to these folks and others was: “What makes a successful Block Island summer?”
Nothing ever begins or ends on time, so Memorial Day Weekend has become the unofficial beginning of the vacation season, here and just about everywhere else that relies on a tourism economy. Public schools are winding down, colleges have already had graduation, and vacation homes, for the most part, have been aired out and opened up to get ready for families, friends and guests.
“Sunny skies. I want everybody to be safe. Just enjoy Block Island for everything it has to offer,” said Recreation Department Director Dave Sniffen
Block Island Tourism Director Jessica Willi said many different factors create a successful Block Island summer, although weather was at the top of her list. It may be that because spring has had a hard time emerging the past several weeks that climate was more on people’s minds than usual.
“What goes into making a successful summer are things we can control, and others we can’t: Nice weather, not a lot of fog. It’s nice when the people who are trying to get here have a pleasant experience. Calmer boat rides make for a more pleasant experience all the way around for people, whether it’s their first time or 50th. Some things we can control: making sure our public facilities are open and performing, including trash cans. The road crew does a great job keeping all those things clean. Another thing that is not so easy to control is the general attitude of the people who live and work here who welcome people to our home, our island. Everyone being prepared for guests, from the people who work on the boats to the Town Manager makes for a successful summer.”
Willi said that Block Island has been getting its fair share of good press lately, with island beaches being named best in the state.
Police Chief Vin Carlone was down at the ferry dock on a recent afternoon, greeting a boat that was full of people on a day that had started out gray and misty but had by then turned beautifully bright and clear and warm.
When asked what made for a successful summer, Carlone said, “Good weather is essential. Good behavior on everybody’s part, including the police. And, as August comes around, everyone needs to stay calm and not get too fussy.”
As for the weather forecast, as McQueeney pointed out, the devil may be in the forecast. Weather Underground (wunderground.com) called for a cloudy Saturday with late showers, and showers on Sunday and Monday, Memorial Day. The Weather Channel (weather.com) had the same forecast. National Weather Service? Ditto.
But as the great English philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, “Even when all the experts agree, they may well be mistaken.”
For more information on what to do on Block Island, call the Chamber at (401) 466-2982. The Tourism Council can be reached at (800) 383-BIRI.
The New Shoreham Police Department: (401) 466-3220.
The Block Island Medical Center: (401) 466-2974. Dial 911 for emergencies only.