If you’re looking for a destination wedding without the 10-hour, $500 plane ride, try Block Island. Situated just 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast and a 30-minute ferry ride from the mainland, New England’s so-called “Bermuda of the North” has bleached beaches, Victorian inns with mansard roofs, and plenty of 19th-century charm (along with a tiny Starbucks for urban caffiends).
To introduce your guests to the island’s splendidly slow pace, host a relaxed rehearsal dinner at ELI’S, a cozy spot that serves up fare like fresh chili-grilled swordfish and blueberry pie (401-466-5230, elisblockisland.com). You might have a harder time choosing a reception venue: Several old-fashioned lodgings showcase the isle’s beauty to breathtaking effect. Block Island’s largest hotel, the SPRING HOUSE, brims with blue-blood lore: The seaside estate hosted Ted Kennedy Jr.’s 1993 nuptials on its sprawling, wildflower-covered lawn (401-466-5844, springhousehotel.com). Just down the road, sister properties THE 1661 INN and HOTEL MANISSES provide lovely garden settings for daytime vows (401-466-2421, blockislandresorts.com). Nearby, high on a hilltop overlooking Old Harbor, the ATLANTIC INN‘s veranda is the perfect backdrop for a sunset ceremony (401-466-5883, atlanticinn.com). The 20-acre ROSE FARM, meanwhile, offers ocean views, stone walls, roaming white-tailed deer—and enough room for 300 guests. (401-466-2034, rosefarminn.com).
Regardless of your choice, guests will understand why the Nature Conservancy named this island one of the “Last 12 Great Places in the Western Hemisphere”—and you’ll be glad it was the first great place in your married life. BRIGID SWEENEY