Block Island; Little Phody's ocean islet

Slow Ducks," stated a makeshift sign, posted to warn motorists of fuzzy-feathered ducklings just hatched by the roadside. Slow, indeed, for no one rushes on a pear-shaped island only 11 miles square and fit for a lazy, hazy summer pace.

Block Island's location off the eastern tip of Long Island, a one-hour ferry ride from Rhode Islan, and its sometimes confusing reputation with Nantucket Island cold have made this New England gem just another . . . well, island.

Not so for the 500 Yankees who live year round in a place that resembles a treeless Bronte landscape, lined with stone walls that curve around glacial ponds and harsh brush, all falling off swiftly down sand cliffs into the ocean's commotion below. To them, Block Island offers a simple elegance rarely found on other islands.

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