Jewellery Designer Mary MacGill’s Insider Guide to Block Island

designer and artist Mary MacGill has
been going to Block Island since before she was born and has been
spending salty haired, sun-kissed summers there with her family
ever since. A low-key alternative
to New York
getaways like The Hamptons, this small seaside getaway in Rhode
Island is the type of place you can return year after year and the
spirit remains the same.

It’s no surprise then, that her summer escape was the source of
inspiration for Mary’s first solo collection after leaving a job at
David Yurman. She made her first piece of jewellery “hammering
metal on a large stone in the yard, surrounded by the ocean,” and
hasn’t looked back since. From the 14k shark-tooth necklace with a
single diamond to the wave choker, she continues to channel the
barefoot, sun-soaked vibes of Block Island into every piece.

Here Mary MacGill tells us why she’ll always come back to Block
Island and gives us her insider guide to this lesser-known holiday

What is special about Block Island?

It is unlike any other island on the northeast coast – Block
Islanders have worked hard to preserve over 47% of the land there
so it’s relatively untouched. There are no private
, but most beaches feel private. There are very few tall
trees on the island, just low lying brush and rolling fields, so
you can pretty much see the ocean from anywhere.

What kind of person goes to Block Island?

Block Island is for the barefooted and salty haired, the seekers
of remote beaches, the sunset chasers, the mermaids and the

Why would you tell someone to go to Block Island?

To truly get away. If you’re a city dweller like I am, I like to
go to a place where I won’t be recognised and I can really let go
and live a bit rustically. Nothing against the Hamptons, but it’s
too much of an NYC on the beach for me!

How do people spend their days in Block Island?

Lounging at the beach and walking enchanted nature trails. The

out there is also spectacular towards the end of the
summer and there’s plenty of sea bass to be caught.

Why did you first start going to Block Island and why do you
keep going back?

I have been going to Block Island since I was in the womb – my
grandfather first started going there after his time in the navy
and our family has been going ever since. I keep going back because
it is where my heart lives, but also because it is one of the only
summer places where you can go back year after year and nothing has
changed or got too big.

What is the connection between Block Island and your

It’s where I came up with my first collection. I had just left a
great job at David Yurman and went to Block Island to figure it
what was next. I made my first pieces hammering metal on a large
stone in the yard surrounded by the ocean. It was completely
magical… And why I keep going back.

What are some of the pieces directly inspired by Block

My palette is very oceanic – so all of the aquamarine and moss
aquamarine comes from the Atlantic Ocean. The wave cuff as well –
it’s very loose and summery, as are the fringe pieces which are
inspired by Alexander Calder and the summer fields of tall

Where would we find you on a Saturday in Block Island.

You would find me first at the farmers market selling my wares
in a white linen dress and a hat (the uniform). It’s got a very
small town feel with flowers, fresh vegetables and hand-knitted
Block Island sweaters… I love it! Then I head to Clayhead beach
with my man and our pup for a beach run, a dip and some reading. On
the way home from the beach we usually stop by Los Gattitos for a
frozen mini margarita and fresh chips and salsa.


Ross House on Airbnb

My friend Kenneth built the house with a bunch of his friends.
It stands on the edge of a cliff and the design is so simple and
beautiful – it’s all about the surroundings.

Darius Inn

Another friend updated an old inn right in town and made it into
a lovely little B&B. The décor is super cute and the location
couldn’t be more central.


Persephone’s Kitchen

Head to Persephone’s for breakfast or lunch. Persephone started
out at the farmer’s market and sold out of her fresh kale and goat
cheese frittatas every Saturday. Her stand has now found a new home
in town and everything she makes is absolutely delicious.

Los Gatitos

Perfect for après beach guacamole and margaritas. Sit outside on
the deck with friends and enjoy live music before heading home for
an outdoor shower.


Hands down the best place for dinner. Sit at the bar and enjoy
delicious staples with a slight southern influence from Houston
thanks to Texas native chef Berke Myre. I usually go for the
Winfields salad and swordfish.


The Farmers’ Market

Head to the farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays for
fresh produce, local honey, flowers, sculpture and jewellery from
yours truly.

The Glass Onion

My first job! Run by owner Mary Anderson, the Glass Onion is by
far the most charming shop on the island. A tiny corner to get lost
in, Mary’s shop is full of beautiful summer dresses, books and
antique finds.


Hike through Rodman’s Hollow to find yourself deep in the green.
The path lets out to Black Rock beach and dramatic cliff views.
It’s magical.

Head to Captain Nick’s on Sunday evening before catching the
boat for one last drink and live music from a Block Island local
band, The Booze Beggars.

Rent bikes and ride around the whole island – it takes about an
hour and it’s a great way to see everything.


for margaritas.

The Spring House Hotel for martinis in Adirondack
chairs overlooking the ocean.

Captain Nick’s for a beer outside.

Best way to get there

Take the Amtrak from New York to New London, the train lets off
directly into the Block Island Ferry station.

Or drive to the Westerly airport and fly over in 12 minutes.
This is my favourite way to go – it’s a beautiful flight.

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