The Block Island Times

Digital bike route

By Lars Trodson | Jul 01, 2014
Photo by: Kari Curtis

Very soon — perhaps as early as this week — bikers will see bright white and blue signs at various stops along an island loop, and on those signs they’ll see what is known as a QR code. They’re recognizable, even if everyone doesn’t know what they’re for. They look like digital spaghetti.

Using the QR code application on your mobile device (if you don’t have one, there are many and some are free), you can either scan the QR code or take a picture of it. That code will then take you to a website:

And on that website will be a short video about the very site you’ve stopped at.

The narrator of the videos will be familiar to many Block Islanders: Jessica Willi, Executive Director of the Tourism Council. The Tourism Council helped pay for the map and the signs for the project (the entire project, including videos, cost about $40,000). Ads will also be seen on some of the ferries starting July 1.

“The videos are really, really well done,” said Willi. They’re brisk, well edited and provide brief decriptions of island locales.

Stop number one: “Rodman’s Hollow is a glacial outwash basin — a ravine-like area formed by ancient glacial melting. An oasis for many bird and plants, it protects threatened species like the northern harrier and American burying beetle…”

There are a dozen such videos, ranging from the expected (Fred Benson Town Beach) to the unexpected (get a little forgotten history about Dead Eye Dick’s).

Willi said she has visited each site on the tour and there is cellphone access all along the way (never a minor consideration on Block Island). There is also an informational brochure to go along with the video version, providing proof that we’re not completely out of the printed age just yet.

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