ROBERT AND MARY NEWHOUSE bought The Sea Breeze in 1979 and fully renovated the rooms of this shingled house and several adjacent cottages. With the help of three daughters and a dedicated and loyal staff, The Gallery and the Inn have been in business for over 35 years. Several of the buildings on the property were first constructed by members of the Cyr family in 1924, and originally served as a small boarding house, used mostly for fishermen.
THE SEA BREEZE GALLERY est. 1980, was the first mixed-art gallery on the island. Shows included photography, glass, ceramic, sculpture, and painting. The Sea Breeze Gallery featured innovative artists from Rhode Island School of Design, New York, and Block Island. The Sea Breeze Gallery was a pioneer in its time, introducing many artists to the island, such as Dale Chihuly, a glass artist. The Sea Breeze Gallery evolved into Encore Gallery and The Island Gallery, forminga cooperative with island artists. The Island Gallery lasted many years in various locations on the island until its closing in 2010. The DejaVu Gallery, opening this June of 2014, will be having a retrospective show of Mary Newhouse's work in September.
THE SEA BREEZE INN est. 1984, was designed to give the feeling of simple seaside cottages, with antiques collected from the Victorian hand-painted furniture discovered on the island and with artwork from The Sea Breeze Gallery. The Sea Breeze Inn started with the five rustic rooms with shared bath, in the Inlet Cottage. By 1989 five additional rooms were added, all with private bath and a modern mix of stylish design and one-of-a-kind vintage furniture. Our rooms are noted for being comfortable, spacious, and well designed with cross ventilation. Lush perennial gardens add to the unique charm of The Sea Breeze. The pristine location, with unspoiled ocean views, is sure to make for a relaxing vacation. We are also lucky to have a loyal and dedicated staff with years of hospitality experience who continue to care for the Inn, our guests, and the gardens. 2014 marks our 30th year as a family run business on the island. For this achievement, we would like to say a hige thank you to all our return guests. Thank you also for the loyalty and support of our staff to make it all possible. And finally thank you to so many hard working islanders and Block Island businesses we rely on each season.
OUR MISSION: Robert and Mary Newhouse deeded the land behind the Inn as an easement to The BI Land Trust. Interest in land conservation and planning led Mary Newhouse to serve on The Town Planning Board. Robert and Mary were also the original founders of Scenic Block Island and The Committee for The Great Salt Pond. In 2010, Mary Newhouse posthumously received The Joan Abrams Award. Joan and Justin Abrams are the orginal owners of The 1661 Inn, our neighbors right next door. This award is a recognition of Mary’s vital support of the arts and of her perseverance and success with town planning and development issues. Through the hard work of many volunteers in organizations such as The BI Land Trust, Scenic Block Island, Preserve Rhode Island, and The BI Conservancy, roughly 40% of the island has been preserved as open space. A portion of our proceeds are donated to support various projects on the island each year.
Recent donations include the following projects : to rebuild the fencing along the beach dunes which was destroyed over the winter, and to rebuild The Old Spring House Pump station down the road on Spring Street. It is a constant battle to limit development and to preserve the island’s historical character, watershed views, and small-scale architecture. This is part of what makes Block Island truly special. Guests are advised to help with water and energy conservation practices and we hope to bring awareness to the fragile ecosystems on the island. With our on-site bicycle rentals we encourage guests to use bicycles during their stay. We do our best to limit plastics. We also use recycled and natural materials and locally sourced ingredients for our breakfasts as much as we can. Block Island is a unique place for many reasons, and we hope our returning guests and future guests for generations will treasure it.
Enjoy our slideshow below of archival photos of The Sea Breeze Gallery, The Inn, and the Block Island as it used to be. Before filters.