Oscar Berlin, Tour Guide, Block Island, Rhode Island
Cabdriver Oscar “O.J.” Berlin knows how to take a show on the road. After all, he once led tours for the Bolshoi, Kirov, and Royal ballet companies. On his island tours he’s been known to croon “Smilin’ Through” as he cruises past the pretty cottage where Arthur A. Penn composed it in 1918.
Block Island gives O.J. great material. “You can see three states from here on a clear day,” he says from its highest point, Beacon Hill, 211 feet above the surrounding sea. Then to Rodman’s Hollow, Block Island’s answer to the Grand Canyon. O.J. once gazed in awe at the Himalayas, but he says they still run second to the last stop on his island tour: the Mohegan Bluffs. Taking in the watery vista from atop the dramatic cliffs, he says he can perceive the curvature of the earth. “Yes,” he says, smiling, “this is where the curtain drops.”
O.J. Taxi Service, 401-741-0500. Or look for Oscar’s white Dodge Caravan at the ferry landing in Old Harbor.