Annie Hall was just five when she had her first island summer, and at 21 she moved there forever. Years later, all of that easy, seasonal joy has evolved into being integral to a year-round community of volunteers, parents, preservationists and characters. Everyone on Block Island knows Annie Hall.
Yellow Kittens Tavern, where she’s tended bar for 32 years, is where she met her husband (islander Glen Hall, with whom she has four children) and where she’s watched so many faces come and go, for reasons cheerful and tragic. It’s also a second home. Annie can be tough, holding court behind her bar, tending to the requests and needs – but never the demands – of customers, local and otherwise. She’ll greet you with a smile and lean on the rail to hear your story, but she’ll ignore you until dehydration makes you lightheaded if you don’t remember your manners.
She’s also passionate about maintaining the island’s outdoor spaces. Seeing a need for an island playground, she and Adrian Mitchell went for a drive to find the perfect spot. “There was no place for the kids to play when school was in session,” she says. A year later, with typically generous donations of volunteer hours, the park was open and busy. Annie and others also protested a crowded summer house development that threatened to overtake squat, sufficient cottages and swing sets off Corn Neck Road, carrying a sign proclaiming, “Keep Our Fields Wild.” For twenty years she’s supported children and adults on the School Committee, all while volunteering with the Lions Club and the Recreation and Special Education Advisory Boards.
“I leave the island more now that I have kids but before them, I hardly ever left,” she says. Island families are special, rich with that opportunities that closeness presents. Annie’s favorite place might just be her own home, right next door to Glen’s family’s house, where his mother Barbara still bakes pies and waits for her grandson Jaixen, who visits for lunch five days a week. Always busy, Annie also tends the cozy bar in The Barn at The Spring House, serving cocktails and dinner from an applewood grill to islanders.
Four children, three cats, two dogs, one hamster and countless pet turtles later, Annie Hall leads an enviable life: parenting, working, serving, and enjoying and loving those who surround her. Forever is a long time indeed, but such is Annie’s connection to the people and places of Block Island.