Join a Tradition of Adventureshare
For as long as anyone in Rhode Island could remember, the Blounts had been in the oyster business. And by the summer of 1938, business was good. The workers were busy. The family oyster beds were thriving. And every morning, shellfish went out by the crate to eager buyers around the state.
The hurricane of ’38 changed everything.
The wind blew. The waves roared. And when the clouds finally rolled away, E.B. Blount & Sons Oyster Company, and the oyster beds, were in shambles. But for one student at Wentworth College in Boston, it created the foundation for a new legacy. The student’s name was Luther Blount. And because of the hurricane, oysters were no longer in his future.
So Luther moved back to Rhode Island, and promptly invented a way to steam clams that was so effective, Nelson’s company was supplying raw materials for Campbell’s Soup’s Clam Chowder in no time.
By 1947, Luther had become the Vice President of E.B. Blount and Sons. But the fact that his family still hadn’t returned to the oyster business weighed on him. He saw the land where the oyster processing plant once was. He saw that it hadn’t been touched since the hurricane. And it gave him an idea.
Luther went to work. Over the next few months, on the place where the family business used to stand, he built an oyster boat. It was his first ship, but it would not be his last.
Luther kept on building. And building. By 1964, he had built over 100 vessels. He even had a few patents to his name — patents that would one day become the signature of Blount Cruise ships.
While he built everything from dinner boats to the Circle Line ships that take tourists around the Statue of Liberty, it was the time he spent with family, sailing the waters of New England, where Luther found his biggest inspiration.
For years, the Blounts had spent their vacations aboard the family boat, sailing, fishing, and enjoying the water. Often, they brought guests. Then, the guests started bringing friends. The trips became longer. And as word spread, the vision behind what would one day be called Blount Small Ship Adventures started to take shape in Luther’s mind.
And when Luther had a good idea, it didn’t take long to bring it to life.
Soon enough, a cruise line was born, with cruises unlike anything else on the water. Part improvised adventure, part well-oiled machine, they felt like a Blount family vacation. Except now, they sailed to distant places Luther had seen while delivering the boats he built to clients. The places he fell in love with.
Every time they left Rhode Island, they sailed with a simple motto, coined by Luther in 1966: to “go where the big ships cannot.”
It was on his cruise line that the inventor in Luther truly came alive, one patented creation at a time. His patented bow ramp made it possible to walk directly from ship to shore, instead of being ferried by smaller ships into port. His patented retractable pilot house — combined with the shallow draft of his ships — made cruising down narrow waterways, under low bridges, and through places like the Erie Canal possible. They were innovations cruisers had never seen before. And they’re still every bit as innovative today.
Back home, Luther worked tirelessly to bring the oysters back to Rhode Island, starting with Narragansett Bay. He donated to a local university, charging them with cultivating new oyster beds. He even bought an island to help the cause. The goal remained simple and clear: rebuild what Rhode Island had lost, so many years ago in the storm.
But most of all, Luther kept exploring. Kept discovering. And kept searching for adventure, perched on the bow of his ships. When Luther passed away in 2006, he left a legacy, a family, and a fleet dedicated to the possible. So, it’s no surprise that three of Luther’s daughters became part of the family business. Of course, in many ways, they'd been there all along.
Luther's daughters Marcia and Julie became President and Vice-President of the Blount Boats shipyard. And his daughter Nancy, who had worked by his side since 1979, took the helm of Blount Small Ship Adventures.
Today, you’ll still find the Blounts sailing, building ships, and working to restore the oyster beds in Rhode Island. You’ll still find them bringing people filled with curiosity to world’s unique places. And today, aboard a Blount Small Ship Adventure, you’ll still find the legacy of Luther. A legacy built on taking travelers a little further. Helping them see a little more. And experiencing what getting away can really mean.
It all started with a hurricane. With a family business, scattered in pieces across a Rhode Island shore. It’s the story of a born inventor, bold explorer, and one-time oysterman. And the cruise line that bears his name.
It’s the story of Blount Small Ship Adventures. And the next chapter will be written the moment you step onboard.