Although they sit less than an hour from Hartford, New London and Groton, especially the village of Mystic, seem like an entirely different world. From historic battlefields to water parks, this area offers everything a traveler hopes for in a weekend adventure.
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Using routes 9 south and I-95 north, New London and Groton sit less than an hour away. The train is also a great option, especially for casino-goers who don’t want to worry about their cars. Arrive by personal boat or one of the three ferries that operate behind the Amtrak station in downtown New London.
What To Do
Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park
Groton, CT 06340
When Norwich’s own Benedict Arnold, the notorious turn cloak, had his homecoming, it was to sack the city of New London and capture Fort Griswold. That Revolutionary War battle has now been memorialized at this beautiful state park on the Thames River. The park contains tributes to the battle including the 135-foot tall Groton Monument and two museums. Fort Griswold is a must-see for history buffs, but is also a terrific place for anyone to enjoy the weather and picnic by the sound.
USS Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum
1 Crystal Lake Road
Groton, CT 06340
Submarines played an important part in the military history of the United States and were absolutely crucial to the local economy in Groton, where many of were built. One of the most famous submarines, the USS Nautilus, is on display here, providing visitors with an up-close look at an engineering genius. The Submarine Force Museum, operated by the United States Navy, is the authority on all things submarine. The museum contains thousands of artifacts, photographs and other items of historic significance, enough for visitors to marvel at for hours.
Ocean Beach Park
98 Neptune Ave.
New London, CT 06320
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Ocean Beach Park is a throw-back to how family entertainment used to be. An arcade, amusement rides, miniature golf and a boardwalk offer thrills for children and reminiscence for their parents. A perfect place to stay cool, it features water slides, a spray park, an Olympic-size pool and most importantly, ice cream. This is all in addition to the park’s biggest attraction, the pristine half-mile beach, widely considered the area’s best.
The Inn at Mystic and the Flood Tide Restaurant
3 Williams Ave.
Mystic, CT 06355
Price: from $95 to $250
Set on 15 well-manicured acres overlooking Mystic Harbor, this elegant inn is an excellent place for a special getaway. Buildings on its grounds offer a variety of accommodations, from family friendly rooms to the perfect romantic hideaway. The Inn is also home to the Flood Tide Restaurant. Ranked as one of the best restaurants in the state, this sophisticated eatery provides stellar views, extraordinary service and the finest cuisine in the area.
56 W. Main St.
Mystic, CT 06355
Although many will say Mystic Pizza is famous because of the 1988 Julia Roberts movie by the same name, its pizza is nothing to scoff at. Approaching its 40th anniversary, this restaurant has become arguably the most recognized pizza parlor in the country. Stop in for a full meal or just take “a slice of heaven” with you on a stroll down Main Street.
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Charles Daniels grew up in Connecticut and after several years working and traveling around the country and world he has returned home for good. He lives in Hebron with his wife and daughter. While he wears many hats, he considers “part-time stay-at-home dad” his primary and favorite job title. His work can be found at Examiner.com.