Sunday, March 18, 2018

Time in New England: A Vacation Recap

My love affair with New England began two years ago when we took a work/vacation trip to Long Island, NY

We were so smitten with the New England area that we vacationed there again last year, this time visiting Connecticut and Rhode Island. I fell even deeper in love. Everything about it just feels right, like I was meant to be there. It was one of those rare vacations in which my ideal reality and my real reality were one and the same. I love it when that happens.

Here's a glimpse of how we spent our time. Maybe it will inspire you to make a trip of your own. 

New London, CT, beach view
Long Island Sound from Lighthouse Point Carriage House
How We Got There & Where We Stayed
We visited in early August. Perfect weather. High 70s-low 80s. Completely comfortable. We flew in to/out of Bradley International Airport (Windsor Locks, CT). We rented the Lighthouse Point Carriage House in New London, CT, through HomeAway. The rental was AMAZING! It's probably one of the top five places I've stayed  ... ever. In addition to having over-the-top amenities and lovely owners, it had a private beach. New London has a lot to offer, including great highway, train, and ferry access (Block Island and other points).

Where We Explored
The carriage house was the perfect base for exploring Connecticut and Rhode Island. I would recommend all of the below except maybe the aquarium. It was pretty pricey for what was actually there, and it was crazy crowded. (I recommend the Long Island Aquarium).

Fort Trumbull (New London)
Ocean Beach Park (New London, within walking distance from our rental, such a cool, retro  place)
Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT)
Gillette Castle, East Haddam, CT
Gillette Castle, East Haddam, CT
Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT)
Newport Mansions (Newport, RI) These were the summer "cottages" of America's original one percenters. There are 10. We had limited time, so we picked purchased the two-house ticket and toured The Breakers and The Elms. If you hate crowds, plan to get there when the mansions open. The extra tours fill up weeks, if not months, in advance, so plan ahead. We would have loved to take the Beneath the Breakers tour, but it will full up.
Sailing Excursions Day Cruise - Adirondack II (Newport, RI, harbor)
Essex, CT - We stopped in this beautiful town for a picnic lunch and a look around. 
Gillette Castle (East Haddam, CT) - This little gem is a MUST SEE. Well worth the time. It impressed us more than the Newport Mansions. 

Where We Ate
I recommend all of these. Great food, great service, great views. 
Fred's Shanty (New London)
Michael's Dairy (New London)
Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, Noank, CT
The fam getting ready to chow down at Abbott's.
Abbott's Lobster in the Rough (Noank, CT)
2 Wives Brick Oven + Eatery (New London)
Aloha Cafe (Newport, RI)

Stuff We Thought About Doing
Napatree Point Conservation Area (Westerly, RI)
Watch Hill Beach & Carousel (Westerly, RI) - Taylor Swift has a home in the Watch Hill section of town.
Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop (East Haven, CT
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (Essex, CT)
Connecticut Science Center (Hartford, CT)
Cushing Brain Museum - Yale Medical Library (New Haven, CT)
Coltsville National Historic Park (Hartford, CT)

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real (and go on an adventure this summer!)