In case you were wondering, and I know you were, we DID make it to Stonington! Hooray! Emme and Elle hit two corners of the state in under 2 weeks… and yet it still takes 9 days to get an update post on it. Ah well, let’s get focused. Expect this post to be updated again soon enough, since Emme is writing it just before bed and definitely didn’t bother to proofread it, or consult Elle. Whoops!
So we met up at the most reasonable halfway point we could think of: Westbrook. It made for a good jumping off spot en route to New London county and the mythical, mystical, Stonington half of Mystic. Unlucky for us, this would entail a heck of a lot of traffic.
Talk to Someone
Lucky for us, we also had some great suggestions from a Mystic-area native, Emme’s friend Dan, and the guidance of the office of State Senator Andrew Maynard. As we’ve mentioned, Stonington is a tricky area. So most of our talking came in advance of our Columbus Day voyage: Stonington is hard to do!
We were able to identify B.F. Clyde’s cider mill as a great Stonington locale, touristy or not. And SO delicious. Even better for history buffs like ourselves, B.F. Clyde’s is a National Historic Landmark.
Emme had once heard all about it late-night on CTN, so it was a thrill to finally see the decades of hard work in action. Of course, that doesn’t mean we had any idea what was going on. Emme thought the signs prohibiting food and drink in a place that converts food into drink were hilarious, but our dear companion Bea made sure to set us straight.
Once we made our way through the mill area, we got to sample some of B.F. Clyde’s super delicious farm wines and hard cider. If you haven’t been able to sample some of their offerings, we highly recommend.
Ah, Stonington Borough. So, Mystical Dan had sent us a great list of places to check out, but most of the ones we found were on the Groton side of Mystic. So, we’re definitely going to keep his list for later, but he did alert us to the quaint and super-New English (New Englandy?) area of Stonington Borough.
We know most Stonington voyagers would hit up the Mystic Seaport, we totally dig that suggestion. In fact, we considered it. But at the end of the day, we’d all been through there on field trips or something, and none of us had the cash on hand to fund a serious journey into Mystic’s seafaring history. But it looked as cool as we remember, and we suggest that you support the state’s museums and whatnot, as they are totally cool, just totally not in the budget for all of us recent grads/state employees/people with poor money management skills.
Emme felt transported back to Olde Cape Cod, and totally dug the great architecture and stonework around town. Bea couldn’t stop complaining about the fishy smell where the car was parked. Maybe THAT’S what prompted Bea’s Sea Captain voice… a mystery for our time.
You thought we’d been slacking off since our visit, but actually we’ve spent the week trying to burn off the calories we consumed on our Stonington voyage. Thank you, BF Clyde’s, for your delicious donuts.
No thanks, seafood restaurant, for your subpar clam chowder (not pictured). Emme is unimpressed.
Lessons In Connecticuting
- Never leave the house without Aoenghus, our trusty GPS guide.
- Don’t invite Bea if you don’t want a day full of sea captain voices.
- Find a guide who will personally show us around towns that may or may not be in other towns and may or may not clarify where they are.
- Emme will never trust non-Cape Cod chowder.
- Reading the notable resident section of the town’s wikipedia article would alert us to any possible Conan sightings… Emme is devastated to have missed all this: “Other famous residents have included the explorer Edmund Fanning, who discovered Palmyra Island south of Hawai’i; Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Fanning; the Beaux-Arts architect Edward P. York, of York and Sawyer; the poet Stephen Vincent Benét, and the garden essayist Eleanor Perenyì. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill, whose ‘Water Street’ evokes Stonington, moved to town in 1955. Ruth Buzzi of television’s “Laugh In” was born and brought up where Buzzi Memorials sits on Stonington Road. Harpsichord maker David Jacques Way‘s workshop was in Stonington. Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, also had a summer house located in the Borough. Since 1999, Stonington has been the home of 2004 World Series of Poker champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer. Stonington has also been a destination for many famous persons, such as Viggo Mortensen, who rented a home in the area, and his The Lord of the Rings costar Elijah Wood; television host Conan O’Brien, whose sister lives in the Borough; and others, such as George Hamilton, Jimmy Fallon, Trey Anastasio of Phish and Dick Vitale of ESPN. Stonington has been the home to several on-location movie shoots, including Steven Spielberg‘s Amistad and the Julia Roberts breakthrough movie, Mystic Pizza.”