I’ve written up a guide or two on things to do in New London, but when my parents came to New London last weekend I wanted an outside opinion. What were some of the best places to see for visitors spending a couple of days in town? She rattled off a few locales, but it soon became clear that the spots were horseshoeing around New London: the casinos, downtown Mystic, The Book Barn, and so on.
“Well come on, I want to pump at least some money into New London’s economy,” I replied.
A couple of months after I moved to New London in 2010, two friends who used to live in Maine stopped by my new residence on their way home. They were only around for about half a day, and I wound up taking them to the Book Barn, for dinner, and for some espresso and board games. They thought New London and the area were pretty inviting. A nice compliment, coming from a couple that once lived in a pleasant community with a downtown teeming with retail shops and restaurants.
My parents were staying for longer, and the first stop on the schedule was the Stonington Borough for my father to visit the daughter of an old friend. After lunch and a quick browse-through of the Stonington Fair, I couldn’t help but take them over to Niantic to peruse the Book Barn. I come from a family of bibliophiles, after all.
So I was a little embarrassed that despite my earlier complaint, we were wrapping up the first day with no visits to New London sites. I compensated by taking my visitors on a trip along the shore to see the lighthouses. And thankfully, New London has no shortage of restaurants, and they were hoping for something with a river view, good food, and outdoor dining. fit nicely.
Sunday was a little more difficult. New London businesses understandably take a little while to wake up on this day, and after a breakfast at we found that the was closed until noon. A visit to the killed some time, but once again I had to rely on outside attractions. Fort Griswold State Park, just over the Gold Star Bridge in Groton, proved a good choice for whittling away the rest of the morning.
The parks provided perhaps too much of a distraction, as we wound up having a late lunch at the and the trip to the antiques center cut deeply into the brief time the is open on Sunday. My father had hoped to see the Eugene O’Neill homestead on this trip, but it made little sense to try a visit when the tour could well be rushed.
There’s a silver lining, of course. It’s providing enough of a draw that my parents are hoping to visit again, perhaps in the fall. Some of the seasonal places, including the cottage, will be closed. But there’s always , and , and the little shops in downtown, and those plentiful restaurants.
I’ll still probably direct them to B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, of course. But it’s good to know that there’s no shortage of places to take visitors to the city.