The , , and classes of 2015 got a bit of a windy start as Hurricane (then Tropical Storm) Irene hit the area. We hope the weather's a little more cooperative for the rest of your first year here, and wish you the best of luck!
Many of you are in New London for the first time, so you might not know what's out there for you on the weekends. We encourage you to check out these offerings, and explore on your own as well!
Among all the gustatory offerings of our city, we know this one is what you’re going to be most interested in. It’s easy portable, highly energizing, and perhaps the healthiest of the junk foods (there are at least three food groups in there, at any rate). And if you’re looking for a pie to share with friends or get you through an all-nighter, there are plenty of hometown options besides the and .
For the easy walk to pizza, Conn College and the Academy have while Mitchell has . If you want a place with some gourmet offerings, is for you. And if you’d like to dine out and get a view of downtown, you can’t beat the deck of .
If you’d like to venture a little farther, you can also check out , , , , , and . Chip in with your roommates for one or two pizzas a month and you can sample every place in town. What better way to earn that freshman 15?
Dinner and a show
There are, of course, plenty of other places to go for dinner as well but we’re going to be a little more broad in that sense. There are sushi places, Jamaican places, Mexican places, diners, even a few roving vendors. We could go through all of them, but odds are we’d leave someone out. So we invite you instead to check out our food and dining listings to see what’s available in town.
Now about that show. The has a good mix of theater, music, movies, and other entertainment throughout the year. It’s also the home of the , which is just starting its new year of performances. puts on a few performances a year, with the next one being the always entertaining Macbeth in October. Finally, the will have performances in November, March, and May.
Lastly, ’s series lets you enjoy an outdoor movie while the weather is still warm. You can catch Blade Runner on Sept. 7 and The Big Lebowski on Sept. 14. They’re both free and they start at 8 p.m.
Odds are you’ll like the coffee shop you have on campus, but if you want a change of scenery the places in town will always be glad to have you. I know misses the students when they go in the spring, and will always welcome you to their river view deck or cozy interior. You might well see me working at my computer at , which roasts its own beans and has comfy couches, wifi, and frequent musical guests. Both of these places also have a variety of sandwiches and baked goods to offer you.
is only open on the weekends, but the family grows its own beans in South America and sends them up this way. Cuisine specializing in Colombian and Latin American foods, especially tapas, completes the experience. Finally, gives you the full newsstand experience. Stop in for a cup of joe, newspaper or magazine, and maybe even a bouquet or cigar.
We may have to play favorites here, unfortunately, but feel free to peruse our list of shopping destinations. There are a few boutiques or similar businesses where you can peruse a variety of goods, including , , , , and the newly opened XIII XV at 238 State Street. You’re also likely to find an interesting item to complement your dorm room at the .
If you’re in the market for a bicycle, there are two places in town catering to that need: and . If you’d rather rent than own, the city has a bike share program run by Bike New London. Just put down a $10 deposit at the parking garage at the corner of Union Street and Governor Winthrop Boulevard and get a snazzy green-and-gold bicycle to tour the city.
Other places you might want to check out:
- : I don’t think you can fit a piano in your dorm room, but they’ve got a nice selection of guitars, keyboards, and other instruments if you’re an aspiring musician or just looking for some new equipment.
- : I know knitting probably isn’t likely to reach the top tier of student interests anytime soon, but this is still a nice little place to check out if you or someone you know are into the hobby.
- : This downtown fair trade store offers clothing, music, jewelry, and a variety of other items from around the world.
- : If you need to get suited up for some dress blues for that next formal event or just need some new casual clothing, this business can help you out.
- : It’s easy to get lost in this comic book store, which has all of the latest titles and a lot of classic collections. You can also find posters, used CDs, figurines, and games.
- : A record store like mom used to make, with a specialty in vinyl but a lot of CDs and titles from the active local music scene as well. One of the walls is also dedicated to used books, so pick up a title if you can get any spare time amid your studying.
Come stroll the galleries of downtown on the first Friday of each month to check out the new exhibits. You certainly have to experience Hygienic Art, which has plenty of events throughout the year (including a major event downtown in Janaury; see below). But there are a lot of interesting spaces in town, and Adam Campos’ column profiled just about all of them. You have your choice of , , , , , , and . The Pigeon Hole is a new one on Union Street, and the folks at Bean and Leaf can let you in on the shows going on there.
Cadets and Camels are also a short walk away from the , located in a stately building on Williams Street. It’s well worth the trip for Mariners as well. Student discounts are available, and if you’re from New London you can check out the exhibits for free!
The nutshell history of New London might be “It burned down in 1781, it burned down again in 1938, and the Amistad was here.” There’s plenty besides that, of course, and the two main historic sites you can visit are , which was an active military site from the Revolutionary War through 2000, and the , which specializes in the Amistad saga and New London’s role on the waterfront.
Fort Trumbull is seasonal, so be sure to visit there before Columbus Day. Also closing their doors for part of the time you’re here are the , which gives an in-depth look at the Revolutionary War hero’s life closes after October, and the , which look at colonial life under Joshua Hempstead and has its last hours of the season during Columbus Day weekend. , the childhood home of playwright Eugene O'Neill, is unfortunately not open again until May 26. In all three places, however, you can call up to schedule a visit if you're really interested.
Finally, there are a few bookends from New London history available for viewing if not for interior visits. The first is the , a reproduction of a 1600s mill site with open grounds. The next is the Little Pink House, which played a big role in the eminent domain battle in 2005. The private residence was moved to the corner of Franklin Street and Cottage Street, and a plaque outside gives some information on the matter.
Out and about
There’s still a bit of beach weather left. If you’d like to work on your tan, is a great place to lie back and relax or take a swim in Long Island Sound. The park is open year-round if you’d like to stroll along the shore, and you can also have a nice waterfront experience at , , or even just a walk along the wall on Pequot Ave. to see the Harbor Light and Ledge Light.
You know we like this city, but we have to get away sometimes as well. New London is nicely placed for that, as you need only go to to catch a train. It’s only a couple of hours to New York City, and a similar journey to visit Boston. There are also several ferry routes between New London and points in Long Island, Fishers Island, and Block Island.
Mark your calendar for these festivals, celebrations, and other notable events happening in downtown New London:
- The 33 and 1/3 DJ Expo (Sept. 10): Here’s a weekend destination for you right off. At the Waterfront Park, DJs from around the region will show off their talents from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show will wrap up with a fireworks display over the Thames River.
- Fall Food Stroll (Oct. 12): Sign up with to get a button, and check out what the restaurants across town have to offer. Musical performances and other attractions also take place during this event, and a student discount is available.
- Halloween Town: Look out for more information on this spooky series of events, occurring in late October. A haunted house and tours of the area with legends from the region are among the attractions.
- (Dec. 3): A parade, music, Christmas tree lighting, and grand opening of an ice rink on Parade Plaza are all slated to take place on this day.
- : Look out for this annual event put on by Hygienic Art in January. The gallery is open for submissions from anyone and everyone, and the 2011 events included fire dancers and a local film festival as part of its hefty offerings.
- (March 17): One of the grandest parades in the area. You’re sure to find the sidewalks packed to view this procession down Bank and State Streets.
- (May 16): Are you gone by this point? If you missed the fall stroll, you may want to stick around for awhile just to check this one out. Restaurants once again have specialties out for sampling.