Super Summer Getaways in the North East
Port Clinton Marina
Boating in New England is always a fresh, new experience – wrapped in hundreds of years of maritime history. For a boater, it’s an exciting convergence. From schooners and cabin cruises to sailing on Long Island Sound, there’s nothing like a summer getaway in the North East. And there’s no better time to plan your summer escape than right now. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best well-known, and not so well-known, spots in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or just a much-deserved getaway, we’ve found the destinations for you.
Cruising the waterways along Connecticut and Rhode Island offer spectacular views of the natural beauty and quintessential New England towns and ports. Plus, with warm days and cooler, breezy evenings, the summer is the perfect time to explore this part of the country. So, notify your crew and chart your course for the perfect summer getaway in the North East!
The sandy shores and seaside colonial towns of Rhode Island beckon to all boaters. From prime fishing, to gilded age mansions and award-winning brew pubs, Rhode Island’s coastline never disappoints.
One marina in the middle of the best Rhode Island has to offer is the Greenwich Cove Marina, in East Greenwich. It’s located on the western side of Narragansett Bay, on a well-protected deep-water basin, overlooking Greenwich Cove and Long Point to the east. In addition to a full menu of amenities, including a ships store, the marina is the home of McKinley’s Pub right on site. Situated at the foot of Division Street in historic East Greenwich, boaters enjoy a short walk to cafes, restaurants, and provisioning stores.
The East Greenwich historic downtown is something to behold. It’s the 8th oldest town in Rhode Island, incorporated in 1677. The architecture takes you back in time, while the thriving downtown charms you. As for dining, shopping, and entertainment, you can find it all on Main Street and Water Street – an area undeniably worth discovering.
One place to venture while visiting East Greenwich is the New England Wireless & Steam Museum. It’s a museum dedicated to the marvels of electrical and mechanical engineering. Learn about the fascinating beginnings of radio and steam power. Marvel at the Marconi distress transmitter – the same type used on the Titanic. The museum is open Saturdays starting June 2, 2022.
Sheltered in the Greenwich Theater’s original building, built in 1926 during the height of vaudeville, the Greenwich Odeum continues a rich tradition of inspiring performing arts. Today, its calendar includes a range of entertaining events from film screenings to live music performances by well-known and emerging acts.
A restaurant that East Greenwich is particularly proud of is La Masseria, right on Main Street. Step inside and suddenly you’re transported to a rustic and relaxed farmhouse on the Italian countryside. It’s the labor of love of renowned restaurateur Peppe Luele, who owns a sister restaurant in New York City. It’s open for lunch and dinner, turning out classic dishes with the finest ingredients. From Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese to grilled octopus and cuttlefish, with broccoli rabe on a bed of fava beans. Delizioso!
A fun day trip, and just a short sail from East Greenwich, is the much-acclaimed Newport, with its shimmering yacht-filled harbor. A city set on Aquidneck Island, it’s bursting with things to do and see. And, it’s famous for its Gilded Age mansions lining Bellevue Avenue. The most opulent is The Breakers, an 1895 mansion patterned after a Renaissance palace.
The Connecticut shoreline is an endless buffet of ports and harbors to explore. Whatever you and your crew are looking for, you’re sure to find it. Here are just a few stops that will give you a taste of what Connecticut has to offer.
Clinton, along the banks of the Long Island Sound, is home to two notable marinas. The first, the Port Clinton Marina is a full-service, 140-slip marina at the mouth of the Hammonassett River. Another of our picks, also in Clinton, is the Old Harbor Marina. Along with being a full-service marina, it offers a comfortable family boating focus. Both marinas are renowned for their high-quality services and amenities and friendly staff, making them favorites of locals and travelers alike.
Nearby, boaters can find a number of parks and beaches, as well as the Hammonassett Beach State Park, also a nature area preserve and wildlife refuge. It’s an incredible 2-mile-long beach with a boardwalk and trails for runners and walkers alike. Within the park is The Meigs Point Nature Center, which is a must visit for the whole crew to enjoy the local nature and its beauty!
Nearby the marinas is Chamard Vineyards, a farm, winery, and bistro. There you can enjoy the splendor of the 40-acre farm, and the French-inspired farm-to-table delights. Tours of the winery can also be scheduled.
However, if the best lobster rolls in Connecticut are what you’re looking for, then New England Today’s travel section points to Lobster Landing. This authentic, no-frills New England lobster shack never disappoints. Their specialty is hot and buttered “Connecticut style” rolls that will make your mouth water. Oh, if you’re not in the mood for lobster (We can’t even imagine!), enjoy a grilled hotdog or sweet Italian sausage.
Just a bit farther up, on eight and one-half acres of the Connecticut river, Oasis Marinas at Glastonbury has much to offer. With 225 slips, well protected from passing boats, this full-service marina is Glastonbury’s gem. It’s also known for its friendly, full-time factory trained technicians, who’s main goal is to keep you and your boat in the water.
The historic town of Glastonbury is filled with a generous selection of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Because we never want to go inside in Connecticut in the summer, there are plenty of excellent options for al fresco dining. From a gourmet burger at Plan B Burger Bar or classic Italian at Bricco Trattoria, to fresh seafood at Max Fish, you’ll never go hungry or thirsty.
And although there’s plenty to keep you and your crew happy right in town, we suggest you venture out to the many other attractions close by. For instance, aim for one of the first island greens in America at the Minnechaug Golf Course. This Par 35, nine-hole golf course is perfectly situated at the base of the state’s Minnechaug Mountain. And, one of golf’s most exciting attractions, an island green, will keep every round challenging.
When you’re in the mood for award-winning wine and live music with breathtaking views, head to Crystal Ridge Winery. The 200-acre estate in the south of Glastonbury, sits on rambling hills among fruit farms and woodland. Founded in 2004, Crystal Ridge’s crops of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vignoles and Chardonnay, thrive in the rocky soil of sunny, southwest-facing slopes.
The charming and historic seaport of Mystic, is a draw year-round for boaters and landlubbers alike. This seaport is a well-known hotspot for visitors with a hearty fishing and boating community. And our marina pick is Mystic Point Marina. This premier marina is right in Mystic Harbor, in historic downtown Mystic, facing Williams Beach Park. With over 100 slips, plenty of amenities and a top-notch service department, it has everything to keep you and your boat humming. Plus, just step off your boat and into the colorful shops and restaurants downtown. With so much to do and see, you may need to add a few days to you stay.
An ideal place to start is the Mystic Seaport Museum. It’s the nation's leading maritime museum and home to the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. The museum is open year- round and will provide you with a hearty helping of maritime history and lore.
For an unforgettable sensory experience, visit the Stonington Harbor Light at dusk. What you’ll see is open sky painted pink and purple, as the calming sounds of water and seagull calls complete the tableau. And be sure to have your camera ready for the grand finale – the sunset reflected on the harbor.
No trip to Mystic would be complete without a stop at the Oyster Club. “Our philosophy is to provide you with a beautiful and thoughtful dining experience, while supporting our local food community.” Their outdoor dining, the Treehouse, is the ultimate place to enjoy dinner and cocktails on a lovely Mystic evening.
No matter where you dock, or how long your trip, New England has a singular and wonderful experience waiting for you. Land ho!
Written by: Jo Montgomery