Sunday, November 16, 2008

Connecticut College Arboretum

The Arboretum serves a multitude of functions for Connecticut College and the greater New London community.

Generations of faculty and students have used the forests, meadows and wetlands for teaching and research.

For visitors to Southeastern Connecticut, give yourself a treat, bring a camera and enjoy a nature walk.

The Arboretum is open everyday, dawn to dusk, and serves as park for the surrounding communities.

Dog walkers, parents with young children, and office workers out for a quiet lunch break are all frequent users.

I have included pics my husband and i took recently to give you a glimpse of the gorgeous colors in Southeastern Connecticut during this wonderful time of the year.

Visitors to the park are asked to refrain from organized sports, mountain biking, camping, creating fires or driving vehicles within the Arboretum, as these activities are damaging to the ecology of the Arboretum.

Jogging is permitted in the eastern sector on the designated jogging trails between Rt. 32 and the Thames River. Please limit jogging in the Arboretum to this area. Alcoholic beverages may not be brought into the Arboretum.

Arts in the Arboretum

The Arboretum is the perfect setting for outdoor theater and other artistic endeavors such as the annual photography contest. For several summers, the Flock Theater has presented "Shakespeare in the Arboretum" during July and August. Derron Wood '86 is principal director of Flock Theater, who has directed Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, Oedipus Rex, Romeo & Juliet and Agamemnon, among others. People, picnics and blankets cover the amphitheater grassy slopes, with the Arboretum pond as a backdrop, to view these marvelous productions.

For more information visit

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gillette Castle State Park

In East Haddam in Southeastern Connecticut, atop the most southerly hill in a chain known as the Seven Sisters, William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright, famous for his portrayal of "Sherlock Holmes", built this one hundred and eighty-four acre estate, the Seventh Sister.

The focal point of his effort was a twenty four room mansion reminiscent of a medieval castle.

Built of local fieldstone supported by a steel framework, it took twenty men five years (1914-1919) to complete the main structure.

The woodwork within the castle is hand-hewn southern white oak. Of the forty-seven doors within the structure, there are no two exactly the same. Each door has a handsome external latch intricately carved of wood.

Even the Castle's furnishings are indications of Gillette's inspirations. The built-in couches, a movable table on tracks, and light switches of carved wood all point to his creative genius.

Outside on the grounds, Gillette's influence is no less in evidence. The trails often follow, over trestle and through tunnel, the actor's three mile long narrow gauge railroad.

Gillette's own walking paths were constructed with near-vertical steps, stone-arch bridges, and wooded trestles spanning up to forty feet. Other outdoor attractions include a vegetable cellar, the railroad station (Grand Central), and Gillette's goldfish pond.

The flowers around the castle give it a wonderful touch of color on a sunny day!

The pics i have included were taken by my husband on a recent trip to Gillette Castle State Park. The panorama is magnificent. From many points on the castle verandas and at points around the grounds you can see up and down the beautiful Connecticut River.

If you're visiting the area you should definitely plan to spend a day at this historic State Park. You can bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the picnic shelter or grab a bite at the food concession and eat at one of their picnic tables overlooking one of the most gorgeous views you could ever imagine!

A great place for hiking, picnicking, river camping or just enjoying the history of this magnificent castle.

There are no fees for parking or visiting the park grounds. A per person charge applies for Castle tours.

The Castle is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day. Staff are available to assist with questions about the Castle interior and its history.

You will also want to visit the Visitor Center for some interesting information and displays about William Gillette and this famous historical landmark.

For more information including directions to Gillette Castle State Park visit
State of Connecticut DEP website.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ortega's Restaurant

Located at 108 North Street in Groton, Connecticut, Ortega's Restaurant serves some of the best mexican food in the area. From sizzling fajitas, enchiladas and flautas to burritos, chimichangas, queso fundido and more...

Ortega's is a family-run operation around the corner from the World War II Submarine Memorial off I-95 in Groton. It has a cheerful atmosphere with colorful sombreros adorning the walls. A great place to stop for lunch when you're touring some of the historic sites in the area or well worth the trip for a fabulous mexican dinner with friends and family.

A recent user review: "I'm Mexican, born and raised in California, though my parents and siblings were all born and raised in Mexico. I moved to CT in January, and was immediately home-sick when I found out how difficult it is to get some REAL Mexican food over here. I'd tried about 3 different places where the food was certainly NOT Mexican, or just without flavor or spice. I was pleasantly surprised, and pleased, with the food at Ortega's. I was also happy to learn that the restaurant is family-owned by a Mexican family. The food, though still slightly different from what I'm accustomed, is all great, and the only REAL Mexican food I've come across so far. "

A kids menu features tacos, enchiladas, burgers and grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.

Visa and MasterCard accepted.

Beer, wine and margaritas are available.

Dine in or take out.

For more information call 860-405-1275.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cows and Cones

We recently spent an afternoon at Cows and Cones at Alice Acres Farm in Gales Ferry and i decided it just had to be my next post!

Located at 39 Military Highway in Gales Ferry, this is a place you just have to visit on a nice summer afternoon or evening.

Enjoy the charm of an authentic old New England farm complete with animals, greenhouses, fresh produce, premium ice cream and lots of room to play.

Treat yourself to Cows and Cones premium ice cream, relax, enjoy the picturesque views, and have fun visiting with all the farm animals.

Colorful flowers are everywhere and the ice cream is delicious!

Got an event coming up? The Bud Crandall Memorial Pavilion is available for birthday parties, picnics, weddings, receptions, reunions, lectures, meetings, seminars, classes, civic and corporate functions. Available for your use: refrigeration, portable restrooms, water cooler, grill, horseshoes and assorted children's games.

Enjoy the hayrides on weekends in October from noon - 4pm.

Spring & Fall Hours: Noon - 8pm from Sunday through Thursday. Noon - 9pm on Friday & Saturday.

Summer Hours: 11am - 8pm from Sunday through Thursday. 11am - 9pm on Friday & Saturday.

Visit or for more information including an events calendar, directions, rental fees for the pavilion, and or call 860-889-5827.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Captain Scott's Lobster Dock

Captain Scott's, located at 80 Hamilton Street in New London, is tucked into a small strip of land between the cove that services Crocker's Boatyard and the AMTRAK Mainline. It is not easy to find for locals - much less for out of towners - but is the search ever worthwhile! Bring your own beer or wine, dine outside and watch the boats and activity at Shaw's Cove.

Captain Scott's provides delightful atmosphere, leisurely dining, and the highest quality and most reasonably priced seafood in Southeastern CT.

The best bargain on the menu is undoubtedly the Fish & Chips - it is almost too much for one person to eat. The fish is tender, flaky, and succulent; the fries crisp and hot; and, when you pass the melted butter and the malt vinegar you feel as though you are in Sea Food Heaven.

Also not to be missed is the hot (or cold) Lobster Roll. Voted best in New London County several years in a row, it is packed with tender pieces of lobster and served on a fresh hot dog type roll with a side of cole slaw.

An order of Clam Fritters (continuosly hot from the deep fry process and available when placing your order) and a bowl of clam chowder to have with that glass of wine while waiting for your order to be called will usually seem too good to pass up (and they are!).

One hint is to get there early or a little later in the evening since the dinner time crowd (especially on a hot summer evening) can cause quite a backlog. But the reward of excellent food is well worth the time involved in finding your way to Captain Scott's and for the slight wait that sometime occurs in taking and filling orders. And that glass of wine or bottle of beer does wonders to pass the time while you enjoy the boats or the occasional passing by of an Acela Express on the AMTRAK line.

A recent review on Yahoo Travel - "The Lobster Dock is a staple in the New London restaurant scene. The idyllic, outdoor lunch spot is located next to a charming harbor in order to complete the nautical ambience. The seafood is always fresh and delicious. The Lobster Dock consists of a counter, delivering speedy service, and a patio with covered and uncovered picnic tables. It's only open seasonally, so I highly recommend frequent visits while it's in service."

For more information call (860) 439-1741

Tony D's

Love italian cuisine? You will definitely want to make a trip to Tony D's.

Located at 92 Huntington Street in New London, their cuisine relies strongly on pastas, all varieties, topped with clams, sausage, roasted vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, and grilled shrimp and chicken. Lamb chops are available too, along with wonderfully tender steaks and stuffed veal chops. The calamari also draws raves for its zesty flavor and perfectly cooked morsels.

Recent reviews in Yahoo Travel - "This restaurant was a real find in New London. We were seated right away at a quiet table. The warm foccacia bread in the beginning was delicious and each person got their own dipping plate for olive oil instead of having to share one which was a nice touch! Salad with the house dressing was very good, just the right amount of dressing. My manicotti tasted delicious and had a lovely presentation instead of the boring regular lined up in a row. I didn't have room for dessert but would love to go back for that too. Reasonable prices for such delicious food and great service."

Tony D's can also accommodate up to 175 guests for private parties with custom menus and wine lists fit for your function.

Reservations are recommended.
Phone: 860-443-9900

Open Tuesday through Thursday 5pm-9pm; Friday and Saturday 5pm-10pm; Sunday 2pm-9pm

Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express accepted.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Abbott's Lobster in the Rough

For a truly magnificent New England feast, Abbott's Lobster in the Rough is now open (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Located at 117 Pearl Street in Noank, Connecticut, this is one of Southeastern Connecticut's gems!

USA Today: "If you don't mind waiting at peak summer meal times Abbott's Lobster in the Rough just might be the best place on the seaboard for lobster. With picnic tables spread out on a lawn overlooking Noank Harbor, the air perfumed by the sweet smell of pink lobster meat plucked in big pieces from its shell, it can be summer paradise..."

CONNECTICUT MAGAZINE: APRIL 2008 Readers' Choice Restaurant Awards 2008 Abbott’s Lobster voted Best Seafood Outdoor Dining by Connecticut Magazine's 2008 Reader's Choice!

Abbott's does not possess a beer and wine license, but you may bring your own alcoholic beverages if you wish. They serve a full line of soft drinks and provide ice.

Featuring...Mystic Whale Rock Oysters, Locally Harvested Little Neck Clams, Icy Cold Shrimp in the Shell, Crab Claws & a variety of special dipping sauces to accompany the delectable dishes!

Open daily noon to 9 p.m. American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and Discover accepted.

RESERVATIONS for the GENERAL PUBLIC are NOT needed or accepted. Dining is strictly "first come first served".

For more information about group functions please call for details (minimum of 20 people). Special menus are available for groups and you will have dedicated table service and staff for your event.

Rehearsal Dinners
Corporate Meetings
Birthday Bashes
Senior Citizens
Club Outings

Minimum Group Size: 20 Maximum Group Size: 200

For more information call 860-536-7719 or visit the Abbott's Lobster website.