Why visit Red 36 Restaurant in Mystic?

Red 36 Restaurant Mystic, CT

Red 36 Restaurant Mystic, CT

So, throughout the summer we here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina have been recommending a local Mystic based restaurant called Red 36. And what’s not to like, great food, awesome setting and everything that embodies New England waterfront dining. Well, not only has Red 36 been a popular destination for our summer guests, our autumn guests have been enjoying it every bit as much. And so to that end, we thought we give you a bit more info on Red 36 via this blog post.

r36-outside1

Think – Stars and stripes hanging from the rafters of a huge whitewashed clapboard building on the Mystic River. You’re inside a stunning restaurant called Red 36 at Seaport Marine on Washington Street in historic Mystic. Opened in summer 2014, this glamorous, glorified clam shack has everything going for it. Mystic has gained fame for its relationship with the sea, so opening a waterside restaurant to capitalize on that connection seems like a recipe for success. The real challenge is actually taking that premise and making it work on a daily basis.

r36-menu

All summer long Red 36 has been one of our favorite places to visit, dine and recommend; especially for lunch. Great well prepared food and awesome views make this a perfect spot. Aptly named for the red buoy that marks the starboard side of the channel when returning from the sea, it’s the quintessential seaside eatery—think, wide wooden decks, sturdy picnic tables surrounded by comfy Adirondack chairs and platters of fresh seafood. In the summer, walls of windows completely open and lead to an outdoor bar, multiple lounge areas and dining tables. In the winter, the roaring fireplace and the intimate indoor dining and bar area create a cozy atmosphere with stunning views. The eclectic American menu changes seasonally, always offering fresh seafood and an extensive raw bar. A diverse appetizer selection, multiple burgers and great flat bread pizzas complete the menu, creating something for everyone. We also like the fact that in addition to the aforementioned offerings, they also offer one of the best orders of nachos around (very tasty).  However, one of Dave’s favorite dishes is the Truffle Mushroom Ravioli’s with seared local Stonington scallops.  #absolutelydelicious

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Their food is prepared somewhat upscale as Red 36 which is owned by the same owner of Bravo Brave and Olio, which are two of the more of our favorite restaurants in the Mystic Country region.  Next time you visit with us, be sure to ask us about visiting Red 36.

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Upcoming Fall Festivals here in Mystic Country

Autumn or Fall – whichever you choose to call it, is a beautiful time to get out and about now that the colorful mums are being planted, leaves are changing to scarlet and gold, and beach umbrellas are down, summer novels are read and our tan is beginning to fade and kiss summer good-bye. We suggest that our guests get out and take a ride to some of our favorite fall locations. Here are some of our recommendations for fall adventures in shopping, celebrating and leaf-peepin’ that we think are great! Getting there is just one of the highlights of a fall getaway.

The fall is truly a time for scenic views and wonderful Fall Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals. For instance just about an hour north of our inn is the Quiet Corner, aka, Northeastern Connecticut. In this case, the journey getting there is truly one of the highlights of the destination as we send our quests up scenic Route 169, which runs north-and-south through the region. The Quiet Corner is much more rural than our inn’s southeastern CT waterfront location and is especially noted for its country/rural setting, antique shops, boutiques and restaurants. The region is also known for the many antiques shops within Putnam, Pomfret and Woodstock. Check out the following festival in Woodstock, CT:

October 15th & 16th which is the weekend after Columbus Day is the 34th Annual Roseland Cottage Fine Arts and Crafts Festival. fall-roseland-cottage-arts-festivalLocated right off of Rte. 169, Roseland Cottage in Woodstock hosts one of the leading juried fine arts and crafts shows in New England, featuring 175 local artisans and their wares: jewelry, painting printmaking, woodwork, pottery, clothing, Metalwork, and much more. Enjoy live music, a food court, and first-floor tours of Roseland Cottage. Hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

As your ‘day trip’ continues to wind through the country side you will enter the antiquing capital of Connecticut! Putnam is home to the largest antiques market in the state. While perusing several floors of items you will most certainly find a treasure that you must have for your own! If you’re feeling fatigued from your travels this is the place to take a stop to refuel. Try the 85 Main Bistro, The Crossings Restaurant & Brew Pub or The Courthouse Bar & Grille where you will find some wonderful food in this small town location. Or perhaps you can plan to visit during the following festival:

October 22nd is the Great Pumpkin Festival and Foliage Train Ride in Downtown Putnam CT.
fall-pumpkin-festival-putnamArts and crafts, harvest fair, live music, pumpkin carving, pie eating contest and much more! The Town of Putnam & the Downtown Business Association proudly present this annual festival. Take a 90 minute foliage train ride excursion and you’ll wind at a leisurely pace through the Last Green Valley. All events make for a long and satisfying day!

In closing, autumn is one of the best times of the year to visit here at our inn, and for us locals “it is” our favorite time of the year. The summer crowds have come and gone, and the weather just keeps getting better. The days are sunny and warm, still perfect for walking the beaches or visiting the host of shoreline attractions. At night the cool ocean air off Niantic Bay provides the perfect excuse to light the fireplace in your guest room while you sip a glass of wine and relax after a long day exploring the southernmost New England state ~ Connecticut.

Never Wrong at Wright’s Steak House

Sure, the primary reason people come and visit with us is most things shoreline; beaches, our boardwalk, outdoor waterfront dining and fresh New England seafood. However, as we noted in our previous BLOG we also have some great local theaters and playhouses locally. And when our guest come to visit with us to catch a show at one of the theaters, we like to recommend a few specials places to grab a bite to eat before or after the show. To this end, below are some of our favorite eateries when visiting our local playhouses.

Let’s Get Fresh!

Chef Jonathan Rapp of River Tavern and OTTO Pizza in Chester – and the yearly Dinners at the Farm benefit series – has opened Wright’s Steakhouse this year in Centerbrook, taking over the former Gabrielle’s Restaurant space in the village in Essex.

Moving back to Deep River, CT after selling his two wildly successful venues in New York City, Rapp decided to try his magic locally. He introduced farm-to-table, locally-sourced dining to the Shoreline and now we’ve come to expect it. River Tavern has produced a group of restaurants on the same wave length and if his original mission was to teach us to savor the abundance of Connecticut, he has succeeded.

Wright’s Steakhouse – Centerbrook, CT

1 Sign sm 1500

As we say, you’re never wrong at Wright’s Steakhouse – One of our new go to places for beef, well steak to be exact, is Wright’s Steakhouse in Centerbrook. Located just 20 minutes from our inn and just down the street from the Essex Steam Train, Wright’s specializes in locally-raised, wood-fired meats. As is usual for a steakhouse, dishes are served a la carte. Additionally, they feature a fresh raw bar with a variety of oysters and littleneck clams, soups, salads, sandwiches, poultry and fish.

Although you’re dining in a historic Victorian era home, the décor is somewhat minimalist with pale woods and bright red accents – not at all stuffy. A nice variety of cocktails and the offering of several draft beers and a very nice wine list make this experience complete. So if you’re craving a “good fresh steak” or a good fresh anything for that matter, consider a visit to Wright’s Steakhouse during your visit here at the inn.

River Tavern – Chester, CT

River Tavern ChesterOpened in 2001 this was the first of three shoreline local restaurants master-minded by chef/owner Jonathan Rapp. River Tavern is located on Main Street in the cozy town center of Chester. Working with local farms, fishermen and cheese mongers, River Tavern takes great pride in serving innovative farm fresh cuisine in an inviting modern atmosphere. Chef Rapp is proud to be a member of and counted among the early organizers of the Department of Agriculture’s Farm-to-Chef program.

Staying true to the fresh locally farmed ingredients, the menu changes daily to focus on the current harvest of Connecticut providers and preparing them simply and thoughtfully. The cocktail, beer and wine menus change often and are influenced by current menus and the changing seasons.

OTTO – Chester, CT

They keep it simple at Otto’s Wood-Fired Pizzeria.  Otto Pizza in Chester The no-nonsense wood fired specialty pizzas, all one size are a meal fit for two. Try their award-winning Margherita pizza and add a beautiful Antipasti plate. This modern and stylish pizzeria is offering a simple and delicious menu. The menu, which can change as often as daily, features gourmet pizzas, fresh salads, a limited, but nice selection of beer and wines. They source ingredients locally whenever possible and even have a few gluten free options available. They’re open for dinner seven nights a week and for weekend lunch, too. Tables are first come, first serve and are eat in or take out. Go hungry, and bring your friends.

Finally, you do not need to be going to a play or show to experience any of the above fine restaurants.  All are within a 30 minute drive from our inn.  So if you’re interesting in visiting one of these restaurants during your next visit, please ask us for directions.

For additional information on any of the above restaurants, visit:

Wright’s Steak House – www.wrightssteak.com/

River Tavern –  www.rivertavernrestaurant.com/

Otto Pizza – www.ottochester.com/

Our Best Clam Shacks, Lobster Rolls and Outdoor Dining

It’s summer again here on the CT shoreline! Two of the most common questions we are asked here at the inn are “who has the best Lobster Roll” and “where is there a great place to eat outside”. If we were visiting the area for the first time we’d be asking the same questions. So, below is our take on some of our favorites and the area’s most popular choices for lobster rolls, clam shacks and outdoor dining.

When it comes to lobster, you’ll find they do things a bit differently in Connecticut. This state’s claim to fame is not a traditional cold lobster-salad sandwich, but a hot lobster roll overflowing with warm lobster meat and oozing with butter. We think it’s finger-lickin’ good!

Right around the corner are two of our favorite outdoor clam shacks and both serve great fried clams, lobster rolls, clam chowder, fresh fish and chips and much, much more.

Right here in our very own Village of Niantic we have:

Skipper’s Restaurant – Niantic, CT
Skippers Restaurant in Niantic
This is one of the busiest places in the area, and rightfully so. Beautiful views, great lightly-battered fried seafood, and in our opinion, one of the best Fried Fish sandwiches in the entire area. Skipper’s is open all year around, serving lunch and dinner daily. They serve a large variety of the freshest seafood including fried whole belly clams, lobster rolls, excellent fish and chips, and award winning clam chowder, as well as chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Skipper’s offers plenty of indoor seating and outdoor dining overlooking the Niantic Bay. Come enjoy the warm, casual atmosphere of Skippers.

Dad’s Restaurant – Niantic, CT
Dads Restaurant in Niantic
Dad’s has been a local favorite serving seasonally since 1963. Located in the charming Village of Niantic, you will be able to take in the amazing views of Long Island Sound at Niantic Bay. It’s the perfect setting for everything from date night to family dinner. You will find a great selection of seafood, burgers, fries and if you’re looking for a foot-long hotdog – this is the place! You can also walk right over for that special treat of gourmet ice cream at Dad’s Restaurant!

Stepping outside our village of Niantic, we also like the following:

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock – New London, CT
Captain Scott's Lobster Dock
You’ll find at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock, a quaint fish market and lobster shack on Shaw’s Cove in New London. Named for Captain Thomas A. Scott, who arrived in New London in 1871 to build the Race Rock Lighthouse, the restaurant’s signature lobster roll comes on a toasted split bun, full of hot, buttery pieces of lobster meat, topped off simply with sliced lemon. Grab a picnic table and a view of the water, and you’ll need little else. Hard to find (we have printed directions), but well worth the trip.

Ford’s Lobster – Groton, CT
Ford's Lobster
While many who visit the area know Abbott’s Lobster in Noank we’re here to tell you about a really awesome lobster spot called Ford’s Lobster. It’s not easy to find. It’s down by the water, just two small seaside shacks covered in lobster buoys and a deck overlooking a beautiful water view. This BYOB ‘shack’ is creative with their full menu plus they have a lobster bisque lobster roll option in addition to the usual hot with butter and cold with mayo. All YUMMY! Ford’s uses large chunks of tail and claw and in addition to the above options, they also make a ‘lobster bomb’ which is a bread bowl filled with lobster. The chowders here are fantastic, the New England chowder (creamy) and the Noank chowder (clear clam broth) are both winners!

The Back Porch – Old Saybrook
The Back Porch Old Saybrook
Dave loves the blackened Salmon over Caesar Salad, but they have a fair share of lobster dishes as well. One dish/sandwich in particular is their “Lobster Grilled Cheese”. Yes, you read right! If you have never had a lobster grilled cheese sandwich, this might be one of the best places to try one – to die for! With outdoor waterfront dining and New England American Cuisine, The Back Porch Restaurant is a favorite summer dining destination overlooking the boats at the mouth of the Connecticut River. Happy Hour six days a week and live entertainment Wednesdays through Sundays.

Dog Watch Café – Stonington, CT
Dog Watch Cafe Stonington, CT
The Dog Watch Cafe is located in beautiful Stonington Borough, on the marina directly overlooking Dodson Boatyard. A casual seaside atmosphere that’s perfect for kicking back with a cocktail or dining while enjoying beautiful harbor sunsets. We recommend the white wine steamed mussels – a favorite! Special events throughout the year guarantee a great time.

S&P Oyster Company – Mystic, CT
SnP Oyster
Looking to have some lunch or dinner while visiting Mystic? S&P is located right on the Mystic River by the historic bascule drawbridge. You can choose to set outside or in and have beautiful views of the boats passing through the bridge. To name a couple of favorites, the stuffing on the Seafood Ambrosia is decadent, and the tuna on the Grilled Sampler is excellent. The consistency of the food and service at S&P is what brings folks back every time. We HIGHLY recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants a water view and some refreshingly tasty good food!!

Sea Swirl of Mystic – Mystic, CT
Sea Swirl
Come to Sea Swirl of Mystic for some of the best dining in the area. Sea Swirl was visited by Rachael Ray for her show ‘$40 A Day’ on the Food Network and received a great review. They serve a menu of expertly fried local seafood, including scallops, shrimp and fish and have perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets on the horizon. For an alternative to seafood, there are hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, sandwiches and much more in this casual clam shack atmosphere. Oh, and don’t forget the ice cream!

Sunset Ribs – Waterford, CT
Sunset Ribs Waterfrod, CT
Sunset Ribs is one of those seasonal ‘beach-bars’ frequented by locals, vacationers and Sunday bikers. Sit on the deck and sip a cocktail, have a bite to eat and watch the sunset behind our inn. Situated on a vista overlooking the Long Island Sound and located right across the Niantic River from our inn, Sunset Ribs offers great BBQ and other offerings including steak, pasta and seasonal seafood dishes. On warm evenings dine outdoors on the patio and enjoy beautiful scenery and live entertainment with your meal.

We love sharing all of the places to grab some great seafood whether they are steps away from the inn or in little out of the way places north and south of the inn. What’s more perfect than coming to the Connecticut shoreline and indulging yourself with fresh seafood and beautiful water views!

Our Top 10 Things To Do in Mystic Country this Summer

The weather has warmed, our inn is looking amazing and we are ready for the busy summer season here in Niantic, CT. If you’re still looking to make summer vacation plans and wondering what there is to do in the area, we put together a list of popular summertime things to do in our Mystic Country region. So, without further ado, our Top 10 Things To Do while visiting the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina are:

# 1 – Visit Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport — The Museum of America and the Sea — is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Explore American maritime history first-hand as you climb aboard historic tall ships, stroll through a re-created 19th-century coastal village or watch a working preservation shipyard in action.

Yes, Mystic has so much to see and do and we find that most of our guests who have never visited the area are very interested in visiting Mystic Seaport. And why not, it is truly one of New England’s most cherished treasures.

Click here to read more about Mystic Seaport

# 2 – Take a Day Trip to Block Island
Block Island Southeast Lighthouse

Thousands of years ago, a glacier left rolling hills and ponds behind, forming what is now known as Block Island.
Block Island features 17 miles of pristine beaches, protected by lighthouses and spectacular bluffs, and surrounded by rolling roads and winding paths.

If you have never been to Block Island and enjoy outdoor activities and exploring new places, then Block Island beckons. You’ll find that ‘Block’ is a special destination in so many ways. You’ll take a high speed ferry and find that this little island is a terrific place to explore. Whether you enjoy a laid-back beach day, a vigorous bike ride or a simple day of shopping and lunch, it’s all just a short walk from the Ferry dock. Consider visiting the iconic and beautiful southeast Lighthouse and breathtaking bluffs.

Getting out to ‘Block’ is so easy and affordable! The high speed ferry leaves several times a day from the New London Ferry dock which is just 15 minutes away from the inn!

Click here to read more about Block Island

# 3 – Visit and Picnic at one of our local Wineries
Wineries

If you enjoy unique wines, tranquil settings and an overall relaxing day, we recommend visiting one of the several local wineries on the southeastern CT shoreline. We also recommend that you take a lovely picnic to enjoy at the winery. We can’t begin to tell you just how many of our guests enjoy this recommendation. Most of the local wineries are within a 30 minute drive from our inn, and some of them offer entertainment.

Click here to read our BLOG post about Connecticut Wineries

# 4 – Visit Watch Hill and “The Ocean House”
Ocean House Rhose Island

This charming village is nestled along the shore of Block Island Sound in the southwest corner of Washington County, Rhode Island. Watch Hill is situated on a peninsula that is nearly surrounded by ocean, further adding to its awe inspiring beauty. Outdoor activities in the area include rowing, swimming, ocean sailing, fishing and hiking. Additionally, local shopping and fine restaurants combine to make this a favored resort area. Did you know that this is where Taylor Swift chooses to make her summer getaway?

Click here to read more about Watch Hill

Perched high on the bluffs of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Ocean House is an iconic New England seaside resort. Ocean House welcomed guests for 135 years, but as with many historic hotels, over time, neglect took its toll. The Ocean House was closed in 2003 when it was deemed beyond feasible repair. In 2004 a new structure replicating the original exterior design was conceived. Today, this much-loved beach hotel has been recreated to convey the romance of its storied past and the rich character of Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

Click here to read more about the Ocean House

# 5 – Take a Sailboat Cruise aboard the 81′ Schooner Argia
Mystic Schooner Argia

We can’t begin to tell you just how special it is to take a sailboat cruise aboard the 81′ Schooner “Argia”. Step aboard the traditional sailing ship ARGIA for a relaxing sightseeing cruise. Enjoy a leisurely cruise down the Mystic River and smooth sailing in Fishers Island Sound. Beautiful views of lighthouses, islands, and historic homes await you as the gentle lapping of the water and the smell of salt air surround you. Day cruises are available for 2 ½ hours at morning, afternoon or sunset and are very reasonably priced.

Click here to read more about the Argia

# 6 – Bike through our local Beach Communities
Bike Riding along the Beach

So, who doesn’t like a bike ride along beautiful coastline and looking at everything from beaches, beautiful birds, boats, waterfront estates, houses and bungalows. Here in Niantic we have some beautiful seaside bike routes as well many others fit for every kind of biker. Whether leisurely or intense we have ideas to share with you here at the inn.

Click here to read more about our ‘Bike-inn’ by the Sea package 

# 7 – Spend a day at our local Beach!!!
CT shoreline beaches

Overlooking Niantic Bay is McCook’s Point Park. The park consists of a beautiful bluff between two white, sandy beaches. On the bluff, there is a green lawn shaded by copper beeches, perfect for picnics, games or quiet contemplation.

From the Point, you can see Fisher’s Island, Plum Island, and Orient Point across Long Island Sound. McCook’s Point beach, on the west side of the bluff, and Hole-in-the-Wall beach, to the east, provide plenty of room for sunbathing and swimming.

Here at the inn we provide beach passes and all of the beach gear you could possibly need for a day of fun in the sun.

Click here to read more about Niantic Beaches

# 8 – Visit one of our favorite outdoor dining spots
Lobster in the Rough

Outdoor dining is on everyone’s mind during summer on the CT shoreline when the sun comes out and temperatures warm. Visitors and locals alike scramble to occupy every breezy patio and waterfront restaurant in sight. To help you score the most coveted alfresco tables, we’ve identified some of our guest favorite restaurants with outdoor seating. Below are just some of the favorite outdoor/waterfront dining spots.  Please feel free to call us (860.739.0331) or email us (info@innharborhill.com) with anyquestions about these or other restaurants in the region:

The Back Porch
Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
Skipper’s Seafood
Ford’s Lobster
S&P Oyster Co.
Main Street Grille
The Black Sheep

# 9 – Explore the areas Antique & Boutique shops
Antique Shops

Is your “inner collector” eager to scout out vintage artifacts?
Antique shops can be a treasure trove of undiscovered delights, whether your passion is industrial art, 19th century glassware, estate silver or nautical kitsch.

Browse Mystic Country’s array of antique dealers, quaint gift shops, general stores, bookstores, art galleries and specialty boutiques, many of which can be found in CT’s Coastline and Countryside village centers.

FYI: Bargain shoppers will love our numerous outlet stores…

Pack comfy shoes to ensure you’ll have fun every step of the way…
so explore, shop… and come away with that perfect find!

Click here to read more about the Mystic Antiques Trail

#10 – Last, but not least, Relax here at our Inn
Relaxing at Bed and Breakfast

With so much to see and do in the area some of our guests forget why they wanted to getaway in the first place. To relax! But we have found that both exploring the area and relaxing here at the inn can be accomplished all in one trip. So come enjoy the beauty and quaintness of our inn and you won’t be disappointed.

Click here to read more about relaxing at the inn

In closing, we hope that our ‘Top 10’ list gives you some idea of the many things there are to see and do while staying with us. And also note, we have much more info and directions for each and everyone one of these adventures right here at the inn, as well as many other suggestions for things to do. We hope you find our Top 10 Things To Do list helpful in considering a getaway to our inn.
Below are some additional helpful links:

Click here to check “Room Availability”

Click here to view our “Specials & Packages”

Come Getaway and visit our local Connecticut Wineries

Let’s face it, when you think of good wine and beautiful wineries, Connecticut wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of your list.  However, you just may be surprised to learn that CT does have beautiful wineries that produce very good wines.  While there are nearly 30 wineries here in Connecticut, we are particularly fond of several local wineries located just minutes from our inn.

The award-winning wine industry of southeastern CT is relatively new considering the history of many California wineries; however, they should not be overlooked for that reason. Located in a unique micro-climate these vineyards benefit from close proximity to Long Island Sound. This maritime climate influences longer, milder growing seasons creating benefits like those of a European vineyard. All of these vineyards mix new technology with time honored brewing secrets to create fine wines and open for tastings and some for tours. Bring a picnic and enjoy dining by the vines – there is nothing quite like sitting out on the land that grew the grapes and enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.

CT Wine Trail

In Ledyard CT (just 20 minutes from our inn) is Maugle Sierra Vineyards (est. 2002). This vineyard is primarily known for their St. Croix grapes, producing intensely fruit forward red and dessert wines. Watch the seasonal changes at the winery in the harvesting of the grapes and the production of the vineyards many fine selections. Visitors can enjoy a bottle or glass of wine when they come for a wine tasting and are welcome to bring a picnic to the wine patio, sit back, take a deep breath and relax amidst the vines. We especially like that Maugle Sierra Vineyards offers live entertainment on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. We often recommend that our guests shop at our local market and pick-up a brick of cheese, a baguette of bread and maybe some olives, deli meats, etc., and enjoy everything with your wine.
Maugle Sierra Winery

The Jonathan Edwards Winery (just 30 minutes from our inn) is a beautiful vineyard set on a hill with panoramic views in North Stonington, CT (est. 2001). This winery is a historic dairy barn that has been completely renovated to accommodate the wine making, barrel aging and final bottling and distribution process. The winery handcrafts Estate Connecticut wines as well as premium Napa Valley managing to capture the flavors of both the east and the west winemaking industry. Enjoy a tour of the winemaking and taste all of the special blends offered in the tasting room and relax out on the patio with a picnic and your chosen favorite wine. Watch for summer entertainment under the stars – there’s nothing quite like it. Aside from their great red wines (Merlot and Zinfandel are our favorites) we especially like the summer concerts that Jonathan Edwards offers. Generally on Thursday nights, and only in July and August, these inexpensive, low key concerts are no more than a blanket on the lawn, and picnic dinner and sunset watching all while listening to great local bands. We don’t let a summer go by without catching at least one or two of these wonderful concerts.
Jonathan Edwards Winery

In Stonington CT, a trip to Stonington Vineyards (est. 1987) (just 30 minutes from our inn) will find the vineyard well known for many of their award- winning blends and a commitment “to create wines both pleasing to the soul and palette.” Winery tours can be booked in advance and tastings of their quality, European-style wines is encouraged. Perhaps picnic on the vineyard and enjoy any one of its barrel fermented Chardonnays or proprietary blends… their Seaport White named for Mystic Seaport is a good choice if you enjoy a nice glass of white wine.
Stonington VineyardsLastly, In Clinton CT, Chamard Vineyards (est. 1983) (just 30 minutes from our inn, and immediately next door to the Clinton Crossing Outlet Shops) has a winery building crafted in an old New England design which includes old field-stone and wooden beams taken from the land of the vineyard. The winery has an underground wine cellar, production and barrel aging rooms enjoy a cool stable environment perfect for making their many fine Cabernet’s and Pinot Noir’s. Stay for wine tasting and enjoy your pick of their wines while sitting out on the deck or at the custom built tasting bar while viewing the vineyards or perhaps watching a spectacular sunset.
Chamard Vineyards

So, if you have never visited our inn or the southeastern corner of Connecticut and would like to experience a local CT winery and have everything planned for you, you may want to consider our very popular Wine & Dine Package.  For details on this and other packages we offer, visit our Specials and Packages page.  So as you can see, there are several options for you wine lovers, and best of all, these wineries are open year-round.
Wine is better at the Beach

 

Spring Getaway and Lobster?

Needless to say, we’ve all had more than our fill of winter this year. . .
SNOW, ICE and bitterly COLD . . . in amounts large enough to wear down even the most die-hard winter loving enthusiast. And it’s been so cold of late; even the local lobsters have taken on a different color. Blue Lobster

Can we get you to agree, it’s now time for a change!
Spring – WHERE ARE YOU HIDING?

We’d like to think that spring is just around the corner – and if history teaches us anything, we will begin to see and feel spring right here in southern New England before we know it. As a matter of fact, spring officially begins in just a few short weeks (4 to be exact) on March 20th. We can hardly contain our excitement as the days are already getting longer and March 8th which marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, is always a good sign that spring can’t be far behind. Even though we’ve been averaging a snow storm a week of late, we can take comfort in knowing that this cold, brutal winter can’t and won’t last forever!

Spring Lobster Lovers Getaway Package

Lobster – you know you want it.

Okay, so here at the inn our thoughts are turning from freezing cold winter weather to warmer and brighter spring days, and from staying indoors snuggled by the fireplaces to getting out and walking our local Boardwalk taking in spring’s rays of sunshine. So, let’s shift our thoughts from soups, chowders and hearty beef stews to something so many people seek in the early days of spring … LOBSTER ! ! !

Before we know it the chill of winter will begin to diminish, the grass will begin to green, the crocus will begin to pop, the birds will begin to sing and we all will begin to thaw! Warmer weather is a time when so many people are drawn out to the seashore to shake off some of the winter blues by walking on the beach, skipping a few stones across the waves, scavenging the shores for a few treasures and dining out on seafood. Any kind of seafood works, but we think Lobster is particularly attractive because of the many ways it can be served. Here along the shoreline we have as many great places to get and eat lobster as we do lobster dishes to eat. We eat it baked stuffed, broiled, hot or cold on a roll, mixed in eggs or added to mac & cheese, Alfredo, in grilled cheese sandwiches, bisque and chowder, just to name a few. YUM! In keeping with these thoughts of spring and lobster, we offer our Sail, Sale into Spring Lobster Lovers Getaway Package or what we sometimes refer to as “the perfect crustacean vacation”!!!

y Baked Stuffed Lobster Dinner

Baked Stuffed Lobster dinner!!!

Our Lobster Lover’s Spring Getaway Package includes all you may want and need for that perfect springtime getaway, and after the winter we had, we are sure it’s bound to be a great and busy spring here on the CT shoreline.

We’d love to have you visit and hope to see you, and spring, very, very soon!!!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, and all of the romance we can possibly devote a day to, is the order of the day. Have you ever wondered what started this yearly declaration of devotion to the one(s) we love —interesting and surprising…

Truly, there are as many stories about St. Valentine as there are chocolates out there dipped and all ready for delivery. Most of these include stories of martyrdom and Christian saints named Valentinus. The one that strikes a chord with us is that of Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to these persecuted under the Roman Empire. What a guy our St. Valentine… in order to be sure that true love prevailed he performed these marriages and was persecuted, jailed and eventually executed all in the name of love. However, it is believed that this day did not truly take on the importance of celebrating romantic love until Chaucer associated it in the Middle Ages and the tradition of courtly love flourished. So then in the 1300’s the idea of love and romance on this day is established. From here the Europeans began exchanging cards in the 1600’s and in 1840 the first mass produced Valentine cards were distributed in the United States. Through the years many symbols for love have emerged to include hearts, cherubs, flowers, chocolates and sugary confections, ribbon and lace greetings, love songs and poetry, romantic dinners and getaways, jewelry and champagne, these often lavish gifts are given by both sexes to the ones that they love the most.

Valentines at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

          How will you celebrate Valentine’s this year?
                                Looking for Ideas?
Check out our Love is “Inn” the Air Valentine’s Package

Here are a couple of interesting pieces of Valentine trivia … 62% of all adults celebrate Valentine’s Day spending approximately $448 million on 58 million pounds of chocolate, 36 million of which are delivered in heart shaped gift boxes. But, the biggest seller at Valentine’s Day is sweethearts! Yes those little heart-shaped colored candy confections that all contain a sentiment appropriate to the day. “Be Mine”, “I Love You”, “Sweetest”, etc. are all written on the approximately 8 billion candies that are sold and could stretch from Rome Italy to Valentine, Arizona by way of Niantic, CT – 20 times over!

Valentine Chocolates

Here at the inn, we like to celebrate this special day throughout February… actually, throughout the entire year! Anytime and all the time is Valentine’s Day and perfect to celebrate with the one you love! There’s a lot of love going on here at the inn. We see guests arrive and fall in love with the sea, the views, the area, the beaches and the inn. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to share some very special memories with the folks that make them right here at the inn. We’re proud to say that more than one couple has chosen to become engaged here at the inn, most recently on New Year’s Eve. Guests come to us for so many reasons be it visiting family or romantic getaways for couples sharing a celebration of life, an anniversary, a special holiday or occasion and those that need to find a place to rest, relax and recharge their minds. Whatever the reason, we are always happy that you are here.

We love our guests – Happy Valentine’s Day!

CTs Quiet Corner ~
    the perfect autumn day trip

About an hour north of our inn, in the Northeastern corner of Connecticut, is what is known as the Quiet Corner. The Quiet Corner is much more rural and country-like than our inns southeastern CT waterfront location and is especially noted for its rural and rustic small towns, great antiquing, unique dining options, boutique shopping and vistas like no others. Getting there is just one of the highlights as we send our guests up Route 169, a 32-mile National Scenic Byway which runs north-and-south through the region.

Route 169, a 32-mile National Scenic Byway

Route 169, a 32-mile National Scenic Byway

The Quiet Corner has been written about as a great place to visit by numerous travel writers in several well know publications such as Yankee Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Connecticut Magazine, Worcester Living and more. While that part of our state is beautiful all year long, it is most popular during fall foliage season when blazing autumn colors draw leaf peepers from all over the world.

Why visit the Quiet Corner you ask? Well, we personally think it is as beautiful as any place one could visit during the autumn season, and one of the best places anywhere to view the beauty of autumns fall foliage. With its winding and stonewall flanked scenic roads, rolling hills, old faded red barns and farmhouses amid fields of corn and hay, well simply put, its the quintessential New England setting. Without a doubt, it is one of our most recommended Day Trips during the autumn foliage season (i.e., from late September thru October).

Beauty surrounds you

Beauty surrounds you heading to the Quiet Corner of CT.

As you head up to the northeast hills of Connecticut via Route 169, it becomes very clear why this corner of our state is called the Quiet Corner. Few visitors to Connecticut ever get to experience the old-fashioned ways of the state’s “Quiet Corner” where sparsely populated towns seem a world away from the rest of the state. The Quiet Corner has a reclusive allure: people who use to leave New York City for the Litchfield Hills; now seek the uninterrupted tranquility of the Quiet Corner.

As you begin your day trip passing through the town of Lisbon you cant help but notice weathered-clapboard homesteads around every bend. Continuing up Rt. 169 youll see tons of stone walls and never ending fields as you come into Canterbury. Here youll find the Prudence Crandall Museum that honors a courageous white woman named Prudence Crandall who was ahead of her time when she educated African American girls from 1833 to 1834 before a club-wielding mob brought an end to her school.

The  Prudence Crandall Museum

The Prudence Crandall Museum

Continuing your journey you will eventually come to Brooklyn, CT, which was settled in the 1600s and is known for their famous Brooklyn Fairgrounds, site of the oldest agricultural fair in the country. For a special treat, visit The Golden Lamb Buttery, a 1,000-acre estate just off Route 169. Enjoy a late-afternoon hayride or relax with a cocktail while sitting on their deck overlooking the lake, and their roaming and meandering stone walls. In our opinion, they are one of the most unique restaurants in the state, and if you can get a reservation, try their roast duckling, a house specialty thats so tender it falls off the bone. Even if you dont feel like visiting for lunch or dinner, do stop by just to see this gorgeous setting and take a few pictures; we guarantee you wont regret it.

The Golden Lamb Buttery Restaurant

The Golden Lamb Buttery Restaurant

As you travel on, a stunning path of giant trees cast long shadows as you pass faded red barns, orchards thick with apples and picked out cornfields, rolling hills, farm houses and ancient stone walls all set with breathtaking beauty as autumns colors surround you. Another place you may want to visit is the Vanilla Bean Caf, voted Connecticuts Best Country Caf by Yankee Magazine. The Vanilla Bean opened in 1989 with a seating capacity of 16, but today seats 90 inside and 40 outside! It is located in a restored, early 19th century barn in scenic town of Pomfret and features home-made soups, sandwiches and decadent desserts. This small country town is also home to Sharp Hill Winery and Celebrations Gift Shoppe and Tea Room ~ both worth more than a casual stop!

Celebrations Gift Shoppe, Gallery and Tea Room

Celebrations Gift Shoppe, Gallery and Tea Room

As your day trip continues through the country side you will enter the antiquing capital of Connecticut, and maybe all of New England ~ historic Putnam, CT. Putnam is home to the largest antiques market in the state, the Antiques Marketplace. While perusing their 350 showcases and booths, 22,000 square feet on four levels, you will most certainly find a treasure that you must have for your own! Finally, if at this point youre feeling a bit fatigued from your travels this is the place to take a stop to refuel. Try the 85 Main Bistro, The Crossings Restaurant & Brew Pub, Bellas Italian Bistro or The Courthouse Bar & Grille where you will find some wonderful food in this small town location.

The Crossings Brew Pub

The Crossings Restaurant & Brew Pub

Finally and sadly, were onto our last little town on this autumn adventure. Woodstock is just twenty-six miles from the start of your trip and is host to a historic huge annual country fair every Labor Day weekend. Stop and visit Taylor Brook Winery for a relaxing glass of wine and continue through this little town to historic Roseland Cottage, a beautiful raspberry colored Gothic Revival house built by a local boy who struck it rich. He and his family returned to the cottage every summer and their original furnishings are still on display here.

As we end, we hope the above adventure is something you get to experience one day, and hopefully during one of the most beautiful times of the year ~ Autumn in New England!

A Visit and Day Trip
   to Block Island

If you have every stayed at our inn, you know that we are big fans of sending our guests to places throughout the region via our “custom itineraries”. Our custom itineraries provide our guests a brief summary of the place of interest and our personal recommendations on how to get there as well as what to see or do once you are there. Well, one of the places we love to recommend for a summer day trip is Block Island.

Welcome to Block Island

Welcome to Block Island

Why visit Block Island? Well, just like our inn and our village of Niantic, we like the laid back atmosphere and casual mode of life on Block. Block Island is probably unlike anywhere you have ever visited with ferry boats that bring you into Old Harbor where most of the shopping, restaurants and beaches are located. We personally take the relaxing trip each summer to just browse the shops, people watch, have lunch and maybe, just maybe, have an early afternoon libation.

One interesting note about Block Island; you will not come across a single traffic light or a big chain business, but you will be blown away by the natural landscape with stone wall-lined rolling hills, breathtaking bluffs, and pristine beaches. To us, its a place that time seems to have forgotten.

Many of our guests and people who visit Block Island will rent a moped or bicycle to tour some of the island lighthouses, bluffs and beaches. A couple of must-sees, at least in our opinion, are the Southeast Lighthouse and the Mohegan Bluffs.

Scenic view of the cliffside Southeast Lighthouse. Block Island, Rhode Island.

The Southeast Lighthouse

Block Island Bluffs1

Block Island Bluffs

Walk down the Bluff steps to the Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do we recommend when you get hungry and/or thirsty? Well, Daves most favorite place for lunch is the Mohegan Caf & Brewery or the National Hotel which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both are located right on Water St. and a short 5 minute walk from the ferry boats. The Mohegan Caf offers a nice variety of craft and bottled beers, a very good Pan Blackened Mahi-Mahi sandwich, burgers, fish & chips, salads, sandwiches and tex-mex favorites.

5 Mohegan Cafe

One of our favorites ~The Mohegan Cafe

The National Hotel also offers pretty good food and breathtaking views with tables on their big shaded porch overlooking scenic Old Harbor. Its no wonder why this place is so popular with visitors. We also like Aldos for a cup of coffee and pastry if we arrive early in the day or we stop in for a mid-afternoon cup of Gelato.

What many people don’t realize is just how easy it is to get to Block Island from our inn. Only 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast, we personally like taking the ferry out of Point Judith, Rhode Island which is an hour drive from our inn. The reason we like taking the 55 minute ferry ride from Point Judith, is the quintessential look and feel of the classic New England commercial fishing community that also resides in Point Judith.

3 Block Island Ferry Sign

4 BI Ferry Boat

We also like that you can sit outside on the Pt. Judith ferry boats and catch the beautiful Rhode Island and Connecticut coastlines as you cruise to Block Island. For those who dont want to take an hour drive to get to Point Judith, you can take a high-speed ferry from New London, Connecticut which is just 15 minutes from our inn. The Block Island Express gets you to Old Harbor in just over an hour on a high-speed catamaran which runs from May thru September.

20 BI High Speed Ferry1

The Hi-Speed Ferry from New London

You can relax, renew and refresh at our inn and head out to where we go to do the same – on Block Island. And oh yea, September is one of the best months to visit Block Island. Be sure to ask us about Block Island and other great day trips when visiting with us.