Ladies and Gentleman,
  Start Your Engines – Naskart
  Go-Cart Racing has arrived

Here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina we work hard to keep abreast of new and exciting changes throughout our Mystic Country region, and are always in search of new attractions, new restaurants and new places to visit. And why not, it’s what keeps so many of our guests returning time and time again. Like a good seafood restaurant, we try to keep it fresh!

Naskart Gocart Racing Track Waterford CT

NASKART Indoor Go-Cart Race Track just 15 minutes from our inn.

Well, we are happy to introduce something we think those of you seeking fun and adventure will absolutely love – NASKART, the largest indoor multi-level go-cart track in the world!

Naskart Racing indoor carting track

Naskart Racers getting ready to race

The 110,000 square foot, 11 million dollar facility houses two very diverse multi-level tracks offering challenges for both beginner and experienced drivers. The two tracks are reminiscent of those formula-one / grand prix type of tracks you see on TV. Anyway, when all is said and done, the 76 all-electric, zero emission karts will get your adrenaline pumping as they reach top speeds of up to 45 mph. That might not sound like much, but when you’re only a foot off the ground, that’s zipping.

On your mark, get set, go

Naskart Grand Prix Track

The Naskart go-cart racing facility is a short 15 minute drive from our inn, and again is the perfect activity for those seeking something different to do while visiting. And after a few laps, you can enjoy an adult beverage at Naskarts full service “Pit Stop / Sports Bar”. That’s right, beer, wine and mixed drinks are offered in a bright and airy space ideal for watch car races and other sporting events. They even offer pub food (burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and more) at their “Fuel Up Café”.

NasKart Pit Stop Sports Bar

The “Pit Stop” Sports Bar serves beer, wine and mixed drinks, and the “Fuel Up Cafe’ offers burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and more.

So if you’re a race fan or kid at heart longing for the good ole days when your parents would take you to a go-cart tract, we here to tell you the good ole days have returned in a big way here on the Connecticut shoreline at the new NASKART indoor go-cart racing track. This new fun thing to do is the ultimate racing experience, and something to consider while visiting with us during those winter and early spring getaways.

For additional information, check NASKART’s website (http://naskartracing.com/ ) for hours of operation, pricing and other related details.

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.

Lighthouse Tours
   on the Connecticut shoreline.

The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina is located within a short distance of a number of beautiful and historic lighthouses. Did you know that people are fascinated by lighthouses? The historic naval and military review before construction, the folklore, the design and the locations all conjure up a vision of the history of the United States at sea.

When we named the rooms in our ‘Main Inn’ some years back, they were named for famous lighthouses on the southeastern portion of the Connecticut shoreline and three important lights in Long Island Sound.

Aside from history there is something mystifying about a lighthouse. I don’t know if it’s the vision of a structure standing alone out on the ocean and the apparent danger the house is constantly exposed to during storms and in protection of our harbors. Maybe it’s the countless books, movies, documentaries, and stories associated with the lighthouse. Who hasn’t seen a movie that has a wayward ship crashing up on the rocks by a lighthouse, lost at sea in a horrible storm or a soaking wet stranger arriving on the doorstep shivering and disoriented. This is the stuff books and movies are made of… mystery and adventure.

A very unique tour shoves off three times a week from New London and explores historic lighthouses in Long Island Sound. Some of “our” lighthouses and historic forts along the shoreline can be seen during wonderful lighthouse cruises that are offered by the Cross Sound Ferry (longislandferry.com). Enjoy two hour tours of history narrated by local experts while zipping aboard the SEA JET, a wave-piercing catamaran capable of cruising at speeds in excess of 30 knots (35 mph). Hit the high seas with all of the comforts and travel in air conditioned comfort with ample windows, airline seating and spacious outdoor decks.

If you’d like to strike out on your own and plan a self-guided daytrip from the inn here are our suggestions for lights of interest that are all within a half hour drive and can be seen by land. Pack a picnic and choose a waterfront stop along the way, smell the salt air and just enjoy!

Stonington Harbor Lighthouse, Stonington, CT – 1823
Stonington Lighthouse

In the early 1800’s, Stonington became a center for shipbuilding, whaling, and fishing industries, prompting the need for the current Stonington Harbor lighthouse to be built in 1823 at the entrance to the harbor. It was the first lighthouse built in Connecticut.

The lighthouse was offered for sale and the winning and only bid came from the Stonington Historical Society. In 1925 it was completely refurbished and opened it to the public as a museum. The Old Lighthouse Museum still operates today, and boasts as the only lighthouse on the Connecticut mainland that is regularly open to the public. The original whale oil light from the first Stonington light is one of the many items on display at the museum.

Mystic Seaport Lighthouse, Mystic, CT – 1966
Mystic Seaport Lighthouse

Mystic Seaport Light is a lighthouse at the south end of Mystic Seaport, 2 miles upriver from Noank, Connecticut. The light is a two-story white shingled structured topped with a glass-enclosed lantern constructed in 1966. It was formally dedicated in August 31, 1967, but remained unlit due to active navigational regulations imposed by the United States Coast Guard. The Mystic Seaport light is now an active light, but not an official aid to navigation.

The structure was used as an example of a lighthouse for Mystic Seaport visitors, but was not part of an exhibit until a 2008 renovation. The interior of the lighthouse was equipped with five LCD televisions to display two short educational films that highlight the history and architectural diversity of American lighthouses.

Morgan Point Lighthouse, Noank, CT – 1823 – Privately owned residence.
Morgan Point Lighthouse

To help mariners enter the Mystic River and the harbor, the Morgan Point lighthouse was built in 1823.

In the great New England hurricane of 1938, local residents reportedly took refuge inside the base of the tower during the hurricane, believing correctly that it was one of the safest places to be during a storm.

In 1991, a Connecticut native became the third private owner after seeing an ad for the lighthouse in the Wall Street Journal. “I had harbored the dream for 40 years of living a CT lighthouse. “When I found it, we were going to own it, that’s all there was to it.”

As a private residence, the lighthouse and the surrounding grounds are now closed to the public, although the structure is well-kept and remains an important visual landmark for maritime traffic coming into Mystic Harbor

Avery Point Lighthouse, Groton, CT – 1943
Avery Point Lighthouse

Avery Point Lighthouse is located on the east side of the Thames River entrance. You can visit the lighthouse situated on the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus. Avery Point is the last lighthouse in Connecticut to be built in 1943. The first light used consisted of eight 200-watt bulbs as a white light. In the late 1990’s some of the funding to restore the deteriorating structure came from sales of over 2000 personalized bricks from individual donors as part of a new landscaped walkway. Many of the services and materials were donated by the local townspeople to help complete the restoration in 2006.

New London Harbor Lighthouse, New London, CT – 1760, 1800
New London Harbor Lighthouse

New London Harbor Lighthouse is the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country and one of the earliest American lighthouses with a flashing light.

The original New London Harbor Lighthouse was built on the west side of the entrance to New London Harbor in 1760, before the United States was established as an independent nation.

On May 7, 1800, Congress appropriated funds to rebuild the lighthouse. It was removed in 1801 when the current stone tower was built. In 1855 a fourth-order Fresnel lens replaced the original 11 lamps with 13-inch reflectors. Illumination was converted to oil-vapor lamp in 1909 and acetylene in 1912. The light was electrified in 1930. The present keeper’s house was built in 1863.

New London Ledge “Haunted” Lighthouse, New London, CT – 1909
New London Ledge Lighthouse

This one-of-a-kind building was one of the last lighthouses built in New England, and it represents a rare case of an early 20th century offshore lighthouse that is not of cast-iron construction. By the early 1900s, New London, with its protected harbor at the mouth of the Thames River, had made the transition from whaling center to industrial city. New London Ledge Light was built because New London Harbor Light wasn’t sufficient to direct vessels around the dangerous ledges at the entrance to the harbor. When it was first lighted, the New London Day reported that the light could be seen up to 18 miles away.

The stately red brick building with its mansard roof and granite detailing makes a striking picture standing off by itself near the entrance to Connecticut’s New London Harbor, at the extreme eastern end of Long Island Sound. The lighthouse reportedly owes its distinctive French Second Empire style to the influence of the wealthy home owners on the local coast, who wanted a structure in keeping with the elegance of their own homes. Many of the large homes near the shore in the area were destroyed in the great hurricane of September 21, 1938.

Probably the best-known part of this station’s history and lore is the lighthouse’s infamous ghost, “Ernie.” It’s been claimed that in the 1920s or ’30s, a keeper learned that his wife had run off with the captain of the Block Island ferry. Distraught, the keeper jumped — or fell — from the roof of the lighthouse to his death, the story goes. Before the station was automated, the Coast Guard crew on duty reported various strange happenings: mysterious knocks on their bedroom doors in the middle of the night, doors opening and closing, the television being turned on and off repeatedly, and even having the covers pulled off the end of their bed. Falling back to sleep after being awakened by a strange noise was often a problem. If there’s any truth behind the legend, it’s elusive.

Playwright Eugene O’Neill lived in New London for many years, and his famous play Long Day’s Journey Into Night was set in the town. During one scene in the play, the characters refer to the fog signal at New London Ledge, a sound familiar to residents of New London.

New London Ledge was the last remaining manned lighthouse on Long Island Sound when it was finally de-staffed in 1987.

Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse, Old Saybrook, CT – 1886
Saybrook Breakwater Light

Saybrook Breakwater lighthouse was built in 1886 as part of a channel system that was dug to guide ships into the shallow harbor. Even though its location was close to shore, keepers would only stay there on average only a couple of years due to its constant dampness, and it was difficult with the strong currents and constant winds to row ashore for supplies. There were also no assistant keepers assigned to help the keepers until 1917.

During the hurricane of 1938, New England’s worst hurricane, most everything including a 1,500-gallon tank of kerosene was swept away except for the tower, which actually withstood the force. Keeper Gross and Assistant Keeper Bennett were able to survive in the tower and kept the light burning.

Actress Katharine Hepburn lived for many years near Lynde Point Lighthouse and Saybrook Breakwater Light.

Lynde Point Lighthouse, Old Saybrook, CT – 1803
Lynde Point Lighthouse

With increased shipping traffic and fishing, Lynde Point Lighthouse was built in 1803 to guide ships coming through Long Island Sound where the Connecticut River empties into the sound at Old Saybrook. The first wooden lighthouse with a whale-oil lantern placed on top was criticized by mariners as being too difficult to see. They complained it was too dim and too short, and the evaporation from the nearby marsh would cause a constant fog obscuring the lighthouse, even though the air would be clear out at sea.

So why choose to stay at
    a Bed and Breakfast?

When it’s time to plan for a trip, there are a number of things to consider. How will you get to your destination? Will you be going by plane, train, or automobile? You need to figure out how much and what to pack. These are important questions that often take time and effort to plan out.

In the process of planning, you might be tempted to reserve a room at a decent hotel and call it a day. It’s a strong temptation, and certainly understandable. Hotels are businesses that are specifically designed to make sure your stay is comfortable. You’ll usually get a decent bed in a nice room, at a reasonable price. However, it’s not the only option, and in fact, it’s not even the best one.

How is a Bed and Breakfast different From a Hotel?
Bed and Breakfast

A hotel may have nice amenities, it may be clean and well-tended, and it may have good customer service however, the staff is just that, staff. It’s a place where you go to stay for a few days, ignoring the world around you and often having the world ignore you right back. You may be able to use their pool, or their gym, or one of their other facilities but at no time is a hotel ever going to go out of their way to make you feel like their room could be your home. For some people, the idea of staying at a place that tries to feel like home is unnecessary. They just want a clean bed and a television, and perhaps internet access. As long as they have that, they’re fine.

But it’s always nice to have a choice and a Bed and Breakfast does exactly that by offering a warmer, more personal option. It’s much more than simply a room in which to stay, it’s actually a place that usually feels like home (minus the laundry, leaky faucet, etc.). A B&B accomplishes this with special amenities like complimentary WiFi, a glass of wine on arrival and home cooked breakfasts, local itineraries and pleasant surroundings. Though peaceful solitude is always an option you may find sitting in one of the common areas and talking with other guests or staff members is just what you need.

A Little History about Bed and Breakfast / inns…

The custom of opening one’s home to travelers dates back to Colonial America. Lodging establishments were few and far between and wayfarers relied on the kindness of strangers to provide a bed for the night. Hotels became more common with the advent of the railroad and later the automobile and most towns had at least one prominent hotel at this point in time.

Through the years there have been several steps to the evolution of today’s Bed and Breakfast Inn. In the 1980s and 1990s, B&B’s increased rapidly in numbers and evolved from homestay B&B’s with shared baths and simple furnishings to beautifully renovated homes and historic mansions with luxurious décor and amenities. By the mid-1990s, the Internet made it more affordable for innkeepers to promote their properties worldwide; it provided on-line reservation software and allowed travelers to view detailed photos, videos, and reviews.

B&B and Inn owners have been adding amenities such as wireless Internet access, free parking, spa services or nightly wine and cheese hours. To stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.

Innkeepers

      Sue & Dave Labrie Innkeepers ~ Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

Today there are hundreds of thousands of B&B’s throughout the world. In the United States, B&B’s are found in all states, in major cities and remote rural areas, occupying everything from modest cottages to opulent mansions and in restored structures from schools to cabooses to churches.

Check out the benefits to staying in a bed and breakfast

Staying at a bed and breakfast is a wonderful alternative to the traditional hotel stay. Gardens are often lush and offer comfortable seating, and rooms range from cozy to luxurious. Staying in a B&B can be a really unique travel experience and not one to be missed. Check out the following benefits of staying while making your decision.

  • Although B&B rooms can be priced higher than hotels, they usually offer a better value overall. More amenities are included such as breakfast and free Internet, you get much better service, and the experience tends to be more unique than an average hotel stay.
  • You’ll get more personal service. At a B&B, there are only a small group of guests, giving you a much more personal experience. Typically, your concierge is the owner and thus is invested in making sure you have a great stay.
  • Breakfast is included. It’s a wonderful amenity usually including special homemade offerings like coffee breads and cakes with everything from a continental spread to a hot breakfast with entrée.
  • You’ll encounter unexpected luxuries. B&B’s tend to offer all those special extra touches that can make your stay feel pampering. Some facilities even offer snacks and beverages (often to include wine) in the common areas for your enjoyment and convenience.
  • A B&B is the perfect romantic getaway. In fact, B&B’s have become so popular for couples that many cater to this romantic angle, offering special romantic packages. These may include pre-planned events or excursions that are included in your stay.
  • You can get a taste of the local flavor and lifestyle. B&B’s are usually established and run by locals, and tend to have their own character. Even better, B&B owners often have lots of tips concerning the best things to do and see in the local area.
  • Many B&B’s offer additional recreational activities in their regular packages. Depending on the location, you may be able to enjoy boating, biking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, or skiing.
  • Unlike hotels, B&B’s are often located in out-of-the-way areas or off the beaten path. This provides you with a great opportunity to see less traveled parts of the community that you would otherwise miss.
  • At a B&B, there are fewer people coming and going. With less going on, B&B owners tend to keep a much higher standard of security than a hotel property with a typical hotel staff.
  • You get the privacy and peace and quiet you desire. A B&B tends to be more exclusive with fewer guests and usually don’t often cater to families but are more popular among couples. If you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet weekend, a B&B may be your best bet.

So why stay at our Inn at Harbor Hill Marina B&B?

Well, here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina we absolutely love what we do and that has been the driving force behind the inn experience that we’ve created, from the staff and team that we’ve chosen to all the little extras that we provide. We are committed to providing exactly what we value when we are traveling, and have also added important, unique items from our own traveling ‘wish list.’ At the bare minimum we all look for clean and well-appointed rooms, pleasant, accommodating and knowledgeable staff, good food and beautiful surroundings – and as you know we often don’t get them all.

However, here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina we strive each and every day to exceed all standards and also offer our 24 hour complimentary snacks and beverages, fresh, home baked warm cookies in the evening and best of all accessibility to us, our staff and our incomparable knowledge of the Mystic Country region. We take great pride in being able to make tried and true recommendations for all things Connecticut Shoreline, providing custom itineraries of things to see and do or you can peruse our restaurant book and let us help you make those very important dining decisions. Perhaps you’re looking to spend some time at the beach, and if so, we provide you with everything that you’ll need to enjoy your day. All of these things are important to our commitment to exceptional customer service and offering you the experience of a lifetime here at our B&B.

The sign below and in our Gathering Room beautifully sums up perfectly:
Enter Strangers Leave Friends

So, if you’re planning on taking a vacation anytime soon, and if you have never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, then you just might find the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina a better choice, and a better way to stay!
We hope to see you soon.