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 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”

The Back Porch ~
  one of our favorite
  summertime restaurants

Back Porch Front Sign blog

For those of you who have visited with us, you know we LOVE to eat out and try our best to recommend the best local restaurants based on what our guests are looking for. That said, were often asked, whats our favorite restaurant. The simple and honest answer is we really dont have a favorite restaurant. Actually, we like many restaurants in the area, and usually dine out based on the type of food, atmosphere and setting were looking for. So, being that its summer and all, we thought we would write about one of our favorite summertime restaurants ~ The Back Porch in Old Saybrook, CT.

The Back Porch is a short 20 minute drive from our inn and isnt fancy by any means, but usually has a lively crowd and great views overlooking the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Nice beer and wine options with half-price Happy Hour on Monday thru Saturday nights from 4:00 till 6:00, and good food at a fair price makes this place one of our regular dine out spots. As noted earlier, we like this place for its setting, and like its name is literally a big covered porch that overlooks the water and several marinas. However, they also have a large/nice indoor dining room as well.

Back Porch Dining room blog

The Back Porch Dining room with the “Back Porch” in the background.

We are big fans of their Salmon, either over an entre salad or as a dinner entre. Dave personally likes the Blackened Salmon and feels it might be one of the best pieces of Blackened Salmon in the entire area. And the Salmon dinner entre is served with Lobster Mashed Potatoes. Thats right, LOBSTER MASHED POTATOES!!!

Anyway, The Back Porch features a variety of starters, homemade soups, salads, seafood, steaks, sandwiches and more. Some of our Back Porch favorites include Lobster rolls, Fried Clams, lb. Black Angus burgers, and the Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich. The Back Porch is a must try if youre in the area, and live bands usually play from Wednesdays thru Sundays.

Back Porch Salmon blog

Blackened Salmon over Lobster Mashed Potatoes

Back Porch Band1 blog

Live entertainment Wed. thru Sun.

Back Porch Band2 blog

The Back Porch is a must try if you’re in the area, and worth the trip if you’re not.