DAY TRIPS: You'll find marinas, trails and fine restaurants in East Lyme

Published on Friday, 25 May 2018 19:49
Written by Marty Podskoch

Along Long Island Sound and Niantic Bay is the Town of East Lyme. It was first settled in the mid-1600s. In 1719 it became the Second or East Society of Lyme and incorporated as a town in 1839. East Lyme has two villages, Flanders in the northern part and Niantic along the coast. The town covers 34.8 square miles and rises from sea level to almost 500 feet in the north. Interstate 95 passes through the northern part of town and runs almost parallel with the Boston Post Road (Route. 1).

The Nehantic Indians were the first inhabitants of the area dating back over 5,000 years. They spent the summer along the shore and in winter moved to longhouses in the hills. The tribe was split with the arrival of the Pequots around 1600 with some moving to Rhode Island to live with the Narragansetts. Later with the arrival of the Mohegans, many married into that group. In 1880 the tribe was declared extinct, though there are still many who have descended from the Nehantics.

The northern section of town along the Boston Post Road was first to be developed. Farms were set up and streams were dammed for sawmills and gristmills. Later several mills for fulling wool, making cotton rope, and wicking and wood turning were established. The area was named Flanders in honor of the woolen industry in Flanders, Belgium.

In the early 1800s shipyards were set up along the Niantic River and by the 1840s there was a fleet of over 40 schooners and sloops sailing to “George’s Banks.” The many lakes in town were iced and the ice blocks taken to a wharf on the bay to be shipped to the New York fish market. There is an abundance of granite in the hills and by 1815 the first quarry was started. These quarries sent stone to be used in many buildings and monuments along the east coast.

In 1851 the railroad was constructed along the shoreline and people began to settle that part of town which came to be called Niantic. Travelers on the trains noticed the area and began building summer homes on the land jutting into the Sound. These areas of town continue to have many summer-only residences.

INTERESTING PLACES

here are many attractions which bring people to visit our town. Both areas have many shops and fine restaurants. Marinas, boat launches, and charter fishing boats are located along the river. There are three historic houses which are open to the public. Memorial Day-Labor Day.

Thomas Lee House (1660) Is one of the oldest wood frame homes in Connecticut is in its primitive state at the junction of Giant’s Neck Road and Route 156, Niantic. 860-739-6070 http://www.eastlymehistoricalsociety.org/

Samuel Smith Farmstead (1685). Outstanding example of a simple colonial-era farmstead. 82 Plants Dam Rd., East Lyme. http://www.samuelsmithfarmstead.org/

Smith-Harris House (1845). Greek Revival house was a residential home. Currently a museum and open to visitors and offers tours of the entire house and gardens. 33 Society Road, East Lyme. 860-739-0761

Book Barn. Has four separate stores with over 500,000 books. Open every day from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 41 West Main St. Niantic. 607-739-5715 http://www.bookbarnniantic.com/

Children’s Museum of Southeastern CT. A great place for kids to have fun and learn. Tues. -Sat. 9:30 am-4:30 pm. Sun. 12-4:30 pm. 409 Main St., Niantic. 860-691-1111 http://www.childrensmuseumsect.org/

Trails. Visit town web site with list of trails. http://eltownhall.com/visitors-recreation/sites-of-interest/walking-hiking-trails/

Niantic Bay Boardwalk. A 1.3-mile boardwalk along Niantic Bay that is a favorite spot for walking and viewing the Sound. Entrance at Cini Memorial Park, Rt. 156 just before the Niantic River Bridge, Niantic.

Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve. Contains 457 acres with 7 miles of trails. Three miles pass through an abandoned pink granite quarry. The Preserve overlooks the environmentally fragile Niantic River to the east. It was officially opened in 2007. http://www.oswhills.org/

Nehantic State Forest. In the towns of East Lyme, Salem, and Lyme. Activities include hunting, hiking, fishing and picnics. http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325064&deepNav_GID=1650

Rocky Neck State Park. Offers swimming, hiking, and camping. 3 miles west of Niantic. (Exit 72 from I-95). 244 W. Main St., Niantic.

Niantic River. A great place to kayak.

For listings of events and other places to see visit http://discovereastlyme.com/

Elizabeth Hall Kuchta, East Lyme Town Historian

This is an excerpt from the book, The Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport & Guide to Exploring CT. It was written by local residents to encourage people to visit the beautiful 169 towns and cities in Connecticut. The 8.5 x 11 hardcover book contains 368 pages and over 180 illustrations, maps, and photos. It was edited by Marty Podskoch, author of eight books including the Conn. Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, Catskill and Adirondack fire towers, Adk CCC Camps, Adk 102 Club, and Adk illustrated stories. The travel book will be available in late summer 2018. One can pre-order a signed book with free shipping by sending $24.95 plus CT sales tax $1.58 to: Podskoch Press, 43 O’Neill Lane, East Hampton, CT 06424 Also available in late summer 2018 at local stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Information (860)267-2442 podskoch@comcast.net or https://martinpodskoch.com

This is an excerpt from the book, The Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport & Guide to Exploring CT. It was written by local residents to encourage people to visit the beautiful 169 towns and cities in Connecticut. The 8.5 x 11 hardcover book contains 368 pages and over 180 illustrations, maps, and photos. It was edited by Marty Podskoch, author of eight books including the Conn. Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, Catskill and Adirondack fire towers, Adk CCC Camps, Adk 102 Club, and Adk illustrated stories. The travel book will be available in late summer 2018. One can pre-order a signed book with free shipping by sending $24.95 plus CT sales tax $1.58 to: Podskoch Press, 43 O’Neill Lane, East Hampton, CT 06424 Also available in late summer 2018 at local stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Information (860)267-2442 podskoch@comcast.net or https://martinpodskoch.com



Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Friday, 25 May 2018 19:49. Updated: Friday, 25 May 2018 19:52.