Today I drove over to Stonington Borough for a quiet, slow paced day. The borough is just a hop over from Mystic, CT. Stonington quickly became one of my favorite New England towns when I first moved here. I was drawn to the beautiful homes that lined the main street along with the fascinating town history. Stonington is the oldest village in Connecticut established in 1649. The borough is a perfect destination for a leisurely stroll during any season. I regularly attend the holiday stroll every December when the main street is decked out with holiday decor. The shops are opened late, people stand around enjoying chatting with friends, Christmas tree lights up in the square, and horse carriage goes up and down the main street. In July, it’s decked out patriotically for 4th of July. You can’t go wrong with a visit to the borough anytime!
The main street is filled with a variety of shops from clothing, floral, jewelry, antiques, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
My favorite jewelry shops is AK Dasher Jewelry, Maggie Lee Designs, and Tucci. AK Dasher carries unique jewelry of all kinds. This is perfect stop if you are in need of purchasing a gift for a friend since there’s something for everyone! Maggie Lee Designs was at the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport last summer. I purchased a wooden boat necklace that was specially made for the show. It’s one of my favorite necklaces that I own! She has a studio in the borough that is opened during summers. Tucci has an eclectic collection of jewelry as well home gifts. I walked by this shop and was drawn by the pop of color! It has a fun vibe.
There are many antique shops in the borough but I’m particular to Grand & Water Antiques. There are always nautical antiques in the shop which is what I’m drawn to. The shop carefully stages all of their items which helps you to picture it in your home. Many of the antiques also have stories behind them!
Verdant Floral Studio caught my eyes during the holiday stroll one year with the beautiful floral arrangements they staged in the shop. I enjoy walking in there to see the beautiful flowers. They also sell gifts and cards. If you want to take some flowers home, stop in this shop!
A new pet shop just came to the borough last month, Pup Stop Boutique & Bakery. They sell all natural treats for your fur kids, as well accessories. They have the cutest nautical sweaters and collars! There are apparel and home gifts for the fur-parents. I had B with me today so as soon we stepped in the shop, she ran up to the treats and sniffed them up! She knows she’s spoiled so I got her a few treats!
If you continue down main street, you will end up at the Old Lighthouse and duBois beach. The Old Lighthouse is one of my favorite. Built in 1840, it has beautiful stonework with a strong seafaring history. There is a museum inside with a $10 admission fee for adults to visit. I often go there to sit on the benches behind the lighthouse overlooking the harbor. You can see the infamous Ocean House (huge yellow mansion) in Watch Hill, Rhode Island across the harbor. The duBois beach next to the Old Lighthouse is a great family beach during the summers, you do have to purchase passes. If you go there during off season you can park and sit there to enjoy the 360 degree views of the harbor.
There’s also a shoreline path behind Stonginton Harbor Yacht Club to enjoy the harbor view year-around. The SHYC is right on main street so you will see the signs to indicate where the public shoreline access is. I also enjoy strolling around the commercial fishing fleet docks. It may not be for everyone because there is a strong scent of seafood! If the smell makes you hungry, there is a seafood building where you can purchase fresh seafood to take home! The shrimp and cod are always my must-haves.
Stonington had several movie crews visit the borough to film over the years. A few locations around the borough were filmed in movies including Mystic Pizza, Amistad, and Hope Springs. This past winter there was a crew filming for a holiday movie which will air sometime later this year. I happened to come across a filming scene for the holiday movie (Hallmark I believe!). It was really fun to watch!
There are MANY restaurants in the borough which makes it impossible to narrow down the recommendation list. If you’re in the mood for breakfast - visit Indulge Coffee & Sandwich Co. or Social. Indulge is a quaint neighborhood spot with delicious egg sandwiches. Social is an organic coffee bar. The owner actually gets up at 3:30am to roast coffee! There are also bakery goods.
If you want a causal dining experience, I suggest either Breakwater or Noah’s Restaurant. Breakwater sits right on the harbor so this is the perfect spot to go during summers even through they are open year-round. I enjoy sitting on their outdoor patio in the warm weather! The menu is mostly seafood, their fish tacos and lobster mac n cheese are to die for! This restaurant offers Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner daily. Noah’s Restaurant has been in the borough for 40 years. It has a neighborhood vibe since it is popular with the locals. I love visiting this restaurant during the holidays with their specialty drinks menu. The food menu is always updated with new dishes to try out! They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well Sunday brunch.
If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, you should dine at Milagro Cafe. I feel that they have the best Mexican cuisine in New London county, it doesn’t get any more authentic than them! They also have delicious margaritas which many raves about.
On your way out of the borough, be sure to visit the Velvet Mill. It is a re-purposed mill with many small businesses housed in there. There’s a variety from artists studios, unique crafts, health services (massage, yoga, etc), bakery, pizza restaurant, to a brewery. It is a gem to visit. I always enjoy the beauty of the historical mill while supporting small businesses. The brewery there, The Beer’d Brewing Co. is extremely popular! They handcraft their artisan beer. One of my most favorite pizza places, Woodfellas Pizza & Wings is also housed at Velvet Mill. The staff there are always super friendly and pizzas are amazingly good. The best part about Velvet Mill is that it’s dog friendly. I enjoy taking my B with me to eat pizza and have some drinks there. I discovered this place when I was on the hunt for macarons a few years ago. It was recommended to try the Zest bakery which is also at Velvet Mill. They have the BEST macarons as well delicious cupcakes and bakery goodies! It’s a must to stop at the Velvet Mill!
Recommendations of places to visit in Stonington, Connecticut:
Indulge Coffee & Sandwich Co. 17 High Street
Grand & Water Antiques 135 Water Street
Maggie Lee Designs (behind the antique shop) 135 Water Street
AK Dasher 141 Water Street
Milagro Cafe 143 Water Street
Pup Stop Boutique & Bakery 129 Water Street
Verdant Floral Studio 123 Water Street
Tucci 120 Water Street
Social Coffee Roastery 117 Water Street
Noah’s Restaurant 113 Water Street
Breakwater 66 Water Street
Old Lighthouse Museum 7 Water Street
Velvet Mill (Beer’d Brewing Co., Woodfellas Pizza & Wings, Zest) 22 Bayview Ave