Lobster (and more) in the Rough
   at Ford’s Lobster

If you’ve ever been to the southeastern coastline of Connecticut, you may have heard of Abbot’s Lobster. And why shouldn’t you have. They are a CT lobster-in–the-rough ‘rock star’ and have been in business since 1947.

HOWEVER … just before Abbot’s and a short 20 minute drive from our inn is Fords Lobster & Haring’s Marina also in the village of Noank. Fords Lobster in Noank, CTWe feel it’s a bit more authentic and offers that quintessential New England seaside dining-out experience that so many of our guests seek.
This gem of a lobster shack is what many of our guests rave about when looking for a Lobster Roll or dinner at a place with great views. The tables literally sit outside on the docks, all food is prepared outside, the sights and sounds of the marina and shipyard with all of the sea views and salty smells – making this dining experience like few others in the area.

They serve only the freshest ingredients available and have something for everyone on their menu, lobster, risotto, seafood dishes including – halibut, cod, scallops, steamed lobster dinner and hot or cold lobster rolls – oh did we say LOBSTER rolls … well how about the Fords lobster ‘bomb’ it can be served hot or cold, but if you get it hot you can convert it to the lobster ‘bisque bomb’ which is a massive amount of lobster meat topped in thick and delicious lobster bisque. OH Yum!  Specials change daily and include soups, salads, mussels, clams and as we noted above a variety of seafood entrees as well as some chicken, steak and pasta offerings.  As a matter of fact, Dave recently ordered a New York Strip Steak dinner special that was finished in a Portobello Mushroom and Marsala Wine sauce and felt it was as good steak a steak as anyone’s in the area.Fords Lobster Steak

ALSO, liked by many of our guests, is that Ford’s allows BYOB which is a rarity here in CT.  For BYOB, Fords provides glasses and wine openers so plan ahead. Ford’s is open year round and in the winter months dining and prep moves inside in their cozy indoor dining space!

This delightfully small place with awesome sunsets and views has a simple seaside setting and a very casual dress code.  But bring a jacket at night because it can get chilly sitting right by the water.  If you are visiting with us, be sure to ask us about Fords Lobster.

Below are some photos of Fords Lobster’s outdoor dining area and more.

 

Fords Lobster Dining2

Outside Dining area (approx. 12 tables)

 

Fords Lobster Dining3

 

Fords Lobster Dining4

Fords Lobster in the Rough

 

Fords Waiting Area below:

Fords Lobster Waiting Area

Fords Waiting Area (for before and after dinner) Recommendation; bring a cooler & 2 bottles of wine :-)

Fords (16)

Sitting, waiting for your name to be called and sipping some wine.

Fords (12)

Not on the menu…. ;-)

 

 

 

 

Mystic, Connecticut ~
  The Town that Isn’t

Located just 20 minutes north of our inn is the historic settlement called “Mystic” (circa 1654) actually located within the towns of Groton, CT. and Stonington, CT., and bordering both the east and west sides of the Mystic River.  Hence, though Mystic, Connecticut is not a legally recognized municipality it is the most visited settlement, town, municipality or destination within the entire state of Connecticut.

Mystic Sign

Identified in the New York Times #1 Bestseller, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (A Traveler’s Life List by Patricia Schultz), Mystic is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of New England. Mystic offers visitors many things to see and do, and features two of the region’s most popular tourist attractions, Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium. However, Mystic offers so much to see and do that it’s a popular place to visit and re-visit many times during any time of the year. You might find our Taste of Mystic Getaway Package of interest – just follow the link!

Anyway, for those of you who have never visited Mystic just sit back and picture this – those of you that have – think of the chance for new memories (maybe without the kids?).

There’s sparkling water bordering most everything in town. Listen to the sounds of the gulls and sea birds flying overhead. Imagine a sea of boats, including sailboats and historic Tall Ships and schooners like the Argia all in your view. Walk through the unique shops of Olde Mistick Village and boutiques offering treasures to be snatched up and taken home for your enjoyment or to be shared with others. Smell the wonderful smells of the sea combined with some of the best cooked lobsters and local sea scallops or look for the best place in town to enjoy a nostalgic piece of Mystic Pizza or maybe just a big sloppy ice cream cone. Plan to come for the Chowder Days or the Lobster Days or the Mystic Arts Festival or the Mystic Blues Festival.  As you might sense, there’s a little something for everyone, anytime of the year!!!

A View of Mystic Seaport from across the Mystic River.

A View of Mystic Seaport from across the Mystic River.

At any given time you might also visit beluga wales, penguins, sea lions and everything aquatic that you can think of at the beautiful Mystic Aquarium. Regular and unusual new exhibits give a new excitement to the aquarium every time you visit.
Also right down the street you’ll find friendly folks that showcase times long past and entertain you as you enter into the history of America at Mystic Seaport, considered to be one of the jewels of Mystic Country and is home to a world renowned maritime museum. People dressed as they did in the 1600’s all working in their shops in the village, building their sea vessels and taking their day to day routines all in stride. The Mystic Seaport hosts interesting and unusual capsules in time to include historic special sailings of beautiful Tall Ships like the recently launched Charles W. Morgan and Holiday Lantern Light Tours through the Seaport.

Mystic Aquarium Belugas

Beluga Whales at Mystic Aquarium

Yes, as you might imagine, it does get busy and crowded in Mystic, but we think Mystic is also scenic, historic and quite possibly the absolute quintessential historic New England seaport town to sea.  One thing is for sure; whether you want to eat, shop, stroll or just observe, Mystic is one town (or not) to do that in any time of the year!

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, we’re often asked, what’s our favorite restaurant.  The simple and honest answer is we really don’t 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 we’re 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 isn’t 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 entrée salad or as a dinner entrée.  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 entrée is served with “Lobster Mashed Potatoes”.  That’s 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, ½ lb. Black Angus burgers, and the “Lobster Grilled Cheese” sandwich.  The Back Porch is a must try if you’re in the area, and live bands usually play from Wednesday’s thru Sunday’s.

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.

 

Niantic, CT. ~ Connecticut’s
    “Fan Favorite Town”

Niantic Sign3
Welcome to the Village of Niantic

Located along the shores of Long Island Sound sits the quaint seaside village of Niantic, CT.  Our small town has made a big impact with residents and tourists alike recently, and thanks to them Niantic was voted Connecticut’s “Fan-Favorite Town” in 2013 in a contest spearheaded by the state’s Department of Tourism.

What makes Niantic so special, you ask?  Well, many things, but let’s start with location, location, location.  If you were to drive two hours north you’d end up in Boston.  Head two hours south and you’d be entering New York City.  Our seaside escape lies halfway between these  two  major cities.  And if you’re a local, you know that Niantic is within 20-30 minutes of almost every attraction in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island.   For a quick insight into Niantic, check out the video the State of CT. created about Niantic here:   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKmEWbw_Vfc)

CT Fan Favorite

Niantic ~ Connecticut’s Fan Favorite Town of 2013!!!

It’s all well and good that being based in Niantic one could cover a lot of ground, but we feel that you really don’t have to.  Niantic has a lot going on throughout the year.  Our town’s Events Calendar (http://www.discovereastlyme.com/calendar.php) is filled with events from our annual Winter Light Parade (the oldest and largest in all of New England) to our annual summer bash-on-the-bay  festival called Celebrate East Lyme, and tons of things in between.  Our Farmer’s Market draws huge crowds from June to October and in the winter Holiday season you can see our Main Street light up and transform into a classic New England Village.

130707 McCooks Beach 001

Hole-in-the-Wall Beach overlooking McCook’s Park

While we enjoy our annual events, we in Niantic also love the laid back beach lifestyle, which is good because our town features three town beaches AND Rocky Neck State Park.  It’s not uncommon to spend an entire summer day soaking up the sun’s rays and swimming in the calm waters of the Long Island Sound.  Niantic is also a mecca for boaters and fisherman alike and boast numerous marinas as well as charter fishing boats.  And, as a side note, after spending the day at the beach or out on the water be sure to stick around to witness some of the most amazing sunsets right from the lawns of our inn.

Sunrise Oct 2013 sm

The beach may take up a lot of our time in the summer, but we always find time to visit our handful of local restaurants and shops, most of which are open year-round.  In future BLOG posts we will be highlighting some of our favorite local places and events just to provide a more detailed look at what our town has to offer.  We love Niantic and hope you’ll have a visit and see for yourself why we are one of Connecticut’s best kept secrets.

The Charles Morgan ~
   All Hands on Deck !!!

Are you interested in history and a fan of historic seaports and old boats?  Are you looking to getaway to enjoy springtime here in New England?  If so, you may want to set your sails for Mystic, CT on Thursday, May 17, 2014 where the Charles W. Morgan, a historic US whaling ship will embark on her 21st century ‘maiden voyage’ to ports throughout New England.

The Morgan is a US whaling ship which sailed during the 19th and early 20th century and was used to catch whales to harvest the whale blubber for commonly used whale oil. The Morgan, is a National Historic Landmark built in 1841 and is the oldest American commercial ship and wooden whaling vessel still afloat in the world.  Skilled craftsmen at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport recently completed a nearly five-year restoration.

The Charles Morgan during renovations

The Charles Morgan during renovations

On May 17th, The Morgan will set sail on her 38th voyage sailing from Mystic Seaport to New London, CT (just 15 minutes from our inn) before heading off to Newport, RI on June 14th.  During her stay in New London the ship will be open to the public with dockside exhibits on May 24-25, May 31 and June 1st.

Following her visit to Newport, RI, The Morgan will visit Martha’s Vineyard, New Bedford, MA, Provincetown (Cape Cod), and Boston before returning home to the Mystic Seaport on August 9th.  For additional information about the Charles W. Morgan or Mystic Seaport, please visit:  http://www.mysticseaport.org/visit/explore/morgan/

In closing, we would also like to wish our Inn at Harbor Hill Marina team member Julianne (“Jules”) ‘happy sailing’ and congratulations on being selected as a crew member on the ‘maiden voyage’ of the Charles W. Morgan.  We can’t wait to hear about your summer adventure.

Charles Morgan

The Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport

Welcome to our BLOG

So, while we’re somewhat late to the field of Bloging, we hope we’re not too late to share our tales of being innkeepers and the host of beautiful, delicious and fun-filled things there are to see and do here in our Mystic Country region on the scenic Connecticut shoreline.  We also plan to share with you the host of special, unique and local places we love to escape to relax and rejuvenate.  Actually, we take great pride in seeking out special little finds to share with our guests.   So, as the saying goes, you’re never too old to learn new tricks, and with that, let our blog-“inn” begin…

Sue & Dave

Sue & Dave

We thought we would begin our first BLOG post by giving you a little background as to who we are, and how we wound up being Innkeepers here at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina.  Both of us (Sue and Dave Labrie) were born in Hartford, CT. and grew up in East Hartford, CT.  We met at the tender young age of just 14 years old through our mothers who worked together.

While we both went to different schools, we began dating, eventually falling “inn” love and have been in love ever since.  We eventually married, had two sons (Chris and Todd) and lived life like so many couples and families do.

Early on Sue was a stay-at-home mom while Dave began his corporate business career working as a technology specialist in the insurance industry.  Eventually Sue became an accountant at a CPA firm and then after ten years of tax preparation left to open her own hair salon while Dave eventually moved on to become a business management consultant focusing on the healthcare industry.

While working hard, raising our two sons, saving for the future, and getting older with each and every day, we both began to feel that there had to be something more in life than just working hard and saving for the future.  Well, with the loss of some very close friends too early in life we began to think about just how fast life passes by and began to develop a ten-year plan toward leaving the stresses of the business world behind, and finding something new and exciting to do, and something we could do together.

We were fortunate to have been able to travel early on in life and would often seek out bed and breakfasts and inns whenever we could.  And like most inn-goers, we would often chat with innkeepers about their lives as innkeepers.  Well, to make a long story short, we eventually decided to research the potential of owning and operating a B&B and eventually became innkeepers back in September 2002.  Yep, just one year after the September 11th tragedy in New York City (as if we needed yet another lesson on just how short and unpredictable life can be).  Anyway, if there was ever a situation that solidified our decision to find and do something new and exciting, and to do it together, it was that tragic event that did it for us.  We have a saying that “nothing in life is forever, including life” so live and enjoy each and every day as though it was your last.

Having been innkeepers now for the past 12 years, we still wake each morning and realize just how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country and to be working with each other and a great staff in such a rewarding field.  So, if you’re looking to broaden your view of New England in a place that offers beautiful scenery, water views, fun-filled things to do, beaches, interesting small towns and great culinary experiences; stay tuned.

Till our next post, be well, spend time with loved ones and happy travels.

Dave n Sue

Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

Enjoy an Unforgettable Mystic Country Vacation
at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

harbor_room_pic1The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina B&B in Niantic CT is open year round and is only 2 hours from Boston and New York City, 1 hour from Providence and Hartford. Our Niantic Bed and Breakfast is easily accessible by car and boat, and is the perfect choice for Mystic CT getaways and Connecticut shoreline vacations. Inn at Harbor Hill Marina B&B is conveniently located near New London, CT, Foxwoods Casino, MGM Grand at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casino.

Mystic Waterfront Lodging and B&B Accommodations
on the Connecticut Shoreline

A magnificent Mystic Bed and Breakfast Inn in Niantic CT, the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina offers beautiful waterfront lodging and accommodations on the Connecticut Shoreline. Nestled on a hilltop overlooking Niantic’s marina district, docks and the Niantic River, our Connecticut waterfront B&B Inn boasts genuine hospitality, superior service and comfort, all in a beautiful setting ~ on the water!

Boating, Fishing, and Kayaking…
Just Steps from our Waterfront Bed and Breakfast in Niantic, CT

Magnificent views and cool shoreline breezes make relaxing simple. We’re located within easy walking distance to Niantic Village restaurants, shops, antiques, a movie theater, the beach and the Niantic Bay Boardwalk. The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina is only a short drive to Mystic, a popular New England vacation destination famous for its historic Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium. There is so much to see and do anytime of year in our popular Mystic area – from wineries, historic museums, shopping and antiquing to golfing, hiking, sailing, boat and lighthouse cruises and fishing charters.
Harborhill_marina1blog