Reasons to go to Stonington:
1. The novel Jaws was written there
2. It has a gen-u-ine canonball that was used by the Red Coats against the defending Yankees in the War of 1812
I took some pictures of our trip to Stonington so you can see just how beautiful this town is. It was a freezing weekend, with snow on the ground and high winds that blew in across the icey Long Island Sound, but clear sunny skies all round. If you were well wrapped up (and I mean well wrapped up), you could almost imagine it was spring.
I’m almost hesitant to recommend a trip to Stonington as it was so lovely, we’d like to keep it for ourselves (although I think one or two other New Yorkers may have heard of it, given that most of the property in the place are now holiday homes).
It was much more historical than I thought, with the pretty, coloured wooden houses dating back to the late 18th century. Apparently American troops fought off the British there in the War of 1812 (when America invaded Canada, which was part of the British Empire), so our Yankee Doodle friends delighted in telling us.
Of course, people really flood into Stonington for sailing – but it’s worth a trip in the early spring just so you can see how it once was before it was inhabited by Musto-wearing yachties with their yellow trousers and deck shoes. Our friend Paul grew up here, when it was a fully serviced town, with kids bombing around on their BMXs and the natty galleries and cute tea shops were doctors and dentists, and shops that sold actual food and household stuff.
Fact: Peter Blenchley wrote the book Jaws while he spent the summers living in a converted turkey coop in Stonington (I’m sure it was more plush that it sounds; or at least it would have been after he made squillions out of the Steven Speilberg film).
He based it on actual shark attacks in Long Island in 1916 but you can see where the setting for his 1974 book came from.
We stopped off in Mystic on the way back – yes, the place where they set and filmed Mystic Pizza.
We didn’t eat at the pizza joint (it exists – or someone set one up after the film came out), but instead at The Oyster Club, which is a new venture by some friends of our neighbours. They have shipped the farm-to-table concept from Manhattan to this small fishing town and set up in a 1902 clapboard house, with blue walls and an orange door. The food was locally sourced and delicious and if you are passing through, I’d recommend it.