Dubbed the “Submarine Capital of the World,” Groton is an inevitable duty station or stopping point in your submarine life. And if you’re like me, all I knew before moving here was it’s controversial nickname “Rotten Groton.” It’s true, the area has cultivated a mixed reputation among the military community. But like anywhere, the duty station is what you make of it. And for many, this beautiful and diverse New England community is a great place to call home.
The Naval Submarine Base New London is known as the Navy’s “First and Finest Submarine Base,” as a homeport to 16 attack submarines and more than 70 tenant commands, including the Naval Submarine School, Naval Submarine Support Facility and three Submarine Squadron staffs. Nearly all officer and enlisted submariners are stationed at Groton during their training. The base employs more than 21,000 civilian workers, active-duty service members and their families.
- Groton is the midway point between New York City and Boston, with a population just over 39,000 (United States Census Bureau, 2017).
- Other major employers: submarine contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat (8,277) and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer (3,400).
- Nearby communities: New London, East Lyme, Norwich, Ledyard, Mystic and Stonington.
- Groton was established in 1705, named after Groton, Suffolk in England.
- In 1931, USS Cuttlefish was the first submarine built in Groton.
- During WWII, Electric Boat completed submarines every two weeks.
- In 1954, Electric Boat launched USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine.
- You can tour this submarine at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, right next to the base.
Things to Do
- Indoor and outdoor shopping at Olde Mistick Village, historic downtown Mystic, The Velvet Mill, Stonington Borough, New London Main Street and downtown Westerly
- Family fun at Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport Museum
- Local hikes and trails at Bluff Point State Park, Haley Farm State Farm, Coop Family Park, and many more
- Explore local beaches at Napatree Point Beach & Conservation Area, Eastern Point Beach, Ocean Beach Park, Esker Point Beach, and many more
- Guide to local produce stands and farms, visit Farm Fresh
- Day trips to Block Island, RI
Eat + Drink
So, I’m just going to say what we already know: Groton is not a culinary capital by any means. But there are some great international hole-in-the-walls, such as Mañana Cafe, MirchMasala, and the beloved Paul’s Pasta Shop. Groton also offers some favorite fast food chains with some sweet, locally-owned eateries in the mix, like Pick Pockets or Village Bake House. If you’re craving a fun, greasy crab shack, venture over to Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London or Costello’s Clam Shack in Noank. You can find other great restaurants in nearby Mystic.
Southeastern Connecticut is home to a number of breweries and wineries. In Groton proper you can find Outer Light Brewing and Beer’d Brewing,which recently opened a new taproom. Other nearby breweries include Barley Head Brewing in Mystic and Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly. There are two great wineries in Stonington — Stonington Vineyards and Saltwater Farm Vineyard. Jonathan Edwards Winery is located a few miles up in North Stonington, as well. There’s much more beyond the Groton area. For serious winos, check out the Connecticut Wine Trail, a fun map of more than 20 wineries and tasting rooms to explore.
Have you been stationed in Groton? Comment below and share your favorite places! We’d love to hear them.