Every duty station is what you make of it, this we know. And in the submarine community, it doesn’t take long for nicknames and reputations to catch on. And when it comes to Groton, many refer to it as, for lack of a better word, rotten.
I did not have many expectations when we moved here, maybe none. We thought it was temporary, only six months of training, but of course the Navy had other plans. Fast forward two years and we are well into our sea tour, and I have come to find so much joy in Groton.
If I wanted to focus on the negative, I could think about the fact that I live 4,000 miles away from my immediate family and best friends. Or the fact that I hate humidity. Or the lack of public transportation, beaches for dogs or stroller-friendly parks.
But I choose to focus on the positive, the “little things” that add up to a great quality of life. I polled other Navy spouses, and below are 50 reasons to consider why Groton isn’t rotten. Enjoy!
- Both NYC and Boston are easy train rides away
- So many places within a 6ish hour drive for long weekend trips (Niagara Falls, Acadia National Park, Gettysburg, and others)
- You can travel to anywhere in New England in a day (Newport, Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, etc.)
- Cheaper international flights and easy connections from Hartford and Providence
- There are gorgeous hiking areas around the state, here’s some close to home and others
- Beach access- Watch Hill Beach in Westerly will always have my heart (also look out for Taylor Swift)
- Nice beaches including in surrounding states (RI), here’s a great list
- Connecticut is beautifully rural, with small towns and so many trees
- Four seasons with moderate temperatures, occasional snow
- Beautiful fall foliage
- Kayaking on the Mystic River
- Outdoor sculpture gallery at UConn at Avery Point
- You can go from beaches and shoreline to mountains in 1.5 hours max
Things to Do
- Proximity to major concerts, comedy shows and nightlife at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casino
- Tangor Outlets at Foxwoods Casino (most stores have military discounts, you just have to ask)
- If you love Fall, this is the place to be! BF Clyde’s Cider Mill, apple picking, pumpkin patches fall foliage, hiking spots, etc.
- Sunflowers for Wishes at Buttonwood Farm (and the ice cream)
- Tons of farm stands, CSAs and great farmers markets
- Sailfest in New London every July
- Mystic Seaport Museum – beauty and history
- Olde Mistick Village – especially Deviant Donuts, and my son loves the duck pond
- Date night at Mystic Luxury Cinemas (they serve beer and wine!)
- ALL the playgrounds!!! There are so many well maintained playgrounds within 20 mins of your house for kiddos of all ages.
- Niantic Boardwalk– wonderful place to walk and unwind
- Holmberg Orchards! We went apple picking almost every weekend. Plus who can beat the wine tastings and cider donuts? Apple picking would require a three-hour drive at our new duty station.
- Poking around the Stonington Borough
- Variety in children’s activities – sports in every town, parks and rec departments have a TON of classes available for art, martial arts, dance and more.
- Antiquing! (Check out the Mystic Country Antique Trail)
Food & Drink
- Soft pretzels and dipping sauces at Malted Barley
- Bubbly martinis at Olio’s
- Cocktails and #FlintstoneFridays at Engine Room
- Paul’s Pasta, need I say more?
- Wide variety of breweries and wineries in the area (get the skinny on CT wine here)
- Valentino’s Pizza! Waiting for your order has never been easier, as you’re always provided with a small slice while you wait. Also their bread basket for entrees could be a meal by itself.
- The lobster rolls (more on those here)
- Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream– scenery and a delicious treat
- Pops Ice Cream!
- Fancy donuts at Deviant Donuts or Young Buns Doughnuts
- Delicious home scratch margaritas and food at Mañana Cafeand Milagro Café (owned by the same family)
- Small town feel – everywhere you go, you know someone
- Beautiful New England style homes
- I’ve seen almost no homeless people and only a handful of panhandlers
- Good school system
- Strong job market for spouses
- Not overcrowded
- Cost of living is more affordable than other areas
- Adopted kids in the state of CT get free state college tuition
- No traffic
- There is an enormous submarine community! There’s not many places do most people you run into have some semblance of an idea of what your spouse does which results in a wide variety of military discounts.
- Submarine Car Wash on Route 12
For more details on Groton as a duty station, click here. Have you ever been stationed in Groton? What would you add to this list?