Tag Archives: CT Shore

Metacomet Ridge

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North Guilford is a community within the town of Guilford, CT. This is the quieter part of Guilford, miles inland from the beaches and seemingly far removed from the tourists jamming I-95 and Route 1. This part of town Aunt Judy claims more closely resembles Vermont, as it shows the range of nature’s beauty along the Connecticut Shore.

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As you drive north on Long Hill Road, across Route 80, you enter rolling hills. This would be the part of the Metacomet Ridge, a line of traprock that runs 100 miles from Guilford / Branford all the way to the Vermont / New Hampshire border. The highest point in town, Bluff Head, is a feature of this ridge. Accessible off Route 77 in North Guilford: it’s a tough hike with beautiful views.

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The heart of North Guilford is where Long Hill Rd joins Ledge Hill Rd. A school, church, cemetery, and farm all abut one another to form the center of the community. It’s a beautiful spot to stop the car, stretch the legs, and take stock of the quaint northern section of town.

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Clam Rolls

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Here is a quick description of the 3 Lenny & Joe’s locations:

New Haven: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, right on the water

Westbrook: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, cozy sit-down restaurant

Madison: counter service, awesome seafood, no alcohol but they have soft serve ice cream & there’s a massive outdoor seating area with carousel, located right across Route 1 from state park beach

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The Madison location is the Lenny & Joe’s I have eaten at the most, and it’s my favorite, for the casual nature and the beautiful outdoor seating area, where even Roxie the dog is welcome. There is a full size carousel with all proceeds going to charity, and a separate walk-up counter for soft serve ice cream.

In the summer, Aunty’s favorite is the CT-style lobster rolls (hot buttered lobster on a toasted hotdog bun) and in the colder months, she prefers the fried clam roll with tartar on the side. Either way, there will be indigestion.

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Apple Cider

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Bishop’s Orchard is one of the most badass local, seasonal grocery stores in the country, not just in Connecticut. Their orchard encompasses rolling hills alongside I-95 in Guilford, and on the lower, flatter fields adjacent the Bishops family grows other fruits and berries. These are sold in their natural form, and also transformed into award-winning apple cider donuts, apple coffee cake, cinnamon bread, and more by Bishop’s magical bakers.

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When I was feeling a little under the weather, due to seasonal changes, Bishop’s heirloom apple cider brought my health back up to 100%. When I am just feeling down, their small stable of alpacas and llamas never fails to brighten my day. Bishop’s is also a producer of wine and hard cider, and a must-stop visit on the Connecticut wine trail. Just try to plan your visit during off hours, as the secret is clearly out!

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Baby Feet

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3rdarm: Fearing first pedicure in life.

maxfromchicago: Pedicurist feels more fear, she texted me

3rdarm: when the pedicurist started massaging my right foot, my mind went totally blank and I forgot what I was saying mid sentence! #awkward

maxfromchicago: Hahaha first and only time I had pedi I dropped my phone in the foot bath #footjuicephone

strongholdclimb: Do you have baby feet?

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Aunt Judy took me to Skinsations for my first pedicure in life. I was scared for myself, to try something new and outside of my comfort zone, and for the pedicurist, dealing with the feet of a calloused restaurant manager. Tracy did a great job finding the perfect balance between friendly and professional, and put me right at ease. I relaxed and let my feet’s physical memory of all the hard work dissipate. I left feeling like a new man, walking on baby feet!

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Bluefish Hobo Pack

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I’m a big fan of yelp and an even bigger fan of The Place, my favorite restaurant in Connecticut, maybe the world. It bugs me that The Place’s review average has dropped to 3.5 stars, seemingly on the back of a single one star rating from a night when they were short-staffed. I know that’s the nature of the restaurant business: you’re only as good as your last service.

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The Place deserves more respect, putting out delicious and unduplicable offerings from a huge backyard firepit since the early seventies! I returned this summer with my aunt for dinner. The clams were briny and spicy, hot off that blazing fire pit. I burned my tongue on a hot clam because I seriously JUST COULD NOT WAIT. The bluefish was one of the best pieces of fish I have ever had: it was unbelievably fresh and cooked to perfection in its hobo pack.

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The owner (man with beard) was everywhere, making sure all details from the kitchen and in the stump-filled dining room were on point. That’s the recipe for success! It was the best dinner of my summer so far. This the one Place I tell my restaurant industry colleagues in Chicago HAVE to visit when they find themselves on the Connecticut shore.

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The cooks were super nice (over the top enthusiastic, actually!) to answer a couple questions at the end of dinner about their old school firing board. Basically they’re marking long domino-like tiles with pencil to group tables’ orders into pick-ups. Refreshingly old school, unique and with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” mentality, just like The Place!

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Branford Trolley Trail

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Roxie had sprained her leg, probably when she aggressively explodes out the sliding door on her leash to bark at phantoms in the backyard.

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To help aid in her rehabilitation, I took Roxie on a a .8 mile walking trail converted from old trolley tracks.

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We parked right near the historic village of Stony Creek in the parking lot on West Point Rd.

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It is an awesome walk for a human and a dog to take together.

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It was low tide near sunset and we got to really see the beauty of the Connecticut Shore.

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My aunt’s cocker spaniel cautiously spied crabs scuttling about in the muddy estuaries.

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A sandpiper was not so cautious: we were talking about his dinner!

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The best part… in the future the Branford Trolley Trail will be one part of a 25 mile continuous walking path called the Shoreline Greenway Trail!

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Lobster in the Rough

noank connecticut abbotts lobster in the rough lobster roll connecticut style 3rdarm arthur mullen

Aunt Judy and I had not been to Abbott’s in roughly (see what I did there?!) 20 years. We drove up the CT shore from Guilford for dinner one summer night. Noank is a trip, literally, and well worth the 45 minute drive for one of the world’s best Connecticut-style (read: hot butterered) lobster rolls. Instead of a traditional hotdog bun, Abbott’s serves their legendary version on a toasted sesame seed bun.

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Aunty and I agreed the lobster rolls were absolutely delicious, and the local sweet corn was a perfect side for this summer treat. The people watching (tourists who don’t understand the counter-style ordering system common at New England clam shacks) was just as good as the natural beauty of Long Island Sound and Fischer’s Island.

noank connecticut abbotts lobster in the rough lobster roll connecticut style 3rdarm arthur mullen

We joked that if I worked at Abbott’s, it would be in the separate Dessert Hut (this is actually not a joke, in a different life I am known as Jabba the Dessert Hut.) The only thing I would change, if I ruled the world (or at least had some influence on a Connecticut foodie institution like Abbott’s) would be the elimination of styrofoam cups and plates.

noank connecticut abbotts lobster in the rough lobster roll connecticut style 3rdarm arthur mullen

I understand the need to keep costs low… and more and more businesses are starting to understand that we have to keep environmental costs low to preserve nature’s beauty. It would be awesome if Abbott’s got on board! In any event, it was a real treat for my aunt and me. We will be back!

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Guilford Town Marina

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Not only is the Guilford Town Marina home port to many boats and yachts for fishing and pleasure, it is also one of the best places in town to watch the sunrise and sunset.

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Personally I recommend getting lunch at the Guilford Lobster Pound, located here (of course you have to get a warm CT-style lobster roll!)

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Another pro move is to stop at Ashley’s to bring a hot fudge sundae down to the Guilford Town Marina for a sweet treat whilst watching the sunset. Bring your camera for glimpses of nature’s beauty in all weather and all seasons!

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Atlantic Seafood

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Atlantic Seafood came highly recommended by my attorney Bull, who lives in Old Saybrook. His brother DotCom and my aunt Judy confirmed its the place for serious seafood on this stretch Connecticut shore.

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Etta called around and priced lobsters. Not only was Atlantic Seafood a dollar or two cheaper than competitors, they also did not have a tiered pricing structure for different weight lobsters.

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The selection of seafood was fantastic with multiple delicious species of fish, oysters and shellfish, and shrimp of gigantic size as well. We stuck to the lobster. Etta gave these guys a 12 minute hot water bath.

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The lobsters were filled with sweet meat! The last night in Connecticut, I had my sweets (Aunty, Etta, Roxie) and my treats (lobsters, pickles, Nutter Butters). Who could ask for anything more?

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Into the Mystic

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On the drive home from Massachusetts, we took a detour to Mystic. I got to say hi to Uncle Dotcom aka Larry, and pester Ray for Quake 2 photos.

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I learned that Mystic is one of those places, like Stony Creek or Wampum, that belongs to the former world. There is no town called Mystic, as the maritime village is actually split down the middle between Groton and Stonington.

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Etta and I also stopped at the office of YFS where I helped Bull with some paperwork.

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