I grew up spending three weeks at my grandparents’ shore house in Groton Long Point (GLP), Conn., with my mother’s side of the family. GLP was exactly what people picture out of a New England beach town: lots of cedar shake, plenty of Izod golf shirts, and so. much. seafood.
I treasure those memories of visiting the New England shore, with the historic cedar shake cottages (big and small) that lined the beaches and lagoon, the sound of distant fog horns from offshore boats, and the crisp, pale, comfortable decor in which the interior of every house was dressed. GLP felt “beachy” without the stereotypical palm trees and seashell motifs you usually see at beach houses.
We spent the days riding our coasting bikes around the point, stopping at its little beaches and searching for sea glass (and smiling with delight when we found a red or a blue piece). I always thought sea glass would make a really cool back splash … if only I had enough!
We ate our weight in lobsters and my grandmother’s Hawaiian steak. We’d take day trips into Mystic (and, yes, ate at the famous Mystic Pizza – which really is a thing), shop, and sight-see; or, head up the coast to Rhode Island to visit all the fancy mansions in Newport (OMG).
Like I said earlier, we rode bikes everywhere on the Point, arriving home when it got dark, in exactly the same fashion kids did back in the ’50s. No, really. My mom and her sisters would spend every summer there as kids with my grandmother (my grandfather flying up on weekends from Maryland), and her GLP memories were very close to ours!
We spent most days swimming in the cooooooold Atlantic Ocean a long block away, jumping off the dock into the lagoon (a.k.a. Venetian Harbor), going for long evening walks, and visiting the Casino (no, not that kind of casino; it’s an old school soda shop that’s part of the GLP Yacht Club).
It wasn’t the standard Maryland summer vacation destination like Ocean City, Md., or North Carolina’s Outer Banks. And we loved it.
Things were comfortable without feeling worn, and while there were fancy houses (like, WAY fancy), we preferred the feel of a rustic place … which on GLP wasn’t even that rustic. Cottages, inside and out, were tastefully shabby chic before that was even a thing — full of pale colors, whites, grays, and “weathered” furniture.
Today, nearly 20 years later, I can still close my eyes and hear the bellowing light house fog horn and the gentle waves lapping on the rocky coast of “Kiddie Beach.” I’m able to smell low tide along the marsh, and hear my grandmother announce, “We’re having
subs grinders and steamed clams steamers for dinner!” It was soooo good.
It’s been a long time since I last visited, and my sister and I are planning a girls’ long weekend visit to enjoy the sites, and gain an appreciation for all the things we fondly remember, as well as discover new places and adventures. We’re really excited to get back up the coast and be reminded of all the reasons we loved it so much growing up.
It’s the type of place that makes lasting memories, and provides a glimpse into history unlike any other part of the country, and while summer’s a great time to escape (lower humidity, cool nights, beaches), fall is beautiful, too (crisp air, colorful leaves)! Visiting the New England shore is about SO much more than a traditional beach vacation.
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