Arriving into New London CT by ferry the steeply gabled houses and rocky coastline immediately screamed “New England.”
New London CT is not a fru-fru place. While not a complete wreck like Bridgeport CT or Trenton NJ, New London looks like a working class town just trying to get by. I find it exotic. Its big employers are the U.S. Coast Guard and the large submarine construction base in Groton, just across the river. My ferry landed in downtown New London. I biked off the ferry and headed towards the address of an Airbnb.
This is the house of my Airbnb and the proprietor’s bumper stickered Volvo station wagon. I had no idea what to expect. It was an unusual Airbnb.
Her living room.
The Airbnb was a portion of an upstairs bedroom. Most of the bedroom was my hostess’ art studio.
The opposite side of this small room was for me. We shared a bathroom.
We found we had a lot of common interests and she was a pleasure to chitchat with.
That evening I biked the mile or two back to downtown New London to look for somewhere to eat. There is not a huge selection of restaurants in New London anyway and on a Monday night many places were closed. Thames Landing was only just OK.
The next day I bicycled east towards Westerly, Rhode Island. This was my day’s route.
On the way out of town Muddy Waters Cafe in central New London is a really nice place for my kind of breakfast. Those from Durham NC take note: there was a Merge Records sticker on their front steps!
I crossed a high bridge over the Thames River.
I then bicycled east mostly on small and curvy roads, frequently with short bursts of very steep grades.
Brick walls were are ubiquitous. I cannot imagine all the work in earlier generations hauling these stones out of the ground to enable trying to eke a living out of this rocky landscape. You see these walls for miles through otherwise wooded areas, indications that these areas were once farmland.
I was still on the lookout for great clam chowder. Clams and especially lobsters are pretty foreign in North Carolina. Right near the Connecticut / Rhode Island state line there was a takeout seafood store with two chairs and one table for those who wanted to eat-in with plastic utensils. After polishing off a bowl of clam chowder I ate $ 8.70 worth of amazing lobster salad, also sold by the pound.
I bicycled a long way through surprisingly wooded and remote-seeming land. I was quite tired in the late afternoon when I pulled into the charming town of Wakefield RI. There was a place called Brickley’s with very good house-made coffee chip ice cream.
I had not completely planned this bicycle expedition through Long Island and New England. I had had vague ideas about going all the way to Boston. One advantage with Amtrak is that it is relatively flexible. I had had a great trip but I had spent enough money and I was ready to go home. I haggled a deal over the phone for a quite nice (fru-fru!) conventional Bed and Breakfast in that same town Wakefield RI. I booked Amtrak to leave the Kingston RI station at 7:11 AM the next morning, taking me all the way back on one train to my Toyota parked in Richmond VA. I would be home in Chapel Hill NC by 8:00 PM that same evening.
Leaving at 6:15 AM I bicycled the eight miles to the station, almost all of it on a rail-trail bike path.
I have a special shout-out to TLC Coffee Roasters in West Kingston RI who I found at 6:55 AM. They had, “to go” a large decaf coffee, refrigerator oatmeal for breakfast, and a quite good pastrami sandwich for lunch. On Amtrak you should always bring your own food.
Tootie had a delicious dinner waiting for me in Chapel Hill when I got home.