Stonington, Watch Hill and Block Island

Fort Griswold House, New London, Conn.

Fort Griswold House, Eastern Point, Groton

Stonington wharves

Stonington rail yard at the town wharves

As we left all this behind, on Block Island, we would turn east past Eastern Point and the Fort Griswold House, set among a thick cluster of small summer cottages, past Bushy Point and Mystic Island, on the way to Stonington and Watch Hill - a vast summer colony perched on a hill where ocean and inland waters met. This resort has shrunk over the years. 

Editor's Note: Stonington was the western terminus of the Stonington Railroad, opened between that village and Westerly, Rhode Island in 1837, the first railroad in Connecticut and soon extended to Providence and Boston.  At Stonington passengers boarded steamboats for New York. The rail bridge across the Thames at New London was completed in 1889, allowing one for the first time to make the entire trip between Boston and New York by train. 

The great Long Island Sound steamboats, and their smaller cousins like the three boats described by Gerard Jensen, continued to operate for many years after the bridges were built, the last surviving into the early 1940s. 

"Mystic Island" is probably a reference to Mystic's Mason's Island. As the years passed into the 20th century Watch Hill did not continue to "shrink," but evolved into today's summer hideaway for the well to do.  

Ella at Watch Hill

Ella leaving Watch Hill, Rhode Island, with Connecticut in the background

Then came the ocean, stretching away to the east and south, and far out at sea the faint outline of Block Island.  When a breeze was up, the waters began to grow rough, and the steamer responded with pitching and rolling. Most of the passengers were glad to see the gravelly shore and cliffs of the Island. Once in harbor, we caught glimpses of roads and dwellings, and wished that we might get beyond the narrow ring of shore (but we never did.) The saltwater taffy and popcorn zone was all that we ever knew of that delightful isle. But the waters were green and inviting and our appetites abundant. I think we enjoyed the stopover more than our elders.

Old Harbor, BI
Stonington, Watch Hill and Block Island