The future is more promising for this naval-industrial town on the opposite side of the Thames River from New London. It has long been dependent on the presence of the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics and the Navy's submarine base. There were threats to close the base and, by extension, Electric Boat, but a federal commission issued a reprieve in 2004, and Electric Boat continues to employ 10,500 here and in Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
What to See & Do
A number of companies offer full- and half-day fishing trips. Typical of the public boats is the 114-foot Hel-Cat II, 181 Thames St. (tel. 860/535-2066 or 860/535-3200; www.visitconnecticut.com/helcat.htm). Trips last from 6 to 10 hours. Check for current prices; the spring 2008 10-hour cod-fishing trip costs $80. Tackle is available for rent. It's located 2 miles south of I-95; take exit 85 if you're driving north on I-95, or exit 87 if you're driving south.
Both charter and party (public) trips are available from the Sunbeam Fleet, based at Captain John's Sport Fishing Center, 15 First St., Waterford (tel. 860/443-7259; www.sunbeamfleet.com). Public trips last from 5 1/2 to 9 hours and include night bass fishing from 7pm to 12:30am ($70 plus $5 rod rental; live eels included) and fluke fishing from 7am to 4pm ($68 plus $5 rod rental; bait included). Check for the days and times, which vary between May and November. The same firm runs historic lighthouse cruises June through August ($48). Waterford is the town immediately south of New London; the dock is next to the Niantic River Bridge.
History buffs will enjoy a stroll around Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, 57 Fort St. (tel. 860/449-6877 in season; www.ct.gov). It was here, in 1781, that Benedict Arnold, who originally fought for American independence before trading allegiances, led a British force against American defenders and ruthlessly ordered the massacre of 88 prisoners after they had surrendered. The park is just off Thames Street, which runs along the river.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.