Situated at the scenic easternmost point of Connecticut's coastline, Stonington is widely acknowledged as one of New England's most beautiful villages with its picturesque deepwater harbor and handsome 18th and 19th century homes, as well as an abundance of fine antique shops and excellent restaurants. Always ready to celebrate, the town marks the passing seasons with traditional parades, fairs, farmers' markets and entertainment on the square. However, the main focus of life still revolves around the sea.
Situated on a narrow peninsula surrounded by Fisher's Island Sound and Little Narragansett Bay, Stonington is home to a scenic deepwater harbor that shelters Connecticut's last remaining commercial fishing fleet. Also, because of its many amenities and its location at the end of Long Island Sound, Stonington has long been recognized as a major yachting center.
Conveniently located halfway between New York and Boston, the area has many popular visitor attractions including the Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, and various summer theatres. Nearby ocean beaches, tennis, numerous golf courses, horseback riding, and excellent salt and freshwater fishing are just some of the area's many recreational opportunities.
The Stonington Harbor Lighthouse is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from May through October.
Stonington Harbor has a north-south measurement of 1.1 nautical miles. It has 4.4 nautical miles of shoreline and lies within the Town of Stonington.
The northern part of the harbor is bounded by a railroad causeway which separates the harbor from Lambert's Cove. Passages exist under two railroad bridges that are serviced by a Federal channel within the harbor.
The western shoreline consists of rock bluffs and headlands along the southern part at Wamphassuc Point. Moving northward, there are minor escarpments and low beaches.
Because Stonington Harbor is partly open to the south, long ocean swells frequently come into the harbor. They are particularly noticeable at high tide as they cross the reefs east of Fishers Island.
These swells (surges) affect most boats and structures in the harbor. When strong winds blow from the south these surges can grow to 4 foot waves. This is a good reason why boat owners prefer to have their boats on moorings so that they can better cope with the wind and waves from the south.
The waters of Stonington Harbor are classified by the State as SB - suitable for bathing, recreational uses, industrial cooling and certain shellfish harvesting. The area is a wildlife habitat and has aesthetic value. One of the Town Water Pollution Control facilities is sited in Stonington Harbor.
Stonington Harbor is an extensively used boating resource for both commercial and recreational purposes. It is the home port of Connecticut's last remaining commercial fishing fleet. Approximately 400 recreational boats are moored here.
Stonington Harbor is one of the most popular ports in New England for visiting cruising yachts, and has become an important center for organized sailboat racing. Other recreational uses include sport and shoreside fishing, motor boating, daysailing, small boat instruction, windsurfing, scuba diving and swimming.