Connecticut Magazine ranked East Lyme #12 among towns between 15,000 and 20,000 residents. The rankings took into consideration such “quality of life” issues as education, crime, economy, cost of living and leisure activities. To those who live in East Lyme, or have had the opportunity to visit, East Lyme ranks even higher.
Conveniently located halfway between New York and Boston, overlooking Long Island Sound, the picturesque town of East Lyme, CT offers a wealth of activities to visitors and residents alike.
The town is comprised of two villages, Flanders to the north, and Niantic along the shoreline. Each has its distinct features, but together they form a vibrant town filled with quaint shops and quality restaurants, cozy inns, historic buildings, plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, and a widely-respected education system.
East Lyme is perfectly situated for a wide range of activities. Within a short drive to the west are the picturesque towns of Essex, Old Saybrook, and Old Lyme, where maritime history, particularly the Connecticut River Museum, antiques and art are all to be found. Another short drive, this time to the east, takes you to Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium, two well-known attractions. To the northeast are the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, where, in addition to games of chance, world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment are offered. Farther to the northeast, but still within an hour of East Lyme, is Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, where antique shops abound.
East Lyme itself offers many things to do. There are two state-owned properties, Nehantic State Forest in the northwestern corner, and Rocky Neck State Park along the shore, which feature hiking, swimming, camping and picnic areas. While at Rocky Neck, be sure to visit the Pavillion, a masterpiece of cobblestone construction built by relief agencies and local tradesmen during the Depression.
East Lyme also has several public access/passive recreation areas throughout the town. In particular, the town, working with the Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve, the East Lyme Land Conservation Trust, and the Trust for Public Land, has been able to set aside several hundred acres overlooking the Niantic River. A hiker in this preserve will encounter a variety of flora and fauna, some endangered, as well as signs of the town’s early industries: Clark’s Pond, which provided ice for the area’s fishing fleets, and the remains of quarries which provided pink granite for construction throughout the country. The entrance to the Preserve is at Veterans’ Memorial Park, off Route 161 (Pennsylvania Avenue).
Boating enthusiasts and fishermen will find plenty of options in East Lyme, where lakes, streams and ponds abound. The eastern border of the town, the Niantic River, opens into beautiful Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound. At the mouth of the river are several marinas, as well as Cini Park, where commercial and sport fishing boats are docked.