The road from Mystic to Stratford is quite an easy one, you have the choice of the I-95 or the coastal highway 1. Now, you might ask “why would anyone want to stop off at Stratford?” but let me assure you: Stratford is well worth a visit. I would personally take Highway 1 but if you are short of time you can drive along I-95. If it is already dark then it makes absolutely no difference at all, which was the case for me.
As you leave Mystic Seaport you can either go north to I-95 or down south and join Highway 1. The latter is the more scenic option but chances are it will be already quite late in the day by then to see anything. If it is still light, one park I would definitely recommend for a short stop-over is the Rocky Neck State Park. It is just off I-95 and if you park up at the north of the park you will be able to walk to the sea through the red and yellow forest.
Rocky Neck State Park
There is also a bird watchers paradise at the heart of the park where the road crosses over the lake. In the summer this place must be heaving with day-trippers as there were hundreds of BBQ grids set up in the park. Once you get to the railway line you can cross underneath and there will be a nicely hidden sandy beach with soft white sand.
I watched the sunset by the beach then walked back to the car. I was even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of the local commuter trains! Driving in the dark to Stratford wasn’t super exciting although past New Haven the city lights were quite amazing. For miles and miles there was industry on both sides of the road mixed in with the suburbs.
Dinner at Wendy’s
By the time I got to Guilford in Connecticut I was so hungry my eyes were literally popping out of their sockets. All I had for food since the iHop was some beef jerky and snickers that I bought at the Dollar Tree back in Revere. I also bought some fruits and vegetables at the market in Boston but they were long gone. So I did what Americans do best and stopped off at Wendy’s, a fast food chain. A little bit about Wendy’s: it is on the Nasdaq and was founded in 1969, not too long after McDonald’s. The difference is Wend’ys tastes much better and the burgers are square not round.
Wendy’s doesn’t make frozen burgers, all is supposed to be fresh from a nearby farm. I had one of Dave’s Double with no cheese plus the green tea. It was pretty tasty, decided to eat there another fives times during the next week.
If you are interested in the history of the company and how they’ve opened 6,000 individual stores, check out this link.
Marnick’s in Lordship, Stratford
Driving on from Guilford it was a straight road to Stratford then left off on the 113 to Lordship. I stayed at the Rodeway Inn in Lordship by the coast. The Rodeway Inn or Marnick’s – as it used to be called – is an original motel/restaurant from the 1950s. It was founded by an Italian-American war veteran and still serves the best food on the coast.
Here is a bit of history: Lordship is at the southern tip of Stratford, jutting into the heart of Long Island Sound. When the first settlers arrived in 1639, they found that Indians were using this area to plant corn, so there was little clearing necessary. Originally Lordship, called Great Neck, was a Common Field worked and owned by settlers who returned home to the safety of the palisade fort at night. Originally called Point No Point a name which goes back over 200 years, Lordship Beach became a beach resort in the early 1900’s.
Beach patrons would take a trolley ride from Bridgeport at the corner of Hollister and Stratford Avenues through the marshes and into Lordship. The trolley ran through Lordship Center and took a right onto Ocean Avenue. The line ended at Washington Parkway and the passengers would walk down to the Lordship Pavilion which is now Marnick’s. Marnick’s Motel and Restaurant is family owned and operated, and has been in business since the 1956.
They have lots of photos on the wall and various awards they won through the years, and the breakfast was quite good too. Unfortunately I still felt stuffed from Wendy’s so I wasn’t going to have dinner. The rooms are still quite old fashioned, especially the bathroom (see photos). But otherwise it was a very good place.
In the morning the sunrise was pretty amazing. As you sit at the table you face towards the East watching the sun come up. The beach was sandy here too. It must be full of New Yorkers in the summer. If you have the time it is definitely worth a visit, I really enjoyed it there.
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