Groton, Connecticut??

I’m debating orders I’ll be recieving for transfer this year and one set has me particularly intrigued. I’d be reporting to Sub Base Groton as the base public affairs officer.

There’re a few benefits that I see immediately:

  1. It’ll cut the weekly one-way drive to see my son from 7 1/2 hours to 3 hours.

  2. I’ll be able to take three years to get my resumes out in anticipation of retirement and be able to go on interviews.

  3. Hi Opal!!

Another thought occurred to me. What is the State of the Doper Union in an around Groton, CT?

What’s there to do there?


Hey Chief! Based on the fact that my brother was stationed there. I’d say TAKE IT! YMMV of course but he told me that between there, Italy and Scotland, Groton was the best. He, in fact, reinlisted twice to stay there!

Good luck in your new posting wherever it may be! And thanks for serving our Country. As one vet to another, I salute you most proudly!

I went to Groton once during my undergraduate years, in order to protest the building of nuclear submar–…er, uh, in order to march in support of our Fine Fighting Men in the U.S. Navy.

I’m not a huge fan of the state of Connecticut, but one nice thing going for the place is that you’re equidistant from two of my favorite towns, NYC and Boston. Both of which are jam-packed with friendly, cultured, attractive, brilliant members of the SDMB.

You’re right on Long Island Sound, not far from Block Island, where Commander Edward Ellsberg, the great naval salvage man, led the diving operation to raise the sunken S-51 back in 1927.

There’s good Italian food. But when you want a hero sandwich, you have to ask for a “grinder.”

You’re also close to the Nice Parts of New England (i.e., anything north of Connecticut). Trotting up to Vermont to ski or to New Hampshire to hike around the Presidential range or to Maine to go lobstering would be a snap.

Yeah, I’d say do it.

My impression of Groton (it’s actually Naval Submarine Base New London, by the way, although I think it’s in Groton) was that there is really not much to do there. The base itself is on a bit of a hill, and really isn’t much to look at, even compared to Norfolk, and all the roads zigzag back and forth up the hill.

While the New London/Groton area may be pretty dull, there’s plenty within easy driving distance. Mystic is a nice little town nearby (location of Mystic Pizza, upon which Julia Roberts’ first movie was based), there always Foxwoods, Newport is beautiful and not too far, Block Island can be reached by ferry, and Boston and New York City are not all that far to drive.

Hopefully xenophon41 is still around, he was stationed there for a few years, as compared to my month-long midshipman cruise (of which five whole days were spent underway).

Next door to Groton is Mystic, CT, which is a pretty charming little town despite the stigma of Julia Roberts. It also has a fairly nice aquarium.

Just up the Thames is the Mohegan Sun, where you can quickly burn off all that extra pay you’re getting. Twenty miles or so east is Foxwoods, largest casino in the Western Hemisphere, so you won’t be hurting if the urge to play hits you.

There is some pretty good hiking around those far eastern parts as well, notably the Narragansett trail. However, since the locals around those parts are… f–king assholes, you might want to be careful. Oops, did I say that? I’m sure they’re not all f–king assholes. I just haven’t yet met anyone who isn’t. The Groton-New London-Norwich area seems a little less abrasive.

I’m told there are plenty of good bars around, but I have yet to see one–I just didn’t have time. If you are of a certain sexual persuasion, I understand there is a fairly tight community and bars that cater to that community as well.

There’s a nice little beach town just across the border at Misquamicut, RI, which I enjoyed, and that part of the country is loaded with natural ponds that sport pickerel and even pike, supposedly. Historically, the area has been colonized since the 1630s, and there are lots of outlets for history buffs. Weather-wise, it’s shitty in the wintertime, but it’s a lot better than twenty miles inland.

Overall, it could be worse.

I’ve not been to Groton, but I love New England, and miss it a lot. As has been said, there is much to do in very close distance to there, so you won’t get bored.

  1. YAY!!! More time to be with your son!

  2. <biting tongue to keep from making the all-too-easy comment about needing all three years to do that…> wink

  3. Hi Opal!
    And, last, but certainly not least, just for you, my friend:

{{{{{{{{ChiefScott}}}}}}}} smoooch!

I don’t live there, but I have relatives there. An uncle is a retired Navy chief - submarines, of course.

We visited there for a long weekend last summer. My impression was that it’s a Navy town - lots of related stuff. The Coast Guard academy is there on the Thames as well, if you feel the need to pick on a coastie. Mystic has a great 1850’s style seaport/museum if you’re a history buff. The only whaling ship left afloat is there, and they built the replica of the Amistad there, too. Mystic also has a little pool hall that my uncle mentioned hanging out in now and again. He said it had a resident hustler that got too cocky once, and lost a custom cue to my uncle because he didn’t have enough cash to cover his bets.

The topography is all up and down - hilly country, with lots of rocks showing. The roads all wind around the rocks, and it’ll take forever to learn your way around on the back roads.

Lots of little harbors dot the shoreline if you want to keep a boat. I can’t say what the winters would be like, we were never there in the winter.

chiefscott, they dont call it rotten groton for nuthin, but there is some fun to be had, mostly in new london.

dutch tavern- eugene o’neill usta drink here, nuthin much has changed. its tiny, serves only beer (we usta drink pitchers of narragansett dark for 3.25), and has the same reprobates proppin up the bar no matter what time of day it is. the daytime bartender is the lead singer of the reducers, one of the finest bar bands ive ever had the pleasure of seein. i think theyll still playin, theyre in their 40s now. great great band.

which leads me to the el and gee club, where the reducers can be found. right around the corner from the dutch. theres a lotta hookers in NL cuz of the navy yard, and local legend annie cashed out and bought the el and gee. back in the day, youd see punks mixed with worn out ladies mixed with sad, skinny drunks mixed with real rastas mixed with the occasional coastie lookin to slum, or the occasional navvy lookin to fight. its still there.

dont forget the world’s largest casino 20 minutes north of groton. prolly the best place to get sumthin to eat, most food around there sucks, except for the grinders, meatball and hot italian especially.

and yer close to providence and such, where you can see a show and eat at a good restaurant.

its not so bad. and sofa king is right, theres good nonstrenuous hiking in them rolling hills. the locals are pretty lame tho, either unemployed angry EB workers or the most fatuous rich ass tight ass preppie fucks you ever did see.

have fun.

Well, from my perspective as a young squidly stationed there for 18 months, it sucked. I could think of 20 other duty stations I’d commit to before NLON. My perspective during that time: If you don’t have wheels, forget it (I know, n/a for you.) Cost of living, high, with not a lot to show for it. Base housing sucks (and most, if not all, is off-base.) You are going to a subbase Groton (Lower Base) but the predominant command is actually SUBSCOL (Upper Base) with all its anal retentives, including the boot ensigns going to officer SUBSCOL. We couldn’t go anywhere for entertainment in uniform without risking a fight with the locals.

Some of the bright spots have already been mentioned, like Mystic, a nice little town-feeling area without attitude. Also the train is a nice way to travel north and south, used to ride it to DC on the weekends.

As a twilight tour, I’d consider my other options first.

sorry to double post, but i just remembered that all food there doesnt suck.

sea swirl in mystic has some of the finest fried clams and clam fritters known to man. oooooooohhhh, i said fried clams.

abbotts lobster in the rough in noank. eat a few for me, will ya.

and, the worst pizza there is twice as good as the best pizza in the bay area. sniff…

Good ol’ rotten Groton, been there and done that. It is a large Navy town that offers easy access to a whole world of entertainment and things to do. The closeness to your son is a definate plus, I would take the orders if I were you. I managed to pull my last tour prior to retirement in Seattle and retired in the area. It helps out to be fairly close to where you plan on anchoring after retirement.

Youse guys’re starting to get me worried.

My other options are to remain in Norfolk at a shore billet or become a Beltway denizen.

Youse guys’re starting to get me worried.

My other options are to remain in Norfolk at a shore billet or become a Beltway denizen.


What’s WRONG with being a Beltway denizen???

smiles, thinking of all those Redskins games Sailorboy would be forced to see…

Oh, and if you can get the right sort of security clearance sent over, the Nautilus Museum may allow you to get the tour of the other half of the boat, where you can see the engine room. Amazing that they’re so strict with a 1950’s era reactor, but they are. The museum (and sub) is actually one of the biggest tourist attractions in SE Conn., and is literally right outside the gate to the base.

Let me guess, the actual jobs involved aren’t the primary concern? Just as long as it’s shore duty.

Well, it’s obvious that you somehow managed to miss 95% of the state, Ukelele Ike. Connecticut is quite beautiful, and I’m not just sayin’ that because it’s my home state.

Chief, it’s like any other tour. If you are willing to make the effort, there is a lot to do there. If you are just going to sit in the barracks and be pouty (as many young service members are wont to do…but I’m sure you are past that stage) then of course it is going to suck. Heck, I even knew people who claimed they couldn’t find anything fun to do in Germany. Go figger.

Anyway, the Mystic Aquarium and Seaport are world class, and the shore towns (Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, etc.), have tons of very cool bars, pubs, and resturants. We make the trip up there regularly, and Bluesman and I would love to take you on the grand tour of fun places to go.

If you at all into hunting, fishing, hiking, etc., the opportunities are legion. There are many, many state parks and forests, all of which are great. I used to work as a patrol officer at one in particular, called Devils Hopyard. Definitley worth a visit. Skiing is not so great, but if that’s your thing, numerous points north that offer fine winter sports are only a few hours away. Like Sofa King said, there are some very nice beaches, including Hammonasset (I’m probably spelling that wrong), and Misquamicut.

As you can probably tell, I give it my highest recommendation. If you do decide to take the assignment, drop me a mail. The majority of my family is still there, and I may be able to provide you with some contacts, depending on what you need.

devils hopyard is so beautiful. lucretia, that must have been a nice gig. my scout troop usta have its fishing campout there every april… sniff… eastern connecticut, with the exception of willimantic and the norwich/jewett city metroplex, is very beautiful and hilly and woodsy. up north, you can find great stone walls and old farmhouses and suchlike. im gettin homesick… sniff…

Chief Scott: I grew up in Groton and worked for the CO and XO of SUBASE NLON for several years. I don’t live there anymore but get down a fair bit as the mum is still there. I’ve also lived in DC and have spent a good amount of time in the Norfolk area (sister worked at Norfolk NAS and sub base) so I have some basis for comparison.

Pretty much what everyone else said is true. Groton ain’t rotten for nothing, but you could choose lots worse places to live. The weather’s better in winter in Norfolk or DC but it’s really not too bad in Groton - only a few weeks or a month of really cold weather. It is so close to the water that it tends to be warmer than it would be farther inland. Groton used to be a lot more lively until the defense industry took such a dive - I have really noticed a difference (and not for the better) in the past 5-8 years. BUT - if you didn’t know what it was like before, you probably wouldn’t think anything was “cow town” (and I’m big-city snobbified now ;) )about it. Southeastern Connecticut is quite pretty and it is so easy to get to the parts of CT that are really pretty. You’re only 2 hours from Boston, maybe 2.5 from NYC.

If I had to choose from the three options given, I’d go with Groton. It’s what you make of it - anyplace is, really - and if it’s closer to your son than it would be worth it. Some of the locals do tend to look down upon persons in naval uniform, which is probably due to a few obnoxious young sailors away from home for the first time who feel the need to sow their wild oats when off duty. Some people don’t like navy personnel (or the “squids” as we used to say in junior high) but not everyone feels this way. There are plenty of places that are happy to get your patronage and will welcome you with open arms. And there are lots of civilians working in the PAO building or nearby, so you won’t be surrounded solely by military.

Let me know if you want more info, either here or e-mail me at

P.S. When I worked there, the PAO was quite the swingin’ spot . . .

P.P.S. Just saw on preview - Devil’s Hopyard is truly a beautiful place and I highly recommend that you get there if you go to Groton. Misquamicut has great beaches; the best you will see in Southern NE outside of the Cape.