Island Hopping Last Updated 2/18
With some 253 miles of shoreline on Long Island Sound and countless others along and around its rivers and lakes, Connecticut is a good place for islands. By one count, there are 180 of them large enough to be named. So why not enjoy one or more of them this year? Call it your own. Name it after yourself. Have fun.
Connecticut is home to 23 lighthouses along the Sound, but not many are open to the public. That’s not the case with Sheffield Island, off Norwalk, where visitors can hike, picnic and climb up into the lighthouse for a tour. From May through September, the Norwalk Seaport Association runs scheduled cruises to the island.
Depending upon how you define what an island is, there are possibly more than 100 Thimble Islands, off the coast of Branford, but only a couple of dozen that are large enough to be inhabited. The Indian name for them translates to “beautiful sea rocks,” and on a calm summer morning, you can see why. With their pink granite heads poking above the high-water mark (barely, in some cases), they're scattered like a handful of charms across the Sound from Indian Neck to Sachem’s Head. Want a closer look? Take a cruise through the islands, complete with history and great stories, by going to thimbleislands.com or thimbleislandcruise.com. Or you can just take out a kayak and make up your own stories.
If you’re looking for a river island, it’s hard to ignore Selden Island in the Connecticut River – at 607 acres, it’s the largest island in the state. Selden was once the westernmost extremity of Lyme that jutted into the river, but an 1854 flood altered the landscape and turned it into an island. Today, as Selden Neck State Park, it’s Connecticut’s only island state park. Its features include marked hiking trails (which pass by the ruins of an ancient farm and a stone quarry, and four boating camp areas – primitive in nature (outhouses and pit fireplaces) but blissfully removed from the workaday world.