East Lyme & Niantic
Niantic is one of two villages that make up the quaint and lovely coastal town of East Lyme, located in New London County, Connecticut. The other village is Flanders.
What sets Niantic apart from Flanders is its topography. Flanders lies more inland with many rolling hills, meadows and woodlands – land originally settled for farming. In contrast, Niantic is more coastal with its tidal waters and less land mass. In fact, the village of Niantic derives its name from the original inhabitants known as the Nehantics. This tribe, like many other tribes in the region, i.e. Mohegan, Montauk, etc., were Algonquian speaking. The word “Nehantic” translates to “of long-necked waters.” Many believe this term refers to the peninsula in East Lyme known as Black Point.
The tidal Niantic River on the east empties into the Niantic Bay which is a part of the Long Island Sound on the southern part of Niantic Village. As such, Niantic Village consists of a number of beach communities including Attawan Beach, Black Point, Crescent Beach, Giants Neck Beach, Giants Neck Heights, Oak Grove Beach, Old Black Point, Pine Grove and Saunder’s Point. Some of these beach communities are private, such as Old Black Point. In fact, Old Black Point’s Pattagansett Marshes, are considered important barrier beach eco-systems along the Long Island Sound. There are other sites as well along the shoreline; and they are monitored by the Nature Conservancy and State Department of Environmental Protection. This was the end result when Congress established the Long Island Sound Stewardship Initiative in 2006 in order to protect and preserve such areas in Connecticut and New York.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that Niantic Village became popular and started to change from a sleepy little village into a bustling hub for the fishing industry. The face of the fishing industry has changed since then from large factories to small marinas with charter boat rentals due to a decreasing fish population and environmental preservation efforts by the state and federal governments. Many different types of fish still inhabit the waters including sea bass, flounder, cod, and fluke to name just a few. Clamming, by permit, can also be done on the Niantic River or the Niantic Bay as well.
Today, besides fishing, there are many offerings that draw thousands of people year in and year out. During the summer months, the population dramatically increases in size with the influx of thousands of tourists. Tourism now plays a very important role in its economy primarily due to its many miles of excellent public beaches. For example, literally right off of Niantic’s downtown Main Street, is the Hole-in-the Wall beach for swimming and sunbathing. And when entering here, one can stroll or jog the famous mile long Niantic Boardwalk. (Another more handicapped friendly access to the boardwalk is through Cini Park.) And two miles away is Rocky Neck State Park which offers not only swimming but scenic trails to hike and beautiful vistas of Long Island Sound including several offshore islands like Orient Point.
The Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve is a “must” for nature enthusiasts. Its 457 acres, studded with wooded trails, provide many opportunities to study flora and fauna species along with ospreys and bald eagles.
There are two historical sites of note within Niantic Village. The first is the Thomas Avery House (Smith-Harris House). This farmhouse built circa 1845 offers tours that include lectures on how families lived during the Civil War. The second is the Thomas Lee House built in 1660. It is the oldest wood house in Connecticut. What makes it unique from other old wooden structures has been its constant preservation efforts since the time of its construction. Over the hundreds of years, little has been removed; and whenever possible, materials have been reused in its renovations. Both houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Interesting personages who were born and/or lived in this area include: William Curtis Colepaugh, a Nazis secret agent in WII, believed to be the last German spy to reach the US; Charles Drake, actor, “The Glenn Miller Story” starring Jimmy Stewart; Ed Toth, musician with “The Doobie Brothers” band; Bill Tytla, an original Disney animator who animated “Grumpy” in the Disney Classic, “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs” and, Otto Graham, Hall of Fame professional football player.
Daniels Energy Serves Connecticut Shoreline Homes
Family owned Daniels Energy first opened our doors in 1926 delivering coal. And when heating oil started to replace coal, we went with the times and have been staying abreast of the latest developments in energy technology ever since. Now we are Daniels Energy. For over 90 years, Niantic’s business and home owners have been able to count on us to handle all of their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) needs. Daniels Energy has steadily built its reputation on dependability. Whether we sell you a furnace, or an AC system, or install equipment for natural gas, rest assured we stand behind our work and our products. Heating service is what we do best. Prompt and dependable heating services including maintenance, repair, and timely delivery of heating oil and propane are things we pride ourselves on doing – and doing well. Why? Because our success rests with satisfied customers. And our customers know that we – as owners and as employees – treat them like we treat our own families, neighbors and friends. Today “Let Daniels Do It!” for you – as we’ve been doing it since 1926.
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8 High Street, P.O. Box 32, Portland, CT 06480 • 24 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT 06409, P.O. Box 391 • Essex, CT
Portland: 860-342-3778 • Essex: 860-767-1920
Daniels Energy: CT License S1-385517 HOD#19 / Daniels Propane. LLC: CT License S1-302857 HOD #846