Confession: I’ve been wanting to write this article ever since Pokémon Go was first announced in September 2015. As a diehard fan of the franchise since 2007 (I was a little too young for the initial wave of Pokémania) being able to travel and catch these little critters in the real world has been amazing – and based on how the game has exploded in popularity seemingly overnight, I’m clearly not alone. Figuring out what ‘Mons will show up and where has been a huge part of the fun, and catching ‘em all is the perfect excuse to explore Conn’s campus, New London, and beyond.
A sprawling labyrinth of hiking trails, laurel, and lakes, the Arbo is as good a place as any to start our Pokétour. The clearing beside the lake is the perfect spot for studying, hanging out, playing an impromptu game of catch, or listening to music, and if you walk along the trail at the water’s edge you may even spot some turtles sunbathing on rocks further out. If you can find 4G coverage on the trails (good luck with that), be prepared to see a variety of different Pokémon: Grass, Normal, and even the occasional Water or Psychic-type tend to enjoy popping up in this kind of terrain.
Being over 100 years old, Conn’s campus has played a large role in New London’s history, and as such is home to several PokéStops. With buildings from a mishmash of architectural periods and beautiful foliage in autumn and early spring, it’s worth taking a stroll even if you’re not rushing to your next class. Users who’ve visited college campuses across the country have discovered Electric-types tend to be relatively common regardless of where the campus is located. Of course, you’re just as (if not more) likely to stumble upon annoying “com ‘Mons” like Weedle, Pidgey, Spearow, Ratatta, Venonat, and the like.
Downtown New London
Accessable via the Camel Van, downtown New London is full of boutiques, inexpensive (and delicious) restaurants, mom-and-pop coffeeshops, and plenty of charm. The Eugene O’Neil Theatre, Hygenic Art Galleries, and the Garde Arts Center are all must-sees if you’re a thespian or artist, while New London Harbor boasts a spectacular view. Lots of PokéStops and Gyms are located in this area, in addition to a lot of com ‘Mons, Normal, Poison, and Bug-types. Occasionally, though, you may be able to find something rarer, like Clefairy, Psyduck, Horsea, Staryu, or even Seel. Be careful, though – there’s a bit of a seedy underbelly to New London, so stay alert, don’t go after dark, don’t wander off into alleyways, and always have a buddy at your side in case of an emergency.
Another location accessible via Camel Van, Ocean Beach has been rated one of the best beaches around by National Geographic – and with a old-fashioned carousel, water slides, arcade, boardwalk, and a breathtaking view of Long Island Sound, we’re inclined to agree. In terms of Pokémon, Water-types are par for the course (duh), and you’ll likely come across some rarer ones if you know where to look. Paradoxically, there’s also a good chance of finding Fire and Ground-types here, and since they usually show up in more arid climate areas it’s one of the only places you’ll be able to catch them. And of course, the boardwalk is at the perfect place to walk around and hatch some Eggs.
It’s a bit of a trek to get to Mystic, but ask anyone who’s been and they’ll tell you it’s absolutely worth it. As one of the historical epicenters of whaling activity in Connecticut, Mystic is a town whose identity is stitched together by complex and fascinating tales from the sea. Whether you’re an animal lover (Mystic Aquarium), history buff (Mystic Seaport), foodie (Mystic Pizza), or just love to explore (Mystic Market), there’s truly something for everyone. Given the town’s historical value PokéStops are about a dime a dozen, and there’s also plenty of Gyms to take over or simply test your skills at. As for the kinds of Pokémon you’ll find? It’s only appropriate that when history intertwines two places like New London and Mystic so tightly together, they share the same Pokémon as well.