Looking for something to do this weekend? Have a car on campus? Get out and explore the state of Connecticut beyond New London by taking a scenic drive. Read on for some of the best scenic drives starting in Eastern Connecticut.
Just a short drive down 95 will lead you to the start of this nearly 50-mile long highway. Follow the Connecticut River until you arrive at the Hartford Basin, after which the road ends at the Farmington- West Hartford town line. Enjoy breathtaking views, little traffic, and –if you’re lucky– you may even spot some wildlife.
Connecticut Heritage Loop
This 90-mile loop begins and ends right in New London, and showcases many of the historical buildings right in the area. Take 95 north and get off exit 86. Follow Route 184 eastward to Old Mystic, then Route 27 south to Mystic. Next, go east on Route 1 to Route 2, then north on Route 2, Route 184 and Route 49 to Route 14A until you reach Canterbury. Then, head south on Routes 169 and 2 to Norwich and take Route 32 south to close the loop back in New London.
The entirety of Route 169 is designated as a National Scenic Byway, so when you travel this route, you know you’ll see some great sights! This 38-mile road begins in Norwich and runs about 9 miles over the Massachusetts border, ending in Charlton, MA. You will drive by cemeteries, churches, private schools, meeting places, and classic New England stone walls.
The Connecticut River Loop
This relatively short, 35-mile loop you will pass through many quaint Connecticut towns, circling around the Connecticut River. Take I-95 South to Route 9 (Exit 69), then take Exit 2 and follow Route 154 N/Middlesex Turnpike. On this road you will pass the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, the only steam train and riverboat connection in the country. From there, continue to follow 154 north as it winds along the Connecticut River and through Essex, Centerbrook, Deep River, Chester, Haddam and East Haddam. All of these towns have small shopping centers and restaurants that are perfect to stop at for a bite to eat. On 154, turn right onto Bridge Road/Route 82 to cross the East Haddam Bridge. End your trip by following Route 82 through Hadlyme to the junction of Route 156 south into Lyme and Old Lyme.
Mystic/ Stonington Loop
Traverse both sides of 95 and follow the Connecticut Wine Trail on this 30-mile loop. Although short, there are plenty of places to stop off to grab some food, take a hike, or visit a winery. Begin just a few minutes down 95 north in Mystic. Travel along Route 27 north into Old Mystic. At the three way stop sign – you’ll see Old Mystic General Store at the intersection – keep to the right, following Main Street. You’ll come to a fork in the road, stay to your right to continue onto North Stonington Road. At the intersection of Route 184 make a right. Turn right onto Taugwonk Road after a few miles (you will see a blue CT Wine Trail sign). Make a left onto Pequot Trail/Route 234, and travel a few miles to turn right onto South Anguilla Road, and make a right onto Route 1/Stonington Road when the road ends. (Detour onto 1A and follow the signs if you’d like to visit Stonington Borough.) On Route 1, travel approximately one mile and make a right onto North Main Street. At the end of North Main Street make a left onto Pequot Trail. At the end of Route 234, turn left onto Route 27 to return to your starting point.
What other scenic drives are great in Connecticut? Comment below and share this article with a friend!
Featured Image Source: foundationsofamerica.com, tu.org
Kim Meneo is a student at Connecticut College studying English and environmental science. In her free time, she volunteers at a local equine rescue and produces freelance articles for several companies. During the summer, she can usually be found relaxing on the beach with a good book. Any questions, concerns, or general inquiries can be emailed to her at email@example.com