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Please select an itemTOWN

When you think Westbrook, think boats. Sail and power. Big and small. Vintage and brand spanking new. And along with those boats are an abundance of marinas, yacht clubs, bait and tackle shops, and marine supply stores. The town folk wouldn’t have it any other way.

Boats have just about always been the business of Westbrook, from the very beginning of its settlement by the English in the 1600s, when the area was called Patchogue — and on through the advent of the railroad and the steamship, when the town was a busy shipbuilding center.

The town’s most famous vessel was produced by David Bushnell, who was born in Westbrook around 1742. During his final year of studies at Yale College, he invented a submersible craft and returned to Old Saybrook to test it. First used in 1776, Bushnell’s American Turtle was a hand-powered one-man ship made of wood and steel that submerged when her ballast tanks were filled with water. She was engaged as a wartime vessel during the Revolutionary War and used in combat. However, a failed attempt to attach a torpedo mine to the hull of the British man-of-war Eagle was soon followed by the sinking of a ship transporting the American Turtle, which sent her to the bottom for good.

Despite that sort of intriguing history, the town of Westbrook has become best known as a safe haven for recreational vessels, as well as a small fleet of fishing boats. Traffic at its marinas is heavy on summer weekends, as everything from kayaks and daysailers to row boats and yachts negotiate the shoals and sandbars of the Sound and the shallows of its rivers.

Several B&Bs — including The Angel’s Watch Inn, the Captain Stannard House, Talcott House, and the Westbrook Inn, along with its new sister hostelry at the Bushnell House Inn, welcome guests who prefer a personal touch and very reasonable prices. Some go a step further, such as The Angel’s Watch Inn, which will host your own private “murder mystery dinner,” and both the Captain Stannard House and the Westbrook Inn, which offer “elopement” packages.

The Water’s Edge Resort & Spa, just off the Boston Post Road, overlooks the Sound and offers a seaside experience rounded out with spa services, pools, tennis, and a restaurant and grand ballroom, as well as The Shops at Water’s Edge, with intriguing goods from local crafters and far-flung artisans alike.

For travelers with a deeper affinity for the treasures of the earth, a walk through the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge may be just the thing. Its 225-acre Salt Meadow offers more than two miles of delightful trails through a tidal salt marsh, shrub land, and open fields. In the protected areas of the marshlands, shorebirds and migratory osprey nest peacefully.

Hungry? Westbrook has some great places to eat, including Boom, which is located within Pilot’s Point Marina and offers dockside dining, and Bill’s Seafood — a landmark restaurant located between Rt. 1 and the Patchogue River in Westbrook, right next to the famous singing bridge. Cafe Routier and Creative Cooking/New Orleans Restaurant create worlds of their own inside vintage homes along the Boston Post Road. Of course, the legendary Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale has another Post Road location right here, joining its flagship spot in Madison. Want to pick something up for dinner aboard — or a picnic at the beach? Be sure to try Edd’s Place, also on the Boston Post Road.

 

Al Ferreira Photo