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New London, founded in 1646 by a group of Puritan families under John Winthrop Jr., became the principal rendezvous of privateers during the Revolution. As such the port was an important objective of Benedict Arnold's British force in 1781. The attackers, with the assistance of a 32-vessel fleet, burned wharves, houses and stores.
The whaling industry began in New London in 1784 and grew rapidly until it reached its height in the middle of the 19th century, when about 75 whaling vessels were based at the port. The industry declined in the late 1850s after whale oil was replaced with petroleum.
The downtown historic district includes Nathan Hale's Schoolhouse, the Waterfront Walk and the Greek Revival houses of Whale Oil Row. The Statue of Nathan Hale in Williams Park is a duplicate of the one located in City Hall Park, New York City. The John Winthrop Jr. Monument at Buckley Place off Hempstead Street honors the colony's founder.
The cemetery on Hempstead Street, known as Ye Antientest Burial Ground , dates from 1653. Benedict Arnold watched the burning of New London from this point in 1781.
The United States Coast Guard Academy is in New London. Its first home, Fort Trumbull, has been restored to its 1845 appearance.
Pequot Avenue Drive leads from Bank Street past two prominent lighthouses to Ocean Beach, along the west bank of the Thames. On private property but visible from Pequot Avenue, the New London Harbor Lighthouse was established in 1760 and rebuilt in 1801. It can be visited by boat. Offshore, the 1909 New London Ledge Lighthouse is notable for its French Second Empire-style corner quoins, pediment dormers and mansard roof.
Ferries depart year-round from State Street for Fisher's Island, N.Y.; phone (631) 788-7463. From Ferry Street they depart for Orient Point, N.Y.; phone (860) 443-5281. A high-speed ferry also departs New London for Block Island, R.I., from mid-June to early October; phone (860) 444-4624 or (401) 466-2212.
Crowds flock to downtown New London in July for Sailfest, a 3-day street festival complete with food, live entertainment, tall ships, amusement rides and fireworks.
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Top Hotels
Current Location: New London, Connecticut
Red Roof Inn Mystic New London
707 Colman St. New London, CT 06320
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Holiday Inn New London
35 Governor Winthrop Blvd. New London, CT 06320
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