East Haven Travel Guide

  • Unmarried women lining up for bouquet toss
    Unmarried women lining up for bouquet...
    by DEBBBEDB
  • East Haven Town Hall from the car
    East Haven Town Hall from the car
    by grandmaR
  • Sign near entrance to park about parking
    Sign near entrance to park about parking
    by grandmaR

East Haven Things to Do

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    Police car to the right of the toll booth 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Jul 18, 2011

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    The closest we got to this park was the entrance as Bob didn't see any reason to pay $10.00 just to take a picture of a lighthouse.

    In 1924 the City of New Haven purchased Lighthouse Point Park. In the roaring 20’s, the park attracted legends Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb to Sunday afternoon games.

    The hurricane of 1938 ripped through the park, destroying many buildings and trees. In 1950 the City made improvements including a new bathhouse, a first aid station and concession stands. A small amusement park was added and the beach was improved.

    Today, according to what I read on the internet, the park attracts thousands to the public beach to enjoy a picnic on Long Island Sound, fishing from the fishing pier or launching their boats from the public boat ramp. Kids can enjoy the playground and swings.

    The park is one of the most popular spots for bird watching along the East Coast. Each fall and spring, thousands of birds migrate along Morris Creek. Park rangers provide programs for visitors and various ornithological groups conduct research.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Beaches
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Fort Nathan Hale 4 more images

    by DEBBBEDB Updated Aug 18, 2008

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    The morning of the wedding, we drove around East Haven, and went to Nathan Hale park, which was free. First we went to the side with the fishing pier, and my daughter collected shells on the shore. We could see the lighthouses farther out at sea.

    Then we drove to the other side where the actual fort was. It was free. There was an old bearded man at the Visitor's Center. I think he was a volunteer. He gave us out information about the flags and the fort and then we walked around the park. First was the memorial flag court with the statue of Nathan Hale in the middle. The fort was not named for him until long after his death. Originally it was called Black Rock Fort. We went across the drawbridge and looked at the signs.

    General Information

    The Visitor Center is open from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day. Daily 10-4. Admission Free.

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    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Fishing
    • Arts and Culture

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East Haven Restaurants

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    by DEBBBEDB Updated Aug 18, 2008

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    When I (Beth) got in from Boston, and was driving around to my room, I saw my brother standing outside his room, so he and his kids and I and my daughter all walked over to Chili's and had dinner.

    The next day my daughter and I had lunch at Chili's with my parents

    Favorite Dish: At lunch, my mom and I had the soup and salad. At dinner we did the 'build your own fajitas'

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    by grandmaR Written Aug 5, 2008

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    After we got back from seeing Fort Nathan Hale, we walked over to Chili's for lunch. While we were eating, it poured rain - came down in buckets. From inside the restaurant, we could see water from a puddle on the street outside spray up over the top of the cars going by. We stayed a little past the time that we finished eating, and then ran back to the hotel in the remaining sprinkles.

    Favorite Dish: Under construction

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

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East Haven Nightlife

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    by grandmaR Written Aug 25, 2008

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    Anthony's Ocean View is a really luxurious place to have a wedding or any kind of a big party. They have very good food and facilities for a big party or a reception. It does cost of course, but as a guest we didn't have to pay for anything.

    Dress Code: My granddaughter wanted her wedding on the beach so the facility supplied flip flops so we could go out on the sand without getting our shoes wet or dirty. She also wanted a beach casual ambiance, but her friends insisted that Anthony's was a formal place and they would dress up. So they did. I aimed for a kind of hippy formal.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Luxury Travel
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East Haven Off The Beaten Path

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    Sailboat and lighthouse 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 1, 2008

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    The entrance to New Haven Harbor is guarded on the east by a dangerous ledge which is covered by only 7 ½ feet of water at low tide. It wasn't until the early 1870s that construction on the ledge was possible - until then sailors just had to know to give Five Mile Lighthouse a wide berth.

    The Lighthouse Friends website describes the lighthouse as "The 45-foot-tall lighthouse is an eight-sided three-story cast-iron structure with a Mansard roof covering the top two stories. Atop the tower is an octagonal lantern room surmounted by an ogee octagonal roof.

    Work on the foundation began in 1873 with three thousand tons of rip rap laid around a hole for a cast-iron tube. But before the tube could be inserted, a severe storm hit the ledge throwing the huge stones into the empty hole, and the project was delayed until the next spring.

    The lighthouse superstructure was such a design innovation that it was put on display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia from July 4, 1876 until the close of the exhibition. A keeper lived in the lighthouse (in Philadelphia), tending the beacon each night. An identical structure was sent to Southwest Ledge during the Exposition so that construction would not be delayed. After the Exposition, the display lighthouse was sent to Ship John Shoal in Delaware.

    Southwest Ledge Light was lit for the first time on January 1, 1877. The fourth-order Fresnel could be seen for thirteen miles. On August 20, 1888, a Daboll hot-air fog signal was established at the station, and in 1889, a red sector was added to the light.

    The lighthouse was not a good place to live - problems included the nasty water that accumulated in the cistern, the unending dampness, and persistent cockroaches. The small, cramped, uncomfortable quarters eventually lead Assistant Keeper Nils Nilson to go berserk. One night, after a minor disagreement, a deranged Nilson grabbed the fire ax and chased Keeper Jorgen Jonnensen around the tower, before Jonnensen barricaded himself into a storage room, and Nilson rowed off into the night. Jonnensen decided not to report the incident, but convinced his brother-in-law to stay at the station as extra protection. Once again, Nilson lost his cool, and pinned Jonnensen against the wall threatening to cut his throat with a butcher knife. This time, Jonnensen was saved through the intervention of his brother-in-law. Shortly after, in 1908, Nilson went to shore and sadly took his own life.

    The lives of many stranded souls were saved through the efforts of the keepers stationed at Southwest Ledge. Assistant Keeper Sidney Thompson was credited with saving four people at great personal risk soon after the light was established. Between 1914 and 1924 the keepers were instrumental in saving the lives of at least 20 people.

    The light was automated in 1953 and is still active.

    We saw this light from a distance when we visited Fort Nathan Hale.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches
    • Architecture

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    by grandmaR Updated Sep 1, 2008

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    During the Revolutionary War, when Lighthouse Keeper Morris heard the British approaching, he mounted his horse and began shouting out orders to the stones and trees. The British were fooled into thinking there was an American force there and returned to their boats.

    When the British did succeed in taking the point, Morris set his dining room table with all the food and luxuries he possessed, and then left the property. The British burned his home and all the buildings on his estate to the ground anyway.

    Five Mile Point (named for its distance from downtown New Haven), has marked the entrance to New Haven Harbor since 1805, but sailors had to give the light a berth of at least two miles to avoid a dangerous ledge to its southwest. Mariners also complained that the light was not bright enough, nor tall enough to be seen over a row of trees to the east of the lighthouse. In 1845, a new tower was recommended, and it was suggested that a better placement would be on the Southwest Ledge that gave mariners so much trouble. However, it was not feasible to build on the ledge, so instead, a new tower was built at Five Mile Point for $10,000.

    Completed in 1847, the new tower, painted white, stands 65 feet tall. The exterior is made of East Haven sandstone, the interior lined with New Haven brick, and the 74 steps leading to the lantern room are carved from solid granite. The new light, at a focal plane of 97 feet above sea, could be seen 10 nautical miles on a clear day, shining from a system of twelve lamps with 21-inch reflectors. The lamp system was upgraded to a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1855.

    The War Department took ownership of Five Mile Point in 1896 and leased the property to Albert Widmann. He earned some money by charging visitors to climb the tower. When the lease expired in 1922, the land was transferred to the State of Connecticut and the buildings to the city of New Haven.

    The tower was renovated in 1986, complete with a new paint job and years of guano deposits steam cleaned from the staircase.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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