According to longtime Long Island Sound boater Matt Houskeeper, Noank is the kind of place that appeals to the more laidback, self-sufficient boater.
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“It’s not snobby. Definitely low-key,” says Houskeeper, who keeps his Bristol 30 daysailor on a mooring at Spicer’s Marina. “If you’re a transient, Noank is a good spot to spend a night or two, but it’s not for people who are looking to be entertained.”
Houskeeper points out that Noank’s location makes it a great jumping-off spot for trips to numerous Fishers Island Sound and Long Island Sound daytrip spots, as well as longer jaunts to Block Island and eastern Long Island. Also, Mystic and New London are just a few miles away.
“In summer, Noank is a great spot to simply hang out on a mooring and watch the parade of boats coming and going from Mystic,” says Houskeeper. “On most weekend days it looks like an antique-boat parade.”
Boaters can pull up at Nyman’s Dock to grab a lobster roll or live lobsters at Ford’s. Other dock-and-dine options include Abbot’s for lobster in the rough and Costello’s for fried clams, hamburgers and other grilled items, although it’s best to call ahead at both places to check on dockage availability.
Noank, which has a rich maritime past, is also a pretty village, featuring narrow, leafy streets lined by beautiful homes. There is a small museum, several seasonal restaurants and few small shops, but there really isn’t a whole lot to justify Noank as a major transient destination. However, as Houskeeper points out, Mystic and its plethora of eateries, boutiques, stores and attractions is a short drive or taxi ride away.
As mentioned, Noank’s proximity to the open water of Fishers Island Sound is a major draw for resident boaters. Fishers Island is just 2 to 3 nautical miles away, and boaters can also make the short run to New London, Stonington and Mystic. Block Island is some 20 nautical miles distant, while Montauk and Shelter Island are both roughly 20 nautical miles away. All 3 destinations are easily reachable by powerboat in a few hours, given nice weather.
Plenty of fishermen also take advantage of Noank’s proximity to the Sound, which holds numerous hot spots for stripers, blues, scup, sea bass, fluke, false albacore and blackfish (see “Fishing Noank” for details). Good fishing is often available just minutes from the dock. Several charter boats are based in Noank for this reason.
Noank is serviced by 4 marinas—Spicer’s, Noank Shipyard, Noank Village Boatyard and Palmer’s Cove. The first 3 are full-service facilities that can accommodate hundreds of boats up to 100 feet. Palmer’s Cove, located north of the railroad bridge, attracts a mostly small-boat fishing crowd. Fuel is available at Noank Shipyard and Nyman’s Dock; the latter sells bait and tackle, as well as ice.