Login  /  Register  | 3 premium articles left before you must register.

The Thames: The River that Shapes Us

Published 05/30/2010 12:00 AM
Updated 10/06/2010 11:28 AM

The Thames River begins in Norwich and, 15 miles later, empties into Long Island Sound. It's very much a working river. Electricity, latex, paperboard and submarines are produced on its banks. Lumber and copper are offloaded at State Pier, barges deliver coal, and trains chug by with cargo headed for points north and south. But the sailors and stevedores share the river with recreational boaters and sightseers. A dozen marinas and yacht clubs dot the shores. Residents and tourists visit beaches, parks and two forts. Ferries are ready to take you away to three nearby islands. Cadets learn to sail here and, on a weekend every spring, the Thames hosts the country's oldest collegiate athletic competition.

The Thames is a river that helps shape our daily lives, but one we sometimes forget. This series will take you out on the river and introduce you to its people and places.


Proposal floated to welcome kayakers

 December 27, 2010

New London - New London is known as a walkable city, but since it's situated along the Thames River, why couldn't it also be a boatable city?

City Councilor Rob Pero is hoping to highlight the city's close proximity to water by...

Maritime society new owner of NL landmark

 October 14, 2010

Years of paperwork, persistence and patience paid off in a formal "deed conveyance" ceremony at the base of the New London Harbor Light.


'A beautiful distraction' on the 17th hole

 October 4, 2010

On a recent sunny fall afternoon, a cool breeze and sight of the sparkling Thames River greeted golfers emerging from the cart path tunnel that crosses under Eastern Point Road.

Millions of gallons of wastewater is not what you think

 September 6, 2010

For most of southeastern Connecticut, every flush of the toilet, drain of the shower and final rinse of the laundry is destined for the Thames River. Between its beginnings in Norwich and its mouth in New London, the 16-mile estuary serves as the...

Kayaking the Thames

 August 22, 2010

While preparing to launch our kayaks not long ago below the Gold Star Memorial Bridge in New London on the third and final leg of a paddling voyage down the Thames River, I waited for a workboat to move from a floating pier.

Hidden coves offer serenity

 August 22, 2010

From most vantage points, Clark Cove is all but invisible. "Unless you've been to the backyard, you wouldn't even know it's there," said Terri Isenburg, whose Chapman Lane house overlooks the cove. "We've had friends come over and they'll say,...

Paddling the Thames, part 3

 August 22, 2010

Steve Fagin completes his three part journey down the Thames River, launching from beneath the Gold Star Bridge and paddling to Ledge Light and back.

OpSail 2012 eyes New London

 August 20, 2010

Following OpSail 2000, a three-day festival on the Thames River in July 2000 that featured dozens of tall ships from around the world, people marveled that it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. But history can repeat itself if the city follows through...

Beautiful summer's on the run; better catch some fish before it's gone

 August 20, 2010

What absolutely gorgeous summer weather outside my window as I start this column, a great time to enjoy the last few weeks of summer, catching some fish for the table or just for the heck of it. Our big fish this week was a 64-pound bass caught by...

Dining along the Thames

 August 18, 2010

When it comes to a waterfront dining experience, "Don't underestimate the Thames River," says Stash Schiavone.

International sailing competition on the Thames

 August 6, 2010

The Coast Guard Academy plays host for the fifth Biennial William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup and sailors worldwide, ages 14 to 21.


Wow! A Bank Street condo sells for $681,400

 August 6, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised, in reading a recent selection of deed transactions in The Day's real estate section, to see that something in New London had sold for $681,400. Not bad, I thought, given the state of the economy and the real estate market.

Hot tales, cool sails on waterfront

 July 25, 2010

Amid all the children's authors, singers and mighty ships to tour, the most popular attraction at this year's Fish Tales, Tugs and Sails held Saturday in the Waterfront Park was perhaps a firehose sprinkler set up on City Pier by the fire department.

Sub's first trip home is short but important

 July 25, 2010

The submarine's black hull slid along the surface, past New London Ledge Light and into the mouth of the Thames River. A tugboat was waiting there to help escort the newest member of the Virginia class, the Missouri, to the Naval Submarine Base for...

Kayaking the Thames

 July 18, 2010

What is the recommended procedure for aiding a fellow kayaker who has flipped over? A) Paddle perpendicular to his vessel and help him re-enter the overturned boat after pumping it out.

At academy, basic training means learning to sail

 July 18, 2010

Michael Vitrano thought he could get to the buoy, turn around and return to the dock, even though he had never sailed before. The 30-second maneuver was part of his first sailing lesson at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Coast Guard Academy swabs sail

 July 18, 2010

The Coast Guard Academy's newest recruits take to the Thames River for their first sailing lesson.

Paddling the Thames, part two

 July 18, 2010

Steve Fagin embarks on part two of his journey down the Thames River, paddling his kayak from Gales Ferry to the Gold Star Bridge and back. Once again, Betsy and Bob Graham join him, along with Ian Frenkel, as they explore Smith Cove, Long Cove and...

Thames River has been a constant for this family

 July 11, 2010

Vinnie Silvester was taking advantage of the gas grills that customers can use at Burr's Marina, cooking up five London broil steaks to share over the next few days with whoever stops by his boat.

A summer tradition: Race night on the Thames

 July 4, 2010

Industry may dominate its banks, with ferries, barges and submarines plowing through its waters with purpose. But on Wednesday evenings in the summer, the Thames River shows its fun side.

Sailing on the Thames River

 July 4, 2010

Thames Yacht Club sailors race on the river on Wednesday nights during the summer.

Kayaking the Thames

 June 27, 2010

Where else can you row alongside a nuclear sub?

A conservation success story

 June 27, 2010

At Poquetanuck Cove, the working estuary known as the Thames River steps away from its industrial life of submarines, coal-fired power plants, ferry traffic and sewage plant discharges for an interlude with nature.

Paddling the Thames, part one

 June 27, 2010

Steve Fagin starts his journey down the Thames River, paddling his kayak from Norwich Harbor to Poquetanuck Cove in Ledyard. His friends Rabbi Carl Astor and Betsy and Bob Graham come along for the trip, paddling past Mohegan Sun casino in Trading...

Preliminary research shows Thames tainted by chemicals

 June 26, 2010

Groton - The chemical soup of modern life is leaving its stain on the waters of the Thames River.

Taking the pulse of the Thames

 June 20, 2010

To the fishermen dangling poles from the docks at Norwich's waterfront park, the small craft making loops in the harbor all day with Howard "Mickey" Weiss at the wheel might have seemed to be on a very curious kind of cruise.

Testing water quality in Norwich Harbor

 June 20, 2010

UConn's Michael Whitney and Project Oceanology's Howard Weiss test the oxygen levels of the Thames River in Norwich Harbor.

Making a Splash

 June 14, 2010

My 17 years at The Day can't hold a candle to the longevity of the nation's oldest intercollegiate sports rivalry.

The secrets of the Academy

 June 6, 2010

Perhaps the strangest thing about the latest episode in our Behind the Scenes series is that the subject, the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, is open to the public.

Wanted: Good home for Arctic Seal

 June 1, 2010

For four years, State Pier has been home to the Arctic Seal, a trawler whose owner wants it to have a new lease on life at sea. James Sheehy of Gloucester, Mass., brought the Arctic Seal here in 2006 to have it overhauled at the Thames Shipyard &...

Historic rivalry on the river

 May 31, 2010

They travel an hour away from campus, but when members of the Yale University heavyweight crew team drive down Hurlbutt Road and onto Riverside Place, they know they're home.

The Thames and its rivers: 'A narrow arm of the sea'

 May 30, 2010

If the Thames River can be said to have a source, it would be the brown and shallow weed-choked pond tucked behind the Traveler Restaurant just off Interstate 84 in Union.

Harvard's steady cadence enough to beat Yale

 May 30, 2010

During the first mile, the same thought kept going through the mind of Harvard sophomore Michael DiSanto. "'Should I be pulling harder?'" DiSanto said he couldn't help wondering, as Yale's varsity heavyweight crew led the Crimson initially, then...

These days, regatta is a bit less romantic

 May 30, 2010

It would be easy to slip into sappy romanticism, to hold up the Thames River as a place where blood rivals do battle and dreams come true - an actual destination, for crying out loud, for the kings and queens of the Ivy League.

About the series

 May 30, 2010

The Thames River begins in Norwich and, 15 miles later, empties into Long Island Sound. It's very much a working river. Electricity, latex, paperboard and submarines are produced on its banks, and researchers look for the next...

Editorial: Appreciate and preserve the Thames

 May 30, 2010

Few short rivers are more varied and have such a lengthy history as the Thames, and because the 15-mile waterway flows through the heart of southeastern Connecticut many of us see it, drive over and alongside it, or take boats on it every day.


Paddling the Thames, Part 1

Paddling the Thames, Part 2

Paddling the Thames, Part 3


The U.S. Navy Virginia-class attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) arrived at its new home port, the U.S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton Friday, Jan. 10, 2014,  from Norfolk, Va. The Minnesota, the 10th boat built in the class, was commissioned September 7th in Norfolk. The Minnesota will be one of the first boats in the Virginia class to take female sailors.

USS Minnesota arrives to new home port

January 10. 2014
7 photos

After several years hiatus, students from the Montville Public Schools are back to learning about marine science from Project Oceanology.
The 19 students in Diane Monahan's fifth grade class tested water and other non-living aspects of the marine environment as well as studying the marine life pulled aboard in a trawl from the Project O research vessel Envilrolab III.

Montville fifth graders learn at Project O

September 27. 2013
15 photos

More than 80 young men and women from around the world competed for the fifth William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy the first week of August.

Sea Scouts compete on the Thames

August 6. 2010
6 photos

Each summer, the newest academy recruits, or swabs, learn how to sail in the Thames River. For most, it is their first time in a sailboat. 
While learning the basics of sailing, they pick up skills they will need as officers in the Coast Guard.

Sailing lessons for Coast Guard swabs

July 15. 2010
7 photos

Three generations of Bergamos have run what they call a working man’s marina, where peeling paint, patched window panes and dangling wires don’t faze the regulars who dock their boats at the Pequot Avenue boatyard.

The family on the Thames

July 10. 2010
5 photos

A dozen or so sailboats come out for the Thames Yacht Club’s race night, abandoning their moorings and following a course from the club’s raft, nicknamed the Queen Merry, leading out toward Ledge Light and back.

Thames Yacht Club

July 1. 2010
8 photos

The Harvard crew team won all three races of the 145th Harvard-Yale Regatta on the Thames River on Saturday, May 29, 2010.

145th Harvard-Yale Regatta

May 29. 2010
11 photos

Harvard's crew team takes up residence at their Red Top in Gales Ferry in preparation for the 145th Harvard-Yale Regatta on the Thames River.

Harvard in Gales Ferry

May 28. 2010
17 photos

Members of the Yale crew team take up residence and practice in Gales Ferry for the annual Yale-Harvard Regatta.

Yale in Gales Ferry

May 28. 2010
16 photos

Aerial photos taken of the Thames River on May 21, 2010.

Thames River Aerials

May 26. 2010
15 photos



Share your Thames River photos by posting them to www.zip06.com or e-mailing them to j.sammons@theday.com and we'll add them to this page.

Readers' Photos

Readers' Photos 2

Sub - June 11, 2010

June 11. 2010
9 photos

Parking a submarine

June 10. 2010
7 photos

Cruise ships in New London

June 3. 2010
10 photos

Thames River

June 2. 2010
2 photos