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CT River Itinerary -
5 days, allowing one day for transiting there and back for a weeklong cruise

Day 1: Essex

Day 2: Hamburg Cove

Day 3: Selden Creek

Day 4: Goodspeed Landing

Day 5: Old Saybrook

CT River Home

Hamburg Cove

From Essex we continued upriver to experience the famous Hamburg Cove.  All the stories about Hamburg Cove being the best destination in the NE was what enticed us to go up the Connecticut River .  The approach from the River to the Cove is interesting without local knowledge but not difficult if you follow the piloting instructions and marks carefully.  Leave Brockway Island to port as you head up the River, then turn right directly across from the Island ’s midsection and follow the channel between CG1 and RN2 until you are all the way into the Cove past G13.  Resist the temptation to turn left at C5.  Depth at the mouth of the channel is 8 feet then increases to 9-15 feet inside. 

What we did not expect was the crowding.  The boats were all on moorings rafted up 5 deep on some and swinging perilously close to their neighbors.  No one seemed to give it a second thought, including the SeaTow boat that broke from their raft up after nightfall. There is no doubt that Hamburg Cove is lovely and I would be really pleased to visit in late October, but mid-summer it was fine entertainment for one evening but not for repeat performance.  If you like plenty of action, this is your place.  Children diving off every imaginable boat, platform, trampoline, and dock.  Music blaring from multiple rafts.  Whiffs of BBQ from every direction.  Laughter and loud words bursting out of the darkness.  It is beautiful, but it is not a gunkhole.  We wondered what the people living in the manicured homes along the edge thought about all this.   It must be great entertainment if you don’t mind giving up your privacy.

The cove is full of private moorings and there are several (5 or 6) marked light blue and green for rent at a cost of $20/night when we were there. You just pick up the mooring and an enterprising woman will stop by before nightfall to collect her fee. You can pick up a private mooring if you are willing to risk having to leave if the owner shows up. All the moorings here are marked with their weight so you can guage if your selection is appropriate for your boat, and they all seem to have an eye to which you secure your own line. Be prepared. Anchoring is not recommended inside the cove as the holding is poor, but there is an anchorage outside in the Connecticut River just inside Brockway Island. Pettipaug Yacht Club maintains private markings for the channel there.

We had also read about the eclectic general store and decided to pay a visit by dinghy as we needed ice as always. We headed up the cove past several very lovely homes into a narrow inlet that wound past the yacht club and opened onto a small harbor. The harbor is home to a marina specializing in restoration of vintage yachts. Dockage is available from Cove Landing Marina. We had a great time searching for the dinghy dock as we eyed all those pretty boats being spruced up for another round of smiles. When we found the dinghy dock (first set of docks past the YC), it was not exactly intuitive to find a way up to the street but we found the driveway and walked up. That's when we found that if you need more than ice, you're pretty much out of luck at the general store. It is now more of a garage sale than a provisioning place, but we did find a great book about the ecology of the river to bring back with us along with the coveted ice.

Left: The tantalizing approach to Hamburg Cove

Right: Hamburg Cove now visible

Left: Boats swinging every which way

Right: Rafts of vessels enjoying the night

Left: Hamburg Cove Yacht Club with its highly distinctive burgee

Right: Dinghy dock at the head of the cove

Left: The general store is it for provisions - they have ice but not much more

Right: Classic yacht restoration makes for lots of eye candy

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