Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.
Okay not really but for those of you who remember Gilligan’s Island that is what I pretended this adventure was! These islands were first discovered in 1614 by Adrien Block for whom Block Island is named. Fun to dream and pretend although I don’t imagine life was very easy back then. With our capable captain on board we were ready to sail!
Originally called “The Hundred Islands” in the 1700’s The Thimble Islands is an archipelago consisting of small islands made up of Stony Creek pink granite bedrock in Long Island Sound located in and around the harbor of Stony Creek, CT in the the southeast corner of Branford, CT. Today there are only 32 inhabited islands. The name The Thimble islands came from the native thimbleberries, or more commonly black raspberries, once plentiful on the islands.
There are many stories about Captain Kidd having buried treasure on the islands in the local folklore and this of course fueled treasure hunters to seek out The Thimble Islands and the infamous “Money Island” which is the second largest island at 12 acres and has an entire village of 32 houses and a library.
Governor Island consists of 10 acres and has 14 houses while Bear Island is home to a granite quarry.
Eventually the islands became a resort spot, attracting families and city dwellers.
Eventually the islands became more privatized as summer residents established homes there.
Okay so who needs running water and electricity?
Horse Island, the largest island at 17 acres is an ecological research station run by Yale University and consists mostly of poison ivy. Oh gosh!
Our journey on the Sea Mist, whose been touring visitors around the islands since the 70’s started with laughs and stories of times gone by! Sadly, the islands suffered quite a lot of damage in the Hurricane of 1938.
There are many islands with cute names and some just plain silly like “Cut-in-Two Island,
Jepson Island, Pot Island,
Outer Island, Davis Island, Hen Island, Potato Island, High Island, Rogers Island, Mother-in-Law Island and High Island. Too many to remember frankly!
Supposedly Mother-in-Law island got its name after a nosy mother invaded the privacy of her newlywed daughter and son-in-law. In retaliation, the couple took both boats and left the mother on the island by herself with no way to get home.
Outer Island is an ecological preserve and refuge for migratory birds and is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuse. Guided tours and field studies are available and the island is owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Enjoy your tour!
Well I hope you have enjoyed your tour. The next time you are in the Branford, CT area make sure to take a trip on one of the touring vessels ready and waiting to regale you with stories and drinks celebrating a bygone era!