2019 CONNECTICUT REUNION
& SOUTH EASTERN CONNECTICUT
By Bob Ambrico
(Hover over photo's for the name or click on one to visit its website)
Our reunion this year will be held in beautiful, quaint New England. The local airport is Bradley International. Check-in on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott Hotel, 28 Day Hill Road, Windsor, CT 06095. The rooms are all very nice and the hotel has free parking, airport shuttle, indoor pool and fitness center, and a restaurant and bar. Room rates are $124 plus tax which includes breakfast for two. If you plan to have more than two in a room, be sure to contact me for extra breakfast tickets. The reservation link is
[Link to:] Hartford/Windsor Marriott Hotel,
or call them directly at 1-800-228-9290 (toll free) or local at 860-688-7500. The rate is good for three days before and three days after the reunion.
We have two days of tours arranged which I hope everyone will enjoy. We’ll begin on Friday by traveling to Groton, CT to visit the US Naval Submarine Force Museum and the USS Nautilus. It is the only submarine museum operated by the US Navy, and is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history. The museum traces the development of the "Silent Service" from David Bushnell's Turtle, of the Revolutionary War, to today’s Ohio and Virginia class submarines. The world’s first nuclear submarine is open and equipped with stairs for easy entry. Our memorial ceremony will be on the pier next to the USS Nautilus. Our visit includes lunch at the enlisted Cross Hall Galley, a winner of the prestigious Ney Award for culinary excellence for large galleys. We will enjoy a tour of the base with a Navy guide. Submarine Base, New London is the only base exclusively for attack submarines, and is home to the Navy’s only Submarine School for officers and enlisted, “A” schools for submarine enlisted ratings, the Undersea Warfare Development Center, the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory.
After lunch we’ll visit the Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park. Fort Griswold, a short distance south of the Submarine Base, is the site of a 1781 Revolutionary War battle between 800 British soldiers under Benedict Arnold and 165 American Militia defenders. Sad to say, Benedict Arnold, whose forces also burned New London, was a local boy, hailing from just up the road in Norwich, CT. The park includes battlefield, museum, rest rooms, a 135 foot granite monument, and a six stop cell phone tour. The 1836 structure is the first patriotic obelisk-style monument constructed in the USA, and is open for those hearties who wish to climb it.
On the second day we’ll stay closer to Hartford. We’ll visit the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, which was the home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens and his family from 1874 to 1891. It was designed and built for Clemens in the American High Gothic style. Clemens biographer Justin Kaplan has called it "part steamboat, part medieval fortress and part cuckoo clock."
Clemens wrote many of his best-known works while living here, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The huge three story house will be shown to us by knowledgeable guides who will provide very interesting information not only about the house but also of the Clemens family. The adjacent museum contains a movie theater, several display rooms and a gift shop. We will enjoy a buffet deli lunch here.
A short bus ride away is Old Wethersfield, Connecticut’s “Most Ancient Towne”, the first permanent settlement in the state. Amble about the largest Historic District in Connecticut and you'll find 50 houses built before the Revolutionary War, 100 built before the Civil War. Each home captures the style in vogue at the time. We will have a guided tour of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. These three houses are all pre-Revolutionary War buildings. The 1752 Joseph Webb House is where George Washington and French General Rochambeau met in May 1781 to plan the campaign which led several months later to the final battle of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown. A short stroll brings you to the First Church of Christ, built circa 1764 as the local meetinghouse. It’s said that a town’s meetinghouse represented the sophistication and affluence of the townspeople, and therefore much attention was placed on capping the structure with a magnificent steeple—one that would rival that of Boston’s Old North Church. George Washington worshiped here during his stay. Behind it, the Ancient Burying Ground remains a testament to the handiwork of dozens of centuries-old stone carvers. There will be time to visit other historic houses along the street.
If we had more time, there are many more attractions we could visit in this area. For those coming early or staying later, here are some suggestions:
• New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, adjacent to Bradley Airport,
• Harriet Beecher Stowe House, next door to Mark Twain House
• Essex Steam Train in Essex, CT
• Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT
• Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA
• CT River Cruises from Hartford and Essex, CT
• Block Island, RI via high speed ferry from New London
• Gillette Castle in East Haddam, CT
I hope this small explanation will interest you. Of course, the most fun is reuniting with old shipmates and friends who all served on the USS Hugh Purvis.
For questions or extra breakfast coupons, contact me (Bob Ambrico) at (860) 443-0713 or email me at email@example.com