Summer Bucket List: A Sunset Cruise and Picnic

On the first beautiful Thursday in June, a group of friends gathered to celebrate nothing other than the sun finally making an appearance after a long wet spring. What better way to enjoy a gorgeous evening than a NESSie sunset harbor cruise and a delicious picnic lovingly prepared by THE COQ &CO. It was agreed by all that this should be a weekly reservation and at the very top of everyone’s summer bucket list.


We boarded the boat (an open-air Carolina Skiff) at the docks at New England Science & Sailing (NESS) and were greeted by our friendly Captain. The 90-minute cruise took us along historical Stonington Harbor, around Stonington Point to Dodge Paddock and back. The Captain was full of stories and very open to requests, as long as we stayed within Fishers Island Sound.


The Picnic

We picked up a few bottles of wine from Cove Ledge Beer, Wine and Spirits — a 2018 Mistral Vallée Rosé, a Paul Buisse Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, a 2018 le Chant du Merle Sancerre, and a 2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé.

The wine paired really well with the picnic beautifully presented by THE COQ &CO., and we had almost everything on their summer menu: a yummy tarragon chicken salad with chévre, organic apples, and walnuts; curried organic chicken salad with chévre, red grapes, and Thai basil; summer slaw with ribboned carrots, red and white cabbage tossed with sesame oil, and black sesame seeds; organic peaches and carrots tossed in toasted sesame oil and fresh lime; and an organic bamboo rice with fresh mint, garden cucumbers, and lime. We also grabbed a few mini baguettes with queso manchego, fig jam, and fresh greens. It was a feast!


Alie and her team also surprised us with dessert — gluten-free dark chocolate hazelnut cookies with sea salt, packed neatly into a smart, insulated picnic basket along with bamboo cutlery, bamboo plates, and compostable napkins. The towels are from Yali Stonington, currently back in the Borough for a summer pop-up at 132 Water Street until August 10th.

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Seeing Stonington Borough from the water is a magnificent experience. It’s a breathtaking view of our charming village, and felt like a mesmerizing dance around Dodson’s Boatyard filled to capacity for the season.

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Unfortunately all good things come to an end and we reluctantly had to disembark. But thankfully summer is just beginning.


New England Science & Sailing (NESS) offers 90 minute cruises on their open-air Carolina Skiff Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights (times vary based on sunset). Pack a picnic and your beverage of choice and it’s an affordable night out. The itinerary includes historical Stonington Harbor.

Harbor cruises run 2 hours on Saturday mornings and afternoons or by special request. All tours and charters require reservations.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and under (children under 2 are free). NESS also offers private charters upon request.

Maximum passengers (adult): 14
Maximum passengers with kids: 16

Visit NESS for more information.

THE COQ &CO. is a kitchen, market and garden located at 147 Water Street. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday 8 am - 5 pm. Sunday 9 am - 4 pm. They have a morning menu that’s baked fresh daily and includes croissants, cinnamon buns, scones, crepes, waffles, and a special breakfast sandwich. The summer menu includes items featured in this post as well as soup, fresh organic greens, and ribs made fresh daily. Stop in or call ahead to order and their bike jockey will deliver to homes, businesses, and docks in the Borough.

It’s also a perfect setting for intimate events and private parties. For more information, contact THE COQ &CO.

*All photos by Sandy Alexander / Dessa Lea Productions