Welcome to Thimble Islands
A unique and peaceful island sanctuary
The Thimble Islands are a group of small islands in the Long Island Sound along the Connecticut coast. Also known as an archipelago, it comprises anywhere from 100 to 365 islands, depending on the categorization between rock or island. This peaceful location is unique because of its remote way of living, but its also nearby to many amazing stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
The islands were first discovered by Europeans in 1614 and were part of the legend of Captain Kidd, who claimed to have buried treasure there. Although the treasure was never found, sailors were fond of the islands because they offered a sheltered area to anchor their boats. Thimble is said to have come from the thimbleberry plant, which regularly grows in Northern New England.
The islands are made of granite rock, making them more stable to support buildings and structures. Twenty-three of the Thimble Islands are inhabited, and there are 81 homes built. Each home is distinctive and constructed to match the style of its owner. Many homes are raised on stilts to avoid flooding, and most have a patio or deck to take in the water views.
Another part of the islands is the Stony Creek-Thimble Islands Historic District on the shore of Branford, Connecticut. This historic area is about 1,400 acres and includes many buildings and museums that complement the islands' history. In addition, Thimble Islands are accessible by boat or seaplane and have a regular ferry service which can also be booked privately, although residents typically have their own boats. These features make the Thimble Islands an adventurous and extraordinary place to call home.
What to Love
- Peaceful environment
- Picturesque water views
- Humble and casual living
- Nearby dining and shopping
Thimble Islands lends itself to a simple and leisurely lifestyle. Residents enjoy life away from bustling cities where they can spend quality time with loved ones, chatting on their decks or doing fun water activities. Most properties use solar power, generators, or batteries to get electricity since underwater cables provide power to only six islands. This gives Thimble Island an austere feel that locals appreciate.
During warmer months, residents take to the water for boating, waterskiing, and kayaking. The islands' sanctity is protected by a five-mile-an-hour speed limit, which keeps the waters calm and inviting. Also, boats are required to stay at least 50 feet from all of the islands, a mandate made by the Thimble Islands Home Owners Association. These rules give residents a peaceful life away from the mainland.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
While the Thimble Islands are relatively quiet, many excellent dining and entertainment options are nearby. The Pine Orchard Yacht & Country Club offers a nine-hole golf course, tennis and pickleball courts, swimming, a marina, and several food venues. The venues vary in formality, but all serve delicious dishes with waterfront views.
Another local waterside favorite is Sachem's Head Yacht Club. Founded in 1896, this club hosts entertainment like regattas, cocktail parties, and family nights. They also have weekly Thursday night dinners showcasing different cuisines each week. Community members host these dinners, and they are an excellent place for locals to mingle.
The Stony Creek Market is open year-round and serves breakfast and lunch daily. It sources local ingredients to create homemade treats like muffins and scones, as well as gourmet salads, soups, and sandwiches. Locals warm up on a cold day inside the cozy restaurant or soak in the sun on the outdoor deck overlooking the Thimble Islands.
For a family or date night, residents frequent the Legacy Theatre for a night of music and dramatic performance. Originally built as a church in 1866, this venue became a live theater in 1928. Now, it hosts Broadway-caliber performances, plays, and puppet shows for people of all ages.
Things to Do
Along with boating activities, the Thimble Islands is home to various outdoor and indoor pastimes for residents throughout the year. Located on Outer Island, the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is a fantastic place to observe wildlife and learn about the environment. Residents can participate in education programs and research activities from May to September.
Nature lovers will also love the Branford Trolley Trail and Footbridge. This scenic trail stretches 1.2 miles along the coast of Connecticut and has picturesque views. Locals can bring their leashed dogs and hike along the old trolley path and across the footbridge to see view animals in the natural marshland habit.
For indoor activities, a local favorite is the Stony Creek Museum, which commemorates the history of the Connecticut shoreline and waterfront community. The museum features historic items like fire fighting equipment, puppets, and apothecary objects. In addition, Stony Creek Museum regularly hosts educational events like quarry tours, oystering history, and trolley tours.
Located along the shoreline in Guilford, Thomas Colville Fine Art is easily accessible from the Thimble Islands and is a beautiful place for local art lovers to visit. This gallery showcases 19th to mid-20th-century American and European art collections. Thomas Colville has curated this private collection of quality artwork and supplies many museums across the United States.