There is no need to travel far for an island adventure this summer. Scheduled to start Memorial Day Weekend, the 45-foot catamaran C.J. Toth will depart regularly from Norwalk, in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, for the scenic 45-minute cruise to Sheffield Island. Passengers will enjoy a few hours of picnicking, tours of the historic lighthouse, shell hunting, and walks to view the colorful sea birds sheltered in the marshes and sandy shores of the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge.
The Seaport Association, located in Norwalk, is a volunteer organization formed in 1978 by a group of local citizens who had the vision to revitalize South Norwalk and preserve Norwalk’s maritime heritage. The Association’s greatest responsibility is to continually restore and maintain Sheffield Island and its’ 152-year-old stone lighthouse and lightkeepers cottage.
This historic lighthouse is an iconic symbol of Connecticut’s maritime history. It is located at the southern end of Norwalk’s necklace of islands on the west entrance of the Norwalk River in Long Island Sound. A highlight of this cruise is the journey itself. The cruise allows passengers to experience the beauty of Norwalk from the water with wonderful views of the shoreline, surrounding islands, and the Norwalk harbor. The fresh sea breeze and birdlife are enjoyed by passengers in the comfort of the Seaport’s modern vessel to and from the island.
The Association has 2020 summer plans for many special outings from clambakes on the island every Thursday night to acoustic cruises on Wednesday and sunset cruises on Friday and Saturday evenings. In July and August, the vessel offers scenic excursions to Sheffield Islands twice a day, seven days a week, weather permitting.
There are also several special interest cruises planned this summer that include bird watching, yoga on the beach, and Italian and BBQ nights in the newly built wooden pavilion, that is also available to rent for private parties. New this year is a Native American program on the island that will show how indigenous people thrived on the Connecticut shoreline. The annual pirates weekend in July and the haunted lighthouse in August offer child-friendly fun and activities for children. The Annual Oyster Festival, a Connecticut maritime tradition, now in its 43rd year is slated for September 11-13, 2020.