"Normally, all we do is ferry people back and forth between two destinations and now we’re actually getting into the cruise and excursion business, doing these lighthouse tours," explains Stan Mickus, director of marketing for Cross Sound Ferry.
The first season has been a big success. "The vessel is equipped with a ride control system so it’s a very smooth ride. The interior cabins are air conditioned. There’s a sun deck up top for viewing," says Mickus of the unique setting. "You get a panoramic view because the boat spins around at each lighthouse, it affords a panoramic view. And because of the high-speed nature of the vessel, it affords you to see up to 8 lighthouses in 2 hours."
Leaving port, knowledgeable narrator Ted Webb shares information about Avery Point, New London Harbor Light and New London Ledge Lighthouse.
"Local legend has it that the lighthouse is inhabited by a ghost named Ernie," he says before preparing folks to see more elusive, off-shore sites, such as Race Rock, Little Gull and Orient Point Lighthouses.
"When we pulled up and they cut the motors off, and you just sat there with the silence and took it all in," says Jim Griffith of Norwich. "It was really nice."
Tours include a look at The Ruins, a fort from World War II, and the Plum Island Lighthouse, near the longtime Department of Homeland Security's Animal Disease Center laboratory.
Due to popular demand, the tours will run through the foliage-filled fall. "The picture taking -- photo opportunities -- will be tremendous with the blue water and the clear skies," says Mickus.
A relaxing ride that shines light on New England's storied maritime history. "This has been a fantastic cruise," says Griffith. "It’s beautiful, it really is."
Tours run through November 1 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $28 for adults and $14 for children, between the ages of 2 and 11. Click here for more information.