Travel back in time to the historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse, a gorgeous haven resting off Connecticut’s coast that can only be reached by ferry. Open May through September, the lighthouse sits on a nature preserve and features a variety of events and activities for guests to enjoy – and it’s just 30 minutes away from the Stanton House Inn! The next time you’re in New England, be sure to take a trip to this beautiful and iconic landmark. Here are some of the things you’ll see.
Sheffield Island History
In 1804, when the island was still known as “White Island,” war veteran Captain Robert Sheffield purchased the land and started a family there. 22 years later, Sheffield’s son-in-law, Gershom Smith, sold 4 acres of the island to the United States government for the purpose of building a lighthouse. After several years of changes, the final version of the lighthouse was completed in 1857, where it lit the way for many ships for nearly 45 years. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1902, and the building and its land were purchased by the Norwalk Seaport Association 85 years later. Today, the Sheffield Island Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Things to Do on Sheffield Island
After disembarking the ferry, there are many activities for visitors to enjoy all over the island. The Sheffield Island beach is scattered with a wide variety of beautiful shells for you to find and collect, and the nature preserve is a great place for birdwatching and is home to herring, black-backed gulls, and wintering waterfowl. Be sure to take a tour of the lighthouse and learn all about its history, why it was built, and how it lit the path for many ships, then enjoy a picnic lunch along the beach or on the lighthouse’s lush, green lawn.
Sheffield Island Lighthouse Events
There are also several events that take place during the island’s operational months. Every Thursday, the Norwalk Seaport Clambake provides visitors with an authentic New England dining experience in the tented pavilion outside of the lighthouse, with a tour included in the cost. Or, learn how to dig for clams and find out about local shellfish as you explore the Long Island Sound in June. Guests can also experience Halloween in August when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins come to greet the island’s visitors at this haunted, family-friendly event.
The popular and highly-anticipated Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival also takes places on Sheffield Island every year, which symbolizes the spirit of the revitalization movement in Historic South Norwalk. Don’t miss an entire weekend of live entertainment, arts and crafts, great food, kids activities, and more!
Is the Sheffield Island Lighthouse Haunted?
Although reports of ghost sightings on the island are extremely rare, a paranormal investigation in 2006 revealed that the lighthouse may be occupied by a few spirits. Christine Kaczynski, founder of the Connecticut Paranormal Research and Investigations, made a visit to the lighthouse at night along with 18 other researchers. Their equipment designed to pick up any ghostly presence found three friendly spirits, including a young girl named Abby, who are trapped on the island for unknown reasons.
Come Home to the Stanton House Inn
If you’d like to make a visit to the island, be sure to check the Sheffield Island Lighthouse Ferry schedule, then book your stay at our inn! Featuring quaint old-world charm, cozy guest rooms, and a warm and inviting atmosphere, it’s no wonder our inn has been named the most romantic Greenwich bed and breakfast. We can’t wait to have you!
For more information on the best things to do in Connecticut,
download our free Greenwich vacation guide.
Photo Credit: jaypetersen | Thinkstock