Located on the west bank of the Connecticut River, some 10 miles from Long Island Sound, Deep River’s maritime tradition dates back to 1653, when local sloops and schooners would sail from the town in search of ivory and other goods.
The town landing, once used by returning vessels to offload their precious cargo, still retains that “old world” ambience with its views of heavily wooded Eustacia and Selden Islands, and a lack of commercial development. Adding to the area’s “old-world” feel is the Essex Steam Train, which runs past Deep River, and the riverboat Becky Thatcher, which offers sightseeing tours along the Connecticut.
The Deep River landing offers a public boat launch (parking is limited), free transient moorings (call harbormaster Mark Reyher to see about availability) and a free dinghy dock with 2-hour limit for boaters who want to explore the town on foot. For longer stays, the Brewer Deep River Marina is just south of the landing.
From the landing it’s a 10- to 15-minute walk west to the tree-lined village, where you’ll find antique wood and brick buildings housing a variety of shops and boutiques. On the way you’ll pass the Riverview Lobster Pound, where you can purchase freshly caught lobster, fish and steamers from a local fisherman.
Once you reach the village, you’ll find a host of places to eat or pick up provisions for the boat. A great place for breakfast is the Whistle Stop Café, which offers a large selection of unusual omelets. They also serve lunch and cater meals especially for boaters.
Also recommended is El & Ella’s, a specialty market that makes freshly prepared foods, sumptuous desserts and sandwiches, and carries homemade pastas and sauces, fresh coffee by the cup or pound, olive oils, a variety of cheeses and much more. You can also reserve their large, communal dining table in the center of the store for 12 of your friends, who will be served a delectable 5-course, fixed-price meal.
Of course, it’s the Connecticut River’s natural beauty that beckons many boaters to Deep River. Just across from the town landing, boaters and paddling enthusiasts will find the south entrance to Selden Creek, a quiet, watery paradise that’s home to many species of birds and other animals, including beaver, deer, turtles and muskrat. The creek edges are lined by wild rice, cattail, purple loosestrife and yellow and purple iris, creating a magical setting. The creek winds around Selden Neck State Park, which is laced by hiking trails and offers waterside camping.
A word of caution to sailors and powerboaters: the shoal at the mouth Selden Creek, starting just east of marker “33”, has recently extended into the channel. Keep to the west and south of the channel at this part of the river or you might find yourself hard aground.
Pratt Cove and Post Cove, slightly south of the landing near Brewer Deep River Marina, are other wonderful small-boat and paddling venues. With 200 acres of pristine, freshwater tidal marsh, there is a variety of plants and waterfowl to see in these small, meandering waterways.
As you can see, there’s a lot to keep boaters busy in Deep River, both on land and on the water. So, for a serene boating destination with quick access to a great town, pay a visit to Deep River. You may just stay a while.