Naval Submarine Base New London
Naval Submarine Base New London is in Groton, Connecticut, right across the Thames River from New London -- its namesake. It's a typical New England area where there's a lot to do and you'll want to dress in layers. "If you don't like the weather, wait an hour," may be heard daily while you live there. The area is directly in between Boston and New York City and the coast is gorgeous.
NSB New London is the "Home of the Submarine Force" and is the primary submarine base on the East Coast. It hosts about 15 nuclear submarines, the Naval Submarine School, and the supporting units. The United States Coast Guard Academy is also in New London.
For families looking to live outside of the privatized housing, there are plenty of options. Local areas include Gales Ferry, Ledyard, Mystic, Stonington, Groton Long Point, and East Lyme, which range from 10 to 30 minutes away from the base. The homes range in age from new builds to the ones built in the 1700s. The popular style of homes is the post-World War II Cape Cod style.
On Base Housing
Privatized housing -- which is located outside the installation gates -- is called Beacon Point Homes and is managed by Balfour Beatty. There are eight neighborhoods. Families who are not affiliated with the military, as well as retirees and contractors, are also eligible to apply for these housing areas. Parts of the Nautilus Park neighborhood are new. Most of the neighborhoods have duplex or quadruplex housing and have an elementary school nearby.
The Beacon Point community has community centers, picnic areas, and playgrounds complete with soccer and basketball facilities and a splash park. The neighborhoods are pet friendly and it is advertised that each house comes with a garage or carport. Some of the nicer homes have covered patios, fenced-in yards, or hardwood floors.
There are no schools on base, but students who live in privatized military housing attend schools in the Groton School District. The district consists of many elementary magnet schools, including Groton Middle School, and Fitch High School.
Nearby New London Public Schools serve about 3,330 students in four elementary schools, one middle, and one high school. The district is working to become the first all-magnet school district in the state and has a racially, culturally, and socio-economically diverse student population.
For top-ranked school districts, according to GreatSchools.com, families may consider a farther commute and look at the schools in East Lyme, Connecticut, or Westerly, Rhode Island. The grade and interests of school-aged children will dictate what's important and which district is the best fit.
Cost of Living and BAH
The cost of living in Connecticut -- and Naval Submarine Base New London -- is above the national average, making things a bit more expensive for those stationed here. NSB New London BAH is higher than many installations, which can help those who are looking to buy or rent off base.
NSB New London BAH varies depending on rank and whether or not you have dependents. To determine your BAH at NSB New London, use our BAH calculator.
The median sales price home in Groton is $251,000, at about $193 per square foot. New London is a little less expensive, with homes listed at about $210,000 or $154 per square foot. Homes in East Lyme list for about $80,000 more than Groton, and Westerly homes sell for $565,000, making them out of reach for most families.
One thing to keep in mind with housing costs in this area is the property taxes. When families started leaving the city because of the increase in remote work opportunities, they fled to areas like this, making houses hard to find. Property taxes vary from town to town and may be surprising when compared to the cost of the house itself.
New England is known for showing off the best -- and worst -- of each season. Sometimes you'll even see all four of them in one day! Summers are hot and muggy, but short-lived. Many homes don't have air conditioning because it's not worth it. The fall is beautiful, with lots of gorgeous leaves changing, but can also bring hurricanes. Winter is the longest season, and can be cold, snowy, and sometimes miserable. The days are short and new challenges like freezing pipes and blizzards await you. But when spring comes, it feels like heaven.
The commissary on NSB New London is open six days a week and offers Click2Go services. The Exchange has all the regulars (barbershop, alterations, etc.) and the installation also has a library, movie theater, fitness center, pool, and bowling alley. The Morton Hall Gymnasium has a track on the second floor, and they offer functional fitness workouts.
Close to Groton is Mystic Village, which hosts a garlic festival each year. Local restaurants are often showcased during the Taste of Mystic. Fall weather brings local parades and apple picking. Mohegan Sun Casino and Foxwoods Casino are close by, and they often host events.
Other top local attractions include the Mystic Seaport Museum, which features a recreated maritime village from the 19th century, and the Submarine Force Library & Museum. Downtown Mystic also boasts an aquarium and lots of great places to eat.
Within just a few hours are big cities like Boston and New York City -- both can be great day trips. New England beaches are cold but beautiful and some of them offer summer camps for kids, including one that explores Long Island Sound. Salem, Massachusetts is just under three hours away, Martha's Vineyard can be reached in a scenic, three-hour drive. Vermont and New Hampshire -- especially the White Mountains -- are close enough for a long weekend trip as well. Even Canada is within a six-hour drive!
Food and Drink
Finding the right place for date night or to take visiting friends can be challenging, but the NSB New London area has several options. One of the must-visits in the fall is Clyde's Cider Mill, the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the United States. They serve fresh cider, cider donuts, hard cider, and wine. They are open from September to December. And you simply must try a lobster roll (or five!) from a local place like Ford's in Stonington.
The rest of the year, you can enjoy an extensive beer menu at The Jealous Monk, a beer garden that serves traditional German food. For a family-style Italian meal, check out the local favorite Paul's Pasta Shop with a view of the Thames River. Another favorite is the locally owned restaurant The Shack, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (but only breakfast on Sundays) with a menu full of American favorites.
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