PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2014, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it is also possible that it may contain some outdated information. Please check their website for the most current information, especially about things like schedules and pricing.
Last summer as part of our trip to Gillette Castle State Park (one of the many destinations on our Summer Bucket List), we took the Chester-Hadlyme ferry. My kids had such a great time getting a chance to cross the Connecticut River on this historic vessel that I have been wanting to get back down there all summer.
So, when we were driving to Rose’s Berry Farm for breakfast a few weeks ago and I noticed the sign for the Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry, I realized that I might be able to give them a ferry experience a little earlier than I expected.
Since we always arrive for breakfast at the crack of dawn in order to avoid the lines, we had plenty of time to fill that Sunday morning.
I suggested to my husband that instead of making our way back home via the interstate, we instead make our way back across the Connecticut River by taking the ferry from Glastonbury to Rocky Hill.
He was game. Yay!
We took Route 160 in Glastonbury and followed the signs to the ferry.
We arrived at the ferry waiting area around 10:00 am and saw the sign stating that weekend operation did not begin until 10:30 am, so we parked our car in the ferry line (we were the first) and decided to check out the small park located right beside the landing area.
The park included a parking area, picnic tables, and a walking/running path. I asked a jogger how long the path was (I didn’t want to check it out myself for fear we would miss the ferry) and she said it was a short loop, less than a mile.
While we waited for the ferry’s arrival, we did a little research around this transportation option.
The Glastonbury-Rocky Hill Ferry is the nation’s oldest continuously operating ferry, dating back to 1655. The sign even says that power for this operation has been “supplied at various times by poles, oars, a horse treadmill, and a steam engine.” A horse treadmill? Wild.
Today, the ferry is a three-car barge towed by a diesel powered towboat. It is pretty amazing to see it in action.
Right around 10:30 am, we saw the ferry start to make its way toward us from the Rocky Hill side and we got the kids loaded back in the car and made sure we were ready to go.
For cars, the ferry costs $6 on the weekends, cash only. Pedestrians and bicyclists are $2 each. We actually gave $1 to a cyclist behind us as he was a bit short on cash. We were happy to help!
The ferry arrived and unloaded the cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
Then the waiting pedestrians and cyclists got on board, followed by the waiting cars. This ferry only holds three cars at a time, so be prepared to wait a little bit on busy days.
I got out of the car to snap a few pics, but my husband stayed in the car with the kids for the ferry ride. They seemed to be perfectly happy to enjoy the river views from their car seats which made the trip very easy for us!
As we exited on the Rocky Hill side of the river, we noticed a little restaurant right there at the ferry landing. Might be a good destination for a future Tiny Dining post!
Taking the ferry was a fun mini outing for my whole family and I was so happy that we got a chance to try it out. In recent years, there has been talk of shutting down this historic ferry. I hope that never happens, but if you want to go, visit soon just in case. The ferry also operates seasonally (April through November), so keep that scheduling item in mind as well.
Route 160 in Glastonbury or Rocky Hill
Directions to the Glastonbury side
From the East Side of the Connecticut River
Route 17 from Route 2
To Route 160
Follow signs to Ferry
Directions to the Rocky Hill side
From the West Side of the Connecticut River
Interstate 91 (I-91) South or North
To Exit 23, West Street
Top Ramp, is southbound, a left turn
if northbound, right turn
Follow signs to Ferry landing located
on Route 160
- Currently operating from April 1 – November 30
- Weekday Hours: 7:00 am – 6:45 pm
- Weekend Hours: 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
- If the ferry is closed for any reason, those details will be listed on Connecticut DOT’s Traffic Incidents page.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists: $2
- Weekdays: $5
- Weekends: $6
- Commuter pass is available for $60 for 20 rides
- Stroller Friendly: I Don’t Know. I didn’t see anyone walk on with a stroller.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: NO. No restroom facilities were available on the ferry. A port a potty was available in the park on the Glastonbury side and there is a restaurant on the Rocky Hill side.
- Parking: YES. There was parking available at the park on the Glastonbury side.
- Food for Sale: NO.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: YES. Cash only.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES.
Tips and Things to Bring:
- Only three cars at a time will fit on the ferry. So a busy day may require a little extra waiting.
- On the Glastonbury landing side of the river, there is a small park area. It includes parking, a restroom, picnic tables and a short walking/running loop.
- On the Rocky Hill landing side of the river, there is a restaurant and a park area.
- Pedestrians and cyclists are welcome on the ferry for a reduced fee.
- Bring your camera, the views are spectacular.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
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