A Place to Grow

Connecticut's Stonington Harbor Yacht Club Sailing Foundation is putting down roots at the site of "Mystic Pizza."

Connecticut's Stonington Harbor Yacht Club Sailing Foundation runs a vibrant and growing community sailing program that introduces countless New Englanders to the sport of sailing—as well as windsurfing, surfing, kayaking, and, new this year, standup paddleboarding. Earlier this week, president Michael Lobdell announced that the foundation has purchased the property on which it resides—70-72 Water Street, Stonington—from the Mohegan Tribe. The complex, located just north of Skipper's Dock restaurant and The Inn at Stonington, includes three buildings and docks and has served as home base for sailing and science classes since 2008.

"We’re thrilled to finally have a permanent home in Stonington,” says Lobdell. “This site, with its deep water access, has been key to our recent growth. Now our 80 boats and nearly 500 students have a permanent home. I can’t over emphasize how supportive the Mohegan Tribe has been in helping us turn our dream into a reality.”

The foundation plans to hold year-round educational and community outreach programs at the site, and will begin renovations soon. Previously, the Mohegan Tribe used the space for a shellfish aquaculture business; prior to that, it was the home of the Garbo Lobster Pound. Movie buffs will recognize 70-72 Water Street as the location for the restaurant in the Julia Roberts film, "Mystic Pizza."

To raise funds to purchase and renovate the property, the foundation has begun a $3.5 million capital campaign. “Many donors are eager to support the Foundation because they see the impact we’re having in our community," says Lobdell. "From providing scholarships for local children to hosting a Special Olympics Connecticut sailing team, we are helping participants discover their personal best."