THE SOUND SHORE OF NAUYAUG
that May morning 277 years ago when a pathetically small band of pioneers
struck their desperate blow against the savage Pequots for the
preservation of their homes, their leader, Capt. John Mason, turned his
face to the glory of the rising sun and looked down the beautiful valley
of the Mystic to a green gem at its mouth, a large wooded island in the
sparkling waters of the Sound. He did not forget the vision in the
desperate hours and days which followed, and 14 years later, in September
1651, the first grant of land in this section by the General Court was
this island to the man who had remembered and loved it. This reward for
noble service he made the seat of the Mason family, and today a
heroic-size statue of the redoubtable warrior stands on the site of the
old stronghold on Pequot Hill in Mystic and gazes down the valley of the
Mystic to “this noble farm” (Miss Caulkin’s History of New London, 1860),
which succeeding generations of Masons have preserved and zealously
guarded against change.
Thus Masons Island has come down to this day a bit of unspoiled New
England of the old type. After the death of Andrew Mason in 1912, one of
the two hermit brothers, the last of the Masons, his property was acquired
by the Masons Island Co. It is fortunate that this spot of unique and
unspoiled natural beauty fell into the hands of those who will perpetuate
its attractive features against the enjoyment of all for years to come.
ISLAND is south shore, and the prevailing summer winds are off the water. It was designed and developed
as a summer home for you by the greatest of architects, Nature. The trees
are there, the rocks are there, the hills and shore are there just as
Nature lavishly placed them. The Masons Island Co. has not tried to
enhance these natural beauties; but has provided facilities for the
enjoyment of them. Convenient food and water supplies, mail service,
adequate landings, bathing places, and a scheduled ferry, these in
addition to the old “Riding Way Bridge” to the mainland at Mystic,
contemplate the desirability of Masons Island as a summer resort.
The natural conformation of Masons Island
makes it unequalled for a summer cottage colony. Its high ground, rolling
in natural terraces, insures perfect drainage and a sea view from every
site. Stretches of rough, rocky shore, sandy beach, great ledges rising
steeply out of many feet of water, and quiet inlets with ancient oaks
growing to the water’s edge, constitute the shore-line. There are no
flats; high tide or low tide, Masons island is the same. The central
portion of the island is heavily wooded, the east and south shores are
bold slopes, studded with tremendous boulders and clumps of ancient cedar
trees. Poggy Bay is an excellent yacht anchorage with numerous landings
and docks. The Nauyaug Yacht Club, a flourishing organization formed and
maintained by residents of the island, is located here. The tennis courts
are in a natural amphitheatre overlooking the ocean.
A hundred yards from Poggy Bay and
many feet above it is a small, fresh-water lake, a curious and attractive
feature of the island.
An old chart explains Poggy
as meaning a small whale
Although the Mason estate was not
settled until the summer of 1913 there are already over twenty cottages on
the island, and the other property owners plan to build this spring. All
these people from Maine to Virginia have sought Masons island on which to
build their summer homes. The Masons Island Co. has no stock for sale, and
is not a land-booming concern, it aims simply to direct and to encourage
the growth of Masons Island as a restful vacation spot for discriminating
people; and by exercising a proper supervision to maintain the same high
standard of population which it ‘now possesses.
East of Poggy Bay Nauyaug Point
extends its bold length for half a mile into the clear, deep waters of
Fisher’s Island Sound. Craft of all descriptions from the splendid yacht
to the picturesque Noank fisherman returning from the Banks pass within
the proverbial mariner’s ‘biscuit toss’ of Nauyaug. West of Poggy Bay is
Money Point, a small hill with slopes wooded with old oak and cedar trees,
and broken by several ledges. This was the summer camp of neighboring
tribes of Indians, where they secured and dried their winter’s supply of
clams and fish. Numerous flint implements have been found in the shell
heaps. Tradition has named this point as one of the myriad hiding places
of Capt. Kidd’s ill-gotten wealth.
East of the lake is a bluff crowned
with a fine grove which old charts name the “Chowder Forest.” Beyond this
the land slopes away to the “Storm Coast,” the east shore of the island.
North, on a high knoll, is the Mason homestead, a large old farmhouse of
the best New England type; beyond, one mile from Nauyaug, is the Riding
Way Bridge to the village of Mystic.
FROM LAKE TO SEA
ON POGGY BAY
THE location of this island is in Eastern
Connecticut at the mouth of Mystic River, separating that picturesque
body of water from Fisher’s Island Sound Two miles farther out the sound
merges with the Atlantic. Six miles to the east is Watch Hill; six miles
to the west, New London and Long Island Sound, truly the “Yachtman’s
Paradise.” Half a mile away (eight minutes by ferry) is the quaint old
fishing village of Noank, with its picturesque shore-front and famous
artist colony. Off the other end of Mason’s Island is Mystic, a beautiful
New England village of 6000 people, the business center of the summer life
of this section. Noank and Mystic are on the main line of the N. Y., N. H.
& H. R. R., and are traversed by the electric road running from New London
to Westerly, Watch Hill and Norwich.
Everywhere one sees the hills and
shore dotted with summer homes ranging from the magnificent estate of M.
F. Plant to the simple bungalow. Masons Island was first settled a few
years ago by a few artists and nature lovers who secured permission from
Andrew Mason to live a few weeks at a time on this lovely land. Those who
know the works of the best American landscape painters will recognize many
bits of Masons Island when they visit it.
DIAGRAM AND LOCATION OF SECTION NO. 1.
“New England’s Ideal Island”
MASONS ISLAND CO.
NEW LONDON, CONN.
G. F. TINGLEY, MYSTIC, CONN.