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September 18, 2011 by · 2 Comments 


Let’s say you’re in the New England area and are planning a visit to far eastern Long Island, New York. You want to take your RV but, in light of my last post, you’ve decided that you don’t want to face the island’s infamous Long Island Expressway traffic. Well, there is an alternative.

How about a nice boat trip. Yes, a boat trip — actually a ferry — with your RV onboard? It’ll cut about 300 miles off your trip by not driving all the way from the New London, Connecticut area along I-95 to New York and then the Throgs Neck Bridge and eastward via the Long Island Express Way, I-495 all the way out to the end of the island.  Instead, the Cross-Sound Ferry Services will carry you and your RV from New London, CT to Orient Point, Long Island, New York across the Long Island Sound and back in just 3 hours.

A three hour tour? You might ask where you’ve heard that before? Well, that was on Gilligan’s Island, not Long Island. And that was on the SS Minnow, not the Mary Ellen, one of the Cross-Sound Ferry’s boats, pictured here.

Just for the fun of it, though, I’ve included some Gilligan’s Island trivia below to help you pass the time on board the Mary Ellen, or one of the other fine ships that the Cross-Sound Ferry Service runs across Long Island Sound. The answers can be found at the bottom of the post.

Trivia question number 1:

1- Where did the Skipper first meet Gilligan?

Back to the real tour: As I’ve written, the cruise takes 1½ hours each way, from New London, Connecticut to Orient Point, Long Island (there are other routes; see the Cross-Sound Ferry website for details). Since RVs vary so much in size and configuration, Cross-Sound requires RV owners to call one of their numbers  in New London or Orient Point (see below) and speak with one of their nice office folks to discuss your vehicle. Their addresses and other information on the ferry service, is shown below:

New London, CT to Orient Point, LI
Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc.
2 Ferry Street, PO Box 33
New London, CT 06320

Orient Point, LI to New London, CT
Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc.
41720 Main Rd (Route 25)
Orient, NY 11957

2- From what did the Professor construct a radio in one episode?

Height and length shouldn’t be an issue. They do note that RVs are restricted to no more than 8 feet wide. If that’s a problem, check with the office between 8:30AM – 4PM. Sue, a very nice lady at the above number, did tell me that they can handle RVs wider than 8′, but they would have to “double book” the reservation (that is book 2 spaces for twice the price). There are height restrictions, based on the particular boat and tide conditions (the loading and unloading ramps would be tilted at low tide and could affect the height restriction), but, generally, they can handle up to 13’6″ without any trouble (which, coincidently, is the US highway height restriction).

3- Where did the SS Minnow get its name?

The cost of the trip is outlined on the rates page. For an RV, the rate is for a one-way trip, including the driver. Additional passengers are charged based on the usual passenger rates. The RV rate averages $2.37 to $3.27 a foot, one-way, including driver, but will vary based on a fuel surcharge that will go up or down, based on the price of fuel.

4-  Mr. Howell, the millionaire, refuses to do any physical labor. How does he get out of doing his fair share?

Passengers can enjoy the trip in air-conditioned quarters inside or catch a breeze outside on the deck. Deli and liquor refreshments are available for those who want to knosh.

5- Who was more popular with fans, “The Movie Star,” Ginger Grant, or Mary Ann Summers?

Once you reach Long Island, I have some suggestions you might enjoy:

-        Stay at one of the campgrounds listed here in the Woodall’s online guide. Let’s say at Greenport’s Eastern Long Island Kampground, It’s rated 4 Ws for its facilities and 3 for its recreation opportunities. Please note that the state and county parks generally don’t have hook-ups.

-        Tour the North Fork’s picturesque villages and vineyards (which were mostly potato farms years ago until the pesky potato nematode ruined things for the farmers, but now it’s famous for its vineyards).

-        Take a day trip on the North Ferry between Greenpoint and Shelter Island. Better yet, leave your RV and car or truck behind and take your bikes from the Greenpoint ferry dock to Shelter Island. Spend the morning bicycling around this beautiful island, exploring its backroads and villages. Then, if the day is still young enough, or you stayed at one of the many B&B’s on Shelter Island, take the South Ferry to Sag Harbor, an old whaling port that rivaled Salem and New Bedford many years ago. Don’t miss the Whaling Museum. At the end of day 1 or 2, depending on how far you got, make your way northward over the ferries and back to Greenpoint.

-        Next tour Long Island’s famous north shore; the “Gold Coast.” Starting with the picturesque coastal villages west of the North Fork, travel eastward along Route 25A to Northport, with its nice village and bandshell on the harbor, continue to Centerport and the Vanderbilt mansion and planetarium, to Huntington Village and Cold Spring Harbor, stopping at Cold Spring Harbor’s wonderful whaling museum, onward to the fish hatchery outside of town along 25A, behind which is one of the most photographed and filmed churches, which sits on a splendid pond (I’m starting to run out of superlatives). Across the street from the fish hatchery is the famous Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories where Watson and Crick developed their ideas on DNA.

Further along 25A in Oyster Bay, don’t miss the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park and Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.

I’ll stop there, because there is so much to see just along the north shore that I could go on for pages. Please excuse me for missing any favorites of yours or those you discover on your own.

-        Back to the east end of the island, this time the South Fork: Take Rte. 25 eastward from Greenpoint to Riverhead and Rte. 24 south. From there head eastward on Rte. 27 into the world famous Hamptons. Take a leisurely drive from village to village, stopping to eat or explore, and proceed out to the southern- and eastern-most tip of Long Island, at Montauk Point. Stop and visit its famous lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State. It was authorized by the Second Congress, under George Washington, in 1792.

-        Having seen everything you wanted to see, but always leaving something undone so that you have a reason to return, say goodbye to Long Island and head back to Orient Point for your next leg of the ferry tour back to New London, CT.

* * * *

Answers to the Gilligan’s Island trivia questions:

1-     Where did the Skipper first meet Gilligan? The Captain and Gilligan met in the Navy during WWII, when Gilligan saved the captain’s life (ergo the Captain’s unending patience with all of Gilligan’s screwups; in case you were wondering why the Captain never drowned Gilligan for ruining any chance they ever had to get off the island).

2-     From what did the Professor construct a radio in one episode? Believe it of not, he built a radio out of coconuts and bamboo (Now why didn’t I think of that?)

3-     Where did the SS Minnow get its name? It was actually named after Newton Minow, who was chairman of the FCC in 1961. He made a speech and called television “America’s vast wasteland.” So the boat was named after the man who, creator Sherwood Schwartz insisted, “ruined television.” Minow placed the power of programming in the hands of the networks. How this ruined Television, I do not know.

4-     Mr. Howell, the millionaire, refuses to do any physical labor. How does he get out of doing his fair share? By hiring Gilligan to do all of his work. Today, Mr. Howell would probably outsource the work to Thailand, or some other source of cheap labor.

5-     Who was more popular with fans. “The Movie Star,” Ginger Grant, or Mary Ann Summers? Wholesome Mary Ann wins, hands down.

Till Next Time,

The Traveler


2 Responses to “♪♪♪♫-A-Three-Hour-Tour-♪♪♪♫”
  1. eric says:

    Thank you for your article, it was really interesting.

    I was most taken with the GI trivia, thanks. One point, though: No one liked Mary Ellen. They adored Mary ANN, though!

    Thanks for noticing my mistake, I would’ve been in deep dutch if my sister had noticed (she’s a Mary Ann).


  2. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Traveler,

    Thank you, for the tour of Long Island; it about wore me out riding that bicycle!!! I’m sure glad I went with you and don’t have to do it myself!!! Facing all of that traffic was the pits… The boat ride was the best
    part of the tour, though…

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezes !!!!!!!!

    Hello Butterbean,

    Glad to hear from you, as always.

    My wife & I took that bicycle tour years ago on a beautiful summer day. It was worth the effort. I remember pedaling down to the end of a cattail-lined road that ended in a small, hidden bay. There were thousands of palm-sized scallops floating at the waters edge. All those tiny, bright-blue eyes staring up at us, it was awesome…

    And yes, the boat ride(s) were great. It added a very special feeling to the whole trip, cruising between the coastlines and then the islands… man, it was what RVng is all about; experiencing nature up close, in all its beauty!


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