Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Member News

This is the place where our member businesses and state and local organizations share their good news.

Virtual Family Bingo Night Fundraiser Hosted by The Stonington COMO

The Stonington COMO is hosting their, first ever, Virtual Family Bingo Night Fundraiser on February 20, 2021 from 6pm-8pm. Your family can play Bingo and win prizes all from the comfort of your own home. This fun event is in partnership with Get Your Bingo On and guaranteed to be a wonderful evening spending time with the ones you love, while supporting the COMO mission. So put on your favorite pajamas or comfy clothes, make your favorite finger foods, and get ready to yell “BINGO”!

Tickets are on sale now! The first registrant in your group is $25 and each additional person is $10. To register please go to The COMO looks forward to playing virtual bingo with you and your team! If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Lacey Arndt, Development Director by phone or email at (860) 535-2476 or

Galentine’s Day Live Virtual Paint Night

Please join the Stonington COMO as they host their 2nd Annual Galentine’s Day event on Thursday, February 11th from 6pm-8pm to help support the Stonington Community Center’s (COMO) Girls Who Code program. This year’s event will be a live virtual paint night to celebrate with your gal pals! This event will be led by local artist, Holly Mangan, who holds a BFA in Painting from The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT and specializes in representational portraiture and landscapes.

Invite your friends, mother, sister, and any other amazing people you know for a night of great conversation, painting, and fun! Also makes a great Valentine’s Day Gift! Tickets are $35 each and includes the two hour event and paint night kit. Purchase your tickets now at Paint night kits will be available for pick up at the COMO Thrift Shop.

Girls Who Code is a free after school program for girls that aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science by equipping young women with the necessary computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. The COMO is currently accepting donations for this dynamic program. For more information please visit If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Lacey Arndt, Development Director by phone or email at (860) 535-2476 or

About The Stonington Community Center

The Stonington Community Center, fondly known as the COMO, was founded in 1945, as a nonprofit with the goals of strengthening families and community. Over the years, the COMO’s 16-acre campus has grown to include its own classrooms, Thrift Shop, four decoTurf tennis courts, art and pottery studio, paddle tennis facility, and soccer fields.

Westerly Community Credit Union Welcomes New Marketing Manager

Westerly Community Credit Union is proud to announce that Heather Desmarais has joined their team as the Marketing Manager. Heather will be responsible for assisting in the development and implementation of the marketing strategy, creation of marketing materials, and supporting the credit union’s community outreach initiatives.

Heather comes to WCCU with 10 years of marketing experience and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Communication from Bryant University. In her last role, she worked for a global company where was responsible for the implementation of the US marketing strategy and led the launch of a new product. Heather currently lives in West Greenwich, RI with her family.

The Staff and Board of Directors of the Westerly Community Credit Union congratulate Heather on her new position. To find out more about Westerly Community Credit Union and their career openings, please visit

About Westerly Community Credit Union

The WCCU initiative, #WCCUCares, emphasizes their focus on caring about their members, their members’ financial success, and their community. Established in 1948, Westerly Community Credit Union is a local, full–service financial institution that currently serves over 19,600 members with lending and deposit products through their convenient locations in Wakefield, Richmond, Westerly, as well as online via Recent WCCU awards include: Westerly Sun’s Readers’ Choice Best Bank Award (2017-18-19 and top 3 in 2020), Southern RI Chamber Choice- Best Employer (2018), “Spreadin’ the Love” (2019 & 2020) community service awards as well as PBN Best Places to Work (2018-19).

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union Awards Grant to The Arc Eastern Connecticut

The Arc Eastern Connecticut received a $2,303 grant from Charter Oak Federal Credit Union’s Community Giving Program to develop an iPad Lending Library for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live alone and who during the pandemic might otherwise remain isolated.

“This lending library represents a unique opportunity to make sure that our most vulnerable citizens remain connected during what is a confusing and frightening time for everyone,” said Laurie Herring, The Arc’s Chief Operations Officer. “This project would not have been able to go forward without Charter Oak’s assistance.”

iPads and charging stations will be maintained by The Arc ECT to ensure that users are always able to easily connect to social services, medical providers, family and friends, as well as their Arc staff.

To learn more about The Arc Eastern Connecticut and its programs throughout the region, and for weekly agency updates and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit or contact Denise Tift at (860) 889-4435, ext. 116.


Total Gold Rewards Payout Is Nearly $5 Million Since Unique Program Began in 2010

Waterford, CT – January 12, 2021 – Charter Oak Federal Credit Union awarded over $674,000 in annual $100 cash bonuses in December to its Gold Rewards members, which is the largest amount since Charter Oak created the unique member-appreciation program in 2010.

“Our Gold Rewards members are some of our most loyal members, so these annual $100 cash bonuses are our way of saying thank you and letting them know how much we appreciate them,” said Brian A. Orenstein, Charter Oak’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Each year, our Gold Rewards membership continues to grow because our members recognize the value and the great benefits that come with being a Charter Oak Gold Rewards member,” he said.

When Charter Oak first introduced Gold Rewards in 2010, a total of 2,590 members received annual $100 cash bonuses compared to the record payout in 2020 when 6,747 members received $100 bonuses. Charter Oak has awarded nearly $5 million in annual $100 cash bonuses to its qualified Gold Rewards members since the program began. In addition to the nearly $5 million in annual cash bonuses awarded, Charter Oak also has returned almost $2.2 million in ATM rebates to Gold Rewards members.

Charter Oak is the only financial institution in eastern Connecticut, including local banks and credit unions, which pays out a $100 annual bonus to its members who qualify for the Gold Rewards bonus. Charter Oak created its unique Gold Rewards program to provide additional value and financial rewards for its members who have made Charter Oak their primary financial institution. Gold Rewards members receive an array of exclusive benefits, from the $100 annual bonus, to ATM rebates, special rates on deposits, discounts on new personal loans, and a $100 credit toward first mortgage closing costs with Charter Oak.

To learn how to qualify for Charter Oak’s Gold Rewards program, visit, stop by any of Charter Oak’s convenient branches in New London or Windham counties, or call our Contact Center at 860.446.8085 or 800.962.3237.

Charter Oak is eastern Connecticut’s largest credit union with assets of $1.36 billion as of September 30th, 2020. For more information about Charter Oak’s broad range of products and services, please visit any of our convenient branches, call our Contact Center at 860.446.8085 or visit Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union is like a bank, just better! We've been proudly serving eastern Connecticut since 1939 and we offer great checking, deposit, lending, insurance, and investment products. And because we’re a credit union, we’re owned by our members, not by shareholders. So we can offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on deposits. It’s easy to become a Charter Oak member: simply live, work, worship, learn, or volunteer in New London or Windham counties. So join today and see why Members Bank Better at Charter Oak!

Anthony Cronin

AVP-Director of Marketing
860.446.3254 |

Free Digital STEAM Workshop for Kids @ Mystic Noank Library

Digital Program: Rockabye Beats: Saturday, February 27, 10:00 AM on Zoom

The Mystic & Noank Library is pleased to host Rockabye Beats, who will conduct a virtual music program for preschoolers and their caregivers. Kids will learn through music and dance while having fun! Kids will be inspired to sing, dance, move, ask questions, learn about instruments, meet new characters, learn a little Spanish and play. At the same time, kids will learn about melody, rhythm, tempo and pitch. Come dance and sing with Rockabye Beats! Great program for preschoolers and their caregivers!

Registration is required to attend this programs. You may register by calling the Library or visiting our website. You will receive a Zoom invitation the morning of the program.

The Mystic & Noank Library is open by appointment only for copying, scanning, faxing, printing, and computer use. We will be continuing contact-free pickup of materials and Grab & Go craft bags that will be available in the Ames Room.

You can arrange computer or printing appointments as well as request materials by phone during our operating hours at 860-536-7721. An outdoor library outside our main entrance continues to offer free materials to visitors.

View the Library catalog on our website to place holds on materials or to sign up for digital programming.

Our operating hours for these services are from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday and Wednesday and 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.



Stonington, CT — The New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) is pleased to announce the addition Dr. Cinda P. Scott, Ms. Caitlyn Slivinski, and Mr. Harrison “Cal” Buxton to the NESS Board of Directors.

“The addition of Dr. Cinda Scott, Caitlyn Slivinski, and Cal Buxton will add to the incredible depth of talent at the NESS Board and we are excited to welcome them aboard,” said Jane Leipold, NESS Board Chair.

Dr. Scott received her Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries with a focus in molecular evolutionary genomics from the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami in 2009. Her work has included teaching and lecturing, administrative and grants management, and scientific research. Since 2014, she has led The School for Field Studies, Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies program in Bocas del Toro, Panamá where she currently serves as Center Director. Her current research examines the health of mangrove ecosystems throughout the Bocas del Toro Archipelago in addition to maintaining interests in marine protected areas, coral reef ecology and conservation biology.

Ms. Slivinski is a marketing specialist who has developed her considerable expertise in the field with companies like American Express, Bloomberg, Marriott, and other Fortune 500 companies. She currently leads her team's Partnership Development pipeline at American Express and manages the marketing strategy for her portfolio that includes brands like Walmart, Best Buy, Dell Technologies, Grubhub/Seamless, Expedia, Saks Fifth Avenue, and JustGiving‑a global online social platform for charity. She recently orchestrated the COVID19 partnership with American Express and JustGiving which involved winning buy-in from Amex's executive team to pledge a $1M match donation to Feeding America. A first of its kind, the campaign was a quick pivot where Caitlyn was able to leverage her expansive relationships, influence, and creative ideation to help American Express make a meaningful impact during the crisis. Caitlyn graduated from Loyola University in 2007 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications/Advertising.

Mr. Buxton is a senior investment executive and portfolio manager at UBS Financial Services. For more than three decades, Cal has been helping individuals and their families navigate complex financial situations, including life transitions and liquidity events. He is a former Senior Portfolio Manager at the Private Bank of Bank of America, and has held senior positions at Fleet Bank, The Washington Trust Company, and Peterborough Savings Bank. Mr. Buxton applies his extensive background in fundamental portfolio analysis, integrating technical analytics, and risk management tools to best serve his clients. In 2014 and 2015, Cal was recognized as an industry leader and was named to Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in the nation. He was also named as one of’s Top 100 Wirehouse Advisors, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

NESS Founder, President, and CEO Spike Lobdell commented, “It is a pleasure to see our Board of Directors diversify and expand with the addition of these three accomplished individuals. They bring considerable depth of knowledge and experience to the organization and having them join the team will certainly further NESS’s mission to support our students.”

About NESS

New England Science & Sailing Foundation ("NESS") is a nationally recognized and award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit ocean adventure education organization that provides students of all ages and backgrounds with year-round programming that includes marine science, sailing, and adventure sports. NESS's scholastic programs support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curricula for over 70 schools and organizations with a unique combination of on-the-water, online, and in-the-classroom lessons intended to build confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills. NESS is the first school partner program accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and has been recognized by US Sailing as the top community sailing program in the United States. NESS serves over 9,000 students annually across New England. Since its inception, the organization has enabled over 35,000 students to get out on the water. For more information, visit:

Todd Vorenkamp, Associate Director of Communications

860-535-9362 ext.116 |

Best of Bauer Chelsea Groton Bank Continues to Thrive

GROTON, Conn. – BauerFinancial, Inc., the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm, proudly announced that Chelsea Groton Bank, New London County, Connecticut was again awarded its highest (5-Star) rating for financial strength and stability, now for 107 consecutive quarters. Earning a 5-Star rating indicates this bank excels in areas of capital adequacy, profitability, asset quality and much more.

The “Best of Bauer Bank” designation is reserved for banks like Chelsea Groton that have earned Bauer’s highest rating (5-Stars) consistently for at least 25 consecutive years. “That’s impressive in the best of times,” notes Karen Dorway, president of the research firm. “But I can’t overstate the strength and prudence that Chelsea Groton Bank has exhibited over the past decades that got it to this point. And as we begin 2021, we have every reason to believe that Chelsea Groton Bank will continue to thrive.”

Chelsea Groton Bank was established in 1854 and has been invaluable to the communities it serves ever since. Whether at a branch, on a phone or online at, 5-Star rated Chelsea Groton Bank is ready, willing and able to serve the individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the region.

About BauerFinancial, Inc.

BAUERFINANCIAL, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm, has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983. No institution can pay for or opt out of a BauerFinancial rating. Star-ratings are all available for free at

About Chelsea Groton Bank

Based in Groton, Conn., Chelsea Groton Bank is a full-service mutually owned bank with over $1.4 billion in assets. Chelsea Groton Bank’s products and services include consumer banking, business banking, mortgage and business lending, cash management, financial planning and financial education classes. With 14 branch locations throughout New London County and a Loan Production Office in Hartford County, Chelsea Groton Bank also provides online and mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking, and nationwide ATM banking for individuals, families and businesses. To learn more, please visit Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS Institution ID 402928.

Media Contact: Barb Curto, VP, Marketing Manager

Phone: (860) 448-4118 | (860) 448-4164 fax


The Day Launches New Weekly True Crime Podcast January 13th

NEW LONDON, CT, -- The Day Publishing Company, publisher of The Day newspaper, is launching a new weekly true crime podcast, “Looking for the Todt Family,” on Jan. 13.

Looking for the Todt Family, moderated by Taylor Hartz and Sten Spinella, both journalists at The Day, chases answers and looks beyond the national headlines to tell the Todt family’s story.

“We’ve been investigating this case for more than a year, trying to piece together how a seemingly perfect family from small-town Connecticut became the subject of a grisly tabloid murder case. In this podcast, we tell the story of how a well-respected family man was found living with the bodies of his dead family for weeks and wound up in jail, accused of their murders,” said hosts Taylor Hartz and Sten Spinella.

On Jan. 13, 2019, four bodies were found in a home in Celebration, Fla. The bodies were those of Megan Todt, 42, a stay-at-home mom, yoga instructor and former physical therapist, and her children, Alex Todt, 13, Tyler Todt, 11, and Zoe Todt, 4. They had all been drugged with Benadryl and Megan, Alek, Tyler, and Breezy, the family’s dog, had been stabbed. According to the medical examiner, they had been dead for weeks. When Osceola County Sheriff's deputies paid a visit to the house to assist federal agents in serving Tony Todt (husband of Megan and father of Alex, Tyler and Zoe) with a warrant related to an FBI investigation into health care fraud in Connecticut, Tony was in the house with the deceased bodies and attempted suicide. According to police, Todt allegedly confessed to the murders shortly after his arrest, however once he was in custody his story changed and he now claims innocence.

The “Looking for the Todt Family” podcast explores every facet of the case - from Tony’s violent family history, to the FBI Investigation underway prior to the murders, the murders themselves and Tony’s revelations from jail. It also will cover Tony Todt’s trial. The podcast will include raw audio files from the police, clips of a phone call from jail, interviews with family and friends in Connecticut and Florida, excerpts from Tony’s lengthy letter from jail and a look at how these murders rocked two communities and set social media ablaze. Episodes will be available on as well as on major podcast apps including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Looking for the Todt Family is the second podcast series produced by The Day. The first, “Case Unsolved,” launched in May 2018, followed three unsolved murders in Connecticut - and the family, friends and law enforcement left without resolution all these years later. “Case Unsolved” was named the Best Newspaper Podcast in 2018 from the New England Newspaper and Press Association and won first place in audio storytelling in the 2018 Connecticut SPJ Excellence in Journalism Awards. Since the launch of Case Unsolved, there have been more than 99,000 downloads reaching an audience well beyond Connecticut and New England.

About The Day Publishing Company

The Day Publishing Company’s portfolio in Connecticut includes its nationally recognized daily newspaper, The Day; 16 weekly local newspapers; news websites; a series of monthly regional lifestyle magazines; Connecticut Coast and Country magazine, and D2 Marketing Solutions.

The Day is owned by a split-interest trust, which operates the company and supports the Bodenwein

For interviews contact:

Taylor Hartz,

Sten Spinella,

Dominion Foundation Grant Allows The Arc ECT to Help People with IDD Stay Connected

The Arc Eastern Connecticut received a $10,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation this week for its Communication and Connectedness Crisis Project for People with Disabilities.

An innovative program seeking to prevent isolation of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the statewide initiative helps people with disabilities stay electronically connected to families, caregivers, medical professionals, and support staff. The Dominion Grant will allow The Arc ECT to identify and assess the communications needs of people with IDD. Equipment, training and services will keep people online at a time when social distancing could further isolate an already marginalized group of people.

“We applaud Mid-State Arc and The Arc CT for creating this program to ensure that people with disabilities are included in conversations about technology and inclusion,” said Kathleen Stauffer, The Arc ECT’s Chief Executive Officer. “What might work for you or me might not work for people with IDD. Thanks to the Dominion Foundation, we can begin to provide the people we support with appropriate, accessible, and easy-to-use video chat and communication technologies to ensure they don’t become even more isolated during the pandemic and beyond.”

To learn more about The Arc Eastern Connecticut and its programs throughout the region, and for weekly agency updates and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit or contact Denise Tift at (860) 889-4435, ext. 116.

Contact: Denise Tift, The Arc Eastern Connecticut | 860-889-4435 x116 |

Chelsea Groton Bank and Foundation Together Gave Record $1,000,000 this Year

Following Foundation’s Approval of Over $400,000 in Grants this Fall

GROTON, Conn. – This year, Chelsea Groton Bank and its Foundation provided more than $1,000,000 to non-profit organizations in our communities. The Foundation recently approved $405,820 in grants to 68 non-profit organizations from Connecticut and Rhode Island, which put the full year’s giving total above the $1 million mark for the first time ever. Earlier this year, the Foundation swiftly responded to support emergency relief efforts as well as needs across all giving categories in the wake of the pandemic, making the unprecedented decision to double the usual amount of total funds granted in a calendar year.

Half of the Foundation’s approved funding this fall went to organizations providing Health & Human Services, including immediate critical needs such as healthcare, food, clothing and shelter. A grant donation of $25,000 was provided to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital for urgent needs due to the pandemic, and grants of $15,000 each were given to Salvation Army New London for the Boys and Girls Club of New London and COVID-19 Food Pantry, Salvation Army Norwich for their emergency assistance program and St. Vincent de Paul Place for their food pantry.

The Foundation also granted $30,000 to the Garde Arts Center in New London, enabling them to receive an additional $15,000 through the CT Dept. of Economic and Community Development. In addition, the Bank gave over $80,000 in sponsorships and grants for local teachers to use in their own virtual or in-person classrooms for educational activities with students.

“Our organization’s roots are in this community. We knew there was no time more important to figure out a way to help people than in this time of great need. We’re fortunate to have a Foundation and a commitment to community giving that can have such a positive impact on organizations in desperate need of support,” shared Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank, and President of the Chelsea Groton Foundation. “We are committed to doing whatever it takes to support the non-profits in our area who make the community the wonderful place it is.”

“When faced with these unique times, the Chelsea Groton Foundation Board responded by temporarily adjusting guidelines in order to provide financial support to more organizations in need. We are proud to give to organizations that support basic human needs – hunger, homelessness and healthcare – as well as those that provide education, economic growth, arts and cultural experiences, and more, especially in this great time of need.”

For a fourth consecutive year, the Foundation has also made a significant grant commitment – $50,000 in 2020 – to Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) for Global City Norwich, in order to train entrepreneurs and create a thriving downtown environment that will ensure increased traffic in area businesses.

The Foundation typically reviews applications and awards grants two times per year. Organizations who support critical needs are invited to apply for additional funding this year if needed, through the application on the Bank’s website,

Each year, Chelsea Groton Bank and the Chelsea Groton Foundation support more than 300 local organizations through monetary gifts, grants, sponsorships, scholarships and employee volunteerism. More information, including a list of all fall grant recipients, is available at

About the Chelsea Groton Foundation

The Chelsea Groton Foundation was formed in June 1998 as a Section 501(c) (3) organization. Initially endowed with a $2 million donation from Chelsea Groton Bank, the Foundation has, to date, awarded over $4.4 million in grants to hundreds of scientific, educational and charitable organizations located within the Bank’s market area. To learn more, visit:

About Chelsea Groton Bank

Based in Groton, Conn., Chelsea Groton Bank is a full-service mutually owned bank with over $1.4 billion in assets. Chelsea Groton Bank’s products and services include consumer banking, business banking, mortgage and business lending, cash management, financial planning and financial education programming. With 14 branch locations throughout New London County and a Loan Production Office in Hartford County, Chelsea Groton Bank also provides online and mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking, and nationwide ATM banking for individuals, families and businesses. To learn more, please visit Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Media Contact: Barb Curto, VP, Marketing Manager

Phone: (860) 448-4118 | Email:


If you get stuck in the and reserve our Snow Rate. Only $79*

Stay with us to arrive to work on time tomorrow (if you are working outside the home)

Stay with us if you lose power.

We are here for you. Our Restaurant is open and so is our Pool - so getaway and enjoy the snow...

*Available through March 31, 2021, subject to availability. BOOK HERE


The IRONS is currently open observing all current guidelines to provide a safe dining environment. We hope you will join us soon!


Saturday and Sunday 7 – 11 a.m.


Daily 4 – 9:30 p.m.

Notes about dining with us. You'll note some differences as you arrive:

  • Our servers and bartenders will be wearing masks.

  • Masks are required by guests as well to move around the restaurant and hotel.

  • We have enhanced our cleaning and sanitation protocols.

  • Tables have been spaced apart to allow for social distancing.

  • Menus are disposable and include some great new items.

  • Place mats have been removed from the tables.

Rave Reviews

Rave Reviews from our recent guests! Here's what guests are saying...

"The staff is great, go out of there way to make you feel at home, will get anything you may need for lengthy stays. Hotel & Rooms are well cleaned. Sanitizer wipes in place for your use. Restaurant has great food and great service."

~ James H. 5 Star Google Review

"Christine at the front desk was amazing, hospitable & went above & beyond to make this special occasion trip even more special for us all. You can't beat the location either. Right across from Mystic Village & a few minutes from the Seaport & downtown. Daniel was also very kind and was the one that handled the room service all by himself during our stay. The movies in the pool is really unique and the outdoor lounge with fireplace was really cool. I would definitely stay here again!"

~ April D, 5 Star Google review

Aquarium Package - built for a family of four getaway!

Includes continental breakfast for four PLUS 2 adult tickets and 2 children's tickets to the aquarium. Check Rates | Book our Aquarium Package

Eastern Regional Tourism District Announces Final Awardees for 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program

Over $200,000 in grant funding has been allocated to market eastern Connecticut tourism

Waterford, Conn. (December 10, 2020) – The Eastern Regional Tourism District (ERTD) today announced the final funding recipients for the 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program. 9 additional programs were approved for marketing grants to promote tourism and hospitality opportunities in Eastern Connecticut. The total funding of all projects, including the initial projects announced in September totaled $202,267 in matching grant funding to support local businesses and eastern Connecticut’s tourism economy.

“Tourism is a major economic driver in eastern Connecticut that generates billions in business sales and tax revenues every year and supports thousands of jobs,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “I applaud this program’s efforts to bolster eastern Connecticut’s crucial tourism industry by further raising the visibility of the state’s tourism opportunities, which are as diverse as the grant recipients.”

The additional 9 programs include marketing initiatives to raise the visibility of tourism opportunities in eastern Connecticut towns and improve access and information regarding Connecticut’s trails and state parks, raise the visibility of tourism opportunities and attractions in eastern Connecticut towns and support the promotion of eastern Connecticut’s diverse artistic community. The nine programs come from throughout eastern Connecticut, from the quiet corner to the southeastern shoreline, and are designed to elevate and grow the tourism potential of each region's vast diversity of towns, trails and tourism businesses. The nine programs include:

· Where Art Lives, a collaboration between the Florence Griswold Museum and the Lyme Art Association to market eastern Connecticut’s arts scene to day-trippers and local tourism.

· The New London Tourism Unity Initiative, a strategy to develop useful marketing and tourism-related tools to consolidate information regarding New London’s tourism attractions.

· Town of Windham Marketing Campaign, a program to enhance ongoing communications strategies and strengthen unrealized aspects of their 5-year marketing strategy.

· Voluntown Tourism Campaign, a collaboration between the Voluntown Economic Development Commission and Friends of Pachaug Forest to support the promotion and distribution of the Pachaug State Forest trails map.

· Air Line Trail Brochure Marketing Campaign, a project to increase access to information regarding the Air Line Trail and promote the trail’s access to neighboring tourism opportunities and venues.

· Windham Region Chamber of Commerce Regional Marketing Project, an initiative to develop four video itineraries that promote tourism opportunities throughout Windham County.

· Partners in History, a collaboration between the Thames River Heritage Park and eight partner sites to create a series of short videos that promote the history and tourism opportunities of the Thames River.

· So Good to See You in Mystic, a campaign through the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce that models the ongoing “So Good to See You, Connecticut” campaign to promote hospitality, aquatic recreation and dining opportunities in southeastern Connecticut.

· Passport to Norwich, a program to leverage the city’s diverse dining culture and heritage to food-oriented travelers and tourists.

“This program was an incredible opportunity for the District and the Office of Tourism to come together and market the vitality of our region’s diverse tourism opportunities,” said Jim Bellano, chairman of the ERTD. “We received so many creative strategies for supporting our tourism businesses. Given the pace at which the U.S. is developing a vaccine, we are excited to see these programs move forward to market Connecticut’s spring and summer tourism seasons.”

The ERTD originally allocated $180,000 for the 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program by the Connecticut Office of Tourism. After overwhelming support for the program, funding was raised to $202,267 to support a total of 11 projects throughout eastern Connecticut. Proposals selected for the 2020 program must be completed by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2021.

“It was a rigorous process to select these 11 applications, and I feel that the selected programs will have a positive impact on our tourism businesses throughout eastern Connecticut,” said Chris Regan, chairman of the ERTD Marketing Committee. “The significant collective impact of these marketing programs will generate additional visitation and economic activity for our region while working to support the state’s broader marketing initiatives. We hope to see this program grow in 2021.”

About Eastern Regional Tourism District

The Eastern Regional Tourism District (ERTD) is comprised of 41 eastern Connecticut towns and municipalities and is designed to stimulate and support the growth of eastern Connecticut’s tourism economy by providing marketing and collaboration opportunities. Created through the Connecticut Office of Tourism, the ERTD is committed to supporting the growth of tourism venues and activities throughout Eastern Connecticut, which has been branded for visitors as Mystic Country. For a full list of represented towns and more information, visit