I'm sitting in New London, Connecticut, because of a Google search.
A few years ago I needed somewhere to set a book I’d been wanting to write and so I typed in ‘US Navy submarine bases’, and I chose Subase New London (just to clarify, the base in actually in Groton – New London is across the river).
So yesterday hubby and I got of the train in New London, checked into our hotel, and went on exploratory walk. It’s not quite how I imagined it would be. The place has a small-town atmosphere to it and was quiet—even on a Saturday. I somehow thought there would be more sailors and coasties (the Coast Guard Academy is here too), and while we saw a couple of obvious military personnel, there was no real sign of the large number of service personnel who live in the area. Okay, so the big coastguard banner was a giveaway, but there wasn’t much more.
It didn’t matter. It was still perfect.
While there are currently two books in the New London range, the third has been written, and I was thrilled to find the café we stopped at for lunch was perfect for one of the scenes. It’s so nice to have something real I can base a description on! I can imagine my characters walking or driving the streets, and seeing the things I see—its wonderful!
Today was the real treat. We caught a taxi out to the Submarine Museum, which is located at one end of the Navy base. The museum exceeded our expectations. They have equipment from a control room you can sit at, three working periscopes that jut out of the roof so you can survey the surrounds, cutaways of submarines, a life-size model of the first submarine – the Turtle, which was used in 1786 to attempt to attach a bomb to a British ship – and of course the USS Nautilus, the US Navy’s first nuclear powered submarine. It was fun (and squeezy) winding out way around the inside! I thought we might be there for a couple of hours, but it was over three hours before we left. Well worth the visit.
What really made it special was standing on the Nautilus and looked out at parts of the base. I couldn’t see much, but I did see the building Nell works in, and the roofs of some of the base recreational places (coming in the third book). The docks where the subs tie up was also partially visible. I soaked as much of it up as I could – the sights, sounds, and the knowledge of where I was. It has been a wonderful, incredible day. And yes, I shed a couple of tears. A dream has come true.
Next up is Washington DC!
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