Introducing New London
During its golden age in the mid-19th century, New London was home to some 200 whaling vessels, second only to New Bedford in Massachusetts as the biggest whaling center along the coast (Nantucket was third). But with the discovery of crude oil in Pennsylvania in 1858, whale oil ceased to be a lucrative commodity and the subsequent decline of New London's commercial port sent the city into an extensive period of decline. More recently the port has been refurbished for sightseeing and cruise liners have started to dock at the State Pier between May and November. Still New London retains strong links with its seafaring and military past (the US Coast Guard Academy and one of America's five military academies are based here) and has a blue-collar grittiness that places it in stark contrast to the unrelenting cuteness of Mystic and Stonington.