The Foxwoods Casino Resort has four hotels, two golf courses and its own 80-plus store Tanger Outlet Center. It can probably be seen from space. It definitely stands out on Earth.
Two AAA Four Diamond Towers—The Fox and Grand Pequot (23 stories)—loom large above the green forest blanket spread across southern Connecticut.
As first impressions go, well…let’s just say you can’t miss the place. The second positive impression is of the luxury scattered within the walls, from those two hotels to the other two—the AAA Three Diamond Great Cedar Hotel and the Two Trees Inn next door. The pools, restaurants, outlet center and proximity to the coastal escapes of Noank/Groton and Mystic Seaport are primary attractions to the masses, while the Troon-managed Lake of Isles golf courses bring in the rest of us.
The tribal leaders operating casinos across America likely have Rees Jones’s number on speed-dial. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation brought the “Open Doctor” to Foxwoods and handed him nearly a thousand acres to do his best work—a mere crow-fly mile from the resort. Troon operates both courses today—the public North course and private South course—and both have been bombarded with awards since they opened in 2005.
Ideally both courses would be accessible to overnight resort guests, but those restricted to playing the North are honestly getting just as great of an experience as the privileged permitted to loop the South. They’re essentially identical twins…beautiful identical twins. (Something my wife and I know a thing or two about.) Rees didn’t intentionally make one course superior or more scenic than the other—he truthfully crafted them each exceptionally. They’re cut from the same stunning lakeside land and their back nines are much stronger than the fronts—crescendo routings from great starts to superb finishes. The downhill 11th—a par 3 over water to essentially an island green—is easily the South’s most popular snapshot and golf hole. It’s a tough call for the signature of the North between its own picturesque par-3 11th—again over water—and the crazy-cool, cliffside, 17th. Love both 18th holes as well.
Mr. Jones made the most of the tribe’s money on these courses, much like my kids did at the casino’s Under Armour outlet store. Everyone leaves Lake of Isles a little lighter in the wallet, but a whole lot richer in the (memory) bank. Connecticut’s best golf destination? No question.
LOBSTER LOVE (Noank, Conn.)
It’s not for me to say which is the better seafood haven—Ford’s Lobsters or Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough. The vote of locals seems evenly split down the middle. Both are in Noank, 15 minutes from Foxwoods, less than a half-mile from each other—each with a property line on Mystic River. Ford’s is small but with a sensational and diverse menu. Abbott’s gives you tons of food for a higher price and lets you spread out on picnic tables by the water. Abbott’s also has a Snack Shack with some pretty tasty desserts.
In dining split-decisions I typically let my sweet tooth decide—Abbott’s wins by that default. That said, visitors to the Mystic Seaport area seeking great seafood in a beautiful and wonderfully casual atmosphere simply cannot miss with either.
My advice: Relax and let a coin stress over the decision.