What to expect – with pictures – if you plan to take this route!
Long Island is known for its beaches, wineries, microbreweries, famous artists, and some of the worst traffic imaginable. Fortunately, if you’re heading north to New England, you can avoid a lot of burdensome driving by taking one of two ferries. If you’re closer to the East End, you can take the Cross Sound Ferry (which I’ve written about previously here), and if you’re closer to the border of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, you can take the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry.
I recently took the ferry from Port Jefferson, NY to Bridgeport, CT and absolutely loved the experience. It’s a great way to break up a long trip, particularly if you are travelling with young children! So if you’re making a similar journey, here’s what to expect and what you’ll experience as you take the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry.
Travel Options: Driving vs. Ferry Boat
Among Long Islanders, the Long Island Expressway (LIE) is jokingly referred to as “the world’s largest parking lot.” Any trip north of Long Island involves driving west along the LIE into Queens, crossing a bridge north to the Bronx, and then driving northeast to reach New England destinations. Not only is this circuitous, but it involves driving through heavy urban traffic in New York City and on I-95 in Connecticut. Definitely not appealing!
You can see different travel options in the below picture from Google Maps for an example trip from Medford, NY to Hartford, CT. Taking the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry saves almost 70 miles of driving (and that’s during a time when there’s little traffic – it could save hours when there’s heavy traffic on the roads!).
Taking the ferry is also great if you’re traveling with young children – not only will it be quite memorable for the little ones, but you can also get out of your car to feed them, take them to the bathroom, and enjoy the view as you cross the water!
For a typical sedan or SUV plus driver, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry costs around $63. If you want priority service – meaning you’re one of the first cars to get on and off the ferry boat – it will cost about $90 (an extra $30). Non-driver passengers (age 13+) cost about $21 each, seniors are discounted at $18, and children 12 and under are free. There is also the option to buy an “Unlimited Passengers” ticket, which varies in cost between $25 to $46 depending on the date and time of day.
Traveling Aboard the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
Boarding the ferry boat starts about 15-30 minutes before its departure time. There are two center lanes on the ferry (reserved for priority boarding and larger/oversized vehicles), and two outer lanes on each side for standard passenger vehicles. There’s also a second level for cars, which may or may not be used depending on crowdedness:
The ferry boats are pretty large, capable of holding 100+ cars. The boat that I travelled on was named the PT Barnum (yes, that P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus – he was an early investor in The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company!). Pictured below is the Grand Republic docked in the Port Jefferson harbor:
Loading vehicles onto the ferry boat won’t take too long, and the ferries leave right on time. Once aboard, you can exit your car and head to the upper decks of the ferry boat. This is a view looking down over the vehicles:
Stairs will lead you to the upper decks, but there’s also a handicap-accessible elevator aboard:
There is ample seating on the uppermost deck. If it’s a nice day out, benches are available so you can enjoy the view:
The ferry boats have a very large indoor passenger cabin with restrooms. Both individual club chairs and table-seating by the windows (great for work, or feeding your children!) are available:
Ferry boats also feature a snack bar:
I didn’t order any food, but their menu was pretty extensive:
And for adult passengers, a bar and cocktail lounge is accessible through a door toward the front of the ferry boat:
As you approach Bridgeport, CT, you can see the Black Rock Harbor Light (also known as Fayerweather Island Light):
The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry advertises that the ferry ride takes 1 hour and 15 minutes, and I found that was quite accurate. An overhead announcement will indicate that you are close to your destination and that you need to head back to your vehicle.
After disembarking in Bridgeport, CT, it takes a little under 1 hour to drive to Hartford, CT and about 2.5 hours to drive to Boston, MA.
So if you’re traveling from Long Island to New England, definitely consider taking the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry. It’s a better, easier way to make the trip!
Have you traveled via the The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry? How was your travel experience? Let me know in the comments below!
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