Velvet Mill: Alternative Hang Out In Stonington, CT

Flashing back to winter in Connecticut, J and I took an afternoon together to visit a cool new industrial space turned shopping/dining/community hangout. Enter the Velvet Mill, which gained its name from its industrial past as the American Velvet Mill. The American Velvet Mill is located on the water in Stonington and opened in 1892 to produce velvet cloth for the US. In the 1950s, the American Velvet Mill employed 450 employees and then slowly became smaller until the business moved to Virginia in 1996. The building is considered a historic building and after some time being closed, it was rejuvenated into a multipurpose hang-out space.

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Here were my highlights from visiting the Velvet Mill:


Eat/Drink

Zest Fresh Pastry

Upon entering the Velvet Mill, we first stumbled upon Zest Fresh Pastry, which is a wonderful cafe serving local Ashlawn Farms coffee and amazing baked goods. I tried the homemade marshmallows, carrot cake, coconut macaroon, and a whoopie pie. Everything was amazing and I’m looking forward to visiting again. However, since I won’t back back in Connecticut until Christmas, I’ll be able to fulfill my cravings for Zest because there happens to be Zest Fresh West in Woodland, California. This is so near where we are moving so I’ll report back after we visit. Learn more about the fabulous Zest Fresh Pastry in CT at their website.

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Beer’d Brewing Co.

Craft breweries are popping up all over southeastern Connecticut and Beer’d Brewing Co., is one of the great options in the area. Beer’d is a popular Friday evening hang out spot, especially among Pfizer and Electric Boat employees.

Shop/Events

Aside from having your morning coffee and evening beer covered, the Velvet Mill also has your shopping, services, and events sorted. Many of the shops are run by local artists and small businesses, making this a great place to visit for a souvenir. Aside from shopping and the farmers’ market that I describe below, keep your eye open for gallery openings and events in the several art studios.

Stonington Farmers’ Market Winter

When the weather gets blustery outside (October through May), the Stonington Farmers’ Market heads inside the Velvet Mill. Each Saturday morning, you’ll find fresh baked goods, local produce, jams, honeys, and more. I love the Stonington Farmers’ Market and this indoor version uses the historic building to its fullest by bringing in farmers, local artisans, the public, and the shops all benefit from the increase in customers.

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The Velvet Mill can be found at 22 Bayview Avenue, Stonington, CT. Find the specific opening days and hours for each business on this website.


Have you been to the Velvet Mill? Does your town or city have a multipurpose dining, shopping, and events space?