Stonington Lobster Trap Tree

Written by:
Tom Riley
Date Published:
December 1, 2023

Photo from Instagram by: @j.ferr_photography

Learn more about the beautiful Stonington Lobster Trap Tree at the Stonington Town Dock in Stonington, Connecticut!
Address: 1 High St, Stonington, CT 06378
Directions: HERE

The Stonington Lobster Trap Tree is one of the newest annual Christmas tree displays in New England and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular. The “tree” is not your typical fir or spruce, but rather it consists of hundreds of lobster traps stacked to form a tree shape. Lobster trap trees are not new in New England as there are over a dozen beautiful trap trees located in coastal towns such as Rockport, Maine, Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island. Although the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree was first introduced in 2021, it is quickly becoming a must-see attraction among locals and visitors alike.

Photo from Instagram by: @j.ferr_photography

The Stonington Lobster Trap Tree is special for many different reasons. First off, is its size. In 2022, the tree featured 420 lobster traps which give the tree a height of 35 feet. It took 3,200 zip ties to lock the hundreds of lobster traps together.  Additionally, 1,010 lights were used to illuminate the tree. It is so tall that multiple visitors can walk inside the tree and admire its beautiful architecture and all the wonderful twinkling lights. Being able to set inside the tree is a super unique feature.

Photo from Instagram by: @periece.monique_photography

Another extremely special aspect of the tree is its buoys. While many lobster trap trees just use basic buoys, the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree has buoys that are each a work of art. Each lobster buoy displayed on the tree is hand painted. There is one buoy for every lobster trap, so 420 buoys total for 2022. Of those, 40 were painted by local youths under guidance from local Stonington-based Artists. The remaining buoys were sent out to professional artists to be painted. Over 60 professional artists in Connecticut and over 40 professional artists in Rhode Island participated by crafting buoys for the 2022 lobster trap tree.

Photo from Instagram by: @periece.monique_photography

With all the work and planning that goes into the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree, it is truly a masterpiece when finally completed for the season. It takes hundreds of hours to purchase supplies, get each buoy to and from artists, plan local workshops, and, of course, assemble the tree. All of this hard work is possible thanks to the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce (OCCC) and its charitable arm, the Ocean Community Chamber Foundation. The foundation does accept donations to help cover expenses related to the lobster trap tree and to ensure it will continue to grow and be an amazing tradition for years to come. Additionally, buoys created by the CT and RI artists, known as “Artists Buoys,” are auctioned off after the holidays and these funds go right back to the foundation.

The official tree-lighting event occurs on the last weekend of November. It is a wonderful event attended by hundreds of people. The tree itself remains lit every day from dusk to 9:30 pm throughout December and also January. A visit to the Stonington Lobster Trap Tree is such a special experience and one you will never forget.

Written By

Tom Riley

Tom was born and raised in New England and loves exploring all around the Northeast. From the mountains of New Hampshire to the waterfalls of Vermont, rugged coast of Maine, and white sand beaches of Cape Cod - Tom loves seeing what each state around him has to offer. Tom's favorite quote is by Seneca and it reads, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it." He believes everyday should be spent living life to the fullest!

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