Lower Connecticut River Valley
The Lower Connecticut River towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Essex, Deep River, Ivoryton, Chester, and Haddam welcome you to their classic greens, museums, shops, and even to a unique riverside train and riverboat excursion. Walk the trails of a beautiful state park to see a real castle and learn about the actor who built a fantasy land there.
In this historic area of Connecticut, with echoes of Revolutionary War actions, early shipbuilding and seafaring, and great art galleries, you will find the quiet beauty of old New England. Old Saybrook is at the mouth of the river on Long Island Sound. Here you can enjoy a luxurious rest at the lavish Saybrook Point Inn & Spa. Spa services also are found upriver in the town of Essex, a pretty, historic village with a great maritime history museum. Also in Essex you can board the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, a two-part trip along the river in a historic excursion train, followed by a cruise in a paddlewheel steamer. Two companies host river cruises in winter to see bald eagles during their seasonal stay.
If you love theater, Ivoryton Playhouse and the Goodspeed Opera House are lively places, producing many live shows. The wonderful art museum, historic house, and gardens of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme tell the story of America’s native Impressionist painters, History and hiking are both a surprising pleasure at Gillette Castle in East Haddam, built by the early 20th-century stage actor who created our indelible image of Sherlock Holmes. Many of the towns host fun seasonal events, like Essex’s lighted boat parade at Christmas and Deep River’s huge fife-and-drum parade in July.
Essex – Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises (February and March)
Deep River – Fife-and-drum parade and muster (July)
Old Lyme – Midsummer Festival Art exhibits & sales (July)
East Haddam – Goodspeed Opera House presents live theater
Essex – Essex Steam Train & Riverboat hosts train and boat excursions