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Essex may not be on the shoreline itself, but it’s location along the beautiful Connecticut River is perfection. Unpack your khakis and polos at the venerable Griswold Inn and feel right at home among the yachters and boatwrights who have carved out a life among the river’s many marinas and shipyards. Start with a leisurely walk to Steamboat Dock for a sunset cruise on the RiverQuest. Then make your way back to Essex, and after a dinner of roasted oysters and seared trout at The Gris, join the sing-along in the Taproom or sample the vintages at its wine bar. Rise early and enjoy a ride on the Essex Steam Train, followed by a ride on their riverboat, the Becky Thatcher, for daytime views of upriver vistas. Enjoy lunch or brunch at the Black Seal Seafood Grille. Then it’s on to the Essex Art Association and a wander through the village’s many delightful little shops. And for those enchanted by the maritime culture of this special town, Essex Books and the shop at the Connecticut River Museum are the place to stop. Staying another night? Then be sure your head rests on a pillow at the elegant Copper Beech Inn, preceded by a gourmet dinner there and an evening of theater at the Ivoryton Playhouse. Come morning, don’t rush off. Pick up a map to the Connecticut River Estuary Canoe/Kayak Trail at the town hall, find your way to the river at Town Park, then treat yourself to a close-up look at the Wetlands of International Importance. (Unfortunately, you have to BYO boat.)

Expanded tour of Essex

  • RiverQuest Expeditions
    Steamboat Dock, 860-662–0577,
    www.ctriverexpeditions.org
  • Becky Thatcher Riverboat Ride
    1 Railroad Ave., 800-377-3987, www.essexsteamtrain.com

  • Connecticut River Estuary Canoe/Kayak Trail
    put in at Town Park, off Middle Cove, Main St.
  • Bushy Hill Nature Center
    253 Bushy Hill Road, Ivoryton,
    860-767-2148, www.incarnationcenter.org

  • Connecticut River Museum
    67 Main St. at Steamboat Dock, 860-767–8269
  • Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride
    1 Railroad Ave.,
    860-767–0103, www.essexsteamtrain.com
  • The Pratt House Museum
    18 West Ave., 860-767-1191
  • The Ivoryton Playhouse
    103 Main St., Ivoryton,
    860-767-7318, www.IvorytonPlayhouse.org
  • Essex Art Association
    10 N Main St., 860-767-8996
  • Spectrum Gallery
    61 Main St., Centerbrook, 860-767-0742

  • Abby's Place
    35 Pratt St., in Brewer's Essex Island Marina, 860-767-1883
  • Essex Clipper Dinner Train
    1 Railroad Ave., Essex, 860-377-3987
  • Black Seal Seafood Grille
    15 Main St., 860-767-0233
  • Griswold Inn
    36 Main St., 860-767–1776
  • Copper Beech Inn
    46 Main St., Ivoryton, 860-767-0330

    NEARBY:
  • The Gelston House
    8 Main St., next to Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam,
    860-873-1411

  • Griswold Inn
    36 Main Street, 860-767–1776
  • Copper Beech Inn
    46 Main Street, Ivoryton, 860-767-0330