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Essex may not be right on the shoreline, but its location along the beautiful Connecticut River is perfection. So reserve a room at the venerable Griswold Inn — then experience rubbing elbows with yachters and boatwrights who’ve carved out a fine life among the river’s many marinas and shipyards. And a good place to start is with a leisurely walk to Steamboat Dock for a sunset cruise on the RiverQuest, followed by dinner of roasted oysters and seared trout at The Gris, a sing-along in the Taproom, or a sampling of the vintages at its wine bar. Rise early and enjoy a ride on the Essex Steam Train, followed by a cruise on the Becky Thatcher, their riverboat. Enjoy lunch or brunch at the Black Seal Seafood Grille — a town landmark featuring classic pub fare. Then it’s on to the Essex Art Association and The Spectrum Gallery, followed by 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 to treat yourself to a room — and a gourmet dinner — at the Copper Beech Inn, along with 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, and — assuming you have a boat — take a close-up look at the Wetlands of International Importance.

Expanded tour of Essex

  • 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, bushyhill.org