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back to other towns

As the river rat said to the mole in the classic tale Wind in the Willows, “There’s nothing…absolutely nothing…half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” And if you agree, then Old Lyme is where you’ll want to come as often as possible from April to October, because here you can sail, row, paddle, or float just about anywhere on the Sound or rivers, in local ponds and lakes—even in the tide-kissed marshland that defines this perfectly pleasing town. For front-row seats to some serious salt-seasoned beauty, start your weekend on Friday afternoon. The Bee & Thistle Inn offers posh digs and welcomes you like family, indeed so much so that venturing forth hardly seems necessary. But owner Linnea Rufo’s lush gardens will coax you out—and since they lead down the lawn to the banks of the Lieutenant River, then onward to the renowned Florence Griswold Museum, before you know it you’ll be captivated by its amazing collection of Connecticut Impressionists. Slip back to the lovely Bee for gourmet dinner fare and a good night’s sleep. But plan to awaken with the birds, because great things await you. A quick stop at Coffee’s Country Market will yield hot coffee and plenty of to-go breakfast selections. Then it’s off to explore the Sound and Griswold Point by way of White Sands Beach. A nice lunch at the charming Old Lyme Inn is the perfect prelude to an afternoon of browsing at the Lyme Art Association, as well as the wonderful galleries in town, all of which have a way of leading to either The Chocolate Shell or the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe — a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. And in late afternoon, either paddle the lazy Lieutenant, put in at Lords Cove or Uncas Pond up north a bit in Lyme, skim alongside the riverside park at the DEP station off Ferry Road, or treat yourself to a a little pampering at Salon Pure on the Boston Post Road or the Vitality Spa & Wellness Center on Lyme Street. Top off the day with a fresh-caught picnic-style shore dinner at The Flanders Fish Market, just minutes away in East Lyme. On the way back, grab a cone at A.C. Petersen’s at Hallmark Drive-In, the new incarnation of Old Lyme’s beloved ice cream drive in — and the oldest in the state. Then it’s on to an evening of some of the best jazz in Connecticut at the Old Lyme Inn’s Side Door Jazz Club.

Expanded tour of Old Lyme

Beaches

  • White Sands Beach
    off Old Shore Rd., off Rte. 156, 860-434-1570
  • Sound View Beach
    foot of Hartford Ave., off Rte. 156, 860-434-4469

Boats

Nature

  • Griswold Point / Great Island Roger Tory Peterson
    Wildlife Area
    parking at White Sands Beach lot,
    views and boat launch on Smith's Neck Rd.
  • McCulloch Farm (Morgan Horses)
    100 Whippoorwill Rd., 860-434-7355
    whippoorwillmorgans.com

Attractions

Restaurants

Hotels