10 Things to Do in Essex That You Shouldn't Miss

August 1, 2017 Rebbecca Marino

Essex is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,683 at the 2010 census. It is made up of three villages: Essex Village, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton.
Restaurants in Essex

1. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

1 Railroad Ave, Essex, CT 06426-1516
Excellent
59%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 578 reviews

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Take one or both tours in combination for a delightful sightseeing excursion through some of the most scenic areas of Connecticut: scenic train ride in restored railroad cars pulled by a coal-fired locomotive and a ride up the Connecticut River by riverboat.

Reviewed By MrsS0613 - Branford, Connecticut

First class car definitely worth the upgrade. Very spacious and comfortable. Santa and friends each visited with every child. There was a sing alone at the end and the entire crew was super friendly.

2. Florence Griswold Museum

96 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371-1426 +1 860-434-5542
Excellent
75%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 196 reviews

Florence Griswold Museum

A 13-acre museum campus with a historic home museum, a modern art gallery with changing exhibitions, and gardens and river frontage along the delightful Lieutenant River. Visitors enjoy seasonal events including June's GardenFest and October's Wee Faerie Village. Discovery Sundays (April - September) give visitors of all ages the opportunity to take a mini-lesson in landscape painting and create their own masterpiece on the extensive grounds of the Museum. Visitors can enjoy lunch on the veranda at the outdoor Cafe Flo (May-October), and find unique gifts, exhibition catalogs and more at the Museum Shop. The Museum is named for Miss Florence Griswold, who at the turn of the 20th century opened her home as a boardinghouse which quickly became popular with American artists including Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf. Museum docents share tales of the Lyme Art Colony and this home of American Impressionism. Check FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a calendar of events and exhibitions.

Reviewed By ZCC414 - Sevenoaks District, United Kingdom

I really enjoyed my visit to Florence's home and boarding house. The volunteers interpreting the house were great with wonderful stories about the house and paintings. The dinning room is amazing- a magical room.

I wasn't so keen on the art gallery with the exhibitions although some of the paintings on display had interesting stories.

I felt the introductory video was long, repetitive and I didn't stay to see it all as a result which I then discovered meant I missed the explanation about the panel paintings. The introductory video at Olana is brilliant at setting the scene if the museum is thinking of doing a new one...

3. Ivoryton Playhouse

103 Main St, Ivoryton, CT 06442-1101 +1 860-767-7318
Excellent
83%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 71 reviews

Ivoryton Playhouse

Reviewed By aeschillaci - Old Lyme, Connecticut

Once a summer stock stalwart, this now Equity professional year round theater has been enjoying raves from audiences with this year's productions of WEST SIDE STORY and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER....among a plethora of other hits. Go for a balcony seat..wonderful views of stage. Next up I HATE MUSICALS, THE MUSICAL!

4. Gillette Castle State Park

67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423-1462 +1 860-526-2336
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 618 reviews

Gillette Castle State Park

This 24-room mansion has undergone extensive renovations.

Reviewed By Ray R

This is such a magical place with amazing views of the Connecticut River and really impressive stonework. Although the castle was not open on this Saturday visit, the exterior was available ( AND the restroom !) for hiking and many folks were here to see the magnificence of the river. As the frozen portions and ice jams were melting, it gave us phenomenal views from high atop the cliffs where the castle sits. We must return when the weather improves and the castle is open. I think the rush of visitors were due to the news coverage all the ice jams created as this area is usually quiet in winter months, The park is open dawn to dusk and many were seen with picnic baskets or Dunkin Donuts meals and camped out to enjoy the moderate 50 degree temps on this day. Come to this State Park and enjoy. ALso visit just up the road the Goodspeed Opera House ! Great place for the kids to expand their imaginations ! A REAL castle !!

5. The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

300 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT 06475-2395 +1 860-510-0473
Excellent
81%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 77 reviews

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

Reviewed By SandyKNA - Old Saybrook, Connecticut

The Kate is a wonderful, intimate venue offering a wide variety of entertainment in Old Saybrook. There is almost always something happening at The Kate. We have enjoyed a number of excellent tribute bands and plays and look forward to returning often.

6. Chester-Hadlyme Ferry

Ferry Road, Route 128, Hadlyme, CT +1 860-443-3856
Excellent
79%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 36 reviews

Chester-Hadlyme Ferry

Reviewed By h0ylandm - Stamford, Connecticut

It was $5 for the car and one person and $2 for the additional person. It is about a 5 minute ride and takes you over to a trail of Gillette Castle. It was a nice sunny day and the views were clear. There's a picnic area on the Chester side.

7. Bennett's Books

171 Main St, Deep River, CT 06417-2057
Excellent
50%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Bennett's Books

Reviewed By Traveller2010NYC - New York

An easily missed bookstore in the heart of downtown Deep River. Look for the hand-painted sign next to the Cumberland Farms gas station (at the stoplight on Main) indicating a driveway. At the end of the narrow drive is a sweet, little house filled with books and a pleasant young man (Bennett?) interested in helping customers find a good read.

I was impressed with the selection and the prices are reasonable ($4 for a used paperback in moderately good condition). Also, for a used bookstore, Bennett's Books is surprisingly non-dusty.

According to the postcard stuck in my book, Bennett's offers discounts to teachers, members of the Armed Forces, and firefighters. I could have easily spent hours in the store. It seems to have limited hours, so it's probably best to call ahead and make sure the store is open before you head over. I am looking forward to a return visit. Congratulations and thank you, Bennett, for this great addition to Deep River.

8. Norma Terris Theatre

33 N Main St, Chester, CT 06412-1201 +1 860-873-8668
Excellent
61%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 40 reviews

Norma Terris Theatre

Goodspeed Musicals, first regional theatre to receive two Tony Awards (for outstanding achievement, opened The Terris Theatre in 1984 for the development of new musicals. Goodspeed Musicals is dedicated to the preservation, development, and advancement of musical theatre. Goodspeed produces three musicals each season at The Goodspeed in East Haddam, Conn., and additional productions at The Terris Theatre in Chester, Conn.

Reviewed By NarragansettRIBonnet - Narragansett RI

This is not an uplifting show. I subscribe to the Norma Terris theatre (and four other theaters) but this show was a disappointment. Yes, the cast is talented, and the concept is interesting but the show just did not work for me and for my two fellow theatre-goers.

9. Tanger Outlets Westbrook

314 Flat Rock Pl, Westbrook, CT 06498-3513 +1 860-399-8656
Excellent
30%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
22%
Poor
5%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 72 reviews

Tanger Outlets Westbrook

Find great savings on merchandise from your favorite designer and name-brands direct from the manufacturer at stores like: Hollister, Hanesbrands, Reebok, J.Crew, Old Navy, Williams Sonoma, Bath & Body Works, Carter's and many more. Before you travel, check out the Tanger Outlet website to find the latest Coupons & Sales Offers for Tanger Outlets in Westbrook. Or, when you arrive at the outlets, make your first stop Shopper Services to learn about the benefits of joining TangerClub (Tanger Club information is also available online). In Shopper Services you can purchase a coupon book full of great savings or if you are already a TangerClub member pick up a coupon book for free! Think Outlets, Think Tanger.

Reviewed By TheSecretVagabond - Connecticut

This outlet mall is conveniently located off I-95 in Westbrook. You'll find the standard variety of stores and a few places to eat. Parking is plentiful. I wouldn't make a special trip here hoping to get bargains. It's a mall disguised as an outlet center. I haven't seen a true outlet center in decades.

10. Connecticut River Museum

67 Main St, Essex, CT 06426-1150 +1 860-767-8269
Excellent
54%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 145 reviews

Connecticut River Museum

The museum covers the maritime history of the Connecticut River Valley.

Reviewed By yellowbirdVermont

Our group learned a lot about the history of the area and the Connecticut River. We got to see an amazing mural along the back staircase. There are some unusual exhibits to enjoy.
The beautiful fall day with refreshments on the lawn facing the river added to an exceptional visit for our group. The roses were in bloom across from the museum and the boats were cruising along into the marina. There is even a small gift shop at the museum.

ThingsTodoPost © 2018 All rights reserved.