Essex and the lower Connecticut River Valley and surrounding area are known for their natural beauty and many interesting activities and attractions. These are listed alphabetically by category and include direct links to respective websites for your convenience. When making your reservation at our Inn, please ask the Front Desk for any further information or assistance you might need.
|Area Attractions||Art & History|
|Getting Out On The Water||Music & Theatre|
|Recreation & Active Pursuits On Land||Shopping|
|Spas & Fitness Centers||Wineries|
A scenic ride on a vintage steam train and a cruise on the riverboat Becky Thatcher.
Stone castle full of nooks and crannies with sweeping views of the Connecticut River built in 1919 by William Gillette, a “superstar” stage actor most noted for portraying Sherlock Holmes. The castle is on 184 acres with hiking trails and paths.
Home to whales, penguins and other species with many living exhibits and a marine theater.
Authentic seaport village with 19th century whaling ships, maritime exhibits, and historic homes on Mystic River in Mystic.
Submarine museum and home of the Nautilus, the world’s finest nuclear submarine and the first to travel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
Overlooking Essex harbor and just 40 yards from The Griswold Inn, the Connecticut River Museum showcases permanent and changing exhibits about the history of the Connecticut River Valley. It is also a great vantage point to see bald eagles and migratory birds and a great spot to take in the stunning waterfront. Winter eagle watch excursions and summer and fall schooner cruises depart from the Museum.
Established in 1946 and located just up the street from The Griswold Inn. Exhibitions and sales by professional artists, amateurs and students.
The Essex Historical Society at Hills Academy and the 1700 Pratt House are both a short walk from The Griswold Inn.
The 19th century home of the Lyme Art Colony and the center of American Impressionism.
Exhibitions and sales by professional and developing artists.
Celebrates the historical significance and folk tradition of fife and drum music.
Authentic Seaport village with 19th century whaling ships, maritime exhibits, and historic homes on the Mystic River in Mystic.
Bring your own kayak or canoe. Essex kayaking is quite lovely and there are many public access spots around town.
One can explore the beautiful waterways right from the rental facility on Shore Road in Old Lyme or transport the “vessels” to another area such as Essex for exploration 860.434.9680.
Winter eagle watch excursions and summer and fall schooner cruises leave from the Connecticut River Museum, about 40 yards from The Griswold Inn.
After a ride aboard the Essex Steam Train, enjoy a cruise up the Connecticut River on the riverboat Becky Thatcher.
Enjoy eagle cruises and summer and fall expeditions on the Connecticut River aboard RiverQuest which leaves from East Haddam.
Tours, instruction and expeditions on the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. Equipment provided.
Explore the historic Thimble Islands and Connecticut River. Daytime, sunset and moonlit trips by certified guides. Equipment provided. 203.481.6401.
Sightseeing tour around the scenic Thimble Islands.
Tony-award-winning theatre with world-renowned productions of musicals. Located in a 19th century theatre on the banks of the Connecticut River in East Haddam.
America’s oldest self-supporting summer theatre, now showcases year-round productions.
A tribute to Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident, it houses a variety of productions including dance, concerts, comedy, film, drama, lectures and classics.
Theatre located in neighboring Chester, operated by Goodspeed Musical Theatre showcasing original productions.
18 holes with restaurant and pro shop. 860.873.9075
9-hole course located on Long Island Sound in the historic borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook. 860.388.2516
18 holes with restaurant and bar overlooking the course.
PGA-rated Robert Trent Jones 36-hole course and 18-hole Gary Player course. Visit the orchards and restaurant as well
Bring your own bike and enjoy the many scenic roads
The Essex Land Trust and the town own a number of properties with varied scenic paths and hiking trails.
State parks in nearby Clinton, Chester and East Haddam offer many additional hiking opportunities.
Seasonal ice skating on Sunset Pond less than 1 mile from The Griswold Inn.
Swimming at Viney Brook Park in Essex provides a swimming hole just a few miles from The Griswold Inn. State beaches located in nearby East Lyme at Rocky Neck State Park and nearby Madison at Hammonassett State Park.
Public tennis courts located behind the Essex Town Hall, within walking distance of The Griswold Inn.
Browse The Griswold Inn’s own eclectic and whimsical store, Goods & Curiosities, as well as the many boutiques, antiques shops, gift shops, clothing stores and galleries on Main Street right outside The Griswold Inn.
Visit the many antique shops, boutiques, clothing stores and galleries in these neighboring villages.