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Connecticut's River Valley Makes For a Restful Winter Retreat

Historic Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecitcut
Historic Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecitcut
Mark G. Cappitella

Are you experiencing cabin fever? Looking for an escape but don’t want to use up your vacation time this early in the year? Need a change of scenery to recharge your battery? Have you considered a night away in a quaint B&B that is close to home and big charm? Here are a few options in the Connecticut River valley that could give you a winter nest to rest and rejuvenate.

The Connecticut River Valley Inn – Glastonbury, CT – Right on Main St., walkable to the downtown area, and situated next to a picture perfect white church, is this sprawling white Colonial-style inn. It doesn’t get much more New England-y than this, but that is only a façade. The interior is renovated and decorated to be modern and convenient. Highly rated by travelers on Tripadvisor.com and promoted as a green property, The Connecticut River Valley Inn is someplace to consider for your getaway.

Boardman House Inn – East Haddam, CT – East Haddam sits right along the riverside, where you will find the eye-catching Goodspeed Opera House and where you can take in a Broadway quality musical. The Boardman House Inn is so near to the theater, you may wish to walk over with your tickets in hand, of course you will want to use your judgement with regard to the snow-covered ground this season. And although the Gillette Castle State Park is not open until Memorial Day, you will probably have some nice photo ops of it perched on the hills, silhouetted in snow looking over the river. You might plan your visit to coincide with one of East Haddam’s many annual festivals: Carnival (February), Chowder Fest (March), Fife and Drum Muster (October). A great destination that offers attractions for those who love history, nature, and the arts.

Riverwind Inn – Deep River, CT – Deep River has a history that ties the Connecticut River valley to Zanzibar. Ivory was imported for the manufacture of buttons, billiard balls, and piano keys. Therefore, in and about the area, you will no doubt see references to pianos and elephants. The Riverwind Inn is a small B&B decorated in the Federal style. In July, Deep River has its well-known annual fife and drum muster.

The Copper Beech Inn -- Ivoryton, CT – For those who are undecided about B&B’s, there is Copper Beech Inn which is large enough to feel more like a boutique hotel. Rooms are decorated somewhat generically, but comfortable enough to set the stage for a weekend getaway, and there are plenty of them if you are looking to get away with a group or are having a special occasion. Nearby attractions include the Ivoryton Playhouse for small theater productions.

Griswold Inn – Essex, CT – Time and again, Essex wins surveys as one of the best small towns in the Northeast. A very walkable main drag, lined with boutiques and restaurants, leads down to the Connecticut River and a museum dedicated to its maritime heritage. EagleWatch river cruises run from the museum until mid-March, a wonder for the nature and animal lover. Hidden in the wide open, you may even cross paths with a familiar face as celebrities have been known to sail up the river from Long Island Sound and spend some time in the historic Griswold Inn.

Old Lyme Inn – Old Lyme, CT – Renovated within recent years, the Old Lyme Inn has a modern, minimalist décor that is still comfortable and inviting. Old Lyme is a quiet hamlet that has long been a haven for artists and authors. Keeping true to the town’s heritage, the inn is home of The Side Door jazz club, booking artists from Boston and New York City. In addition, the inn is not far from the Florence Griswold Museum, the proclaimed home of American Impressionism, a delight for the art lover and nature lover alike.

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