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A Visit to Essex, CT, Reveals True Small Town, Classic New England Curb Appeal

by Eric H.

Downtown Essex Ct photo(ESSEX, CT) -- Essex exemplifies the "small town" feeling perhaps better than any other town in New England.

The pleasant tree-lined, riverside downtown offers great little shops, 14 miles of sidewalks, incredibly well-maintained at-the-sidewalk old historic homes, picturesque marinas representing the Essex shipbuilding history dating back to the mid-1600s and a beautiful park with gazebo and picnic benches leading to the Connecticut River.

Once you visit, you'll never want to leave this special little Colonial seaport town that is so much at peace with the world. Staying overnight is not a bad idea as the old, creaky and quintessentially New England Griswold Inn offers top notch accommodations and dining. What a special feeling --Essex has to be experienced by anyone visiting New England.

The Black Seal , in the heart of the quiet downtown, is another terrific dining choice with its tavern, village
green-like meeting place atmosphere, pleasant service and great seafood dishes, particularly the crab omelette!

Essex features the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride, combining train and boat riding through some exceptionally beautiful countryside. A train ride through the all-American community of Deep River (with a nice, laid-back, Mayberry RFD-like downtown) leads to a riverboat ride to the Gillette Castle and historical Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam. This excursion showcases the quiet, pristine side of the Connecticut River offering some of the best river scenery in New England.

Author Norman Crampton named Essex as the best small town in America in his book, "Best small towns in America." It's hard to label just one town as the "best," as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One can, however, understand why Essex received this accolade as this pristine small town is the perfect place to enjoy small-town America.

Essex CT town gazebo

Also read: New England Town of the Day: Essex, CT



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