Logo   Essex, Connecticut Guide
Essex is one of the most picturesque Connecticut River towns, its old houses well kept, its boatyards and marina bobbing with sleek sailing yachts and power boats.


It was called Potapaug by its Indian inhabitants and by English colonists long after its founding as a colonial town in 1648.

At first life here was centered on farming, but within 100 years the shipbuilding industry grew and brought Essex much greater prosperity.

As you drive into town from CT 9, Exit 3, look for the historic Pratt House, 19 West Avenue, on the left. Now owned by the Essex Historical Society, it's a center-chimney colonial with an outstanding collection of American furnishings from earliest colonial times up through the last century.

Eventually you'll come to Essex Square, the intersection of Main, North Main, South Main, and Pratt streets. Walk down Main Street past the Griswold Inn to the riverside end, known as the Foot of Main, where you'll come across the Connecticut River Museum, a dockhouse for steamboats built in 1878 and nicely restored.

Ship's models, paintings, photographs, and other exhibits recall life on the Connecticut River in years gone by. Kids will love the replica of the first submarine, the Turtle.

Take a drive from Essex Square out North Main Street to view somew of Essex's fine old mansions.

While in Essex, you may want to spend a bit of time in neighboring Ivoryton, famous for the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, for piano keys, and for witch hazel.

Drive up the Connecticut River's western shore to visit several other charming towns such as Chester, and cross the river on the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry to see Hadlyme, East Haddam, the eerie castle at Gillette Castle State Park, and the Victorian Goodspeed Opera House.


Old Lyme

Old Saybrook



Chester-Hadlyme Ferry

Goodspeed Opera House

Gillette Castle State Park

East Haddam

About the Connecticut River

Connecticut Shoreline

About Connecticut

Southern New England Itinerary

Best Guided Tours

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Main Street, Essex, CT

Main Street in Essex CT.

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