Logo   Connecticut River Valley, Connecticut
Strictly speaking, the Connecticut River Valley extends all the way from Long Island Sound through New Hampshire, but we're interested in the southern valley.



Besides being particularly beautiful, the last 100 or so miles of the river's course have figured prominently in Connecticut history. Its small towns retain the charm of a bygone era, and the river's banks are scattered with state parks and forests.

From New Haven, it's about 30 miles eastward along I-95 to the mouth of the river. About midway you pass Hammonassett Beach State Park, which has facilities for camping and picnicking, hiking trails, and a fine beach for boating, swimming, and scuba diving.

Before reaching the river's edge, the highway passes Westbrook, and then Old Saybrook, a town with picturesque views.

On the east bank of the river is Old Lyme, a renowned artists' colony for over a century, with several fine art museums, galleries and inns.

Heading northwest up the river on CT 9 (Exit 3) brings you to Essex, perhaps the busiest and most charming river town, with one of Connecticut's most acclaimed inns.

Ivoryton, to the west, also has several fine inns, an old steam railroad, and a good playhouse.

Due north of Ivoryton lies Chester, a charming village with good possibilities for dining and lodging, and just across the river from it, reached by a historic car ferry, is Hadlyme, with its own hilltop castle.

North of Hadlyme, on the same (east) bank of the river is East Haddam, home of the famous Goodspeed Opera House, and several good inns.

All of this is yours in a distance of 20 miles (32 km), from Westbrook to East Haddam.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Connecticut Shoreline


Western Connecticut

Connecticut Highlights

About Connecticut

Southern New England Itinerary

Best Guided Tours

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Connecticut River from Essex CT

A view of the broad Connecticut River
from the Foot of Main Street, Essex CT.


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