There is nothing like Fall in New England, and Connecticut showcases the season beautifully. An experience that has been labeled by The Nature Conservancy as “One of the Last Great Places,” Riverquest boat cruises lead socially distanced tours of the Connecticut River Valley from Haddam down to Old Saybrook. The daytime cruises take you past Gillette Castle, one of Connecticut’s main tourist attractions from the water, the Chester/Hadlyme Ferry, the second oldest operating ferry in Connecticut, and Mount Saint John’s School for Boys in Deep River. Captain Mark will tell you all about the castle, William Gillette, the ferry, and Mount Saint John’s. In October, there are special Fall Foliage cruises with resident and migrating wildlife, historical sights, and gorgeous views.
Mark and Mindy, the owners of RiverQuest, were both raised in Old Lyme. They have been cruising on the lower Connecticut River and Long Island Sound in various vessels since childhood and are very knowledgeable on the history, ecology, and local wildlife that abound on the lower Connecticut River.
After your trip, consider dinner at Siren in Essex. On the Essex Island Marina, you take a water taxi to get to the casual dining spot that is a lovely way to enjoy the sunset.
On Sundays, there is the Chester Sunday Market which has mushrooms from Chatfield Hollow Farm (also a stunning mid-century modern Best and Breakfast next to Chatfield Hollow State Park), flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and crafts. Follow it with lunch at Otto pizza
Middlesex County also has The Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown whose grounds are open for strolling & hiking. In the evening, enjoy Movie Night at the Mansion
Thursday, 9/24: Feature Movie – Casablanca
Friday, 9/25: Feature Movie – Trolls World Tour
$10 per person (guests 6 & under are free)
Bring a blanket, some lawn chairs, and cuddle up as the Mansion transforms its vista into an outdoor movie theater. Bring your own picnic dinner or there will be a cash bar and food trucks! Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance to be in compliance with COVID guidelines.
While in Middletown, you can dine at restaurants from every corner of the world, from Thai food to Italian, Chinese to Turkish, Japanese Sushi, or Mexican chimichangas. There are monster grilled cheese sandwiches at Whey station, seafood on the River, and even artisanal cocktails at Conspiracy.