Essex is easily one of my favorite towns in Connecticut. It’s a unique coastal town highlighted by a Main Street lined with colonial homes – for true historic New England charm!
With its shoreline proximity, you’d think Essex was only a summer hot spot, but visitors travel to the town all year-round! The locals are deeply rooted in the community. Every store, coffee shop, and restaurant thrives straight through each season, which isn’t the case for many seaside New England destinations. From Nantucket to Mystic, many coastal towns resort to ghost towns come Autumn until Spring.
Essex is home to breathtaking water views, eclectic shops, and charming antique stores, I could easily see myself living in Essex because it’s a place to visit any time of the year! Below I’ve shared some local spots I love to visit when in town. I hope they inspire you to visit Essex soon!
This little town offers so many entertainment options! If you’re exploring Essex Connecticut in spring with your friends, family, or significant other, I highly recommend walking down Main Street and taking in the dogwood trees. Prepare yourself for the breathtaking dance of the blooms against oil lit lanterns and historical homes. The trees are in full bloom mid-to-late April.
While mapping out your Essex trip, I suggest carving out some time for antiquing! Come back Friday to read about Antiquing in Eastern, CT.
If you want to make your stay extra relaxing book yourself a treatment or two at The Spa of Essex.
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is a great pick for those traveling with children. Just make sure you purchase tickets in advance! Whether you’re enjoying an hour-long cruise down The Connecticut River by riverboard or taking in Eastern Connecticut by train, leaving from the historic 1892 Essex Station, you’ll be happy you got your tickets in advance.
If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat while in Essex, Connecticut there are so many delicious places to pick from!
I’ve categorized my favorite options below by meal:
For breakfast on the go, swing by Bun On The Run. This restaurant is located just one town away from Essex in Centerbrook, Connecticut. Bun on The Run offers a long list of breakfast sandwiches. My favorite is the classic bacon, egg, and cheese.
If you’re looking to get your day started with some java, I suggest Essex Coffee and Tea Company. This joint has fancy lattes, delicious coffee cakes, and gluten-free baked goods on their menu. After stopping in for a pick-me-up post photoshoot, Essex Coffee and Tea Company became one of my favorite coffee shops of all time.
When lunchtime hits, you must try Olive Oyl’s Carry Out Cuisine! Their sandwiches are huge and you can customize to your liking. My friends and I have continued to make Olive Oyl’s our go-to lunch spot ever since our high school days.
For a sitdown meal, I recommend the historic Griswold Inn! This restaurant has the most picturesque views in downtown Essex and by far the best fish n’ chips around!
My favorite dinner restaurant in town is always The Black Seal. As a huge seafood fan, this place has some of my favorite dishes. I always find myself reordering the PEI Mussels, Crab Cakes, and Clams Casino!
I hope this post inspired you to check out Essex for yourself! When packing for your trip make sure to bring a camera to snap some seaside shots. While in Essex – one of Connecticut’s most photogenic towns – I couldn’t help but to wear these high-waisted cropped chino pants in white to offset my newest spring jacket in lobster reef. Plus, this textured fringe jacket is currently on sale and available in almost every size!
Subscribe to see our favorite pieces of New England, in your inbox weekly.