If Walls Could Talk — Connecticut’s Historic Inns Last Updated 4/19
By Andrew Clark
The inns of Connecticut can offer far more than a good night’s rest. If you look across the state, you’ll find establishments with renowned golf courses, on-site dining and live music. Many of these destinations also have rich histories, allowing guests the opportunity to explore Connecticut’s past.
Legend on Long Island Sound
Over the past 125 years, the Inn at Longshore has been a scenic staple in Westport. Once a private estate and country club, the inn has been open to the public since the town purchased it 55 years ago. Located along the Saugatuck River Inlet, the inn has seen several high-profile visitors come through its doors over the years, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
Guests visiting the Inn at Longshore enjoy activities such as tennis and sailing. And for golf lovers, this might be the perfect place to spend the weekend. The 90-year-old Longshore Golf Course is considered one of the state’s best places to play a round.
Victorian Weekend in Wallingford
Built around the same time as the Inn at Longshore, the Wallingford Victorian Inn was initially a wedding gift to a local couple. The inn prides itself on being a time capsule of sorts, taking guests back to life in the late 19th century. The five suites in the inn are decorated with antiques, while each room has its own unique charm. Complete with a homemade candlelit breakfast, the Wallingford Victorian Inn creates a comforting experience that still carries the patina of its storied past.
Waterfront Magic in Mystic
Like the Wallingford Victorian Inn and the Inn at Longshore, the Inn at Mystic was also once a private estate. Over the past 50 years, the doors of the inn have been open to the public, giving patrons the chance to see one of Mystic’s gems. Highlights include amazing harbor views, the majestic Haley Mansion and the legendary stories of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart spending their honeymoon here in 1945.
For guests of the inn, on-site amenities include tennis, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and bike trails. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at the inn’s Harbor House Restaurant. Guests also don’t have to go too far for other dining options, shops and galleries.
Colonial Charm on the Connecticut River
An establishment not too far down the coastline from the Inn at Mystic may look familiar to fans of the 1960s television show Dark Shadows. But long before its exterior doubled as the show’s Collinsport Inn, the Griswold Inn was a staple in Essex—it opened nearly 240 years ago. Once a stop for those traveling down the Connecticut River, the inn has become a magnet for history buffs.
Throughout the year, guests enjoy the inn’s time-honored traditions. The Sunday Hunt Breakfast dates back to the British occupation during the War of 1812. At the Tap Room—which Esquire called one of the country’s top 100 bars—patrons can stop in for a drink and take in some live music. And for those who like to shop, the inn has its own store, which carries prints from the Griswold Inn’s art collection and many handcrafted goods.
Tranquil Luxury in the Litchfield Hills
Lastly, the Mayflower Grace in Washington is one of the newer places to stay in Connecticut. Since opening in 1920, this Litchfield Hills luxury spot has turned heads, earning a AAA Five-Diamond rating. Located on a 58-acre parcel, this 30-room hotel is an ideal spot for relaxation. One of the Mayflower Grace’s staples is its 20,000-square-foot Spa House. The spa offers an expansive menu, with everything from stone therapy massages to detox sea mud wraps.
And though it may be one of the state’s newer resorts, the Mayflower Grace still offers guests the chance to experience the past. One of the Mayflower Grace’s offerings is called “Step back in time,” a three-hour experience where a chauffeur takes guests for a drive to the countryside in a 1936 Buick for a gourmet picnic. We have to believe Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan would approve.
Andrew Clark is a New England native whose work has been featured in The Boston Globe.