Places to Read and Relax in Connecticut Last Updated 8/19
A good book and a good place in which to read it -- what could be a nicer way to while away a summer afternoon and evening, whether you're on vacation or just playing hooky for a quick overnight? We suggest you give your summer reading a truly local flavor by choosing a book with a Connecticut setting and then an inn that's in roughly the same location. You'll experience the book so much more fully if you can look up from the page and imagine the characters passing right outside your window. Happy reading!
Bee & Thistle Inn, Old Lyme
Read Luanne Rice's The Perfect Summer while staying at the Bee & Thistle Inn in Old Lyme. In the story, popular novelist and part-time Old Lyme resident Rice revisits the small Connecticut shoreline town of Hubbard's Point, the setting for many of her books.
This time, there's an unfaithful husband, a disappearance, a possible murder and a loving look at a family and the issues it must face when a crisis threatens its cohesion. As for the Bee & Thistle Inn, you'll find many good reading areas, whether indoors or on a porch overlooking lawns and the Lieutenant River.
Roger Sherman Inn, New Canaan
Read Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road while staying at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan. Catch up on this overlooked 1961 classic of yearning, bitter disappointment and betrayal in a prosperous Connecticut suburb much like New Canaan.
Made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (largely filmed in Connecticut), Revolutionary Road more than stands the test of time. As one reviewer put it: “Like The Great Gatsby, this novel conveys, with brilliant erudition, the exacting cost of chasing the American dream.” The comfortable Roger Sherman Inn has been a local fixture - first as a private home, then as an inn - for hundreds of years. It wouldn't be hard to imagine Richard Yates working on his manuscript in an adjoining room.
Inn at Stonington, Stonington
Read Anthony Bailey's In the Village while staying at the Inn at Stonington in Stonington. This beautifully written classic from 1971 profiles the tiny seaside Stonington Borough at Connecticut's southeastern tip - the people, the history and the problems of blending local traditions with modern pressures.
Bailey's “village” has not changed dramatically in the 40-plus years since he wrote the book, and it is easy to walk upon and enjoy the same streets and lanes that he describes. As for your overnight, the Inn at Stonington offers very pleasant rooms right in the center of town and views of many of Bailey's sights.
Simsbury 1820 House, Simsbury
Read Stewart O'Nan's Last Night at the Lobster and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith's Girls of Tender Age while staying at the Simsbury 1820 House. Here's a double reading assignment. O'Nan's critically acclaimed book is set on the last night of a Red Lobster restaurant in a New Britain mall, and it details the effect of its demise on all involved, especially embattled manager, Manny DeLeon. Tirone Smith's memoir, set in Hartford, weaves memories of her family and upbringing together with the story of a psychopath who preyed on her friend and other little girls.
The Simsbury 1820 House, not far from both New Britain and Hartford, offers comfortable rooms, public areas and wide porches for your reading pleasure.
Read Harriet Beecher Stowe's Poganuc People while staying at Winvian in Morris. The author of Uncle Tom's Cabin grew up in the Connecticut town of Litchfield, and Poganuc People is her warm recollection of life there in the early 19th century.
With great fondness and a brilliant eye for detail, the author brings village characters to life, including their views on religion and politics, and creates a lovely profile of a New England village from a time long gone. Winvian, located just south of Litchfield's present-day center, features individual-themed cottages. One, called Library, offers ideal reading environments and its own collection of books, including many by Connecticut authors.