Old Lyme: A gem on Long Island Sound
The Florence Griswold Museum has Impressionist exhibits and beautiful grounds, too.
Each summer, the population of Old Lyme, Conn., more than doubles as visitors descend on the quiet town to take advantage of its beaches, arts offerings and nearby attractions.
Just over two hours from the city, its an optimal getaway for those seeking a quaint New England feel, with a side of beach.
The town of Old Lyme
Old Lymes main thoroughfare, Lyme Street, is lined with picturesque 18th-century homes. The presence of a traditional New England-style church with a steeple adds to the picture-perfect look.
Take a stroll (or drive) down Lyme Street, stop in at a gallery and grab an ice cream at the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe. Check out these other attractions, too.
Florence Griswold Museum
From 1889 until her death in 1937, Florence Griswold opened her family home to a group of American Impressionists known as the Lyme Art Colony (for $7 a week). Its now a museum, with permanent and changing exhibits, housing the works of artists such as Childe Hassam. Visitors can tour the historic home, set up as it appeared when the artists lived there.Rogers Lake
Rogers Lake offers boating and swimming (showers, too). There is also a playground, and there are plenty of picnicking spots. Parking is restricted to taxpayers, though, so youll have to park elsewhere and walk or bike to the lake.
Old Lymes beaches are on Long Island Sound. Theyre private, with the exception of Sound View.
Sound Views adjacent Hartford Avenue is past its heyday, but still features an eatery serving local classic fried dough, an old-fashioned Italian ice shop and The Carousel Shop, which sells all the beach umbrellas, tubes and sand toys you could ask for (plus, they sell ice cream, and run a carousel at night).
For the over-21 crowd, theres Lennys on the Beach, a bar and restaurant, and a nightclub called The Pavilion, which often features live music.
Bee and Thistle
Inn and Spa
100 Lyme St., 860-434-1667, beeandthistleinn.com
This bed-and-breakfast sits on five acres bordering the Lieutenant River. It has nine guest rooms with individual designs. Theres also a spa available for guests, which offers services such as massages and facials. Rooms: $150-$220 (weekdays), $190-$275 (weekends).
Old Lyme Inn
85 Lyme St., 860-434-2600, oldlymeinn.com
During summer, this cozy, elegant B and B features piano music on an outdoor terrace (usually Thursday- Saturday). There are 13 rooms, many with canopy beds. Rooms: $135-$165 (weekdays), $165-$185 (weekends).
Old Lyme is about two hours from the city by car. You can also take the Amtrak train (amtrak.com) to the neighboring town of Old Saybrook (a 10-minute drive from Old Lyme).
For a less expensive option (weekdays only), go the commuter route: take a Metro-North (mta.info/mnr/) train to New Haven and transfer to Shoreline East (shorelineeast.com) to Old Saybrook.
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are short drives away. Those interested in shopping, gambling, dining or seeing a concert will have plenty of options.
This July, Bobby Flays Bobbys Burger Palace will open. From June 28-Sept. 9, Mohegan Suns Hot Summer Fun will include concerts (Aerosmith is this Sunday), performances and the Summer Showdown Poker Tournament.
Performances this summer include Kathy Griffin (June 26), Sting (July 19), Tom Jones (July 24), John Legend and India.Arie (Aug. 8), and Donna Summer (Aug. 28).
While the town was made famous with the classic 1980s movie Mystic Pizza, the seaport has been drawing families for years. The Museum of America and the Sea is a living history maritime museum.