The E List Guide to Summer 2023

Page 1

Summer 2023 Guide to Summer on the CT Shoreline
to Find the Best: Ice Cream Lobster Rolls Snack
Shacks Farmers’ Markets & More Plus: Places to Stay Top Shops & Summer Events

Hi there!

We've compiled all of our most popular, need-to-know summer-onthe-Shoreline info into one free digital, mobile-friendly, and shareable magazine!

Click on the links, photos, and ads throughout to discover more about the featured shops, restaurants, and venues. You'll find all the farmers' markets, fairs and fests, don't-miss events, snack shacks, outdoor dining, and so much more in our 2nd Annual Summer Guide magazine. And if you'd like your very own printed copy, they're for sale at RJ Julia in Madison this year.

Love, Erica


About The E List

Erica and her team have been shouting out the best of the CT Shoreline since 2008. Our 25,000 loyal subscribers look to The E List newsletter and website to help plan their lives on the Shoreline.

What's the latest in the local dining scene? Who makes a stunning floral arrangement? Where's the best lobster roll?

We announce the sales and cultural events that matter, must-have items of the season, and tell you where to eat and what to do this weekend.

Whether you're new here or a longtime follower, we invite you to peruse our Guide to Summer on The Shoreline and discover our impressive local businesses. And don't forget to sign up for our free newsletter for our latest discoveries.

Subscribe to the weekly newsletter here.

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Contents Farmers Markets 5 Lobster Rolls 9 Ice Cream 13 Get Out on the Water 17 Summer Music 25 Fairs & Festivals 27 Outdoor Dining 31 Places To Stay 39 Farm Stands 43 Ten Top Shops 49 Snack Shacks 55 Don’t Miss 61 Summer Bucket List 65 4

Farmers’ Markets

Summer on the Shoreline is all about farm produce, fresh catch, and local meats and cheeses…


Madison Farmers’ Market

On the Madison Town Green and runs until Thanksgiving. Fridays 3 - 6pm

Lyme Farmers’ Market at Tiffany Farms

A bountiful summer market on a bucolic family farm. Saturdays, 9am - 12:30pm

Coventry Farmers' Market

The largest market in the state, this is a full day affair, with over 70 vendors, food trucks, yoga, and kids activities.

Sundays 10am - 1pm

Farmers' Market at the Guilford Fairgrounds

New this year, a family-friendly marketplace featuring Connecticut farmers, artisans, a bevy of food trucks and live music. Thursdays, 3 - 6:30pm

Old Saybrook Farmers’ Market

100% guaranteed CT grown/made products plus live music and demos. Opens 6/19, Wednesdays & Saturdays 9am - 12:30pm

East Haddam Farmers’ Market

Held weekly at East Haddam Grange Hall & Old Town Hall. Wednesdays 3:30 - 6:30pm

Stonington Village Farmers’ Market

Outside at the Velvet Mill for shopping and live music.

Saturdays, 9am - 12pm

Chester Sunday Market

In the village of Chester. Grab a slice of wood fired pizza.

Sundays, 10am - 1pm

Niantic Farmers’ Market

Seaside market featuring breads, prepared foods plus lots of fresh produce.

Thursdays, 3 - 6pm

Waterford Farmers’ Market

Live local music, produce, crafts, coffee and more.

Saturdays, 10am - 1pm

City Seed Markets, New Haven

Wooster Square at 511 Chapel Street.

Saturdays 9am - 1pm

Dudley Farm Farmers' Market

Family friendly market on the picturesque grounds of the historic Dudley Farm Museum.

Saturdays, 9:30am - 12:30pm

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Lobster Rolls

The CT lobster roll is arguably the best in New England. No celery, no mayo, just fresh lobster bathed in hot butter.

Here’s where we find ours…

Liv’s Shack & Liv’s Dockside Grill

The drawback here is the parking lot location, but that's my ONLY beef. Get in line and order up a hot buttered lobster roll, overstuffed with fresh-from-the-shell chunks, on a buttery, toasted bun. Do NOT pass up the hand-cut truffle fries. 26 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook 68 Cedar Island Avenue, Clinton

Liv’s Shack

Lobster Landing

Many folks around here think that Lobster Landing is the ultimate roll, and I don't disagree. A 1/4 pound of warm lobster meat tucked into a barely grilled sub roll ("imported" from Vermont), and drizzled with butter and lemon. That's it. The secret? The roll is sturdy enough, so it doesn’t fall apart before you've had a chance to savor it, and the unadorned lobster, straight from the pot, is the star. BYOB.

152 Commerce Street, Clinton


Mint green walls hung with black and white photographs of lobstering history, de rigueur lobster pots, plus tables full of locals chowing down on lobster grilled cheese, fish tacos, and lobster bombs (1/2 pound of lobster in a bread bowl!). We stuck with the classic 1/4 lb. lobster roll, served on a golden bun with a mountain of crispy fries and absolutely awesome slaw served alongside. Indoor & outdoor seating, plus service boat-side when it's really jamming. BYOB.

15 Riverview Avenue, Noank


Abbot's is more of a fast-food experience, though the lobster meat is fresh from the pot. Here it comes Maine style, a cone of meat on a buttered sesame seed bun, with Utz chips and slightly sweet slaw on the side. Outdoor seating on a summer day with a water view is sublime. Pick up a pint of Rhode Island broth-based clam chowder to go. In Mystic, visit Abbott’s outpost (around back) at 3 Water Street, Mystic 117 Pearl Street, Noank

Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point

On a dreary afternoon, the idea of a lobster roll in a cozy room where the river meets the sound, is just the ticket. At Fresh Salt, you can enjoy your roll outside or in, eliminating the necessity of a sunny day. Here, chunks of tender claw and tail are dipped in butter and overflow a grilled brioche bun. A basket of irresistible housemade, wisp thin potato chips, complete the experience.

2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook

Atlantic Seafood (at home) Lobster Landing

Flanders Fish Market

What sets Flanders lobster roll apart? Its served deconstructed. Hunks of lobster are swimming in a blend of warm butter and sherry, ready to be stuffed in a toasted brioche roll. The end result remains sturdy, not soggy and ridiculously delish. And, yes, order the clam fritters for an app!

22 Chesterfield Rd, East Lyme

Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock

Captain Scott's Lobster Dock is a no-frills eatery serving up lightly buttered chunks of fresh lobster in a classic New England style toasted bun. Wedged between the train tracks and a marina, this popular spot has plenty of parking and picnic tables. A full menu of fried shore specialties, too, plus Gifford's ice cream. BYOB.

80 Hamilton Street, New London

The Treehouse

Guilford Lobster Pound

A simple deck lined with picnic tables and views of the Sound and Salt Island make the backdrop for this classic roll: a grilled and buttered hot dog roll, stuffed with sweet, juicy meat. It's a happy alternative on a lovely day to lunching on the Guilford Green, as it's just down Whitfield Street.

505 A Whitfield Street, Guilford

Westbrook Lobster (in Clinton!)

Westbrook Lobster’s lobster roll is served on the usual toasted bun with hot buttered lobster and you can sub onion rings for the basket of fries (or get BOTH for $1 extra like I did!). An extensive selection of nonseafood items and a happening bar scene make this is a good choice for families, picky eaters, and cocktail hour, too.

346 E Main Street, Clinton

In the treetops above Oyster Club, you can munch a perfect roll, crispy fries, smashburgers, raw bar, farm veggies and a curated cocktail selection. This spot always feels like a party! A fave. 13 Water Street Mystic

Flanders Fish Market

Lobster at Home

Atlantic Seafood

I don't cook lobster at home anymore, but we know that out-of-town guests love a lobster roll, so here's my method. I pick up a pound or two of boiled, just-picked-fromthe-shell lobster meat at Atlantic Seafood in Old Saybrook, douse it in melted butter and stuff it in a mini Martin's roll for a super simple summertime snack.

Thimble Island Lobster Bakes

Another entertaining option is even easier. Ring Thimble Island Lobster Bakes, and they'll arrive in the Lobstermobile, ready to serve up lobster rolls or an entire Shore Dinner (steamers, lobsters, chowder, corn, and salad) for as few as eight, or up to 200 guests. 203-687-6441

Flanders Fish Market

This family run favorite has been clambaking since 1983. They’ll show up at the beach, pool, or backyard with their clambake wagon to get your clams, lobsters, and all the trimmings underway - for big events and intimate gatherings.

Hair by Kianna Clark Flanders Fish Market

Ice Cream

From small batch craft makers to nostalgic roadside stands, there’s no shortage of frozen treats on the Shoreline!

Salem Valley Farms

Salem Valley Farms

Serving homemade ice cream from the window of their big red barn since the 1980’s, you’ll find 80 flavors from cherry vanilla to cotton candy. Wind along route 82 to this sweet country spot. Cash-only but ATM on site.

20 Darling Road, Salem

Hallmark Drive In

It’s a family tradition (for us and many, many others) to stop at Hallmark for a cone after a day at the beach. Over 30 small-batch, delicious flavors are offered, and even the regular size is mammoth. If it’s close enough to dinnertime, we order cheeseburgers with spicy curly fries and grab a picnic table overlooking the sound. A summertime classic.

113 Shore Road, Old Lyme


Don’t be thrown off by the gas station attached to this ice cream shop. It’s an easy stop for a big variety of flavors. Order from the window or line up inside the tidy, traditional shop. We go for milkshakes and smoothies but the kids go crazy for cones, ice cream sandwiches and soft serve.

55 Main Street, Centerbrook

3 Girls Vegan Soft Serve

This is a summer staple for us: A tasty, vanilla/chocolate swirl, oat milk, softserve ice cream cone (with or without a cherry-dipped top!) from 3 Girls Vegan. Head to their downtown Guilford bakery for these sweet summery treats (plus ice cream sandwiches, shakes, cakes & more).

Bakery: 23 Water Street, Guilford. Main shop full of vegan cuisine: 645 Boston Post Road, Guilford

Sweet Luna’s

Sweet Tooth’s of all ages adore this colorful place. Help yourself to ten rotating flavors of froyo, sorbet and gelato and over 30 varieties of toppings from granola to Skittles. Grab a bubble tea or an Ashlawn cold brew while you’re there.

139 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe

Once a year, on my birthday, I have an ice cream sundae for lunch. And I always get it at the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe: chocolate ice cream, dripping with hot fudge and piled with whipped cream. Something about their homemade chocolate reminds me of my youth and trips to Bailey’s in Harvard Square. It’s not exact, but the flavor is close enough. I’ve tried to order other flavors here (yes, the seasonal native peach is NOT to be missed), but chocolate. That’s the one. 34 Lyme Street Old Lyme,

Luna’s 15
3 Girls Vegan Scoops

Honeycone Craft Ice Cream

This mother/daughter duo translated their affinity for/expertise in fine food and wine to this wildly popular ice cream shop. The ice cream (flavors from Chocolate Milk to Garam Masala), sprinkles, butterscotch, marshmallows, and cones are all carefully crafted inhouse with ingredients that are sourced locally and/or sustainably and in support of small business.

29 Main Street, Chester

Cocotte at The James Pharmacy

Chef and owner Jeffrey DeFrancesco (a graduate of the French Culinary Institute) and his Parisian wife Isabelle have transformed the old James Pharmacy into a quintessential French bakery and cafe. You’ll find all manner of delicacies here including artisanal gelato crafted in house in the genuine Italian tradition. Flavors rotate but you can’t go wrong but if you see Salted Caramel Chocolate on the menu, please try.

323 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Honeycone Cocotte

Get Out on the Water

While it may seem like everyone on the Shoreline has a boat, not all of us do...but we can make pretend by sailing away on one of these cruises or charters!

Raven Wellness Sunset Meditation Cruises

Experience the healing and therapeutic qualities of water and beauty of coastal New England aboard The Raven, a 1977 Downeast-style boat from Maine. Depart from Stony Creek near sunset with Captain Dave and First Mate, Diane and relax and experience a guided meditation led by local yoga instructor, Kelley McGuire.

Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport is the one-stop shop for any of your boating adventures. Borrow a sailboat, rowboat, or even a pedal boat for an hour (free), or for those more comfortable as a passenger, peruse the charter fleet, including a lobster boat, motor yacht, and schooner.

Thames River Heritage Park offers informative, historical cruises like White Sails, Black Hands: The African American Experience on the Thames, Blowholes, Blubber, & Breaches: Whaling Tales from the Thames, and Well-Heeled and Wannabees: The Gilded Age or enjoy a Friday Happy Hour cruise leaving from City Pier in New London. Hop on/hop off the Thames River Water Taxi (refurbished navy utility boats) with stops at Fort Trumbull State Park, City Pier, and Thames River Landing.

Raven Wellness Cruises


Climb aboard Riverquest, a 64' catamaran, for a comfy osprey, swallow, or daytime or sunset cruise. Shanties and Sails every Tuesday evening in June. Leaves from the CT River Museum, Essex

Mystic River Cruises

Gather your group and charter the beautiful antique picnic boat from Mystic River Cruises cruises are available for up to 6 people. Pack your own lunch for the day cruise, or sip on cocktails during the sunset cruise. Push off from Seaport Marine at 2 Washington Street, Mystic 860-912-3404.

Joyride Charters

Charter the Pure Joy, a 1987 Catalina 36 out of Westbrook, with Joy Sherman. She'll take you and your crew out for an afternoon, sunset or therapeutic cruise. Vacation packages and one-on-one lessons for new boat owners, too.

Carefree Boats

Carefree Boats delivers all of the perks of owning a boat with none of the hassle (or expense). This private boat club has two local locations in Clinton and Noank, and membership costs only a fraction of typical boat ownership and cuts out all of the time-consuming maintenance. Onthe-water instruction is available for newbies as well.

Joyride Charters [photo by Bryan Avigne]
Onrust [photo by CT River Museum]
11 Union Street in the Black Barn | Deep River, CT Follow @deep_river_home ELEVATE THE EVERYDAY HOMEWARES & APOTHECARY DEEP~ RIVER HOME

Ocean House

From a Hinkley Picnic boat to classic sailing yachts, Ocean House's fleet offers elegant excursions: day sails, sunset sails, and tours.

CT River Museum Onrust

Discover the heritage and natural beauty of the Connecticut River aboard the Onrust, a replica of Dutch Explorer Adrien Block's 1614 ship. Daytime, sunset, swallow, and private charters.

Mystic Boat Adventures

Drive your own personal power boat up the Mystic River with Mystic Boat Adventures. It's a fun date, as the boats are two-seater! Bigger group? Book multiple boats and cruise around together. Mystic Boat Adventures is located at 145 Pearl Street, Noank, Groton.

RiverQuest - Photo by CT River Museum Mystic Boat Adventures
Dandy [Photo by Ocean House, RI] Seabird Cruises
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Seabird Cruises

While it may seem like everyone on the Shoreline has a boat, not all of us do. But we can make pretend with Captain Chip and his picnic cruiser. This charter based in Old Saybrook offers delightful "picnic" and sunset cruises plus all-day charters for up to 6 people. The sleek yacht, all polished teak and spiffy navy blue, will have you grabbing your ascot and gin and tonic for a spin around Long Island Sound. Captain Chip is a delightful sea-faring chap and wellversed about the area. BYO. Contact Chip at or call 203-245-3914

Thimble Islands

Tour the Thimble Islands aboard the Sea Mist. On offer are narrated cruises of the historic islands, happy hour cruises, and private charters for up to 40 people. Belly up to the Sand Bar aboard for wine, beer, and rum punch. Also offered are cruises from Stony Creek Brewery.


Set sail from Mystic on the 81′ Argia, a modern replica of a 19th-century sailing schooner. Public day sails and charters available.


Summer Music

You can enjoy live outdoor music virtually every night of the week this summer.

Saltwater Farm Vineyards, Stonington: Music Series JuneAugust, Thursdays, 5pm - 7pm

Connecticut Sea Music Festival, Essex, 6/9 - 6/12

Old Saybrook Summer Concert Series, Wednesdays, 6/14 - 8/23, Town Green, and Fridays at Harvey’s Beach.

Stonington Vineyards: Live Music on the Deck, Fridays, July/Aug, 6pm9pm

Connecticut Early Music Festival, 6/9 - 6/18

Juneteenth Celebration of Jazz & Poetry, 6/17, 2pm, On the lawn of The Side Door at the Old Lyme Inn.

Smoke & Strings at Stone Acres Farm with Nick Bosse & Friends, 6/17

Leif Nilsson Gallery, Chester, 6/17 - 9/2, Saturdays, 7pm - 9pm, Concerts in the Garden.

Make Music Day, 6/21, Numerous locations across the region.

Esker Point Beach Concert Series, Groton, Thursdays, 6/22 - 8/3, 6-8pm

Mystic River Jam, 6/23 - 6/24

Summer Concerts in Essex and Ivoryton Town Parks, 6/21 - 8/16, 6:30pm

Watch Hill Sunset Concerts, Westerly, Every other Tuesday, starting 6/27

Music at the Mansion, Middletown, Wednesdays, 6/28 - 7/26

Branford Jazz on the Green, Thursdays, 6/29 - 8/24 at 6:30pm

Madison Cultural Arts 2023 4th of July Concert on the Green, Saturday, 7/1


Thursdays on the Dock, Essex, 7/68/24, 5:30-7:30pm

Summer Concerts on the Green in Madison, Sundays, 7/9 - 8/27, 6pm-8pm

Jonathan Edwards Winery, Stonington, 7/9-8/18, Donavon Frankenreiter & more.

Tunes on the Dunes, Westerly, Starts 7/10- 8/16, 6pm-8pm

Summer Concert Series, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 7/28

Music on the River at the Goodspeed, East Haddam, Mondays, 7/17 - 8/21, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Food and drink available at Gelston House or bring a picnic.

St. Jude Summer Music Festival, Lyman Orchards, 8/26, 12pm-5pm, To benefit St. Jude’s - live music, beer garden, food trucks, pick-your-own pears and peaches and more.

Psychedelic 60’s at the Gris, Essex, Fridays, 8:30pm

Water’s Edge, Westbrook, Various live music events all summer long.

Maugle Sierra Vineyards, Ledyard, Live music at the vineyard.

Midsummer Festival at the Flo Gris, Old Lyme, Concert is on a Saturday, 7/28, 7pm-9pm

Chestnut Hill Concert Series, Old Saybrook, Fridays, 8/4-8/25 at 7:30pm at The Kate.

Rhythm & Roots Festival, Charlestown, RI, 9/1/-9/3


Fairs and Festivals

From classic country fairs and craft shows to oyster festivals and antique shows, here’s our list of summer fairs and festivals:

Beer'd Brewing 2023 Summer Block Party, Groton, 6/3, 6/17, 6/14, 12pm, Craft beer, live music, food, games and good times.

Lyman Allyn Museum Summer Fest, 6/17, A free, family friendly, community event, featuring food trucks, live entertainment and activities on the Museum grounds and inside the Museum.

Lyman Orchards Strawberry Festival, 6/17, We’ll have plenty of pick your own strawberries, live music, free food tastings at the Apple Barrel Farm Market, hayrides, face and petting farm.

Smoke & Strings, 6/17, The Engine Room presents a family friendly food & music festival held at Stone Acres Farm. Full selection of craft beer, wines and cocktails and full selection of BBQ favorites, smoked meats, seasonal veggies, classic sides and summer sweets.

Essex Summer Arts Festival, 6/17-6/18, Arts Center Killingworth and Spectrum Gallery present this fair on the Essex Town Green.

Olde Mistick Village Art Show, 6/17-6/18, Fiber art, jewelry, paintings and more.

Celebrate Saybrook Street Party, 6/25, Join Main Street businesses and street vendors for shopping, dining, live entertainment and Family fun. Main Street will be shut down.

The Wooden Boat Show at the Mystic Seaport, Mystic, 6/23 – 6/25, The largest gathering of wooden boats and enthusiasts in New England converge at Mystic Seaport Museum.

International Festival of Arts & Ideas New Haven thru 6/25, A city wide festival featuring concerts on the Green, dance performances, story telling, tours, lectures, comedy, drag, food vendors and more.

CT Historic Gardens Day, 6/25, Enjoy gardens and outdoor festivities at a multitude of venues throughout Connecticut.

Niantic Arts & Crafts Show, 7/1-7/2, Presenting New England’s finest artists and crafters displaying their creations on the East Lyme Town Hall grounds.

Floatfest, 7/8, A paddle-crafts only rally on the Mystic River featuring Bands and a DJ on a floating stage.


Guilford Craft Expo, 7/14-7/16, Over 170 modern makers from across the country will display and sell their fine craft in a variety of media.

Celebrate East Lyme Festival, 7/15, Food, fireworks and family fun at this seaside celebration.

Midsummer Festival, throughout Old Lyme on 7/29, Art sales, food vendors, live music, dog parade and so much more. The annual concert on the banks of the Lieutenant River at the Florence Griswold Museum featuring The Savage Brothers is on Friday, 7/28

North Branford Potato & Corn Festival, 8/4-8/6, Indulge in everything from kettle corn to curly fries plus rides and fireworks.

Stonington Village Fair, 8/5, Live bands, flowers, baked good and more at this annual event.

Madison Arts and Crafts Fair, 8/12, 100 crafters on the Madison Green.

Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival, 8/12 & 8/13, A juried showcase of over 200 artists from around the country in downtown Mystic.

Hamburg Fair, 8/18 - 8/20, Live music, carnival rides, beer & wine tent, and so much more.

Milford Oyster Festival, 8/19, Music, arts and crafts, children's activities, canoe and kayak races, amusement rides, great food, craft beer and wine, and OYSTERS.

Chester Fair, 8/25-8/27, Since 1877, a local favorite with lots of food, rides and exhibits.

Madison Historical Society Arts & Antiques Fair, 8/26, Antiques of all ages plus local artists, historic games, live music and food.

Clinton Summerfest & Fireworks, 8/26, A beer garden, lots of food, kids’ activities, fireworks and so much more.

Wadsworth Mansion Open Air Market & Festival, 8/27, The historic Mansion transforms into a marketplace and festival featuring Connecticut grown or made products.

Haddam Neck Fair, 9/1-9/4, From skillet throwing to helicopter rides, this fair has it all.

Guilford Fair, 9/15-9/17, Don’t miss Connecticut’s 2nd oldest agricultural fair.

Stonington Borough Annual Art Walk, 9/16, Art, food and music in beautiful Stonington Borough.

Durham Fair, 9/21-9/24, Live entertainment, rides, games and lots of food.

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Vineyard Harvest Food & Wine Festival • September 16th & 17th, 11am-6pm Enjoy live bands, delicious food trucks, local artisans and more
Day Celebration •
food from
Rib Cafe and Macarons & More
Independence Day Celebration
Celebrate Summer at the
Sunday, June 18th, 1-4pm
from Jess Lewis,
Summer Concert Series • Fridays in July & August, 6-9pm
the area’s best acts for an evening of music, all summer long
• Sunday, July 2nd, 1-4pm
from Alex Rohan, food from Uncle D’s Blazin’ BBQ, Macarons & More

Outdoor Dining

Dinner just tastes better out-of-doors and we wait all year to dine al fresco.

Here’s our list.


Fresh Salt

Dine overlooking the Sound at Fresh Salt, and feast on clam chowder, cioppino, lobster rolls, burgers, those irresistible homemade chips, and a full menu of classic entrees. Here’s our review! At The Saybrook Point Resort & Marina 2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook

Bar Bouchee

Our favorite bistro, Bar Bouchee, serves its French classics, including Hanger Steak, Croque Monsieur, Escargot, and Profiteroles on the tented terrace in front of the restaurant. Read more. 8 Scotland Avenue, Madison


You can get more than one of the best pizzas on the Shoreline at Otto. Under the festive sail cloth tent in back of the restaurant, you can stuff yourself on delish locally sourced Barbecue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and the Eggplant Parmesan is the bomb. Wine, beer, creative cocktails. No reservations. Our review! 69 Main Street, Chester


Red36 offers a cool vibe and an outdoor bar, lounge areas, and dining on the Mystic River, with a smart menu of standards. Snack on burgers, fish and chips, and fried clams, plus one of the best Bloody Marys we’ve tasted. Read about it here. 2 Washington Street, Mystic

Ocean House

Summer isn’t summer without at least one visit to the Ocean House for cocktails and oysters on the stunning Verandah overlooking the Atlantic. A variety of other outdoor dining options are available here, too, and reserve your spot for Lobster Boils on the Beach on select weekends. Read our review of COAST here. 1 Bluff Avenue, Westerly RI

Griswold Inn

The Griswold Inn's classic menu (signature fish and chips and clam chowder included) is served on their elegant and private terrace. Located at 36 Main Street, Essex

Cafe Flo

One of the best summer lunch spots on the Shoreline, Cafe Flo has an enticing menu of fresh salads, sandwiches and entrees and comes with the most spectacular view of the Lieutenant River. The Lobster, Avocado and Corn salad is my favorite! Reservations recommended. Read more here. 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.

Kokomo’s Kokomo’s beachfront location is likely the only place you can have your lobster roll with your toes in the sand. Caribbean specialties, raw bar, and summery cocktails, too. Read about our experience here.

88 Hartford Avenue, Old Lyme

Cafe Flo
Marker 37
Monkey Farm Surfridge Brewing Company
Ocean House

Grano Arso

One of our favorites for locally-sourced Italian fare, Grano offers a festive, outdoor space for al fresco enjoyment of their hand-milled pastas, tasty main dishes (the pan-roasted chicken is Erica’s favorite!), and delectable desserts. Reservations only. Check out our review. 6 Main Street, Chester

Marker 37

By boat or on foot, head to Marker 37 for casual, modern American dining right on the banks of the CT river at the Chester Point Marina. Live music throughout the summer! Here’s our review. 72 Railroad Avenue, Chester

Gargano Pasta

We’re mad about Gargano’s lunch (that crisp Misticanza Salad and the yummiest Pasta Bolognese) and were happy to hear that they extended their hours for dinner. All the salads and pastas you know and love are on offer, as well as a new batch of entrees by award-winning chef Joel Gargano (Risotto Verde with spring peas and asparagus!), and protein options for those steering away from carbs. Fresh cocktails and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. More here. 75 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Rose’s Winery

Perched on the edge of a centuries-old family farm and orchard, Rose’s Winery is perfect for enjoying vineyard views, cheese and charcuterie boards, and small plates. 33 Branford Road, North Branford Read our review.

Siren Kitchen + Bar

Take the shortest ferry ride to this fun and casual spot, located at Essex Island Marina. Enjoy a seafood-based menu with classic lobster rolls, plus creative sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free options. Read our review here. 11 Ferry Street, Essex

Monkey Farm

When newbies come to town, they can’t make heads or tails of this place, but oldtimers know this is a classic spot for burgers and brews. And now you can head to Monkey Beach, the outdoor tented terrace, for your fix of loaded tater tots, cheeseburgers, turkey clubs, fried seafood, and the famous frozen drink of New England, a yummy Mudslide (and lots more)! 571 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook

The Hangry Goose

Old Lyme’s Hangry Goose serves classic breakfast and lunch on the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme. 11 Halls Road, Old Lyme

Siren Kitchen + Bar

Engine Room

Go for beer, burgers, and bourbon at the Engine Room (in the historic Lathrop Marine building) and grab a seat outside the bustling restaurant/bar. Creative casual menu, and brunch here is fantastic. Our review here. 14 Holmes Street, Mystic

Noah’s at 63 Main

Carlson’s in Essex had a quick transformation into Noah’s at 63 Main, brought to you by the team behind Eli Cannon’s in Middletown, and we think this iteration is here to stay. The menu is wellpriced and accessible, driven by classic American favorites like burgers, tacos, clam chowder, a bevy of salads, raw bar, and Eli’s famous chicken wings. There’s plenty going for this spot besides its designer dining room: the bar has arguably the best view of the CT River (and a slew of creative cocktails) plus a row of high tops on the porch with that very same vista.Reservations recommended. 63 Main St, Essex

Surfridge Brewing Company

Bacari Social

Bacari Social's vast deck at the tip end of Westbrook’s Pilot’s Point Marina offers a view of the harbor and a parade of boats, plus yummy Italian small plates, fresh pasta, a raw bar, and more. Read more. 63 Pilots Point Drive, Westbrook

The Treehouse

Head up the winding stairs next to Oyster Club to the tented Treehouse with a view of the Mystic river and classic summer shack (but locally sourced) menu of lobster rolls, smash burgers, farm veggies and more, plus imaginative summery cocktails. No reservations. Read more. 13 Water Street, Mystic

Surfridge Brewing Company is one of our favorites for wood-fired oysters, pizza and specialty cocktails. Celebrate summer in Centerbrook on their lively and spacious patio and enjoy live music, happy hours and Sunday Brunch. More here. 6 Main Street, Building 3, Centerbrook


Dockside offers up classic New England coastal fare with an epic view of the Connecticut River from it’s vast deck. Think fat whole belly Ipswich fried clams, fish and chips, fried soft shell crab or scallops plus a full menu for non-seafood eaters. The steamers are excellent, too. Lunch and dinner. Our review here. 37 Pratt Street in the Safe Harbor Marina at Dauntless Shipyard, Essex


Chapter One

Chapter One's lush terrace behind the Guilford Green is a charming place to enjoy one of the best burgers on the Shoreline. Brunch, lunch, and dinner. 25 Whitfield Street, Guilford. Read the EList review.

La Marea

La Marea's tents are a lovely outdoor experience: carpeted and strung with lights, hanging plants, and white cloths on the tables. It’s a favorite for pizza, fresh pasta, and that crazy Chicken Milanese. Read our outdoor dining review. 732 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook

The Place

One of the most unique dining experiences on the Shoreline, The Place offers up wood-fired roasted clams, smoky lobsters, sweet corn, and more in an outdoor setting (seating is on tree stumps!). Act like a local and bring a tablecloth, candles, and wine. Cash or check, BYOB. 901 Boston Post Road, Guilford

Penny Lane Pub

For classic English pub food and an expert beer list, visit Pennylane Pub's back patio/garden: perfect for a lunch date or dinner, drinks, and live music. We’re partial to the Turkey Pub Club and Gluten-Free Shephard’s Pie! Read our review here. 50 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Treehouse Dockside
Penny Lane Pub
A women’s fashion boutique in Essex Village featuring 50+ luxury designers under one roof. 7 MAIN STREET ESSEX, CT THERIVERLANE.COM @ THERIVERLANE Brunch with a Pinch 323 Main street, Old Saybrook | | 860 917 1251 wed sun: 9AM 2PM

Places to Stay

Everyone loves the Shoreline in summer and besides our lovely local hotels that book up fast, sometimes we need a cozy place to stash family and friends. We’ve rounded up some out-of-the-ordinary B&Bs here.

The Inn at White Gate Farm

The Inn at White Gate Farm in East Lyme sits on 100 acres of growing fields, woods, and ponds, with extensive lake frontage. The farmhouse features 7 bedrooms and 6 full baths over 7000 square feet and 2 working fireplaces. Summer visitors can enjoy the swimming pool with a pool house and the glorious lake and dock. The organic farm offers a wide array of tasty, nutritious produce, eggs, chickens, prepared foods, and pastries. Special order what you'd like, or have the Farm Chef prepare your meals.

Sailboat AirBnb

Welcome aboard Mystic's only AirBNB yacht on the river in the heart of Downtown Mystic. The 1986 DeFever features three berths (sleeping six), one and a half heads, as well as a full galley kitchen with a dining nook, plenty of deck space for soaking up the sun, and two salons for relaxing or watching a movie. The yacht is seaworthy, but it does not leave the dock. Find out more:

The Inn at White Gate Farm 39

The Lighthouse Suite at Saybrook Point

Located outside the main building at Saybrook Point and at the end of the main dock, The Lighthouse Suite boasts views of the Long Island Sound and Connecticut River wherever you look. The private space is 900 square feet and features a living room, dining area, kitchenette, and balcony to watch the boats drift by.

Getaway, Moodus

Tucked away in rural Moodus is Getaway, a modern spin on the traditional campground. These tiny homes have everything you need for glamping: a mini-fridge, basic kitchen necessities, a lantern, and a private toilet and shower. A queen bed sits next to a wall-size window. Outside, you'll find a picnic table, a pair of Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and a cooking grate for grilling. Add-ons for your stay include a S'mores kit, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, firewood, and firestarters for a small fee. Order a "sustenance" box before arrival or during your stay, including meals and snacks, for an additional fee. If you're looking for a quiet respite to recharge, this is it. Visit Getaway Moodus here.

River Barn, Essex

This historic post and beam barn has been converted into a chic living space, offering 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths with wide plank floors, a working fireplace, eat-in kitchen, and laundry room. Lounge or dine on the brandnew deck off the lower level, or relax in the private yard.

The Lighthouse Suite [Photo by Saybrook Point] Getaway River Barn [Photo by Dave Adams]

Grace Island House

How about your own private island? Gather your besties and head to Grace Island House on Pot Island for a family reunion, girlfriend getaway, summer soiree, or wedding. This 6500 square foot, 11-bedroom hotel, built in 1850 with 360-degree water views, has hosted world leaders, royal families, and global captains of industry. Call for a tour and more info. 10 minutes from Stony Creek by ferry or private boat.

Barn in Lyme

A minimalist country retreat on 50 rolling acres with views for days. This post-andbeam barn sits atop a hill with stunning vistas, walking trails, and even a yoga studio and flower farm across the street. Relax in a loft-like, chic white space with high ceilings and antique beams. This is a tranquil getaway, a respite from city living, or a wonderful place to work from home without interruptions. Spend your days discovering the villages of the CT Shoreline, hiking the Land Trust Trails, or lounging with a book on the deck. Sleeps two.

Farmhouse STAY

The Farmhouse STAY is a 1780 cape on 15 quiet acres. The 2,000 square ft home features 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen, butler's pantry, living room, formal dining room, laundry room, and an upperlevel landing for lounging. The recent top-to-toe renovation was thoughtful, maintaining the home's character while adding all the modern conveniences and striking decor.

Grace Island House [Photo by Grace Island House] Lyme Barn
Farmhouse STAY [Photo by Frank DiNardi]

Portside, A Coastal Getaway in Mystic

This freshly renovated four-bedroom 1834 Greek revival with river views is a short stroll to downtown Mystic. It features a bright white interior and chic nautical decor (many of the furnishings may be purchased at its sister retail shop in downtown Mystic). A perfect perch to enjoy all Mystic has to offer in summer.

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Farm Stands

Before there were Farmers’ Markets in every town on the Shoreline, we shopped the farm stands for our produce and pies. Despite the availability of farm-fresh food everywhere, we have some favorite farm stands that we scurry to for specific goodies:


Stone Acres Farm

This historic 63-acre working farm celebrates natural farming, sustainable food, culinary education, and the preservation of open space. They also supply the famed Oyster Club and Engine Room in Mystic. Check the website for farm dinners, educational programs, and other events.

393 North Main Street, Stonington

Check the website for farm dinners, educational programs and other events:

Four Mile River Farm

Four Mile is famous for its burgers that turn up on many fine restaurant menus But there’s lots more than burgers at the farmstand. You’ll find every cut of beef imaginable from sirloin strips to steak tips, plus nitrate free hot dogs and kielbasa. Get your entire dinner here: a refrigerated case is stocked with Four Root Farm’s salad mix, arugula and herbs, and grab some chèvre from Sweet Pea Farm. Paleo peeps can stock up on bone broth, too. 124 Four Mile River Road, Old Lyme

Lakeside Feed

You might come here as much for an ice cream cone as for a rack of ribs or a carton of fava beans, but this is a fun place to hit for the whole family. From the llamas out front to the baby chicks in the feed store, the tots will love a trip here. Once you get past the tubs of ice cream, you’ll find a freezer case full of farm meats, from hot and sweet Italian sausage to bacon, burgers, stew meat and steaks. 31 Lake Drive, Guilford

Scott’s Farm Store

We head here for tomatoes and corn virtually every week (and a fat chunk of cheddar cheese and some Liuzzi’s burrata), but it’s also a great stop for gardeners. Open everyday. Find Scott’s on facebook: Open everyday.

356 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook Find Scott’s on facebook: ScottsFarmStoreLlc/


Bishop’s Orchards

For many of us, Bishop’s is where we go, not only for a stellar selection of produce, but for everyday groceries. I always pick up a few jars of their unsweetened applesauce (just like homemade), and some turkey pot pies for the freezer. But this time of year is a don’t miss for fruit pie. And what we love about Bishop’s is you can buy a half. I’m a huge fan of the Fruit of the Farm with NO added sugar. It’s summer pie perfection, stuffed with apples, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, it’s not too sweet with a lovely crumbly crust. And if you’ve only bought a half, that’s all you’ll eat. 1355

Boston Post Road, Guilford

Sankow’s Beaver Brook

Head a mile up Beaver Brook Road in Lyme and you’ll happen upon an old farmhouse with a faded sign out front. Head out back to the farm store to find refrigerated and freezer cases full of Sankow’s award-winning cow and goat cheeses, frozen goodies like lamb and bean chili, bolognese sauce, and stacks of Shepherd’s Pie. Don’t leave without a container or two of their pesto. It’s the BEST. Next door is a shop full of wool products, sweaters and the cutest socks.

139 Beaver Brook Road, Lyme

Deep Hollow Farm

This organic, no-till farm is churning out perfectly lined rows of beets, kale and heirloom tomatoes and everything in between.The farmhouse store is tucked away near the end of Deep Hollow Road and open Saturday mornings from 9-12.

46 Deep Hollow Road, Chester

White Gate Farm

This is the stand for the aesthete. This famous organic farm features meticulously displayed fresh veggies and a variety of delicacies made in the Farm Kitchen. I never leave without a bag or two of gluten-free breakfast cookies (stash them in the freezer, they keep well and don’t need defrosting), some hummus, and perhaps the weekly soup. Read about White Gate’s Farm Fest Saturdays here. 83 Upper Pattagansett Road, East Lyme

Scott’s Yankee Farmer

We head here for the best hot apple cider donuts on weekends, but that’s definitely not all…their own hot house tomatoes start early, and you’ll find tons of freshly picked berries and veggies. Check the blackboard for pick your own dates. 436 Boston Post Road, East Lyme


Folks head here for hanging baskets, veggies, Grannie’s pies and fruit wines, but we like the rows of mason jars filled with all manner of tempting treats. The spiced peaches make a handy dessert, just pile a few over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Bread and butter pickles are a staple in our house, and who could resist a jar of old fashioned pickled beet balls? A stash of these in your pantry make fantastic hostess gifts.

278 Town Street, East Haddam


Barberry Hill Farm

Barberry is a regular stop on our jaunts up and down the Shoreline for a bunch of fresh flowers and a bag of lumpy heirloom tomatoes. This 100 year old family farm practices sustainable farming methods and grows their crops without the use of pesticides and fungicides. The roadside stand, on the Post Road between Madison and Guilford, is always a feast for the eyes (and instagram worthy!).

353 Boston Post Road, Madison

Cold Spring Farm

It’s worth a drive from wherever you are to visit this sprawling farm on the edge of Lake Hayward in Colchester. The farmstand is easy to spot and open daily from dawn til dusk. Fill up on freshly harvested produce and locally made baked goods. The fridges and freezers are stocked with organic, grass-fed meats from the farm, plus local cheese and milk. 46 Lake Hayward Town Road, Colchester

Our unique collections welcome mothers and daughters, friends of all ages, and everyone who values style and individuality. 46 Pennsylvania Ave Niantic, CT 06357 (800) 739-4333
hello! CP DESIGN Photo: Rise Visual Media 860.322.4470 interior architecture & design Chester CT

Ten Top Shops

When we’re on the hunt for gifts (or goodies for ourselves), here’s where we head:

Deep River Home

Do not pass by the black barn on Union Street in Deep River. Owner Jennie has opened a modern general store filled with kitchen implements, art books, handmade brooms and brushes, handblown glass vases, Swedish striped pillows, hand-woven Maine baskets, and an intriguing selection of stationery products. This talented tour de force was the creative director for Herman Miller and has brought all her favorite things to this perfect shop.

11 Union Street, Deep River

Wm. Cole

This free-standing shop on Stonington Road between the Borough and Westerly is bursting with interesting and unusual goodies for the hosthostess, bride-to-be, or birthday girl or guy. There’s lots to love, but a few things, in particular, are: Jill Rosenwald’s modern ceramics, brilliant (and chic) rechargeable outdoor lamps, lovely paper placemats in all manner of prints, fun wine bottle bags, stationery, decor, and so much more.

862 Stonington Road, Stonington

Visit Wm. Cole Facebook page.

Deep River Home 49

Deux Bisous

Francophiles (and their friends) will have a high time at Deux Bisous, a new French-inspired shop in Madison. Owner Kate Craw lived in France, and after a storied career in design, she brings her merchandising talents to this delightful shop filled with global goodies: French tees, bright pillows, straw hats, African baskets, delicate jewels, Mexican glasses, and all sorts of alluring goodies stuffed in every nook and cranny. I snagged the lightly scented Place Des Voges French laundry detergent. Love.

831 Boston Post Road, Madison

Folklore Flowers

This beachy shop brings Cali cool to the CT Shoreline. Owner Kate McNellis combines her love for floral design with a keen eye for happy merch, including block-printed dresses and tops, modern pool floats, intriguing apothecary (Mezcal perfume and Manifest Everything Oil), cotton gauze table linens, and a selection of organic cocktail mixers (Watermelon Mojito, anyone?) Visit the stem bar to build your own dried arrangement, or grab a grab-and-go bouquet (event florals, too). So fresh.

266 Boston Post Road Madison

Online store:


Homeward Collective

You know the shop from Madison, but new digs in Old Lyme will have you heading here for gifts, linen pillows, block-printed table linens, art books, my absolute favorite candle (Apotheke White Vetiver), and summery looks from CP Shades, Bella Dahl, American Vintage, The Great, Pistola, White and Warren and more. 24 Lyme Street, Old Lyme

that’s hard to find around here, including Anne Selke, Mcgee and Co., Yamakazi, and ET TU home. Owner Wendy is happy to provide design services and home styling, too.

14 Holmes Street, Mystic

Homeward Collective

Nora Murphy’s The Little Shop

Nora Murphy’s popular Little Shop in Chester is now a bigger shop next door to their old digs. Better to display her exciting inventory of country antiques: pine tables, white baskets, vintage kilims, and more fantastic finds, plus Bramble’s stunning floral creations, planted vessels, and plant walls. A don’tmiss. 1 Main Street, Chester

The Little Shop 51
Folklore Flowers


Owner Lexi has decked out her new large and light-filled space with a curated selection of gift and home goods, and you’ll also find a beautiful baby section of organic clothing, muslin crib sheets, and handmade toys. She’s expanded into furniture, linens, and bedding, and the massive mossy outdoor urns are a must for a terrace update.

185 Main Street, Unit 2, Niantic

Bali Bungalow

This furniture and home decor boutique sports an island vibe, and the inventory is handmade using indigenous, sustainable, and ecofriendly techniques in Indonesia. You can transform your living space into a calming sanctuary here with recycled teak dining tables and daybeds, woven stools and dining chairs, massive light pendants, and graphic throws. In the Velvet Mill, Stonington

The Little Station

If you’re heading to Hammonasset, make sure to stop at The Little Station Shop for adorable and well-priced jewelry, cover-ups, sarongs, beach totes, straw hats, and a sweet selection of soaps and scents. Adorable!

1187 Boston Post Road, Madison thelittlestation

Azalea Bali Bungalow
The Little Station



Brushmill by the Waterfall has been completely renovated while taking care to preser ve it’s rich histor y. It has kept many original features including the beloved replace while adding a wine bar, completely new kitchen, and expanded bar area

Daily Hours: 4pm - 10pm

129 West Main St, Chester, CT (860) 526-9898

Snack Shacks

Fried clams? Hot Dogs?

French Fries?

Yes, please!

Here's our list of (local) fast food.

Higgie’s 55

During the summer months, Cedar Lake Town Beach is for Chester residents and guests only, but anyone can hit the Snack Shack for breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the view like a local. Munch on tasty fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, fries on the deck at an umbrella-topped picnic table. Check instagram for schedule updates. 218 West Main Street, Chester

Flanders’ Crescent Beach Stand

Offering classic breakfasts, Ashlawn Farm Coffee and “New Wave Old School” selections (yes, avocado toast!), this is a serene and sweet spot for the first meal of the day. This option for breakfast, sans crowds, complete with a calming sea view is an idyllic start to the day. 37 Bayview Avenue, Niantic


You know the sort of summer place that just looks like a good time? That’s what you’ll find at Shanks. Order your fried seafood platters or fish tacos from the folks inside the lobster boat (with a fully functional commercial kitchen), then head to the upstairs deck for a stunning view of Clinton Harbor and sailboats bobbing on their moorings. Kid friendly and BYOB.

131-c Grove Street, Clinton


Marketplace at


Simon’s Marketplace from Chester shares their baked goods, sandwiches, soups and coffee from a shipping container each summer! Visit Saturdays and Sundays, weather permitting. 90 Maple Avenue, East Haddam

Flander’s Crescent Beach Stand
Johnny Ads
Clam Castle
Anchor 57
Clam Castle

Chris’ Dog House

I'm the girl at the barbecue, happily downing a hot dog while the rest are eating steak. It's my summer go-to and I can't pass by Chris's stand in Deep River without a full stop. Besides the classic Hummel on a right-size and tasty bun (proportion is key here), there's plenty more to order, like burgers, steak and cheese, kielbasa and red hots, but I can't comment as I'll always take that perfect summer dog. Main Street, Deep River (next to SOMA)

Liv’s Shack

Get in line and order up a hot buttered lobster roll, overstuffed with fresh-fromthe-shell chunks, on a buttery, toasted bun from Liv’s Oyster Bar’s seaside shack. Don’t pass up the hand-cut truffle (or Old Bay) fries! 26 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook

Liv’s Dockside Grill

Find Liv’s sister location at the Clinton Town Marina. Italian ice, Liv’s velvety clam chowder, fish tacos and much more at this waterfront outpost. 68 Cedar Island Ave, Clinton

The Anchor at Hays Haven

There’s a little treasure of a shack serving handcut “fair fries”, juicy cheeseburgers, and rootbeer floats at Hays Haven Marina in Chester. Opens at 6:30am ThursdayMonday. Great for egg sammies (add hashbrowns!), too. Check FB for Raw Bar weekends! 59 Railroad Avenue, Chester

Johnny Ad’s

This roadside stand on Route 1 in Old Saybrook has been frying clams since 1957. You’ll need to get in line most hours of the day, but we’ll wait for the Fried Oyster Roll with fries. Ice Cream, too. 910 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook


Take the backroads north along the CT River (Saybrook Road) and just past Higganum center you’ll find this 60+ year old stand. In fresh and very capable hands, Higgie’s is serving summery treats from hot dogs to hot and cold lobster rolls plus Gifford’s ice cream. We love the crispy chicken sammies! 236 Saybrook Road, Higganum

Clam Castle Featuring Taco Pacifico

We've been chasing the Taco Pacifico truck for as long as we can remember so we were delighted to discover that they've taken over the Clam Castle in Madison. Head here for all the clam shack's summer standards PLUS lots of fresh tacos - including lobster and scallop.Don't miss the churros and chocolate.

1324 Boston Post Road, Madison

Kim’s She Shed

Located at Harvey’s Beach in Old Saybrook, you’ll find scrumptious lobster rolls, Italian ice, fried dough with marinara sauce and lots more. There’s a parking fee for Harvey’s so let the attendant know you are heading to Kim’s and they will allow you in to the far side of the lot. 29 Plum Bank Road, Old Saybrook


Edd’s Place

You may be expecting your typical snack shack at Edd’s, but NO. The menu is fresh and fantastic with the best homebaked biscuits on the Shoreline (add fried chicken), Red Velvet French Toast, cheddar jalapeño grits, tacos and sea dogs (fried cod) for lunch, and plenty of other delicacies that Liz whips up in the tiny kitchen. Dinner, too. 131-c Grove Street, Clinton

We look forward to welcoming you to our new location in Westbrook, CT.
Explore This Summer's Healthy PlanEat Local Food Tour Shop and si n up or our newsletter With Support From Healthy PlanEat is an online armers market where you can shop directly rom local sustainable arms and ood artisans around Connecticut Pick up locally or have resh ood to your door

Don’t Miss

A few of our favorite things…


Connecticut Gardens, A Celebration of the State’s Historic, Public, and Private Gardens

Stock up on this gorgeous new book by local photographer Caryn B. Davis and Chris Lawrie, and have the perfect host/ ess gift on hand all summer. This stunner covers everything from formal landscapes to cottage gardens across Connecticut (and most you can visit). Find it here:

Mary Maguire Art

Local artist Mary Maguire is known nationwide for her works of bestiary, garden follies, sailing ships, and flora. You can purchase original works or her extremely accessible hand-colored giclee prints (wonderful for a gallery wall), ready to hang in vintage frames. Lover’s Eye is a perennial fave.

Frosé at Chamard Vineyards

One day Frosé will likely go the way of the white wine spritzer, but the novelty has not yet worn off on me. Sipping a frozen cocktail while lounging on the porch overlooking the vista of grapevines will transport you directly to Napa. 115 Cow Hill Road, Clinton

Pica Chica’s Fish Tacos

We love the fish tacos at this colorful Clinton joint known as “the taco dealer”. It’s a lightly battered and crispy fried piece of fish with crunchy pico and zippy crema. They switch up the fixings periodically so go often and enjoy them all. Eat in the lively dining room or take one to the beach. 68 W Main St, Clinton

Connecticut Gardens Frosé at Chamard
Pica Chica’s

Ashlawn Farm 1730


If you give up hot coffee for iced in the summer, grab a can of Ashlawn Farm’s new snapchilled 1730 (named for the Farm) Coffee! For true coffee purists, this one is brewed hot and “snapchilled”, retaining the complexity of hot coffee flavors. 455 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook

Little House Brewing Co.

We have a soft spot for this Chester brewery, as co-owner Lisle Schaeffer was one of our favorite interns many years ago! But that’s not the only reason: a combo of smarts, humor, and an ever-changing menu of craft beer keeps this place hopping. Trivia, taco truck, pop-up shop, beer and ice cream flights, and more fun events coming up all summer long. 16 Main Street, Chester

Gourmet Galley At Home

We’ve become extremely fond of Gourmet Galley At Home at the new Norton property in Niantic, which also houses Azalea, Pearls and Plaid, and Sift’s award-winning bakery (you can make an afternoon of it!). It’s a fun jaunt for a fresh and fantastic salad or a tasty sandwich and grab from a vast selection of take-out for dinner. Cocktails in the afternoon and outdoor seating overlooking Niantic Bay, too. 185 Main Street, Niantic

Moon Shots

You don’t need to be “cleansing” to head to Moon Shots in Madison. Yes, their fresh-pressed juices are the best, but for me, it’s all about the gluten-free waffles! The Very Berry is sprinkled with strawberries, blueberries, elderberry drizzle, and cashew almond butter, with a splash of maple syrup.

1063 Boston Post Road, Guilford

Long River Local Gourmet Galley
Ashlawn Moonshots

Better Rhodes

Cocktails and spirits without a drop of booze? Yup! Sometimes in summer, we just need a break, and we take to sipping a refreshing AF cocktail. My current favorite is Wilfred’s Bitter Orange with a splash of seltzer, just like an Aperol Spritz without the buzz or calories. Shop online at

Long River Local

A breakfast sandwich is as CT as it gets, right up there with lobster rolls and pizza. We’ve got a few favorites, but our latest go-to is Long River Local in Old Lyme. Theirs is an elevated version with their own farm fresh eggs, applewood smoked bacon (and plenty of it), and cheddar cheese on a toasted and squishy Cuban roll. Ashlawn Farm coffee, espresso drinks, plus lunch and dinner take-out and picnic fixings. Outdoor seating. 96 Halls Road, Old Lyme

Duby’s Bagels

Bagels, lox, and whitefish salad in Old Saybrook? Yes, please! Duby’s bagels are the real deal and remind me of the Sundays of my youth when my grandfather took me along to buy brunch fixings. Bagels back then were not the behemoths they are nowadays, but a normal size for a normal stomach. And Duby’s are, too, with a crispy crust and delightfully chewy interior in all the essential flavors (even pumpernickel and salt!). Get there early to avoid the line. 785 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook

Better Rhodes Duby’s Bagels
Little House Brewing Co

Summer Bucket List:

Grab your calendar and take notes!

A Sunset Cruise on Seabird has become an annual tradition.

River Tavern is back on the Farm (the first time since 2020) with feasts scheduled at Hunts Brook in July:

A New Exhibit at the Flo Gris Museum: Object

Lessons in American Art Selections from the Princeton University Art Museum, through 9/10. And my favorite lunch with a view at the Cafe Flo (make reservations). florencegriswoldmuseum.or g/object-lessons

Outdoor Summer Cocktail and Tapas class under the tent at Weekend Kitchen, Essex :

An outdoor Sound Bath Meditation at The Sound Retreat in Chester:

Happy Hour and Salsa

Lessons at Parkville Market, the incredible food hall in Hartford, every Tuesday:

First Fridays in Chester: new art exhibits, live music, seasonal menus and great shopping the First Friday of every month from 58pm. Always FUN.

Let Loose Thursdays at Parade Plaza in New London: Reggae, Fireworks and Food trucks! downtownnewlondonassoc

For the lazy ones among us (me!): rent a pedal kayak or pedal stand up paddle at Three Belles in Niantic. Plus SUP Yoga all summer long:

Meditation Mondays at The Wayfinder Society in Chester, from 6:30 to 7pm. Beginners encouraged.

Pizza, Taco or Tapas Tours of New Haven:

Happy Hour in the Plaza, New Haven: Food, drink, lawn and board games plus live bands every Friday from 4:30 - 7:30pm.

Get Tix: They Might Be Giants on July 7th and Amos Lee on August 17th at the Garde:

The Sound of Music at The Ivoryton Playhouse!

World Premier: A new musical, Summer Stock at the Goodspeed, filled with joyous hits from the America Songbook.

Farm Fest returns to White Gate Farm the first Saturday of the month from 3 - 7pm with live music, sushi, fresh pizza and more. BYO chair, dog, kids and enjoy!

Summer Nights at Stone Acres in Stonington, a locally sourced multicourse dinner at the historic farm. Tuesday thru Friday nights til Labor Day. Reserve here!

Special menus, deals and fun in Essex all Summer with Alfresco Essex. Check schedule at

Stone Acres [photo by Catherine Dzilenski] Laura & Erica Aboard The Seabird Pizza at White Gate Farm Fest Photo by Florence Griswold Museum
Three Belles

Happy Summer!

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