Day Trips and Weekend Getaways
MAKE IT A GOODSPEED DAY
The next time you visit the Opera House, why not spend your day the Goodspeed way in the Connecticut River Valley? All of our members are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and relax by the river on the green located next to the Opera House. Or stroll through the East Haddam village and visit the quaint shops – ice cream from the Hillside Sweet House is a treat on a warm summer day. Here are some sample itineraries and other interesting attractions to enjoy within minutes of the Goodspeed Opera House.
Itinerary #1: Historic East Haddam
Take the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry across the Connecticut River. Tour Gillette's Castle and explore its many nature paths, visit the Nathan Hale School House, then dine at the Gelston House before or after taking in a performance at the Goodspeed Opera House.
Itinerary #2: Shop 'Til You Drop
Spend your morning shopping at Westbrook Outlets, browse the wonderful shops in downtown Essex, and have lunch at the historic Griswold Inn, before enjoying an afternoon matinee at the Goodspeed Opera House.
Itinerary #3: Riverboat Excursion
Head to Hadlyme Country Market in Hadlyme to pick up a tasty lunch. Enjoy your picnic while aboard the RiverQuest for a tour of the lower Connecticut River (show your ticket for a $5 discount). Round off the day with a matinee or evening performance at the Goodspeed Opera House.
Itinerary #4: Steam Train and Connecticut River Boat Ride
Start your morning at the Connecticut River Museum. Take a leisurely trip on the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, followed by a stroll through the shops in Chester Village. Visit Brushmill by the Waterfall for lunch, then head to the Goodspeed Opera House for the matinee.
A charming and quaint way to travel across the Connecticut River! In operation since 1769, the ferry accomodates 8 to 9 cars and 40 passengers. Operates April through November. Weather conditions and river levels can affect operations; please visit the CT Dept of Transportation site for current schedule.
Chester Historical Society
Located at a historic 1860s mill site overlooking a waterfall, Chester Museum at The Mill features two floors of award-winning permanent and seasonal changing exhibits. Located in Chester Center, it also serves as the office for the Society and holds much of its collections and archives. The museum is open at no charge on weekends from June through October or by appointment.
RiverQuest, Essex, CT
Come early for your day in the country and enjoy a scenic boat ride on the Connecticut River! Better yet, bring your lunch and beverages to enjoy during the cruise. Learn about local history, birdlife, and wildlife on the river; see beautiful homes and yachts, and even Gillette's Castle while cruising on the friendly RiverQuest. Show your Goodspeed ticket for a $5 discount or use code "Goodspeed" when booking online.
Mohegan Sun - A world at play and a world to its own, Mohegan Sun is one of the world's most amazing destinations with some of New England's finest dining, hotel accommodations, retail shopping, live entertainment and sporting events. Boasting three world-class casinos, Mohegan Sun is also host to the Kids Quest/Cyber Quest family entertainment facility, a luxurious day spa, convention center and meeting facility, a state-of-the-art Poker Room as well as three major entertainment venues with seating from 300 to 10,000. People from across the globe come to see live concerts with some of today's top headliners, along with major sporting events including Mohegan Sun's very own WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun.
Foxwoods Resort Casino - one of the premier hotel, gaming, shopping and entertainment destinations in the Northeast. As the largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods offers a vast array of gaming in six casinos; AAA Four-Diamond hotels, restaurants from gourmet to express, world-renowned spas, awarding-winning golf, state-of-the-art theaters, and exclusive retailers.
Priam Vineyards, Colchester, CT
Priam Vineyards was founded in 1998 in the historic town of Colchester, CT by Gloria Priam and her husband Gary Crump, with plans to continue a family tradition that was started in Budapest, Hungary in the late 1800's by Andrew Priam, Gloria's grandfather. In 2002, Priam Vineyards became a licensed farm winery, and opened the winery in April of 2003. Priam Vineyards is open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and select holidays, 11 a.m.to 6 p.m., March through December, for tastings and self guided tours of the vineyard.
Staehly Farm Winery, East Haddam, CT
Production began in the summer of 2014 with three varieties of Apple Wine. Fruit wine, unlike grape wine, has a shorter fermentation period due to the lower sugar content of the fruits used. Their first wine is expected to be available for sale in September of 2014.The farm stand also features a wide range of farm goods, grown in Connecticut, all according to the season - Christmas trees, annuals, perennials, vegetables and pumpkins.
Sundial Gardens, Higganum, CT
Herbalist, lecturer, and garden designer Ragna Tischler-Goddard has labored for three decades to create this oasis. A shop in the 18th-century barn stocks teas from around the world, tea accoutrements, melt-in-your-mouth Belgian chocolate, and other specialty foods. Ask about the wildly popular afternoon tea tastings and themed talks on tea and gardening. Outside, enjoy a trio of romantic 17th- and 18th-century-style gardens, where the air is perfumed with culinary, medicinal, and decorative herbs. The Persian-style knot garden and shady century-old grape arbor invite quiet reflection.
Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, CT
It looks like a medieval fortress, but a step inside the stone castle reveals the built-in couches, table trackway, and woodcarvings that all point to the creative genius that was William Gillette.
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, Essex, CT
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat ride is a fun-filled trip for adults and children of all ages! Two coal-fired locomotives are available to pull our collection of lovingly restored railroad cars. You’ll be swept away by the hiss of steam, the blast of the whistle, and the clickety-clack of the tracks - an authentic journey back to the days of steam.
Connecticut River Museum, Essex, CT
Where the River comes to life. Located on the waterfront in historic Essex, the Connecticut River Museum is the perfect place to explore the heritage and experience the wonders of New England’s Great River.
Downtown Essex - Three distinctive villages—Essex, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton—offer some of the finest examples of early colonial and federal architecture, now home to a unique blend of private residences, antique shops, specialty boutiques, inns, restaurants, marinas and attractions.
Village of Chester - It’s winding and crooked Main Street, about one city block in length, is lined with antique and vernacular 19th century buildings that house the town’s wide array of art galleries, elegant shops, boutiques, and award-winning restaurants.
Goodspeed's Station Country Store - located just across the Swing Bridge, this charming gift shop offers an array of unique gifts and home decor. Candles, nostalgic candy, handcrafted jewelry, specialty foods, and holiday must-haves!
Westbrook Outlets - a first-class destination for shoppers seeking their favorite designer and name brands, offering merchandise that is on trend and in season direct from the manufacturer at value prices
Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets - Upscale, fashion conscious shoppers who prefer designer labels can expect the largest collection of designer brands, unique outdoor settings, and savings of 25 to 65 percent every day.
Find more Connecticut attractions at these web sites: