East Haddam – Connecticut
A Hidden Gem for Your New England Fall Getaway
New England is renowned for its enchanting fall foliage, and there’s no shortage of picturesque towns to explore during this vibrant season. While well-known destinations like Vermont and New Hampshire often steal the spotlight, USA Today unveiled a list of “Eight Secret New England Towns Perfect for a Fall Getaway.” Among these hidden treasures is East Haddam, a quaint town that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and autumn charm.
Nearly 60 square miles of rolling countryside, historical farmsteads, and a waterfall or two — this is East Haddam, a place so idyllic that Gilmore Girls used its exteriors as the fictional town of Stars Hollow. Natural beauty abounds in this Connecticut River Valley outpost, but so do the arts, with the 19th-century Goodspeed Opera House bringing musicals to the masses until December. It’s hard to believe you’re but a two-hour drive from New York City.
What to do: Catch beautiful views at Gillette Castle, a European-inspired manse built by the quirky actor William Gillette in 1919, before catching a show at Godspeed.
The Appeal of East Haddam:
A Glimpse into History:
East Haddam is a place where the past comes alive. At the heart of the town lies the illustrious Goodspeed Opera House. This historic gem has been entertaining audiences since 1963 with its world-class musical productions. Imagine attending a show amidst a backdrop of fiery fall foliage – an experience that’s nothing short of magical.
Swing Bridge Views:
One of East Haddam’s iconic features is the East Haddam Swing Bridge, a striking steel structure that crosses the Connecticut River. The views from this bridge during the fall season are nothing short of breathtaking. As you stand on the bridge and watch the river meandering through a corridor of golden and crimson leaves, you’ll understand why this town is a hidden gem.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park:
For those seeking outdoor adventures, Devil’s Hopyard State Park is a must-visit. Just a short drive from the center of East Haddam, this park is a haven for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Explore its trails, waterfalls, and, of course, the vibrant fall foliage that blankets the landscape.
A Taste of Local Delights:
No getaway is complete without savoring local flavors. East Haddam offers charming cafes and eateries where you can enjoy delicious meals and warm beverages while taking in the autumn scenery.
East Haddam is conveniently located near other New England gems like Essex and Old Saybrook, allowing you to expand your fall adventure further. Explore antique shops, historic sites, and coastal beauty just a short drive away.
Planning Your Fall Getaway:
To fully immerse yourself in the fall charm of East Haddam, it’s essential to plan your visit during the peak foliage period. This typically falls between late September and early November, with mid-October being an ideal time. Ensure you book accommodations in advance, as this hidden gem tends to attract travelers seeking a tranquil escape.
East Haddam may be one of New England’s best-kept secrets, but it’s a secret worth discovering, especially during the fall season. As you explore the town’s history, stroll across the Swing Bridge, venture into nature at Devil’s Hopyard State Park, and savor local delights, you’ll create cherished memories against the backdrop of autumn’s brilliance. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and experience the magic of East Haddam on your next New England fall getaway.