Five Family Weekend Vacation Options in Southeast Connecticut
The Southeastern Connecticut region is absolutely beautiful, even during the coldest of winters. Anyone who wants to travel somewhere near the water where there is a lot of things to do will want to consider this area of the state.
Below are our five our favorite places to visit in southeastern Connecticut.
Gillette Castle in East Haddam, CT
This magnificent stone castle was built between 1914 and 1919 by William Gillette, who was a famous actor. The castle sits in between the towns of Lyme and East Haddam and is right above the Connecticut River and is located within the Gillette Castle State Park.
William Gillette named his castle Seventh Sister, due to its proximity to the chain of hills by the same name. As he was creating his castle, Gillette knew that he wanted to include many unique items that would not be found in anyone else’s home. All the doors in the castle have intricate carvings on them and no one door is like any of the others.
Gillette installed inconspicuous mirrors outside his master bedroom and other areas of his home, so that he could see who was walking in at any time. If a person arrived that he didn’t wish to see, he could simply retreat back into his bedroom to pretend that he was not available at that time.
Another one of his clever creations was his bar that was filled with numerous bottles of liquor. Every time he entertained, he would fill everyone’s glass and then he would close the bar door and leave the room telling them that they could get another drink if they needed it. He would then go to his room where he could watch them try to pour another drink. What his guests did not realize is that Gillette had a lock on the bar that he was able to lock and unlock using a long piece of metal that he hid in his sleeve. After he tired of watching his guests, he would reappear in the room with them and act shocked when they had nothing to drink as he secretly unlocked the bar.
This castle looks as it did when Gillette had it constructed, thanks to a restoration that took place from 1998 until 2002. Visitors will want to take their time looking through the castle and then they can go out and walk along the trails on the grounds.
Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT
Foxwoods is one of two casinos in the area and it has everything from slot machines and gaming tables to a legendary spa and golf course. There are seven different casino areas within this complex that is operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
Visitors can spend their day inside the casinos or they can choose to shop at any of the numerous shops and boutiques that are in the same building.
In addition to the shopping available at Foxwoods, there are also a number of shows at the venue as well. Show types range from music concerts to stand-up comedians and even magic shows. Be sure to check their event schedule to see if there's anything your family may be interested in attending.
Foxwoods Resort has a number of other entertainment options that are suitable for all ages. Here are just a few of the options available:
- Have a spa day
- Relax at one of their three pools
- Play a round of golf
- Go bowling
- Visit their arcade
- Check out the Pequot Museum
- Experience the Thrill Tower at Foxwoods
- Try out the Foxwoods High Flyer Zipline
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Mashantucket, CT
The Pequot Museum is owned by the same tribe that operates Foxwoods Resort Casino and their goal since opening back in 1998 is to share the history and culture of Native Americans in the Northeast. The museum has 308,000 square feet of space and includes permanent exhibits, temporary exhibits, an auditorium, classrooms, a museum store, and a restaurant.
The museum has five levels with two of them below ground. The best location in the museum is the 185-foot tower made from stone and glass. Visitors can go to the top of the tower to see stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.
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Submarine Force Museum and the USS Nautilus in New London, CT
This museum and submarine can be found alongside the Thames River in Groton. The museum is the only one in the world that is operated by the United States Navy, which is why it has such a large collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs. In fact, with more than 33,000 artifacts, 30,000 photographs, and 20,000 documents, it is easy to see why every exhibit needs to be rotated throughout the year.
After exploring the museum, visitors are welcome to enter the USS Nautilus and take a self-guided audio tour. People can walk along the halls that the soldiers used when they were stationed on this submarine and see where they slept, ate, and worked. The details are extraordinary, from the beds that are made to the table set for a meal.
Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT
The Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum that is located on nineteen acres along the Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut. This seaport is filled with tall ships as well as the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. Visitors can go onboard to see the restored vessels and many people will even see employees working on a restoration project or two.
In addition to the ships, people can wander through the halls looking at the numerous exhibits that are filled with ship carvings, vintage photographs, and more. This museum offers a unique perspective of the sea and the voyages that have been taken over the years.
Southeastern Connecticut is a wonderful vacation destination and while people can visit at any time of the year, many people prefer to go during the fall when the leaves are changing and the air is cooler. Anyone that does choose to go during the fall will also want to add B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill to the above list, as it has the only working steam powered cider press in the United States. They are only open during the fall, and no one will be disappointed when they take their first sip of their cider.
No one will want to miss visiting this charming area of Connecticut and once a person has been there, they will find themselves drawn back to the area again in the future, because it is just so charming and irresistible.