Day Tripping in Essex

You’ve been requesting more Day Tripping posts and we’re more than happy to oblige! We love randomly picking a town in CT we want to discover, research, and plan a fun itinerary for the day. It almost always involves baked goods and coffee, some culture, some shopping, scenery, and of course lunch and a cocktail. Essex is our pick today, and what a picturesque town it is located in the Connecticut River Valley. Here are 5 stops you should make when you’re next Day Tripping in Essex!

We instantly fell in love with Essex. It’s rich in history, overflowing with charm, and is about as quintessentially-Connecticut as it gets. The town is made up of three villages: Centerbrook, Essex Village, and Ivoryton. We drove a little but spent the majority of our time strolling Main Street. So many gorgeous ivy-clad historic homes, complete with picket fences and stunning front doorways, in amongst interesting stores, galleries, and eateries. Our kinda town!

Ok, on with your day in Essex!

Start here…

Savour Cafe & Bakery

This French-inspired bakery in Centerbrook has some of the prettiest baked goods we’ve ever seen. And they taste just as good as they look; we made sure of it. Everything is made from scratch on the premises with the carrot cake and flourless chocolate cookies winning the most popular contest. There’s lots of fresh grab and go selections for lunch in the deli case – salads, sandwiches, and quiches. We opted for an iced-coffee and scones and enjoyed a morning meeting with the lovely Sarah Wadle of First Position Media, our Essex welcome wagon.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

No trip to Essex is complete without enjoying a journey on a steam train, especially if you opt for the first class coach! We visited the historic 1892 Essex train station and took an amazing mini-tour. So quickly we became “train people” and found ourselves swept up with the sheer novelty of it all. It’s not every day you can time travel and imagine exactly what it was like to take the train in the olden days. We definitely want to return to experience the Essex Clipper Dinner Train. Fine dining and wine-ing as you travel through the CT River Valley? Yes, please!

Privé Swiss|Wellness

Balance your energy flow and make time for some much-needed self-care with an acupuncture session at Privé Swiss|Wellness on Main Street, Essex. They’re well known for their team of highly experienced holistic-minded health professionals creating comprehensive wellness plans, and providing holistic services and therapies. Why not incorporate some relaxation and stress relief into your day with an acupuncture session? You can tell everyone all about it afterward…it’s fascinating how it works!

Cooper & Smith Gallery

Next up: a little bit of art, a little bit of culture. Although, there’s nothing little about Cooper & Smith Gallery. It’s as impressive from the outside – a retro-looking brick facade with a very cool sign – as it is inside the 5,000 square feet gallery. The artwork is a beautifully curated collection of contemporary fine art (all genres) with an emphasis on oil paintings. We studied a bunch of them, hardly able to believe they weren’t photographs. Such detail! Inspiring, and the perfect size gallery for a day trip visit!


Market on North Main Street is a concept store filled with things for the Essex relaxed coastal lifestyle. Brimming with fashion, beauty, homewares, and perfect gifts, we went into “things we want” overload. Cute PJs, totes, and bags with LOL sayings, “Oy Vey All Day” and “Need A Little Drinky Drink”. There’s beautiful frescos, vintage garden statuaries, zinc planters, jewelry, shoes, books, candles, tabletop…something for everyone!

and don’t forget to check out…

The harbor and all the nautical action (just one street down from Main Street).

The parks…

The history…

And the antique homes!

Alright, we want to hear from you, what town should we hit up next?!

Happy day tripping, friends!

Pics: Lora / Words: Bev

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