There's not really much to see here but it's worth a small time exploring downtown East Haddam. You can start at the beautiful Goodspeed Opera House and walk up and down the tiny street. It's perfect on a nice, summer day. There are a few local restaurants but not many shops. I love the buildings, though. Very nice for a dinner or lunch destination and then a walk to help the digestion. :)
Many of their attractions are not on this street, though. So, I recommend a GPS device or very good directions as the roads are not always clear and very winding!
The Goodspeed Opera House was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen. Yes, it's the setting but it's also the way the place makes you feel. The shows are remarkable, filled with endless talent. The singing AND dancing is wonderful.
If you don't go during a showtime, or don't want to sit through a show, it's still worth a trip for the beautiful building.
On Saturdays during the warmer seasons tours are offered throughout the theater.
Free Parking: Go past the theatre, turn right just after the Gelston House. Parking is on right. A path along the river leads from the parking lot across a foot bridge to the theatre.
The bridge you drive over can sometimes get raised because of shipping boats. Make sure you give yourselves lots of time if going to a show. In fact, go early and have a drink or dinner at the lovely restaurants nearby.
*Hint: Many of my pictures are taken across the bridge. There's a little boat ramp and dock.
Gillette Castle is a marvelously designed house made completely of natural rock. It's eerie contrast to the beautiful Connecticut River is really quite spectacular. Tucked away in a collection of long, curved roads is the Gillette Castle State Park, also seen in the Sports Travel Tips.
The castle is open to viewing. The rooms and completely unique architecture, alone, are worth the $10 admission price, of the original Sherlock Holmes' house. After touring the tiny rooms and getting a breathtaking views of the river, explore the state park. On a nice summer day, nothing could be better!
A spiritual brother of mine.......his bedroom was SMALL but his library was HUGE! :)
If you're in East Haddam there's not a huge variety of choices for meals. However, if you want a small variety (Italian, etc) head to Main Street, near the Goodspeed Opera House. There are larger restaurants with big patios and bands, small places for more intimate experiences. Each of them will be a fun experience, never mind what your preference is.
**Add pictures soon
Favorite Dish: I actually ate in Chester, 5 miles from East Haddam but walked past many different restaurants while exploring Main Street.
If I had to experience East Haddam all over again I would definitely include a picnic along the bank of the Connecticut River. At sunset in the summer......no gourmet dinner with the best waitstaff in the world would equal the experience. The scenery is unbelievable and the weather in June is perfect right before a night at the theater at Goodspeed.
Just beside the Goodspeed Opera House is a wide open, grassy area and I believe there are even some picnic tables. You'll be parking in this area anyway, so why not enjoy a nice little dinner here.
Just think about it.
Favorite Dish: You choose!!!!!
53 Reviews and Opinions
I can't imagine how else to better spend a night in East Haddam than at Goodspeed Opera House. The shows are wonderful, some of the best entertainment the state has to offer.
The tickets are about $40 a piece and well worth it.
It's not a super-huge theater. There are two floors. They pack plenty of people in there but all of the seats have good viewing areas (as long as stretch armstrong isn't in front of you). When I called to make the reservations I asked to get a seat in the aisle or by an exit due to my claustrophobia and they were very happy to accommodate.
I highly recommend getting some dinner before around Main Street in East Haddam or a short 5-10 minute drive to Chester.
Dress Code: Many tourists are here wearing jeans and a nice shirt but most locals are dressed in Sunday best.
I originally went here to tour Gillette's Castle. I didn't really bring any hiking or biking gear but suddenly had wished I had once I saw the beautiful scenery. There were many groups doing so, though.
Because I didn't actually do the hiking or biking I would have to say from the views I witnessed from the castle I can only imagine the beauty on the trails. During the summer the weather is so nice, I couldn't imagine why anyone would not enjoy it.
Equipment: There is really nothing to rent from the Visitors Center so you would need all of your own equipment.
*There were also plenty of tables for picnics if you felt like taking a break or just having a picnic.
Favorite thing: The area around the old bridge and the Goodspeed Opera House serve as such beautiful backdrops for the PERFECT pictures. Also, you can't beat the views of the Connecticut River from the Gillette Castle State Park. Just....every photographer's dream, especially at sunset!