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The Charm of Essex, Connecticut

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One of the benefits of working in the boat business is you often find yourself surrounded by beautiful, captivating waterfront destinations. One of the best, most charming destinations in all of New England is Essex, Connecticut, where Oyster Harbors Marine is lucky enough to have a location.

Essex is quintessential New England. A popular travel guide even called it the perfect American small town. It is steeped in history, with beautiful streets lined with Colonial and Federal architecture. It has lots of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. And it is ideal for boaters, from the area’s great fishing, to the scenic cruising opportunities along the Connecticut River, to the plenty of slips and facilities in town ready to welcome visitors.

You’ll find Essex on the western shore of the Connecticut River, 5 nautical miles north of Long Island Sound. Follow channel markers up the river to G C “26,” and be sure to observe the no-wake zones along the way. Also, pay close attention to channel markers off Hayden’s Point, as rocks extend underwater right to the edge of the channel.

Essex has no shortage of boating facilities. You’ll find the town landing and launch ramp along Main Street. Among the marinas in the area is Brewer Essex Island Marina (860-767-2483; VHF 9), which maintains 80 transient slips and offers fuel, electric, WiFi and more. Brewer Dauntless Shipyard (860-767-0001; VHF 9), is another full-service marina with transient slips. You can find a small anchorage just east of Nott Island, and another in Hamburg Cove, opposite Brockaway Island.

The scenic Connecticut River is ideal for cruising and is teeming with wildlife. Thousands of birdwatchers flock to the area each year for a chance to glimpse bald eagles, ospreys and the fall migration of tree swallows. The river also has many small creeks and coves worth exploring by small boat. If you need to rent a kayak, check out Action Sports in Old Saybrook.

On land, Essex has many attractions worth exploring. You’ll enjoy just walking the scenic streets, enjoying the architecture, perusing the many shops and art galleries, and dining at the area’s many fine restaurants. While in town, be sure to visit the Connecticut River Museum, which explores the history of the river with exhibits, educational programs and special events. The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat tours – featuring a 65-foot replica paddlewheeler – are a favorite among kids. Another great way to see the area is aboard the 54-foot boat Riverquest, which offers scenic cruises along the river.

While you’re in Essex, be sure to stop by and say “Hi” to us at Oyster Harbors. You’ll find us at 9 Novelty Lane and can reach us at 860-581-8067. We’d love to see you.

CLICK HERE to watch New England Boatings episode on this beautiful New England town.

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