Charts: NOAA 12375, 12372
Essex is located on the western shore of the Connecticut River, 5 nautical miles north of Long Island Sound. Bell “8” marks the entrance to the river. Follow the channel markers that start between the entrance jetties to G C “26”, taking care to observe the no-wake zones along the way. Pay close attention to the channel markers off Haydens Point (Fl G “25”), as the rocks here extend underwater right to the channel edge.
- Essex Town Landing and Launch Ramp, located at foot of Main Street, allows a 2-hour tie-up for visitors, if space allows. Limited parking along street.
- Safe Harbors Essex Island Marina (860) 767-2483, VHF 9: Set apart from the “mainland” by a tiny canal, Brewer Essex Island Marina can accommodate boats up to 150′ and maintains 80 transient slips. Offers electric, water, cable, WiFi, water-shuttle service, concierge service, picnic grounds with grills, a pool, a restaurant (Marley’s Cafe), laundry, showers, a rec room/arcade, volleyball and basketball courts.
- Safe Harbor Dauntless Shipyard (860) 767-0001, VHF 9: Full-service marina with designated transient slips, pool, showers, laundry, grills, picnic area and deli. Also home to Essex Marine Group boat sales.
- Brewer Dauntless Marina (860) 767-8267; VHF 68: Located on the west bank of the CT River just north of marker R-26, Brewer Dauntless Marina has 35 floating docks, and 150’ fixed dock which serves as the Valvtect fuel dock. Additionally, the marina has 55 moorings, which are serviced by the marina’s launch.
- Essex Yacht Club (860) 767-8121, VHF 68: Slips and moorings for transients, as well as showers, bathrooms and a galley that serves lunch.
- Essex Boat Works (860) 767-8276: Full-service yard offering hauling, repairs, rigging, carpentry, storage, painting and more.
- H&H Propeller (866) 335-7767: Propeller tuning and repair.
- A small anchorage in 7′ to 12′ of water is located just east of Nott Island. The channel here is narrow, but offers just enough swing room for most boats.
- Many boaters also choose to anchor or grab a mooring in popular Hamburg Cove, opposite Brockaway Island, 1.5 miles upriver.
- Essex Town Landing: At the foot of Main Street, adjacent to the Connecticut River Museum. No fee, but parking is very limited.
- Baldwin Bridge Ramp: Old Saybrook, below I95. This is a free state ramp with parking for 75 rigs.
Action Sports (860) 388-1291: Kayak and bike rental in Old Saybrook.
- The Griswold Inn (860) 767-1776: “The Gris” (est. 1776) is local institution in downtown Essex at 47 Main Street. Great food and atmosphere. Also features a pub and wine/tapas bar. Live music some night.
- Olive Oyl’s (860) 767-4909: Coffee, pastries, gourmet sandwiches, salads, box lunches and other provisions.
- Abby’s Place (860) 767-0560: At Dauntless Shipyard. Casual breakfast and lunch spot on the water.
- Black Seal Grille (860) 767-0233: Casual seafood grill and pub fare. Open for lunch and dinner.
- Sweet P’s (860) 767-7805: Ice cream in Griswold Square.
- Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (800) 377-3987: Train and steamboat tours aboard the Becky Thatcher, a 65′ replica paddlewheeler.
- Connecticut River Museum (860) 767-8269: Explore the history of “New England’s Great River”. The museum keeps the river’s traditions alive through educational programs, exhibitions, special events (including schooner tours) and festivals.
- Riverquest (860) 662-0577: Narrated natural history tours of the region and river. Passengers usually see eagles and many other birds on the 1.5-hour excursion. Launches from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam.
- Pratt House Museum (860) 767-1191: Built in 1701, the Pratt House chronicles the changes in Essex from an agrarian community to a commercial shipbuilding hub.
- Essex Art Association (860) 767-8996: Where talented Connecticut artists showcase their work.
- If you enjoy nature walks, there are a number of well-marked trails and wildflower-covered fields of Cross Lots (across from the Essex Public Library on West Ave.), a 10-acre oasis bounded by ancient stone walls.
- Griswold Inn (860) 767-1776: The cozy Gris has been welcoming weary sailors and landlubbers since 1776. Choose from tempting menus in the main dining room or at the wine bar before retiring to a luxurious, antiques-filled room.
For more information about attractions, shopping and restaurants and a self-guided walking map of Essex go to the Essex Board of Trade or check out the Connecticut River Valley Visitors Tourism Guide.