Photo Credit : Courtesy of The Madison Beach Hotel
Despite its small size, the town of Madison on the Connecticut shore, packs a big summer punch. There’s its downtown, of course — an easy-to-stroll three-block village of coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants. But its ultimate calling card is the sea. Set right on Long Island Sound, Madison (which Yankee named one of the 25 Best Beach Towns in New England) is home to gorgeous Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Ready to explore? Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a summer weekend in and around Madison. For even more travel inspiration, check out episode two in season three of Weekends with Yankee, in which we head to nearby Weston, Connecticut, for a tour of Red Bee Honey.
Widely considered one of New England’s best bookstores, R.J. Julia cultivates relationships with both new and widely known writers (including Wally Lamb, Rachael Ray, and Julia Andrews), whose visits highlight an outstanding selection of titles. No author in the house? Curl up in the café.
Home to Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, Hammonasset features more than two miles of sandy beach on Long Island Sound. In addition to the park’s easy seaside access, each year some one million visitors descend on this summer oasis for its cycling trails, campground, and boardwalks.
Located at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Meigs plays host to numerous native animals — including snakes, crabs, fish, and turtles — who’ve been rescued as a result of injury. This 4,000-square-foot center also features an observation deck and hands-on learning experiences for kids of all ages.
Set right on the water, this 32-room boutique property features a spa, a private yoga studio, and sweeping views of Long Island Sound. The hotel also offers several dining options, including the Dining Room, its upscale signature restaurant, and the Porch, which has a more casual vibe.
The Scranton makes its home in an 1833 Greek revival property in the heart of downtown. All seven guest rooms feature private baths, three of which also include Jacuzzis. Chef Michael Hafford’s made-from-scratch pastries will have you asking for seconds (maybe even thirds), while his colleague, Paul Barron, helms a memorable dinner menu.
Just up the road from the Madison Beach Hotel, this popular family restaurant serves up a varied selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches. But the star of the menu is the pancake selection, where 31 choices are offered, including some sweet favorites like Reese’s Pieces and macadamia nut–chocolate chip.
Reservations are a must at this small bistro. Chef-owner Jena Pierre Vuillerment, who grew up running around his family’s restaurant at the foot of the French Alps, brings the flavors of his homeland to a seasonal menu stocked with comfort food such as croque monsieur and steak tartare.
A great seaside town deserves a great seafood joint, and this casual spot more than delivers. Lunch specials include a fried fish sandwich with a bowl of lobster bisque; a fried shrimp roll; and sautéed coconut curry shrimp. Good luck leaving without picking something up from the eatery’s Feeding Frenzy clothing line.
Chef-owner Llario Suppa carries on a tradition that began with his parents, who first opened this Mediterranean-inspired eatery. The menu includes a wide selection of pastas, seafood, and veggie entrées.