Summer Weekend on the Connecticut Shore

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 05 2019


Perfect Summer Weekend in Madison, Connecticut

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.
Perfect Summer Weekend in Madison, Connecticut
Perfect Summer Weekend in Madison, Connecticut
Photo Credit : Courtesy of The Madison Beach Hotel

Plan Your Perfect Weekend in Madison, Connecticut

5 Essential Things to Do in Madison, Connecticut

R.J. Julia Booksellers

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.

Hammonasset Beach State Park

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.

Meigs Point Nature Center

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.

Madison Art Cinemas

Located in a historic building with movie-showing roots that stretch back to 1912, this locally owned twin-screen theater specializes in first-run independent and foreign films.

Thimble Islands Cruise

Take to the sea for a 45-minute narrated cruise of one of the most storied sections of the New England waters. The Thimble Islands, an archipelago just off Madison’s neighboring community of Branford, is said to be where Captain Kidd buried his famous treasure. Numerous operators offer narrated cruises, including Thimble Islands Cruise, Captain Bob’s Thimble Island Cruise, and Captain Dave’s Thimble Island Cruises.

3 Places to Stay in Madison, Connecticut

Madison Beach Hotel

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.

Scranton Seahorse Inn

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.

Tidewater Inn

This favorite B&B sets guest up to comfortably explore Connecticut’s shoreline. The inn features eight guest rooms, all with private baths, as well as one spacious cottage.

5 Restaurants to Try in Madison, Connecticut

Cristy’s Madison

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.

Bar Bouchée

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.

Madison Cheese

Load up on artisanal cheeses to bring home, or find a seat at the café to explore all the ooey-gooey goodness in the form of cheese plates, grilled cheeses, and house-made mac-and-cheese.

Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale

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.

Café Allegre

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.