East Haddam in Connecticut

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Gillette Castle in East Haddam, Connecticut. Photo by Esha Samajpati. All rights reserved ©

An unlikely destination for a spring afternoon often turns into a surprise. East Haddam in Connecticut was one such discovery. There’s good food, a historical theatre (recipient of  two Special Tony Awards), a castle and a swing bridge.

Built in 1913, the 899-foot long bridge is said to be the longest of its type in the world. The castle is worth a look. Built by Hartford native and noted playwright, actor, director William Gillette, it has medieval architecture written all over it. Five years in the making (1914-1919), the castle is made of local fieldstone and supported by a steel framework. Even to this day, Gillette Castle offers picture-perfect views of the Connecticut River.

Right next to the Connecticut River, stands the Goodspeed Opera House, widely acclaimed for revitalizing America’s musical theatre heritage. What makes the package complete is the Gelston House next door, whose open-air dining space overlooking the river gets busier as the days get longer. The April sunshine will bring with it straw hats, Harley-Davidsons and a hankering for iced-tea. Soon theatre-lovers will join the fray. This year, Goodspeed is kicking off the season with ‘My One and Only’, a must for tap dance aficionados.