I just spent the Halloween weekend at the Griswold Inn and it was awesome. For starters, if you haven't been to Essex, it is well worth a stop. A super quaint town on the banks of the Connecticut River. Great historic sea captains' home to peer into, nice little shops and of course, "The Gris"....perhaps the heart of this little hamlet.
The Griswold Inn has been there since 1776 and as most others have noted, their pub room and dining room really resemble an era long past. Warm rooms with antique guns and nautical Currier & Ives prints. The pub is anchored by an old pot-belly stove. The pub comes alive at night with live piano and/or banjo music. Thankfully, there is no TV in sight...perhaps allowing you to imagine pub-life of the 18th century. (Ok, the popcorn machine wasn't there 200 years ago but I'm glad it is now because it was awesome!)
As for the accommodations, the inn is by no means a luxury destination. And it doesn't try to be nor does it bill itself as such. Our room was basic but super clean and comfortable. A huge 4 posted Queen bed was very comfortable and the other furnishing were fine. There was no TV (again totally fine by me), no Bose radio, no robes, no luxury bath products, etc. But again, all the basics you would need for a comfortable stay. My only suggestion would be to ask exactly where your room is located. We were the very front room on the second floor which offered a nice view of Main Street. However, during the afternoon/early evening when there is a lot of lobby traffic below, it was quite loud. Also, since it is a very old building, the floors do creak and we could hear every foot-step of the room above us. Oh and I would ask the management to consider a little brighter of lighting in the bathroom.
We ate at the inn's wine bar which serves small plates. Nice atmosphere and the food was rather tasty. But I would suggest to the owners that they consider getting rid of the small plates. That's a trend that's already old. And since there are only a couple dining options in town, a more inventive regular menu would be more appropriate.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. Next to the inn was their annex that had a nice common room with a tv, newspapers, magazines and fireplaces. The free, morning continental breakfast was enjoyable. Just the usual muffins, bagels, fruit and coffee...but perfect for us.
I highly recommend the inn and would love to stay again around the holidays or on a cold winter's night. But again, if you are looking for high thread-count sheets, room service and a high-end attitude...do NOT stay here. But, if you want to step back in time a bit...The Gris is the place for you!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the picturesque and historic village of Essex, Connecticut, The Griswold Inn is a destination experience. With 33 guest rooms, unique shopping, historic dining, a stunning wine bar featuring a tapas-style culinary experience, and an award-winning taproom voted "Best Bar" over and over by Esquire Magazine and countless others, the 'Gris' offers visitors an authentic and spirited adventure. Come make your own history here. The oldest continually operated inn in America. Fine Food, Spirits and Lodging....Since 1776! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Griswold Hotel Essex