Every part of this great nation has local history worth exploring, but, when visiting New England, the history is all-encompassing. You can see it a along the Freedom Trail in Boston. You smell it on the salty sea breezes that blow through Newport, Rhode Island. And, in Essex, Connecticut, you can taste history at the Griswold Inn, the nation’s oldest tavern.
According to the literature on site, a portion of the building started life as an armory, but the property became a tavern and a lodging place for travelers as early as the winter of 1776. Today, the Griswold Inn features 33 unique guest rooms and offers three distinct dining experiences.
The Tap Room at the Griswold Inn is a favorite hangout amongst the locals, and I visited with a local. I was only in Connecticut for five days, but we made time for two trips to the Tap Room. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was mesmerizing. The ceilings in the Tap Room are vaulted steel. The walls are decorated with nautical items and antique firearms.
The daily live music makes every trip to the Tap Room at the Griswold in a unique experience. I had the pleasure of hearing The Freight Train Five perform dixieland jazz during Sunday brunch. Friday night brings in a more energetic crowd for Psychedelic 60’s. Perhaps the most anticipated night at the Tap Room is Monday night when The Jovial Crew perform sea shanties in the bar.
Essex, Connecticut is one of the most charming towns I have ever visited. The shops and museums and docks are delightful. But, no trip to Essex would be complete without taking in a meal and a pint at the Griswold Inn.