On our drive from New York to Cape Cod, my Aunt Linda, Sam and I stopped at The Griswold Inn for lunch. Located in the charming town of Essex, Connecticut, “The Gris” is one of the oldest continuously operated inns in the country and has welcomed visitors to its doors since 1776.
Walking into the Griswold Inn Restaurant, I immediately felt like I was walking into the hold of a ship. The dark wood floors, paneling and furniture evoked an atmosphere of age, which was further enhanced by the memorabilia covering the walls. From rifles to lithographs to framed captain’s orders 150 years old, the Inn’s homage to our American heritage was undeniable. The Gris’ Tap Room has also been named the most handsome bar room in America.
As this was our first stop in New England, Sam and Aunt Linda ordered bowls of clam chowder to get into the New England seafood spirit.
For my seafood fix, I ordered The Griswold Inn’s Saturday special: a crab cake melt, which is a crab cake, topped with tomato and cheese served on an English muffin. I like the idea of a crab cake melt, but the crab cake had too mayonnaise for my taste.
On this trip, I was struck by how untraditionally New England the menus at the Griswold Inn and other restaurants were. As a visitor, I had determined to temporarily relinquish my California fresh cuisine and eat as much traditional New England seafood as possible. Quite frankly, there weren’t many seafood choices on the menu, which is why Sam ordered a panini and Aunt Linda ordered a mozzarella and roasted vegetable sandwich. I have a theory, though, that those who live in New England are tired of traditional New England food and want updated menus. This desire for new flavors is understandable; it just makes getting traditional New England fare a little trickier.
After lunch we took a walk down the main street. The yards were vibrant and lush with greenery and grass, and the houses were pristinely preserved. Stunning hydrangeas were in every yard, and I especially loved these pale green hydrangeas.
For a piece of American history and a walk down main street, I would definitely recommend The Griswold Inn. Though they didn’t have the seafood I was hankering for, that was ok because this was only the first day of our trip and we hadn’t even made it to Cape Cod. There were many more seafood excursions to come.