A coastal town in New London County, Old Lyme, CT is a glorious place to venture into if you’re looking to delve into art and the outdoors. Having been the birthplace of American Impressionism, it continues to be a haven for artists from all over the world. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Florence Griswold Museum

Florence Griswold Museum
© Florence Griswold Museum

The Florence Griswold Museum, which magnificently displays its role as the home of the Lyme Art Colony and the birthplace of American Impressionism, can be found on the banks of the Lieutenant River. Encompassing a flourishing 13-acre surrounding, the Georgian home of Florence Griswold, and the Krieble Gallery, the museum is one of the most visited attractions in Old Lyme. You’ll be able to embrace the beauty of several temporary collections as well as its permanent collection, which includes the works of artists from the 18th century up to the present day. You’ll be able to see the works of Ammi Phillips, Thomas Cole, Childe Hassam, and many more artists while you’re there.

96 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371

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2.Black Hall Outfitters

Black Hall Outfitters
© Black Hall Outfitters

Since it was established in 1999, Black Hall Outfitters quickly grew to become the local authority on kayak fishing. In addition to their rentals and sales, Black Hall also provides a variety of tours which are a unique way to explore the area’s waters. You can go paddle boarding during the sunset, show off your skills with kayak fishing, test your balance with stand up paddle boarding, or go on an eco-tour to get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna. Discover some of the most pristine coastlines in the nation on the Long Island Sound while learning so much from you certified kayak instructor and naturalist.

132 Shore Rd, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-9680

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3.Sculpture Grounds

Sculpture Grounds
© Sculpture Grounds

The Sculpture Grounds comprises a number of courtyards and gardens which contain over a hundred sculptures. The grounds span nearly four and a half acres and houses sculptured of all sizes and shapes. It’s a beautiful and interactive display of art that lets you really connect with the pieces. Sculpture Grounds can be found on the property of Gilbert Boro, a local artist, who invites people from all over to come and explore, take in the sights, enjoy a picnic, or visit the “cafe” outside of his home. Along with the sculpture grounds is Studio 80, the working studio of Boro and his assistants who are always creating fascinating new works which visitors are welcome to observe.

80 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-5957

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4.Lyme Art Association

Lyme Art Association
© Lyme Art Association

Old Lyme is packed with art as it was the home a prolific art colony in the beginning of the 20th century. The Lyme Art Association was incorporated in 1914 and began at the home of Florence Griswold, the birthplace of American Impressionism. The gallery has several exhibitions throughout the year, often displaying works of both professional and developing artists. In addition to exploring the exhibits, you can also spend your time taking part in one of the many classes and workshops held at the Lyme Art Association’s Gallery. Some of their most popular classes are Beginning and Intermediate Watercolor, Portrait/ Figure Drawing and Painting, Oil Painting for Beginners, and Working with Pastels.

90 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371

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5.The Chocolate Shell

The Chocolate Shell
© The Chocolate Shell

Often called “the sweetest destination in Old Lyme”, The Chocolate Shell is sure to have something to satisfy your sweet tooth. The shop has been around since the 1980s, though the current owner took over in 2011. Walking in, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory; the shop is full of truffles, bonbons, and chocolate covered everything no matter if you prefer salty pretzels or chewy gummy bears. Another reason that The Chocolate Shell is so popular is because it’s the best place to buy nostalgia-inducing candies from your childhood like Peanut Chews, Mallo Cups, and Abba Zabba.

16B Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-9727

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6.Connecticut Art Trail

Connecticut Art Trail
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The Connecticut Art Trail will guide you on a journey through fifteen historic sites and world-class museums, all of which are located on a single path of travel. The trail was established in 1995 as a way of making it easier for residents and visitors to explore, appreciate, and celebrate Impressionist art, though now it has expanded to include other styles of art as well. Some of museums which you’ll find along the way are the Yale University Art Gallery, the Florence Griswold Museum, the Bruce Museum, and the Bush-Holley Historic Site. To make it easier, you can purchase an Art Pass which will grant you admission to several of the museums on the trail for one low price.

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7.Bell 8 Charters

Bell 8 Charters
© Bell 8 Charters

Home of the Black Hall Outfitters and Marina, Bell 8 Charters can handle all of your outdoor adventure needs. You can utilize the services of this renowned company to partake in fun activities such as swimming, birdwatching, fishing, and much more. Cruise the Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River Estuary to come across the local flora and fauna such as the marshes, various species of fish, and shore birds such as kingfishers, gulls, and marsh sparrows. Their fishing and fly fishing tours are incomparable and is sure to be an amazing experience for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Walk and swim through stunning deserted beaches which seem as if you’re on an exotic island. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Bell 8 Charters is one of the most sought-after companies in the state.

132 Shore Rd, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-490-0967

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8.Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe & Cafe

Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe & Cafe
© Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe & Café

Open seasonally, the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe & Cafe is a favorite among residents and visitors. All of the ice cream served is made in that very location and is homemade, hand crafted, and uses only the best ingredients available. All of the ice cream is crafted with super premium 16% butterfat cream, ensuring deliciousness in every single mouthful. Their most popular flavor is Connecticut Peach and is made with native peaches which are locally picked; because of this, it is only available for a limited time towards the end of summer so be sure to try it out if you’re in the area then.

34 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-6942

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9.Black Hall Grille

Black Hall Grille
© Black Hall Grille

If you’re looking for a laid back neighborhood pub then look no further than the Black Hall Grille. The restaurant, bar, and lounge serves American cuisine with a modern twist such as Maryland-style crab cake with a caper red pepper remoulade, soft baked pretzels with a beer cheese sauce, and delicious burgers topped with Applewood smoked bacon and sautéed mushrooms. Make your meal complete with a glass of house wine or an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. There are several events held at the Black Hall Grille such as live music every Saturday - it’s the perfect opportunity to come across local, upcoming artists.

100 Shore Rd, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-1414

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10.Coffee's Country Market and Catering

Coffee's Country Market and Catering
© Coffee's Country Market and Catering

Coffee’s Country Market and Catering is must-visit deli and full-service catering company in Old Lyme, Connecticut. To ensure that everything served at Coffee’s is delightful and full of flavor, the culinary-trained chefs follow three rules: fresh ingredients, classic cooking techniques, and no short cuts. They’ve won many awards over the years including the Best of Readers’ Choice Awards for Food and Dining. Stop by for a hearty breakfast of eggs and ham, an omelet, or a freshly baked giant muffin. They also have a varied selection of sandwiches, wraps, desserts, cookies, and other bakery items like sticky buns, buttery croissants, and cinnamon rolls.

169 Boston Post Rd, Old Lyme, CT 06371, Phone: 860-434-1877

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10 Best Things to Do in Old Lyme, Connecticut