Stepping into Sherlock’s Shoes at Gillette Castle

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Seeing the promising weather forecast: temperatures in the high 70s and sunny, clear skies, I decided today was the perfect opportunity for a small road trip. I set my sights on Gillette Castle, a historic building located within a state park between the towns of Lyme and East Haddam at 67 River Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423; it is a 50 minute drive from my hometown.

Reading up on the castle prior to setting out, I discovered it had belonged to and been designed by William Gillette, an American actor who was most well-known for playing Sherlock Holmes on stage. After Gillette lived in the castle for many years, he sold the property to the state of Connecticut for $5,000 in 1943.

The drive up to East Haddam was beautiful and scenic, especially once I entered the town itself. This sight-seeing opportunity is particularly worthwhile because of all that the East Haddam area has to offer besides the castle. I passed several farmer’s markets, restaurants, and consignment shops and other notable attractions like the Goodspeed Opera House, The Florence Griswold Museum and another state park: Devil’s Hopyard in route.

When I arrived at the Gillette State Park, I drove through a woody and winding entrance and initially parked in the picnic area. There I stopped to take a few pictures and consult the map. Afterwards, I got back into my car and proceeded to the main parking lot and visitor center. One awesome aspect to this park is that admission and parking are both free, so if you come to hike, walk, or picnic, there is no charge.

I found out when I arrived that the physical museum inside the castle is actually closed for the season, however I wasn’t disappointed because there was still plenty to see and explore regardless. Normally, the museum charges a small $6 admission price for a tour (discounted for children). The castle and its amenities are officially open 7 days a week starting Memorial Day weekend and going until Labor Day.

I mostly wandered the grounds of the castle, taking photos, and absorbing the beautiful outlook of the Connecticut river. I probably spent about 45 minutes in the park in total and then wandered around the visitor center for a bit, poking around. Below are some of my favorite pictures of the castle exterior and the view of the river.

I would recommend Gillette Castle to families or anyone looking to kill a few hours on a sunny day; the views do not disappoint. I loved getting out of my house, taking a long drive, and seeing a part of my state that I hadn’t previously been exposed to.

You can find more information about the castle and all of its offerings on the State of Connecticut website at this link: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325204&deepNav_GID=1650%20 . 

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