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Gillette Castle

A Unique Hike Into a Surreal World

photograph by CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Recommending a place in Connecticut that combines outdoor activities, historical intrigue, architectural beauty and great food, there’s no better getaway than a trip to Gillette Castle State Park.

Upon arriving at Gillette Castle it’s hard to remember that you are still in Connecticut and have not been whisked away to an imaginary Disney like world.

William Hooker Gillette, a famous actor, playwright and stage manager best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes built this 184 acre, 24 room estate in the early 20th century and since 1943 has been a destination well worth visiting. The castle incorporates many unique innovations of Gillette’s including one of a kind furniture, hand hewn white oak carvings and forty seven doors of which no two are quite the same. Hiking trails abound the property as well as beautiful scenic views of the Connecticut River and beyond.

gilette castle

Entrance to the castle depicts sign in memorium to William Gillette; Photo by CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

If you stayed into the late afternoon as the sun slowly falls towards the horizon, you’ll be delighted to know that your adventure in this part of the state has yet to come to an end. Get in your car and head to the Connecticut River ferry. The magic of crossing the river is unmatched, and as you make for shore the other side will not disappoint. Chester, Connecticut will greet you with open arms, being one of the best small towns in Connecticut if not the country. The town provides great food for an even better end to your day in the Connecticut River Valley.


From I-91S: Take Exit 22.  Route 9S, Exit 7, for a bridge crossing of the Connecticut River.  Follow route 82E and park signs.

From I-95N or S: Take Exit 69.  Route 9N to Exit 6 or 7. 

For the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry: Follow Route 148 and park signs. The ferry operates spring through fall.

Where to Eat:

River Tavern

23 Main Street  Chester, CT 06412
(860) 526-9417

Cabo Tequilla Grill

4 Water Street, Chester
(860) 526-8277

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