Old Lyme, originally a maritime village, is situated on the east side of the Connecticut River where it meets Long Island Sound. The town became a popular artist colony in the late 19th century. Since that time, the Old Lyme community has remained committed to promoting artistic pursuits and preserving its quiet charm. The Bee and Thistle Inn is located within the historic district and you will find many Old Lyme sites within walking distance or a short drive.



The Florence Griswold Museum offers an impressive collection of Impressionistic art. This 1817 National Historic Landmark is located next to the Bee and Thistle Inn. Please call 860.434.5542 or visit for hours of operation.

The Lyme Art Association was built and opened in 1921 by Lyme Art Colony artists. It features exhibits of traditional fine art by area artists. Please call 860.434.7802 for more information or visit their web site at

The Lyme Academy for Fine Arts is one of the few accredited fine arts schools in the country. The gallery features shows by the faculty, students and alumni. For gallery hours and more information please call 860.434.5232 or visit

The Cooley Gallery has been in Old Lyme for over 25 years and offers American paintings from the late 19th and early 20th century with select works of contemporary realism. For hours of operation please call 860.434.8807 or visit




There are wonderful antique shops and specialty boutiques to visit when you are staying here, including:

Treasures Antiques 

The Chocolate Shell

E.F. Watermelon

The Bowerbird

The Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe

Ashlawn Farms Coffee 



For those of you wishing to enjoy the outdoors….
Rocky Neck State Park is about ten minutes away in Niantic off I-95N on Long Island Sound. The park offers beautiful beaches, hiking and picnic areas.
Devils Hopyard State Park has wonderful hiking and mountain bike trails and is about twenty-five minutes north in East Haddam. We have more information about other nature and outdoor areas within a half hour drive from the inn.
Fox Hopyard, both a private and public golf course, is located a short drive away from the Bee and Thistle and offers the opportunity to play on one of the most beautiful golf courses in Connecticut. Guests must call and make a tee reservation. Visit their web site at for more information.




Essex is situated on the Connecticut River off of Route 9. It is a wonderful spot to shop, sail or watch the boats coming into the marina. The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride (860-767-0103 takes you up the Connecticut River Valley on a vintage 1920′s steam locomotive. You can choose to travel back down the Connecticut River to Essex on a riverboat. Right on the river on Steamboat Dock you will find the Connecticut River Museum (860-767-8269 or It offers permanent as well as changing exhibitions relating to the rich history and culture of the Connecticut River Valley.
Ten minutes north of Essex, you will find a charming village of Chester. It has fine shops, art galleries and restaurants.
Across the Connecticut River from Chester is Hadlyme, home of Gillette Castle State Park (860-526-2336). William Gillette, a famous actor and eccentric personality, built himself this remarkable home in 1919.
The Goodspeed Opera House (860-873-8668, is in East Haddam just north of Hadlyme. This beautiful playhouse, built in 1876, presents three exceptional shows each year.

Nearby in Higganum you will find the Sundial Gardens, a series of formal architectural gardens acclaimed in numerous national publications. Also on the premises is the Tea Chest Shop where you may find fine and rare teas and artisan-made oriental teapots, or purchase specialty gifts for friends. Visit for details.

There are two premium outlet malls within a fifteen-minute drive south on I-95.
Westbrook Tanger Outlets

Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets

This is just a sampling of the sites and activities that surround us here at the Bee and Thistle Inn. We have information on most area attractions and are happy to share our expertise and knowledge with you. Of course, if you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing retreat, you don’t have to go any further than the Bee and Thistle Inn.