Area Attractions

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 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

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

The Diane Birdsall Gallery is one of Old Lyme’s newest galleries, located right on Lyme Street. For hours of operation please call 860.434.3209 or visit

The Kate (Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center) is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum (still under construction) honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley. Visit for more information.

Award winning Master Sculptor and founder, Andrew DeVries, has installed 14 of his largest works on the grounds of the Bee and Thistle in an outdoor show and sculpture park to last through November of 2009 – a chance to experience these masterful bronze sculptures through each of the seasons. Visit

Gilbert Boro is a sculptor, architect, educator and international design consultant, and his studio is right down the road from the Bee and Thistle. STUDIO 80 & SCULPTURE GROUNDS is open to the public 9am-5pm Monday-Sunday. Large and small scale contemporary works on display. Visit his website at for more information.


There are wonderful antique shops to visit when you are staying here including:
L. Pederson & Company 860.434.0841
Treasures 860.434.9338

Old Lyme also has several shops if you are looking for gifts or remembrances of your visit. These include:
The Chocolate Shell, a charming candy shop 860.434.9727
E.F. Watermelon, a unique jewelry store 860.434.1600
The Bowerbird which has a large selection of toys, cards and gifts for the home 860.434.3562
Oriental Rugs, Ltd. which specializes in antique carpets 860.434.1167
Turning Page, an eclectic book store 860.434.0380

While you are strolling down the street stop in at Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe & Cafe for a gourmet ice cream or coffee. 860.434.6942

Or take some time to enjoy a service at Rob Rivers Salon and Spa. For more information call 860.434.8197 or visit

We also want to recommend Cindy Konney at New England Gemological Laboratory & Appraisal Services, LLC. Visit her website for more information at or call 860.434.8885.


For those of you wishing to enjoy the outdoors, there are three state parks within easy driving distance:

Rocky Neck State Park is about ten minutes away in Niantic off I-95N on Long Island Sound.

Hammonassett State Park is about a twenty-minute drive south on I-95 in Madison. Both offer beaches, camping, picnic areas, and fishing.

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 calledChester. 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 inEast 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.

If you head north on I-95 for thirty minutes you will find Mystic where there is a tremendous amount of activities and sites. You could spend a day at Mystic Seaport (860-572-0711), America’s largest maritime museum. You can shop at Olde Mystick Village, a replica of a turn-of-the-century village. Downtown Mystic has unique shops, several restaurants and the oldest bascule bridge in the country. A few miles north of Mystic is Stonington, a quiet old New England coastal village with a beautiful stone lighthouse.

There are two outlet malls within a fifteen-minute drive south on I-95.Westbrook Outlets contains stores such as J. Crew, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Timberland, and London Fog. Visit a complete listing. Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets includes Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and Coach. Visit for more information.

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.