August 20, 2019  |  

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Essex Named ‘The Most Charming Small Town in Connecticut’

Published Feb. 12, 2019

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Known for its nautical history, small town charm, status on the National Register of Historic Places, and quintessential New England ambiance, Essex has recently been recognized by the Travel Channel and Fodor’s Travel Guide as a top destination.

Highlighting its beautiful architecture and the scenic “storybook village” feel of Main Street, the Travel Channel called Essex the most charming small town in Connecticut. Fodor’s Travel Guide recognized Essex as one of the “12 Most Picturesque Towns in New England,” one of two Connecticut towns on the list.

“I am very excited about this,” said First Selectman and State Senator Norm Needleman (D-33). “We work hard in this town and it shows. The town tourism group, the board of the trade, and the Ivoryton Alliance put an enormous amount of work into keeping this town beautiful and making it what it is: aesthetically appealing, with lots to do. Essex is a wonderful place to visit and also a great place to set down roots and raise a family. We are very lucky.”

He added, “Having lived and worked in Essex for decades, it’s a town I know and love, and it is great that these groups are getting the word out about our beautiful home. This attention will lead to increased tourism, which will benefit Essex shops and restaurants and the local economy.”

Fodor’s highlighted Main Street’s restored historic homes, creative art galleries, unique boutiques, and “cozy” inns and taverns, recommending visitors explore town on foot.

Fodor’s praised Essex’s iconic harbor and historic architectural diversity, saying “Essex has a lot to offer in the way of small-town charm, with a picture-perfect harbor, a historic steam train that tours nearby areas and a delightfully eclectic cluster of structures flaunting architectural elements as diverse as Federal and Egyptian Revival.”

For more information on the honors, visit and

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