Follow your hearts to one of Connecticut's great destinations for romance.
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Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, Old Saybrook
In any season, the point of land in Old Saybrook where the Connecticut River runs into Long Island Sound is one of the loveliest in the state—and one of the most romantic. Here there are water views aplenty, the calls of gulls on the wind, boaters and fishermen to observe, fine old cottages to stroll by and bracing salt air to breathe. Here also, as good fortune would have it, is the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, where an overnight can really feel like a vacation.
We arrived on a chilly midafternoon and were immediately warmed up and won over by the inn’s lobby, where comfort, good taste and a friendly welcome set the tone for our stay. Our room was better yet, with its so-much-better-than-what-we’ve-got-at-home bed, good reading chairs, gas-fueled fireplace and balcony overlooking the inn’s marina, and the river and Sound beyond.
It would have been tempting to make camp immediately and vow never to leave our room, but a few diversions beckoned. We first went out for a bracing stroll along the waterfront. The marina had a forlorn, off-season (but somehow still romantic) aspect—only a river tugboat and the Plum Island commuter ferry remained at their moorings, and a couple of bundled-up anglers stood patiently over their lines, as still as ice fishermen without the ice.
If we’d been slightly more ambitious, we could have driven two minutes over a causeway to Fenwick Island, the old summer resort whose big, ramshackle cottages have long housed Connecticut’s well-heeled, including, most famously, the Hepburns of Hartford. A couple of minutes in another direction would have taken us to Old Saybrook’s walkable downtown, with its gift shops, jewelers, antiques shops and other stops for browsing or buying. As in any Connecticut shoreline town, it can be fun just to stop in front of a real estate office and discuss the pros and cons of the water-view homes on display in the front window.
But it was our mission to return to the inn to begin taking advantage of some of its excellent features. First on the schedule was a hot-stone treatment at Saybrook Point’s spa. With its heated pools, 11 treatment rooms, Swiss shower and full menu of treatments, the spa is a highly recommended, almost mandatory, part of a romantic overnight. For the somewhat more proactive, there’s also a fully equipped health club, with exercise equipment, steam room, sauna and whirlpool.
Once properly relaxed, it was time to think about dinner. Old Saybrook offers a number of notable dining options. Nearby, there are Jack’s Saybrook Steak, Alforno Trattoria and Liv’s Oyster Bar, just to name a diverse few. But we only had to go downstairs to sample perhaps the best of all, the inn’s own warmly welcoming Terra Mar Grill & Bar. The kitchen’s affiliation with the Connecticut Grown and Farm to Chef programs assures an emphasis on the freshest of local ingredients, which we appreciated and enjoyed in our clam chowder and Stonington scallop arancini, served with yucca chips and a tomato-olive oil purée. We kept the seafood theme going with the Saybrook Point Inn cioppino—shrimp, scallops, mussels and calamari in a lobster, tomato and saffron broth—and Atlantic salmon pan-seared with asparagus risotto, Niçoise olive tapenade, tomato coulis and basil oil.
We lingered over dessert and coffee, contentedly chatting and taking in the lights on the water beyond our tableside window. How easily romance flows in just the right setting. —Charles Monagan
Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, (800) 243-0212 or saybrook.com.