Everyone needs a summer drinks, dinner, relax-on-the-patio spot. Old Lyme Inn has become a go-to destination.
Turn down Old Lyme’s historic Lyme Street and you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a tucked-away, country retreat. And, yet, this pastoral hamlet is just a few miles up the road from Connecticut’s southeastern shoreline and the beachside communities that line it, with easy access to the I-95 corridor, New York City and Boston. In the heart of town, you’ll find elegant Colonial- and Federal-style homes set amid rolling, forested hills, glimmering tidal marshes and the magnificent Connecticut River stretching out along the town’s western border.
In the summer months, Old Lyme comes alive, the landscape blooming and bright, river banks teeming with fisherman, waterways dotted with boats and kayaks. Summertime visitors return, filling the galleries of the renowned Florence Griswold Museum, popping by the town’s popular Midsummer Festival in July, and lounging on the Old Lyme Inn’s maple-shaded, brick patio.
Set back from Lyme Street, the Old Lyme Inn is a fine-looking, Georgian-style building framed by timeworn oaks, wrought-iron fencing and an expansive green lawn. A stone path beckons to passersby from the street, guiding them to the patio and a stately, white-columned veranda. Built circa 1856, the inn started life as a 300-acre working farm; it became a boardinghouse, then the Barbizon Oak Inn, during the 1950s. After fire damaged the structure in the mid-60’s a major renovation occurred culminating in the property becoming the Old Lyme Inn. Following a top-to-bottom refurbishment by the current owners in 2012, the Old Lyme Inn now offers 13 plush guest rooms, a popular restaurant that serves lunch, dinner and brunch, and the Side Door Jazz Club, recognized by Downbeat magazine one of the world’s premiere jazz venues.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the inn’s patio is the place to be. After a day at the beach, pop by for a refreshing frozen drink from the summer-libations menu. Then dine al fresco while toe-tapping the night away to live music on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings. For more fun in the sun, the Old Lyme Inn will host backyard-style BBQs and traditional, New England-style clambakes every Sunday, making the most of the bucolic scenery and those all-too-fleeting summer days. On the menu, expect savory, smoky BBQ and all the fixings, and fresh lobsters, mussels, crabs, clams, oysters and vegetables steamed to perfection. Throw in a friendly game or two of cornhole toss on the lawn, and you’ve got yourself a picture-perfect Sunday.
Taking advantage of summer’s longer days, the inn has extended its dining hours, so you can grab a bite anytime between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Plus, the return of happy hour seven days a week between 3 and 5 p.m. is the perfect excuse to gather with friends for dinner and drinks.
No matter the season, the Old Lyme Inn offers a bit of history, style and grace in an enchanting corner of Connecticut. And, come summertime, it’s the perfect place to relax with a cool drink, a light bite and live music.
The Old Lyme Inn is located at 85 Lyme St., Old Lyme. The restaurant/bar is open Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner is from 5-9 p.m. and Sunday breakfast and brunch are served from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 860-434-2600; to see the seasonal menus and make a reservation online, visit oldlymeinn.com.