The Griswold Inn

The Griswold Inn is located in Essex, Connecticut and is one of the oldest continuously run taverns in the United States.[1] It was founded by three brothers in the late 18th century and named after the Griswold Family of the area, and it has been under the stewardship of only six families. The inn was captured by British troops and used as a base of operations during the War of 1812.[2] During prohibition, it still maintained a lively entertainment schedule for the local yachtsmen. Over the years, several surrounding buildings were added to the inn complex, each with its own unique history. It was also used as a filming location for the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows.

Historical displaysEdit

The Griswold Inn sign, May 15, 1999

The walls of the inn hold numerous historic artifacts. Paintings are prominently displayed of famous vessels from the age of sail and steam, and the Gun Room has a collection of rare firearms. The inn has the largest privately held collection of the works of Antonio Jacobsen, the country's most prolific painter of maritime art.[3]


The tavern serves New England cuisine. It serves lunch and dinner on most days. and it features a special Hunt Breakfast on Sundays, a convention which has existed for approximately two hundred years.[4] The Tap Room was built in 1735 as a schoolhouse, but today it offers drinks and casual food as well as live entertainment.

The rooms are all well-furnished with local antiques, and the bathrooms are modern. None of the rooms have televisions; instead, classical music is piped in.

The inn is situated close to the mouth of the Connecticut River, and the typical live music leans toward sea shanties and working-class songs. During the holiday season, quartets of madrigals perform historical carols, while parlor magicians, storytellers, and local crafts are all showcased at various times of the year.

Cultural referencesEdit

The Griswold Inn served as the exterior for the Collinsport Inn in the original Dark Shadows TV series.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Historical Inns Article, retrieved 2006-8-28
  2. ^ Family Travel Guides Article, retrieved 2007-11-3
  3. ^ Ryan, Bill. "Which Inn Is Older? Well, It Depends...", The New York Times, November 22, 1992. Accessed December 25, 2007. "The inn's public rooms make up a giant gallery for maritime paintings, including the largest private collection of the works of Antonio Jacobsen, a major painter of ships in the early part of this century."
  4. ^ "Historic Dining". Griswold Inn. Retrieved 2018-12-22.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 41°21′06″N 72°23′12″W / 41.3516°N 72.3868°W / 41.3516; -72.3868