A Perfect Day in Madison, Connecticut
Interview of innkeeper Victoria Kolyvas by Jeanne Lee
A perfect trip in Madison, never mind just a perfect day, begins with access to Victoria Kolyvas, the innkeeper of Tidewater Bed and Breakfast, who not only grew up in Connecticut, but loves her town and knows the best things to do and see (and eat!) any season of the year. If you get yourself to Madison in April or May you can catch the lovely blooms of the many fruit orchards in the area – but to give you a little more time to plan, we’ve asked Victoria to focus on the summer delights of this quaint coastal town.
Since summer days are so long and lovely, Victoria recommends grabbing a cup of coffee and starting the day with an early morning stroll to the beach. It’s a gentle 2-mile loop and you’ll pass by picturesque summer cottages and hear the waking bird life in the salt marsh.
You’ll have to make some hard decisions about your day. Do you want to laze on the beach for the day? In that case, if staying with Victoria, you can grab the provided beach pass, chairs, and towels and set off right away to Madison Town Beaches. No worries about packing lunch – just throw some money into your wallet – you’ll want to get a lobster roll at The Clam Castle or Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale. The lobster roll is a local delicacy: fresh buttered lobster served up steaming on a toasted hotdog bun. This 2-mile stretch of beach is Connecticut’s longest beach and boasts a classic boardwalk to boot.
Are you a water person? You can either learn to sail with Joyride Charters or simply jump aboard with Captain Bob Milne at Thimble Islands Cruise. Either way, you’ll get to explore the dozens of captivating tiny islands just off the shore.
If you’re a history buff, you may prefer driving over to Gillette Castle State Park for some land-bound exploration. Besides the bone fide castle home, designed and built by William Gillette (famous for portraying Sherlock Holmes), there are also 184 acres of grounds to explore. Victoria assures us that men and women will be fascinated by the home of this man who was eons ahead of his time.
The choices get no easier for dinner, as there are many highly recommended restaurants in the area; however, since lobster is the specialty, Victoria suggests a quirky unusual spot, simply called The Place. It’s a rustic no-frills outdoors place and all they serve is an old-fashioned clambake. So bring your own special bottle of wine (Madison Wine Shop) and your own side dishes (try and get side dishes from Elizabeth’s Café – it’s rated #1 of 30 restaurants in Madison!) and settle in for a unique shoreline experience.