By Jeff & Stephanie Sylva
Are you searching for a weekend getaway without the crowds? Then consider the Connecticut shoreline with a stay at The Madison Beach Hotel. The inn, a AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. It is Connecticut’s only beachfront boutique resort and spa.
The original Madison Beach Hotel was built in the early 1800’s as a hostel for shipbuilders. West Wharf Beach, site of the hotel, was one of two shipyards in Madison. The hotel underwent a variety of alterations and changes through the years and was completely renovated in 1982. Many items from the original hotel were utilized in the new hotel to keep the spirit and history alive.
In October 2006, the Duques family, longtime residents of Madison, purchased the hotel and restaurant. Their goal is to maintain the traditional beachfront atmosphere while adding updated amenities.
CLASSIC NEW ENGLAND
The hotel’s 32 rooms feature classic décor, perfect for couples on a romantic getaway. All rooms have waterfront views of the Long Island Sound and include private furnished patios and Italian marble bathrooms. The property is also pet friendly. The resort features a full-service spa, The Sounds of the Sea Spa, which offers a full selection of services and treatments. There is a well-equipped, 24-hour fitness center, a yoga studio, and bike rentals. Patrons of the hotel are welcome at the nearby Madison Golf Club.
The resort’s private beach is attended by a staff who provide complimentary towels, lounges, and umbrellas. Weather permitting, the beach remains open throughout the fall. Food and beverage service, open-air concerts and starlit movies are provided during the summer months.
As the weather cools, Happy Hour heats up, as guests gather around the blazing firepit in preparation for “Sunset on the Wharf.” Sunsets at Madison Beach are a splendid display of color. There is live entertainment on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Madison Beach is planning to continue their “Unplugged Series” of indoor music concerts twice a month as soon as restrictions on indoor entertainment are lifted.
DINING WITH A VIEW
Madison Beach offers several dining options. The Wharf—the hotel’s signature restaurant—offers tablecloth dining and a seasonal menu featuring local ingredients and organic produce. The MBH Tuna Tartare is an appetizer that has been on the menu since 2012. Another can’t-miss starter is the Bacon Wrapped Scallops. For an entrée the Herb Crusted Twin Rack of Lamb with red wine reduction is a great choice. Seafood lovers can choose from the Grilled Salmon with pesto and balsamic reduction, a New England Baked Scrod with breadcrumbs and white wine, or the Grilled Swordfish with mango, pineapple, cucumber, and lime salsa..
Lighter fare includes a killer butter-poached Hot Lobster Roll and a Pan Seared Scrod Sandwich. Enjoy these either in the dining room or in the alfresco casualness of The Porch. Featuring stone-top tables and a raw bar, The Porch serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is heated for a year-round al fresco experience. The Wharf Bar serves up a variety of craft beers on tap and a full selection of spirits. Enjoy picturesque views of Long Island Sound from all these dining venues.
Make it a special occasion with a wine and food tasting at the Big Table in the Wine Room, a high-top communal dining space for larger gatherings. Or reserve The Nook, which is tucked into a semi-private area, perfect for six guests
You might also consider The Wharf’s Sunday Brunch. Voted Best Brunch by Connecticut Magazine, the buffet features a variety of menu specialties, including a raw bar, made-to-order omelets, carving station, salads, entrées, and sides, as well as an array of beautiful and tempting desserts
For more information on Madison Beach Hotel, visit madisonbeachhotel.com.
Active people will love walking, biking, kayaking, fishing, golfing, and bird watching. Take a bike ride along Middle Beach Road and admire many of Madison’s well-kept beachfront homes. Proceed to the Shoreline Greenway Trail and on to Hammonasset Beach State Park. Explore the Park’s numerous hiking and biking paths, miles of shoreline, and Meigs Point Nature Center.
Downtown Madison is a quaint New England village featuring various boutiques, restaurants, shops, the world-famous R.J. Julia Booksellers, and an old-fashioned movie theater. Visit Chamard Vineyards in nearby Clinton and taste their Estate wines and relish some French-inspired dishes from The Bistro. The beautiful winery grounds and hospitable tasting room provide a perfect atmosphere to relax and partake some good wine and delicious food. Be sure to try the luscious Lobster Bisque and the gourmet Four Mile River Farm Burger. Info: chamard.com.
Celebrate the beauty of nature at Lavender Pond Farm, just a short drive from Madison Beach in Killingworth. According to the farm’s owners, Lavender Pond Farm “was born with the simple purpose of doing our small part to help make the world a more beautiful place.” With over 10,000 lavender plants on the sprawling 25-acre property, it is a relaxing and inviting oasis for the body and soul. Info: lavenderpondfarm.com.
A popular spot in neighboring Guilford is Bishop’s Orchards. Since 1871, six generations of Bishops have been providing shoppers quality farm products and baked goods. Do-it-yourselfers will love Bishop’s Pick Your Own fruits. Strawberries, peaches, blueberries, apples, pears, raspberries, and pumpkins are available for picking. Bishop’s Orchards also produces their own fruit wines. Stop by the tasting room for a sample. Info: bishopsorchard.com.
Note: Some hotel and area attractions’ services may not be available or limited during the Covid-19 pandemic. Check the websites for the latest information.