If walking down Main Street swooning over historical sites while enjoying a cold ice cream cone sounds like your idea of the perfect Sunday afternoon, then look no further than Old Wethersfield, Connecticut. The Old Wethersfield Historic District, founded in 1634, is the largest historic district in Connecticut, and if you’re looking for things to do this weekend, I highly recommend stopping by for a visit. This quaint village in Connecticut has restaurants, shopping, historical attractions, and activities for couples and families.
This Post May Contain Affiliate Links
Authentically New England, Old Wethersfield is home to the Webb Deane Stevens Museum and continues its colonial charm throughout the district, holding onto its richly unique history that is sure to delight lovers of quintessential New England. If you’re looking for a real-life Stars Hollow, Old Wethersfield might be a great location to visit. As you walk by Griffith Dance Academy, you feel like you’re walking past Miss Patty’s Dance Studio as the music roars from the open windows of the academy and the stomp of dancers’ feet echoes around you. Locals sit outside and talk with each other on benches along Main Street or they can be found gathering at outdoor tables outside the local ice cream shop, restaurants, or market.
Starting your tour of Old Wethersfield with the Wethersfield Heritage Walk is the perfect way to begin experiencing the vast history of this old Connecticut town. The Heritage Walk will take you back in time to the colonial days in its three-mile self-guided tour. During your walk, you will enjoy historic landmarks such as the Silas W. Robbins House Bed and Breakfast, the Buttolph-Williams House, Temple Beth Torah, the Chester Bulkey House Bed and Breakfast, and the Hurlbut-Dunham House.
Along your journey, you will eventually find yourself at the Webb Deane Steven Museum, which offers tours of their three properties, as well as the Buttolph-Willaims House. Don’t forget to stop by the Colonial Revival Garden and the 19th century Webb Barn located behind the Webb Deane Steven’s properties.
I noticed that it was fairly early when I was there, so I decided to take a tour of the three properties. The homes had teased me with their architectural charm in my past two visits to the village, so I thought it was time to take the plunge and check them out. A large group had just started their tour while I was in the garden taking photos, so I was fortunate enough that I was given a solo tour of the three homes. Our tour started with the Silas Deane House and ended at the Joseph Webb House.
The 1769 asymmetrical Silas Deane House sits next to the Joseph Webb House and was visited by John Adams and George Washington in the 1700’s. The house originally had a front porch, but the porch has since been removed. The home has been restored to its original color which consisted of yellow in the front and red in the back of the home. In this home, you will learn about how Silas Deane fought to clear his name, and you will see a staircase in the main entry that leads up to the ballroom area. You will also see a dining room, the kitchen, which has a grand fireplace and stone sink; and bedchambers that showcase 18th century clothing.
The Isaac Stevens House is the smallest of the homes at the museum, built in 1799 by leatherworker Isaac Stevens. It is a Georgian style home, of a middle-class family, with a simple, yet charming, interior. The first floor windows are particularly unique because they have wooden shutters that slide closed. When visiting the home, you will see the kitchen, with an 18th century cookbook; a sick room, a shared children’s bedroom, children’s clothing from the era, a toy collection from the 19th Century, a parlor, and the dining area.
The 1752 Joseph Webb House was George Washington’s headquarters in May of 1781 and is the location where he planned the final strategy which led to the end of the Revolutionary War. The home was sold to Wallace Nutting in 1916. He added exquisitely painted murals in the front parlors and hallway of the main floor, which give this home its uniqueness. Nutting was an artist and photographer who would take black and white photos of the colonial era, staged with antiques and models, and he would paint the photos in with watercolor. In the parlor of the Joseph Webb House you can see a re-creation of a Nutting scene. Inside this home, you will also find a stunningly unique shell cupboard in the other parlor, Washington’s bedchamber with restored wallpaper, and slave quarters in the attic. This home is missing a kitchen, but that is because the store’s museum is where the kitchen was.
The tour guides at the Webb Deane Stevens Museum were so friendly, and you could tell they shared a lot of enthusiasm about the properties, the history of the homes, and the Old Wethersfield area. At the end of my tour, the tour guides asked me which home was my favorite. At the time, I really couldn’t answer the question! There was so much to take in and consider after viewing each of the homes, but after a lot of thought on the characteristics of each home and the feeling I had in each, the Joseph Webb House was my favorite. The home was packed with so much history and beautiful murals; it was a home I would love to experience life in back in the 1700’s.
If you would like to take the tours when you visit Wethersfield, they are given on demand, and you can purchase a tour at the museum’s shop.
Across the street is the Wethersfield Ancient Burying Ground and Village Cemetery where you can see the grave-sites of former residents from the 1700’s. One of the residents buried in the cemetery is Quash Gomer, a slave that was able to buy his freedom, marry, and later have ten children. I didn’t visit the cemetery, but the Webb Deane Stevens museum hosts their Witches and Tombstones Tour annually in October. You can find out more information about the tour on their website.
Behind the Joseph Webb House, you will find the Colonial Revival Garden which was designed by Amy Cogswell in 1921. Many of the flowers that were in the garden in the 1900’s bloom in the garden today and upkeep is done by volunteers.
If you would like to experience even more of Wethersfield’s rich history, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum hosts their (WDS) Revolutionary War Encampment each year, on Memorial Day Weekend. At the Encampment, you will see the 5th CT Regiment in their colonial dress and watch demonstrations related to life in the 18th Century. You can find more information on the Revolutionary War Encampment here.
The Buttolph-Williams House is another home you will pass on the Heritage Walk, as mentioned above. I didn’t take the tour of the property, but I did chat with the tour guides at the Webb Dean Stevens Museum about the home. The 1711 home was the inspiration for the children’s book The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. You can find more information on the tour here.
Continuing on the Heritage Walk, down Main Street, you will find various shops and the Old Wethersfield Country Store. The employees are very friendly in this charming store which prides itself on offering local items such as cheese, meat, gifts, candy, Nora cupcakes, chocolates, and so much more. I left there with a sweet smelling happy birthday cake soy candle, that’s made locally here in CT, and maple onion bacon jam.
One of my favorite buildings in Old Wethersfield is the Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre. Built in 1811, the front of the building is a gorgeous whitewashed brick, and the side of it resembles a farmhouse style with its ivory wooden siding and garden lights strung from building to building. The location is so unique, you feel like you’ve stepped out of Wethersfield and traveled elsewhere. It almost has a southern feel to it; kind of like Magnolia Market (you know, Chip & Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper?). The market has a café where you can grab a coffee or bite to eat, local pantry items are available for purchase such as Vermont maple syrup, and they also sell produce and have plants with a greenhouse out back. There are tables and chairs inside, and outside there is a gazebo and even more table and chairs so you can enjoy your fresh café meal.
A couple of buildings down from the Heirloom Market, you will find Main Street Creamery and Café where photos of customers fill the walls of this bright and cheery atmosphere. The words “Our Small Town is Like a Big Family..” are displayed above the counter. If you love a good ice cream treat, they have it all: sundaes, milkshakes, malts, soft serve, hard serve, ice cream sodas, floats, and froyo. It’s a must visit in Wethersfield!
Continue your walk down Main Street to the intersection of Hart Street, where you will find the cutest home where a bicycle decorated with a basket and flowers stands along the front of its brick exterior.
Wethersfield Cove is another picturesque part of Wethersfield. It’s connected to the Connecticut River through Folley Brook and is home to Wethersfield Cove Park and the Cove Warehouse Maritime Museum. The museum is a beautiful 17th Century warehouse/barn, with a stone foundation, encompassing all the architectural colonial elements a New England history lover appreciates. The Cove was a shipyard in the 17th century with six warehouses like the single one that remains today. It’s a great area to take your family; kids will love playing along the cove. Fireworks are held here annually the first week in June, which makes for a great family activity as well!
If you’re looking for even more to do in Old Wethersfield, the town has an abundance of events taking place year-round like kayak and canoe events, bike rides, a carnival, art shows, craft fairs, holiday events, nature walks for kids, and much more.
If your tour of Old Wethersfield has left you hungry, and you want to grab a quick bite, stop by Aroma Bistro for a sandwich and sit outside at their outdoor tables. If you’re looking to dine in, Lucky Lou’s Bar & Grill may be the place for you. This pet-friendly restaurant has casual patio seating outside and was a Best of Hartford Magazine winner in 2017 for their farm-to-table cuisine. They offer it all, Mediterranean style: burgers, seafood (lobster rolls), ribs, lamb, and salads. If you’re looking for something even more casual, enjoyed by both locals and visitors, Old Town Café is another great choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Their bar and cafe offers omelets, pancakes, waffles, chicken tenders, wraps, sandwiches, and burgers.
To see more photos from this wonderful town, visit my Instagram page!
Places to Visit in Old Wethersfield, CT
Aroma Bistro | 227 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Wethersfield Ancient Burying Ground and Village Cemetery | 1 Marsh St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Buttolph-Williams House | 249 Broad St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Colonial Revival Garden | 211 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Cove Warehouse Maritime Museum | 533 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Heirloom Market at Comstock Ferre | 263 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Lucky Lou’s Bar & Grill | 222 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Old Town Cafe | 187 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Old Wethersfield Country Store | 221 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Main Street Creamery and Café | 271 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Webb Deane Steven Museum | 211 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Wethersfield Cove | 533 Main St, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Pin this Post