Essex : Connecticut


What It Is Like to Retire in Essex

Essex, Connecticut, is small and quaint town in Middlesex County, and is actually made up of three separate villages which includes Essex Village, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton, with a total population of about 6,600 residents. Located along the Connecticut River, it is one of the few American towns to be attacked by a foreign power which occurred during the War of 1812, when close to 20 vessels were destroyed. The three villages reflect its maritime history and affluence as a shipbuilding town, and later as a producer of ivory through the architecture of the homes built during this time, with several still standing. Essex’s waterfront is a popular tourist destination and offers both schooner cruises and steam train rides. It has been recognized as “The Perfect Small American Town” in the travel guide’s "1,000 Places to See Before You Die”, and has been listed among “The 100 Best Small Towns in America”, along with being voted the most charming small town in Connecticut by the Travel Channel and Fodor’s Travel Guide in 2018. Picture of The Connecticut River Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, courtesy of Wikipedia and Jerry and Roy Klotz MD; picture of The Griswold Inn 2013 courtesy of Wikipedia and Joe Mabel; picture of The Ivoryton Playhouse courtesy of Wikipedia and Roy Klotz MD, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Edward McCaffrey


Where to Retire in Essex and Home Prices

The Villages of Essex, Ivoryton, and Centerbrook offer several neighborhoods, some historical, with Zillow reporting the median home value to be $484,312 in late mid-2022. Homes along the Connecticut River are priced much higher and can cost over a $million.

What Is Special about Essex

Essex is a pretty and historical town offering four seasons of natural beauty along the river with a waterfront district, a village green, and the only Steam Train and Riverboat connection in the country. The Long Island Sound is just a few miles away.

What Is Not Special about Essex

High real estate prices and taxes, cold winters.

Who Will Like Retirement in Essex

The median age of Essex is 53 years, proof that it is popular with retirees. The town offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, kayaking, or skating down the Falls River; The Ivoryton Playhouse built in 1910, is the first self supporting summer theater in the U.S.; there are two libraries, great restaurants, a tap room, shops, museums, a historical society and public transportation.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Professional services, retail and health care.

Climate and Physical Environment

January's average temperature is 32 degrees with July's average at 72 degrees. Essex gets about 27" of snow each winter.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Essex offers interesting dining choices including the Griswold Inn which is considered one of the oldest continuously run taverns in the United States and features its interesting history on the walls displaying historic artifacts; The Essex Clipper Dinner Train is also a popular choice offering a 2.5 hour scenic ride while dining. Essex's cultural scene consists of performances at the Ivoryton Playhouse, many festivals and town events, the Connecticut River Museum, and the Essex Historical Society. NYC and Boston are both about 100 miles away with easy access by train.


The crime rate in Essex is very low.

Medical Facilities

There are medical facilities nearby and closest hospital is Middlesex Hospital located in Middletown.


The Estuary Transit District provides transportation through 9 surrounding towns including the train station located in Old Saybrook, where you can catch an Amtrak or a Shoreline East train to NYC or Boston.

Valuable Links

Experience Essex

Town of Essex


What people are saying about Essex

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