Visit This East Coast Town For A Look At Historic 18th-Century Architecture

The United States is a relatively new country. While in other parts of the world, you can view and visit buildings that are thousands of years old, this isn't easy in the U.S. But in New England, specifically Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, you can still encounter sites that are hundreds of years old. Located less than 10 minutes away from Hartford, Connecticut's capital, Old Wethersfield lies near the banks of the Connecticut River. 

The charming East Coast town was founded in 1634 by colonist John Oldham. Due to its proximity to the river, Old Wethersfield was kept afloat (pun intended) by the agricultural, trade, and shipping industries for decades. Although it later faced hard times, it has since found fame as the state's largest historic district. Many of Old Wethersfield's buildings date back to before 1850. Reviewers on Tripadvisor rave about the town's picturesque streets filled with Colonial-era homes and note that it feels as if they have traveled back in time. 

To fully immerse themselves in the beauty of Old Wethersfield's architecture, visitors can take a three-mile self-guided walking tour. Highlights of this Heritage Walk include the Hurlbut-Dunham House, constructed in the 1790s, and the Buttolph-Williams House, which dates back to 1715. Kiosks nearby provide visitors with information and historical context, making Old Wethersfield a tremendous place to learn more about American History

Must-see historic attractions in Old Wethersfield

Activities in Old Wethersfield emphasize the town's historical significance. Visitors are encouraged to explore the Wethersfield Museum, run by the Wethersfield Historical Society, housed in the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, and free to visit. Although the exhibits change, visitors can expect to see artifacts and photographs from Old Wethersfield's past. In addition, the museum offers tours of some of the town's significant buildings, including the gorgeous Hurlbut-Dunham House. Tours are only offered on Saturdays and Sundays from late May to mid-October.

The Webb Deane Stevens Museum is another fascinating attraction in Old Wethersfield. Guests will find more than exhibits here, as the museum covers eight acres and is home to the Joseph Webb House, the Silas Deane House, and the Isaac Stevens House, all built in the 1700s. Notably, George Washington stayed at the Joseph Webb house back in 1781. Other highlights include a stunning Colonial Revival Garden dating to the early 1920s and three privies (outdoor toilets.)

The Wethersfield Museum and the Webb Deane Stevens Museum are open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. However, guests can only visit the Webb Deane Stevens Museum from May until October. Admission is $18. Other interesting sites in Old Wethersfield include the Village Cemetery, founded in 1638, and Cove Park, which played a role in the town's shipping industry.

Quaint businesses that can only be found in Old Wethersfield

Old Wethersfield's accommodations and eateries will make you feel like you're in a Hallmark movie. The Silas W. Robbins House, a bed-and-breakfast constructed in 1873, actually appeared in the 2018 Hallmark film "Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane." The Second Empire-style house features 19th-century furniture and other period decor. Likewise, its rooms will make you feel like you stepped into the past. Prices vary, but visitors can expect to pay over $300 a night. Breakfast is included in the stay.

There's also the Chester Bulkley House Bed & Breakfast. The Greek Revival home dates back to 1830 and has only five rooms, all decorated with vintage elegance. Prices range from $135 to $195 a night. Note that the Silas W. Robbins House and the Chester Bulkley House Bed & Breakfast are within walking distance from the Webb Deane Stevens Museum.

As for dining options, visitors love Lucky Lou's Bar and Grill on Tripadvisor. Located in a home from 1787, Lucky's Lou's serves lunch and dinner, and the menu has everything from Greek salad to Cuban sandwiches. For coffee and a light lunch, Heirloom Market is a popular option. The cafe and grocery store are housed in the historic Comstock, Ferre & Co. building from the 1800s. Looking for treats or a snack? The Old Wethersfield Country Store sells candy, cheese, and more, while visitors can grab desserts at the Main Street Creamery & Cafe.