Exploring Chester, Connecticut

Article by Sam Dostaler

For years we have heard about the charm of Chester, Connecticut. Nestled along the Connecticut River the town can be overshadowed by some of its neighbors; Essex, and the beckoning coastal towns of Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Earlier this year we were exploring towns along the Connecticut River and were excited to finally make our way to downtown Chester, however when we arrived the town’s sidewalks were being repaved so we noted the town’s beauty and decided to save the exploring for another day.

Returning took a bit longer than we wanted but on the last full weekend of October, we decided to finally make it back to the quintessential New England downtown of Chester.

If you can’t find parking along the small Main Street then head up the road to Maple Street where you will find a large public parking area. The lot is a short walk back down to Main Street. Once we got out of our car we were greeted by the wonderful smell of OTTO Pizza. On this trip to Chester we didn’t stop at any restaurants but the smells as you strolled by certainly have us planning to go back come next spring and summer.

Blackkat Leather

As we strolled down Main Street we ducked into the various shops lining the colorful Chester Center. We stopped at Blackkat Leather, a shop that offers handmade leather goods. Beginning as the hobby of Cassandra and Drew Archer, the business began in Santa Cruz, California before finding a permanent home in 2016 in Chester. The shop offers everything from leather-wrapped candles to purses, duffel bags, and wallets.

As you continue through the Chester Center stop in the various art galleries including the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio and Gallery and Chester Gallery & Framing.

Further down the street, we came across Simon’s Marketplace, a cafe situated right in the middle of Main Street. At the time of our visit we were too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so we settled for some treats from Simon’s sampling the various freshly baked cookies, and hot beverages. We would recommend the freshly made hot chocolate and the warm soft snickerdoodles! After purchasing our treats we grabbed a seat at one of the tables outside and let time stand still for a moment as we enjoyed our food and drink while watching the people walk by.

We had hoped to visit the Little House Brewing Company but it was closed for the weekend giving their employees a much deserved weekend off.

However, despite missing out on a visit to the brewery we did stop for one last treat at the recently opened Honeycone Craft Ice Cream shop. Opened in early October, the shop is a cute shop with a wide range of flavors, many of which are gluten-free, non-dairy, and vegan. Each ice cream flavor is made in small batches and is only good for a few days at a time, meaning the ice cream is as fresh as it can be.

Their ever-changing menu includes staples (with a twist) like madagascar vanilla bean, chocolate milk, maple walnut, and unique flavors such as cinnamon honey, cookies and coconut cream, and mulled wine sorbet. Honeycone Craft Ice Cream is open year-round and will also feature seasonal flavors. When we visited in October their menu featured pumpkin clove.

When you visit either try one scoop or get an ice cream flight to share or eat all on your own if you chose!

During our time in Chester, we got a taste for what makes this town so special. That taste also has us already looking forward to our next visit.

Feature image from Visit Chester CT Facebook

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