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East Haddam offers visitors the opportunity to explore history, art, and natural beauty in scenic New England. The narrative below offers a glimpse into just a few of the numerous ATTRACTIONS and RECREATION available in our Town.
The fortunes of East Haddam have always been tied to the Connecticut River.The village area contains both the Upper Landing (along Main Street) and the Lower Landing (near the Goodspeed Opera House). The Lower Landing became commonly known as Goodspeed Landing in the 19th Century when it was the center of William Henry Goodspeed's booming businesses. He is most known for the Goodspeed Opera House, which he opened to theatergoers in 1877 and is in operation today. A drive through East Haddam Village displays beautifully maintained historic homes and businesses, many with views of the Connecticut River. Also, visit the Nathan Hale School House and oldest bell in America, housed in the belfry of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.
THE HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE, INDUSTRY, AND TOURISM
The Connecticut River brought settlers and commerce to the area. Historic homes, old stone walls,post and beam barns and early American buildings are a testament to the early life of a trading and farming town. The First Church of Christ, Congregational on Town Street is America's Oldest Federal Meetinghouse. The Venture Smith gravesite, a Freedom Trail stop, is at the First Church cemetery. Within East Haddam, the Village of Moodus was the site of a dozen water-powered textile mills during the 19th century and home to the eastern European immigrants who worked them. Later, people seeking refuge from city life flocked to the many summer resorts. The East Haddam Historical Society & Museum features period clothing, photos, and exhibits celebrating the unique past of East Haddam.
CELEBRATIONS AND ARTS
East Haddam Village is home to the non-profit foundation, Goodspeed Musicals and the Goodspeed Opera House which produces nationally acclaimed musicals. Over 100 employees, a 400 seat theater, scene shop, rehearsal studio and extensive musical library are all within walking distance. Hear the singing in the streets as actors stroll to and from rehearsals or performances. "Music on the River" brings numerous musical groups to the Goodspeed Green along the Connecticut River once a week in July and August. Hundreds of East Haddam residents and neighbors come to hear music on the lawn and enjoy picnic dinners or food provided by the local restaurants. In the fall, experience the foliage and the "Thunder in the Valley" Drum and Fife Parade and Muster sponsored by the Moodus Drum and Fife Corps. With the winter chill, there is eagle viewing along the Connecticut River. March brings the Annual Chowder Cookoff in East Haddam Village. We invite you to visit our Community Calendar for specific dates and events planned throughout the year and our Business Directory for a full listing of galleries and shops.
East Haddam inhabits 56.6 square miles of rolling countryside dotted with old farmsteads, lakes, handsome state parks and quaint neighborhoods. East Haddam is home to the headwaters of the Eightmile River, which runs through a greenway of protected open space. The Devil's Hopyard State Park surrounds the Eightmile River as it tumbles over a rushing waterfall and through a hemlock gorge. Along the banks of the Connecticut River standing 200 feet above, visit Gillette Castle State Park, home of William Gillette. Both are relaxing venues for a picnic or hike. The Salmon River borders the town to the North and is a site of a state project to restore anadramous fish to the Connecticut River tributaries. A state operated boat launching facility allows Connecticut River access at the mouth of Salmon Cove. Three lakes, Bashan, Moodus Reservoir, and Lake Hayward provide recreation and scenic beauty to all who visit. Explore the hillside and listen for the famed "Moodus Noises" - the strange audible rumblings that are seismic in origin and figure prominently in native American lore. You are welcome to share the views of our undisturbed woodlands, miles of dirt roads, and numerous pastures. Take time to relax and enjoy your "get-away" in a location that the Nature Conservancy calls "One of the last great places."