Town of Essex

On May 19, 2010, the Selectmen of the Town of Essex deemed it to be in the best interests of the Town of Essex to develop a long-term sustainable relationship between the Town of Essex and Deschapelles and its environs for humanitarian, cultural, education, and economic purposes. They unanimously approved resolutions creating a Sister-Cities relationship with the people of the Town of Deschapelles, Haiti, appointing an autonomous Board charged with, among other things, effectuating the sister-cities relationship, approving and authorizing projects by which the mission of the Board can be realized, and creating committees or task forces to realize such projects. To learn more about the creation of the sister-cites relationship, click here.

The creation of the Sister-Cities relationship continues Essex’s long tradition of benevolence and volunteerism that brings a “can-do” vibrancy to its communities, reminiscent of its Yankee past.  It provides a portal through which people who are interested in making a positive, measurable impact on a community in Haiti can do so while also developing relationships with the people in that community.

North Cove-Essex

North Cove-Essex

The Town of Essex (population approximately 6,800) consists of three villages: Essex, Centerbrook and Ivoryton, each part of the whole yet uniquely different.

Essex is located half way between New York City and Boston, and less than an hour from the capitol city of Hartford. It lies along the Connecticut River just north of Long Island Sound.

Essex’s three villages were settled around the Falls River, which flows eastwardly from the hills of Ivoryton, through the plains of Centerbrook, along the rocky heights of Essex Village down to the Connecticut River. A few short miles from Long Island Sound, Essex is well-known for its beautiful landscapes, majestic trees and gardens, and fascinating architecture. A bit of American history can be viewed in the factory homes of Ivoryton, the colonial homes of Essex, and the multitude of Federal, Victorian, and Cape Cod houses. Even the Town hall dates back to 1892.

Connecticut River Museum

Connecticut River Museum

Essex has many cultural, historical and educational attractions as well, from the Essex Steam Train to the Ivoryton Playhouse to the Connecticut River Museum, Connecticut Audubon Ecotravel, the Bushy Hill Nature Center, and Sailing Masters of 1812 (whose members are attired in the traditional garb of a Navy midshipman of the time period).

The Town has one elementary school: Essex Elementary School that offers an outstanding program for kindergarten through grade 6 students. The present student population of the school is approximately 600 students. There are almost 100 employees. Besides a strong academic program in reading, writing and mathematics, Essex Elementary School has other programs to enrich their students’ experience including: a World Language/Spanish Program for all students; an Enrichment Program for gifted and talented students; a Social Development Program that helps to narrow the disparity between students who are already successful in school and those who struggle in school and that also promotes a school culture, climate and curriculum which fosters the social, emotional and behavioral development of students; and a Green Team Program that brings greater awareness of recycling. One of its newest programs is the Justus W. Paul World Cultures Programs that introduces all third grade students to the language and culture of different countries. Currently, the countries being studies are India and China. Essex Elementary School is developing a program introducing children about the language and culture of Haiti that will be introduced in 2011-12.

John Winthrop Middle School

John Winthrop Middle School

The Town of Essex participates in regional middle and secondary schools (Region 4) with the neighboring towns of Chester and Deep River. It, too, offers an outstanding program for its students in grades 7 through 12.

The Town of Essex has two outstanding libraries, one in the village of Essex and the other in the village of Ivoryton. The libraries offer a multitude of services including hundreds of programs each year for both children and adults that are attended by thousands of patrons. Over 85,000 materials including books, movies, magazines and audio books are circulated by the two libraries annually. They both offer a free high speed wireless connection, as well as internet access through public PCs. Traditional reference service is provided by professionally trained librarians. The Essex Public Library received the 2010 Excellence in Public Library Service Award, which is jointly conferred by the Connecticut Library Association and Connecticut State Library.  For more information about the Essex Library, visit their website.  For more information about the Ivoryton Library, visit their website.

Emergency services are provided by a superbly trained and equipped volunteer fire department and ambulance corps, along with a professional constabulary.

Located on the waterfront in historic Essex, the Connecticut River Museum provides opportunities to explore the heritage and experience the wonders of the Connecticut River.

Civic groups invigorate the town with community activism – groups such as the Rotary, Lions, Merchants Group, Historical Society, Garden Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a strong scouting program.

Main Street Parade-Sailing Masters of 1812

Main Street Parade-Sailing Masters of 1812

Essex is famous for hosting a multitude of parades, from Groundhog Day (with Essex Ed), to the “Burning of the Ships Parade” (celebrating the 1814 British raid that left 29 ships burning in the harbor). And many others as well. Parades in Essex are a way of life.

Essex offers an outstanding culinary experience to residents and visitors alike – such hometown originals as the historic 1776 Griswold Inn, the renowned Copper Beech Inn, Gabrielle’s, the Black Seal, and Oliver’s Tavern. There are several art galleries, antique businesses, plenty of great shops and boutiques and a beautiful harbor.

For more information about the Town of Essex, visit their website.