With Broadway just a Metro-North ride away, it might seem backward for Westchesterites to trek out to Connecticut to see live theater, but the quaint Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton is worth centering a weekend around. A Connecticut cultural institution for more than 100 years, where stars such as Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, and Mae West once performed, the 280-seat theater oozes old-school charm. Its 2014 season includes a lineup of seven different shows, including two fall productions: Comedy Is Hard! starring Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (seriously!), and Say Goodnight, Gracie, which chronicles the lives of comedian George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen.
When we went, Fingers & Toes, a brand-new work from musician and playwright Logan Medland, was running—and the caliber of the performances made us forget that we were indeed on a weekend trip and not on Broadway. We were the youngest in the audience by a good 20 years, but I guess we are old at heart, because we truly enjoyed the funny script, music, and tap-dancing straight out of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers era.
We took advantage of the “Raise the Curtain” package (available through November 16) provided by the gorgeous Copper Beech Inn, just up the road: overnight accommodations in a Super Deluxe room; two tickets to the Playhouse; a $100 credit towards dinner at the Inn’s award-winning restaurant, The Oak Room; and breakfast. The Inn, which also seems to cater to an older, affluent crowd (we spied a Bentley in the parking lot), offers the coziness of a B&B, without the awkward breakfast-with-the hosts situation. There are 22 rooms and suites in three different houses: the Main House (historic vibe with antique furnishings), the Carriage House (Victorian country-home feel), and the Comstock House, where we stayed (classic and pretty; more modern).
Explore: You’ll feel like you’ve landed in a Norman Rockwell painting when strolling through the nearby picturesque villages of Essex, Old Lyme, and Chester—all standouts in the pretty Connecticut River Valley area. Great antiquing, the Connecticut River Museum, and the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat are top attractions.
Dine: We skipped the formal main dining room at The Oak Room and took advantage of the beautiful evening to dine on the porch overlooking the garden (same food, totally different atmosphere). Back inside, the cozy copper bar made a perfect spot for after-dinner drinks. We returned to the porch for breakfast the next morning—amazing lemon-ricotta pancakes and poached eggs fueled us up for the (pleasantly short) return trip home.
Insider’s Tip: The Lower Connecticut River Valley has been designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of only 40 “Last Great Places” in the Western Hemisphere, because of the area’s salt marshes and tidal flats that serve as a habitat to several rare species of plant life.
The Copper Beech Inn
46 Main St, Ivoryton, CT (860) 767-0330; www.copperbeechinn.com
Distance from White Plains: 2 hours Details: Rates for the Raise the Curtain package start at $374/night on weekdays and $478/night on weekends, plus tax and gratuities. Standard rates range from $159 to $249/night in low season and, in high season, $179 to $279/night.