Gillette Castle State Park
Gillette died in 1937 at eighty-three. He left no heirs and made very clear in his will that he would prefer his home be sold at a loss than “End up in the hands of some blithering saphead” who didn’t appreciate its value. The State of Connecticut bought the property in 1943 and has made it one of the area’s finest parks open to the public with campgrounds, hiking trails, fishing and picnic spots.
The Castle located at 67 River Rd., Hadlyme, Connecticut is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day. You can also take the Chester – Hadlyme ferry across the Connecticut River from Chester to get to Gillette Castle.
It’s a hike from the river to the hilltop, but the approach on the ferry gives you the best view of the Castle in all its glory sitting high on “The Seventh Sister.” The sweeping views of the Connecticut River estuary makes it almost worth the trip alone. The estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and William Gillette’s mansion receives about 300,000 visitors annually making it one of Connecticut’s most important historic luxury homes.