Madison, Connecticut

Photo: Madison Beach Hotel
Photo: Madison Beach Hotel

A long weekend, the holiday, and the true beginning of summer are finally here. What are your plans for the Fourth of July? Grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob? Building sand castles and splashing in the waves at the beach? Or watching a parade roll down Main Street or fireworks light up the sky? All your outdoor activities will be more fun if someone else is taking care of the prep work.

The Madison Beach Hotel can handle everything. The small, beachfront hotel sits along the central Connecticut coast overlooking Long Island Sound. Madison’s town green, boutiques, and art galleries are just a short walk away. A farmer’s market is set up on Friday afternoon, so you can stock up on artisan cheese, freshly cut flowers, and ripe berries for the weekend. Hammonasset Beach State Park, the longest public beach in the Constitution State, juts out into the sound. While preparations for this weekend’s fireworks, parade, and Concert on the Green are currently being finalized.

The small hotel—with its gray walls, white shutters, and wicker patio furniture—fits in perfectly with its surroundings. Quickly check out your king room when you arrive. Soaking tub—check. Fireplace—check. Balcony overlooking the water—check. By the time you finish your checklist, you’ve changed into your swim trunks, dug the sunscreen out of your bag, and grabbed the book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for months. West Wharf Beach is loudly calling your name.

Photo: Madison Beach Hotel
Photo: Madison Beach Hotel

Follow the sandy path through the blocked-off sand dunes down to the beach. The golden sand is already hot when you kick off your flip-flops. Little pebbles and crushed shells form a barrier between the dry and wet sand. Rock formations, which look like slate, sit toward the left. A seagull stands guard atop them. While an old fishing pier, once used to build ships, is farther down the beach.

Within a few minutes, a beach attendant has set up two wooden sun loungers and towels under a wide umbrella. Two beers are on their way, as well. Slather yourself with suntan lotion. Say hello to a friendly golden retriever, who comes bouncing off his owner’s ground-floor veranda. Read an entire chapter of that book. Float in the water until a surprisingly big wave crashes over your head. Then, after drooling while the couple next to you eat lunch, order a New England lobster roll on a buttered brioche bun.

Throughout the rest of the long weekend, you plan to eat littleneck clams, New England clam chowder, diver scallops, and maybe another lobster roll or two. You want to do cat, cow, and other silly animal poses during morning yoga on the sand; pull one of the colorful kayaks into the water; and eat gooey s’mores on the beach. You hope to sit on your balcony, share a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and watch the fireworks spray across the sky in the distance. But one thing is certain: you’ll get to relax the entire weekend. No prep, clean up, or headaches will interfere with your plans—or those lobster rolls.

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