23 New England Towns That Might as Well Be Stars Hollow
Visit these Gilmore Girls-style hamlets.
Now that breakout star Melissa McCarthy (AKA Sookie St. James) has confirmed her involvement and pics of the cast are being shared from the set, the much-anticipated "Gilmore Girls" reunion on Netflix is starting to feel real. A celebration of mother-daughter relationships, and all female friendships, the show also illuminates life in small-town New England. We don’t know where Rory will be living or what she’ll be doing when the new series opens (release date TBD), but we know without a doubt that her hometown, Stars Hollow, will play a starring role.
Though fictitious, Stars Hollow was inspired by quaint, quirky hamlets across New England. Show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has revealed that the town Washington Depot, CT, first inspired Stars Hollow for her. But "Gilmore Girls" super-fan Amy D., who started the site and Facebook feed Finding Stars Hollow to share her love of Stars Hollow and her quest for the real thing, visited Washington Depot as well as other towns in the area (check out her video of the experience) and felt differently. “The towns that were the most magical to me were Kent and Essex [CT],” Amy D. says. The California-based designer went to New England looking for landmarks like the town square gazebo, corner diner, holiday festivals and interesting characters.
She also went looking specifically for a replica of the Dragonfly Inn where character Lorelai works on the show. “The Bee & Thistle Inn located in Old Lyme is almost EXACTLY how I pictured The Dragonfly Inn to be,” says Amy D. “The Bee & Thistle Inn not only looks like The Dragonfly Inn on the outside, but inside, it's dripping with so much warmth and charm that I felt like the walls were hugging me with open arms once I walked through the door. They also serve afternoon tea!”
If you love "Gilmore Girls" and are, like Amy D., looking for a Stars Hollow experience, try these New England towns on our nowhere-near-complete list. Bonus points if you find a town troubadour.
Nate Parker Maine Photography/Getty Images/Flickr Open
- East Haddam
- Old Lyme
- Washington Depot
- Ashley Falls
Ogunquit PlayhouseWith more than 80 years of musical productions under its belt, the Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the town's cultural icons. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and today the Playhouse produces 5 shows during its 21-week season. Throughout its history, the theater has attracted the likes of Bette Davis and Sally Struthers, and theater-goers are likely to see talent from TV, Broadway and film perform in shows like ?Grease,? ?Mary Poppins? and ?Billy Elliot.? 960 1280
Walk the Marginal WayOne of the prettiest strolls you'll take in southern Maine is the mile-long Marginal Way, which stretches from downtown Ogunquit's Shore Road to the docks at Perkins Cove. The paved pathway winds alongside coastal Maine's spectacular shoreline, with views of the sprawling beach and sea in one direction, and Ogunquit's scenic cottages and shops in the other. Breathe in the salty air and note the distant lighthouse which serves as the scene's perfect exclamation point. 960 1280
Ogunquit BeachesCoastal Maine is often -- and rightly -- associated with its craggy coastline, but Ogunquit is one of the lucky towns that boasts 2 wide, sandy stretches: Ogunquit Beach and Footbridge Beach. The 3.5-mile-long swath of Ogunquit Beach is typically filled with families, sunbathers, swimmers and even surfers and boogie boarders who pay no heed to chilly ocean temperatures. For a bit of respite, head to Footbridge Beach. Its smaller, quieter shore offers a peaceful, scenic spot to enjoy the coastal scenery. 960 1280
Visit Perkins CoveThe little village of Perkins Cove lies adjacent to Ogunquit and embodies all the charm one would expect in a waterfront town. This former fishing village is filled with independent boutiques and seafood restaurants. Visitors will find plenty to explore, like toy shops, bric-a-brac stores and shellfish-centric restaurants like the Perkins Cove Lobster Pound. Be sure to stroll across the town's manually operated drawbridge -- it's the perfect place for a photo opp. 960 1280
Hike Mount AgamenticusSeek out unique views of Maine?s coast while burning off the lobster rolls you've been enjoying with a hike up Mount Agamenticus. Numerous trails, including the popular Ring Trail and Blueberry Bluff hike, twist through the area and range from moderate to difficult in ability. Views from the mountain top -- it's one of the highest points in the surrounding region -- are spectacular with sweeping vistas of land and sea. 960 1280
Ogunquit Museum of ArtNot your average museum experience, the small but powerful Ogunquit Museum of Art is dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of American art. The museum sits on a cliff with magnificent views overlooking the Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean; thankfully, the museum?s exhibits take advantage of this exceptionally scenic outdoor space. More than 2,000 works of art include pieces by artists such as John Marin, Rockwell Kent and Mark Tobey, and celebrate the heritage of Ogunquit's art colonies. 960 1280
Rachel Carson National Wildlife RefugeThis sprawling 5,400-acre preserve offers visitors relief from holiday crowds that flock to Ogunquit during the popular summer months. The refuge was established to protect salt marshes, barrier beaches, dunes and estuaries, and is a popular retreat for birders hoping to spy the endangered piping plover. Wildlife watchers may also witness white-tailed deer, moose, snakes, frogs and turtles. 960 1280
Hit the Seas with Finestkind Scenic CruisesWhen you visit the coast, the natural thing to do is hop aboard a boat, right? Book an excursion with Finestkind Scenic Cruises, and see the shoreline from an entirely new perspective. Visitors will learn about lobster fishing (and maybe even see lobsters caught onboard), view the iconic Cape Neddick (Nubble) Lighthouse and catch a glimpse of harbor seals. Wake up early to enjoy the outfitter's breakfast cruise, or book a late afternoon cocktail or sunset cruise to explore Perkins Cove, Bald Head Cliff and Ogunquit Beach. 960 1280
Eat at Barnacle Billy'sAn Ogunquit legend for more than half a century, Barnacle Billy's has played host to US presidents, politicians, celebrities and NFL superstars. This landmark seafood haunt is known for its lobster (this is Maine, after all!). Order it boiled and buttered in its shell, in a stew or as a lobster roll. Other popular menu options include clam chowder and steamed clams. 960 1280
Take the Ogunquit TrolleyIf you like to kick back, relax and let someone do the exploring for you, take a spin on the Ogunquit Trolley. While the trolley serves as a legitimate means of transportation throughout town (and allows visitors to leave their cars at hotels since parking in town can be difficult), the trolley's loop route is a fabulous means of exploring Ogunquit's sights and learning the lay of the land. 960 1280
Things to Do in Ogunquit 10 Photos
- Watch Hill
And even though Stars Hollow is depicted as being in the U.S, the show was actually filmed in Canada, so we have to mention …