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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Essex Steam Train and Passengers from the Past

I just HAD to tell you about this awesome semi-local historical fun event that I encourage you and your families to attend if you have the chance.

I have always loved visiting the Essex Steam Train for their Halloween and Santa/Christmas lights train rides, but for the month of August this year they are offering something new…Passengers from the Past!  Passengers from the Past introduces the young and old to several famous historical personages: Mary and Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and William and Helen Gillette. 

Twain and Gillette were famous people from Connecticut.  Gillette has hometown appeal for me because his famous castle was located just across the river from our town and was a favorite place to visit. 

Here are the descriptions from the website for each event:

The Lincolns: August 8 – August 11 (unfortunately already passed)

The president who led the United States through the Civil War will be visiting the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat along with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, for four days in August. Played by Lewis Dubé, the nationally renowned "President Lincoln" has performed throughout the country for audiences including modern day presidents. President and First Lady Lincoln will charm visitors with their sweet sense of humor, historical accuracy and famous words of wisdom.

The Gillettes: August 17 – August 18

William Gillette, the American actor and playwright famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, will be joined by his wife Helen during his weekend visit to the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat. Mr. and Mrs. Gillette are best recognized in the Connecticut River Valley for their expansive home in Hadlyme, known as Gillette Castle. As they join passengers aboard the train and riverboat, Helen will share her fabulous style tips and William will show everyone where his castle sits as the Becky Thatcher riverboat passes by his hilltop estate.

Mark Twain: August 24 – August 25

Mark Twain, one of Connecticut's most famous residents, will visit the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat to do what he does best - entertain crowds with storytelling and humor. Often called "the father of American literature," Mark Twain is best known for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is also a celebrity humorist and will be sure to share many, many stories with fellow passengers. Always with a smile, always with whit, Mr. Twain plans to make the "Passengers from the Past" experience fun and exciting. A tip for your ride aboard the Becky Thatcher riverboat: be sure to ask Mr. Twain about the Tom Sawyer character the riverboat is named after.

If any of you get the chance to go – please come back here and tell us about it.  I don’t think I will be able to go, but I would love to.


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Hi Heather!

    I can't wait to surprise my husband which loves history with a "mystery Trip to go on one of these tours!

    I can't believe that he grew up in Connecticut and never told me about this. We live so close by and it would have been so much fun to take our boys there when they were young but while my husband will love the history "rides" I know I'll want to take my grandchildren when they come to visit with so much offered for children as well. I visited the website and there is so much going on that it's really a place for everyone to enjoy!

    I can't believe that you live so close and I never realized you were just one state away since we live near the beaches in Rhode Island!

    1. I hope you have the chance to go - I always loved going to the Christmas train as a kid.

      Up, we are just over the board in Massachusetts now, but will be back in CT in about a year!


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