As a New England coastal community, life in Old Lyme follows the seasons in a delightfully predictable way throughout the year.
Daffodils and crocuses signal the start of Spring, and soon en plein air painters will set up their easels to capture the blossoming apple and cherry trees. Robins and warblers aren’t the only ones returning north to us, as our “snowbird” residents return from warmer climes. The Old Lyme Landscape Garden Shop reopens, and the Duck River Garden Club’s annual plant sale brings out excited gardeners to expand their herb and flower beds. Meanwhile many Old Lyme families are busy with their children’s spring sports, school concerts, the high school musical, and LYSB's annual K-12 art show held at the Academy’s Sill House Gallery.
Summer “officially arrives” with the annual Memorial Day Parade in which residents of all ages participate. The town population swells to almost double as summer cottage residents arrive to enjoy the season. In addition to the Sound View 4th of July Parade, Hartford Avenue comes alive as visitors seek out a cold Italian ice or bring their children to the Carousel Shop. Local marinas are busy with boaters while paddleboarding is one of several recreational outings to try at Black Hall Outfitters. In addition to the Sound View Summer Concerts, live music in town includes the Make Music Day Stroll on the summer solstice and Sounds on the Grounds at the Lyme Academy. The annual Midsummer Festival brings visitors from across the region to enjoy live music, art sales, fun food, and an antique car show on Lyme Street. Outdoor dining with a view is enjoyed all summer whether it’s a Hangry Goose breakfast on the Lieutenant River, lunch on the River at Café Flo, dinner with live music on the shaded patio of the Old Lyme Inn, or a meal with your feet in the sand at Kokomos.
The dance of the swallows signals that Autumn is in the air, and follows with colorful foliage along our roadways and deep within our nature preserves, making it one of the prettiest times of year for hiking and kayaking. Students arrive to study the traditional fine arts at the Lyme Academy. Out of town family and other visitors arrive for October’s outdoor “Wee Faerie Village” at the Florence Griswold Museum, which, if followed by a stroll to find an ice cream cone or penny candy on Lyme Street, can reveal fairy doors along the way. The renowned Musical Masterworks chamber music series begins every October and carries its patrons through the winter season and into Spring.
The Winter season begins soon after Halloween decorations come down. Trees drop their leaves and crisp dark nights create wonderful chances to stargaze. Annual gift shopping begins with the High Hopes Holiday Market while Light Up Old Lyme often kicks off with gallery openings at the Cooley Gallery of Fine Art and the Lyme Art Association. Shops such as the Chocolate Shell, the Bowerbird, and the Museum Shop find this a wonderfully busy season as they gift wrap special purchases. The first weekend in December is busy with craft and holiday cookie sales as well as the annual LYSB Holiday Parties in most every neighborhood. January and February are decidedly quiet in town, a perfect time for learning opportunities through one of our cultural organizations such as the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center or the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Public Library.
And just like that, the crocuses begin to peek out for a new spring.