Updated: May 31
Did you spend the pandemic reading mystery novels? The long-awaited decrease in Covid cases and the advent of spring weather mean that the mystery lovers among us can finally get outside and immerse ourselves in our favorite genre!
Next time you're in Connecticut, spend a fun Saturday solving mysteries and visiting an array of mysterious sites, culminating with a fun murder mystery dinner!
ROAD TRIP ITINERARY:
1) Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunt, Hartford
2) Curioporium Paranormal Shopping Experience, Hartford
3) Team vs. Time Escape Room, Berlin
4) Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam
5) Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, New Haven
This 93-mile road trip will take one full day to complete, and several stops will require advance ticket purchases. Be sure to check the latest updated hours at each location before your plan your trip, as some will change seasonally or as a result of staffing issues. As of this writing, all five experiences are open Saturdays, but several are closed on Sundays. Again, we expect to see these hours expand as the pandemic wanes.
START: Watson Adventures, Hartford
ACTIVITY: Scavenger Hunt
REQUIRES ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE: https://watsonadventures.com/location/connecticut/
HOURS: Hunt start times vary
Begin your day with a clever scavenger hunt organized by Watson Adventures. Two routes are available: one outdoors called "The Heart of Hartford," and one indoors at the Wadsworth Atheneum art museum called "Wadsworth Wonders." Ask for the Murder Mystery Edition of the latter.
Watson Adventures promises "you’ll take creative and unusual team photos, find and create unique items, seek out staffers for a surprise challenge, and decipher clues to answer tricky questions about interesting locations."
If you choose the outdoor adventure, you may start earlier in the morning, but because the Wadsworth opens at noon, choosing that adventure will push your whole schedule later in the day. You can expect your hunt to take 2 hours.
Currently, only private adventures are available in Connecticut, but we notice that Watson Adventures has reopened public adventures in Massachusetts, so we are crossing our fingers that Connecticut is not far behind. Watson's private adventures can be pricey, so consider splitting the cost among a large group of friends.
NEXT: Drive 8 minutes to an optional shopping activity
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Paranormal Shopping
FIND IT: Curioporium, 1429 Park Street, Hartford
WEEKEND HOURS: Saturdays 1:00 - 9:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Should you find yourself with a few extra minutes before you leave Hartford, consider stopping in to the fascinating Curioporium, a unique, immersive shopping experience featuring all manner of oddities and curiosities for sale in six highly-detailed, paranormal-themed rooms.
NEXT: Drive 18 minutes to the most immersive escape room in the state
NEXT STOP: Team vs. Time, Berlin
ACTIVITY: Escape Room Game
REQUIRES ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE: https://teamvstime.com/events/save-the-queen/
HOURS: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Use the detective skills you've honed through all of your reading to escape from one of Team vs. Time's beautifully immersive game rooms. The highly-detailed decor in these rooms makes this our very favorite escape room company in the state!
Choose from three games: Save the Queen from a plot to depose her as you work your way through several castle-themed spaces, find the Lost Book of Spells from among the treasures in a mysterious witch's lair, or find the cure for the Black Death in a medieval alchemist's apothecary.
Your game will last 60 minutes, cost $30 per player, and advance reservations are required.
NEXT: Drive 39 minutes to the castle where "Sherlock Holmes" lived
NEXT STOP: Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam
ACTIVITY: Tour the Circa 1919 Castle Built by America's "Sherlock Holmes"
TOUR REQUIRES ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE: Gillette Castle State Park
HOURS: Tours every 15 minutes; last one at 4:15pm
William Gillette wrote the first authorized play adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes novels, and made a career starring as the famous detective on stage for 33 years, beginning in 1899. It was Gillette who created the image of Holmes that we know today, and it was his idea to give the character the iconic deerstalker hat, tweed cape, curved pipe and magnifying glass. He even originated the phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson."
His eccentric castle, meant as his retirement home, features 24 rooms, 47 uniquely carved interior doors, two tower rooms, a hidden liquor closet, and even its own library. The Visitor's Center includes an interesting biographical film and museum displays of Gillette's Sherlock-related ephemera. The grounds are open all year round, and the castle is open seasonally from Memorial Day through October.
Admission is $6, and guided tours are available of the stunning turn-of-the-century decor every 15 minutes. Advance tickets are required.
NEXT: Drive 1 hour to a fun Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
NEXT STOP: The Dinner Detective, New Haven
ACTIVITY: Murder Mystery Dinner Show
REQUIRES ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE: The Dinner Detective
HOURS: Saturdays from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wrap up your day of mystery with a fun and interactive Murder Mystery Dinner Show at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. Enjoy a four-course dinner while you participate in a fascinating crime investigation. For an additional fee, you can become the Prime Suspect (who is actually a red herring, but the rest of the audience won't know that!).
The story is set in the present day and the actors dress like all the rest of the audience. During the evening, a crime will occur (which may include simulated gunshots and short lighting blackouts), hidden clues are revealed, and the audience is challenged to crack the case. The sleuth who provides the best answer before the killer is unmasked wins a prize!
For $69.95 plus tax, your night begins with an Interrogation Reception. Dinner includes light appetizers, salad, your choice of entree, plus dessert and coffee. A cash bar is available. The dress code is casual, and audience members must be older than 15.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Mystery Audiobook
Want to make your drive go by faster? Choose one of our recommended audio mysteries!
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OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Bring Home a Mystery Novel by a Connecticut Author
Prepare for (or extend the fun of) your Connecticut Mystery-Lover's Tour with an enthralling new mystery novel written by a Connecticut-based author.