Curio Collection Local Guide, Madison

We sent photographer extraordinaire Steven Fingar to the Madison Beach Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton to experience the beautiful hotel, shoot some photos, and create a Curio Local Guide for Madison, Connecticut. It’s full of tips and local secrets, just for you.

Name: Steven Fingar

Occupation? Master’s student in Accounting at Northeastern University

What was your first impression of the Madison Beach Hotel? The beauty of the hotel first caught my eye. The grandeur of this seaside resort was coupled by the friendliest of Team Members. The New England-inspired ornate details of the lobby and guest room were incredible and that expansive water view was breathtaking, particularly from my room’s private balcony!

What was your experience like staying at the hotel? The Madison Beach Hotel is a luxurious boutique oasis by the sea that truly captures its rich history dating back to the early 1900s when it originally served as a rooming house for shipbuilders passing through the region. I was pampered in every way during my visit. The Team Members were incredibly attentive, helpful and always available for questions. The hotel offers so much for its guests from exceptional casual and formal dining options to a beautiful bar and a glorious spa. The views from the room were amazing. From sunrise to sundown, the Madison Beach Hotel never disappointed.

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We sat down with Madison Beach Hotel General Manager John Mathers to learn more about the local secrets of this beautiful seaside town.

How long have you lived in Madison?  I moved here in the spring of 2012 to open the Madison Beach Hotel.

What is the best thing about Madison? It is full of friendly people and has a laid back vibe.

Can you sum up Madison? Madison is an amazing community full of people that really love the Connecticut shoreline. Madison is a quintessentially quaint New England town. First settled in 1641, Madison occupies a central location on Connecticut’s Long Island Shoreline. Four beaches dot the coast: Hammonasset Beach State Park, the state’s longest public beach; the Surf Club Beach, the town’s major public beach; and two smaller beaches, the East Wharf and the West Wharf, which are open exclusively to Madison residents in the summer season and to the general public during the late fall, winter, and early spring.  The

The Madison Town Green is host to several musical performances throughout the year, as well as antique shows and a weekly Farmer’s Market during the summer. The intimate downtown area, consisting of the Boston Post Road and the adjacent Wall Street, features approximately 30 independent boutiques, offering items for the home, gifts, men’s and women’s clothing, and so much more. The Madison Art Cinemas features the latest in foreign films and independent cinema. Our local bookstore, R.J. Julia Booksellers, has been in business for 26 years and is nationally renowned for hosting presidents, famous authors, and novice first-time writers. A variety of restaurants, small sidewalk cafes, and coffee shops line our downtown streets, where locals and tourists alike gather to chat and exchange stories about news and local happenings.

What is a perfect day in Madison? A warm sunny day and a walk down Middle Beach Road, where motorists have to be very patient because the walkers and bicyclists don’t yield very readily!

What are the people like in Madison? The people of Madison are very friendly and welcoming. We value the arts and the well-being of one another. People make an effort to shop locally and support the local merchants. They’re also very generous and help those in need.  It’s a small town, so we have to create our own entertainment, like the annual Bed Races, holiday parades, and food festivals. There’s a lot going on for such a small town.

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If your friends were visiting Madison for 24 hours what would you have them do? I would have them start with breakfast on the porch of the Madison Beach Hotel to enjoy the expansive ocean views, followed by a spa treatment at our Sounds of the Sea Spa. Then I would send them out to rent a bike from the Madison bike share program and tour all the unique shops in our quaint downtown. It is truly a walker and biker’s paradise. Next, I would recommend a drive up the shore to Clinton for a lobster roll lunch at Lobster Landing. After lunch, I would have them head over to Chamard Vineyards and taste a flight of their current offerings. Then I’d recommend they walk it all off on Hammonasset Beach, the largest beach in Connecticut. Finally, I would send them back to Madison for happy hour at Moxie, then a sunset dinner back on the porch of the hotel. This is a perfect day!




Madison, Connecticut

Best area to eat:

The Wharf, Elizabeth’s Café and Bar Bouchee

Best place to drink:

The Wharf and Moxie

Best place to shop:

Onyx for women’s fashions. RJ Julia Bookseller is a must. Creations is a gift shop that sells items from regional craftspeople.

Best activity:

The Grassy Strip Concerts at the Madison Beach Hotel are the definition of summer!

Local tip:

The Sugar Bakery Cupcake Truck is parked at the green every Friday!  (Sugar Bakery won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network!)

Where to stay:

Madison Beach Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton