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Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“Staff is great there a great place to work and call your workplace”

Babispyce S.

“I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, and I am currently a nursing professor. When my mom was recently in the hospital, I knew it would not be possible for her to be completely on her own right away. She loves where she resides and enjoys all of the activities that are offered. My goal was to get her back into her apartment as soon as possible with the support she needed to increase her strength and return to her prior level of wellness she had before she went into the hospital. She was used to walking a couple miles a day. When I reached out to ABC I made it clear that my mom would need somebody who would be willing to walk with her in the morning, and in the evening enabling her to get back to her baseline. I would like to complement all of the staff at ABC who provided my mom such wonderful support after two weeks she returned to her baseline and remained in her apartment. She really enjoyed all of the staff that were with her , they were professional they encouraged her to walk, drink fluids, eat and were instrumental in assisting her to reach her prior level of independence. I would strongly recommend ABC to anybody who is in need of support for their loved one.”

Robin Y.

“Mom’s care needs have been progressing over the past month - increased difficulty standing. walking, decreased appetite, increased incontinence. (Part of the expected declining process per her Dr.) Tara has been wonderful in adapting to Mom’s changing needs as they develop and a very helpful partner in troubleshooting. brainstorming how to adapt to best support Mom. It’s also been helpful in my regular communication with Mom’s Dr, to let her know in detail what has come up and how we have approached. Thank you (again) for your talented staff!”

Jeremy H.

“Outstanding personal service from this company. All of the caregivers were personable and provided outstanding care to our aunt. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an elder family member in need. Also, the staff that helped to set up their services was outstanding as well. They made the decisions easy to understand with no hidden agenda. Thank you again to "ABC!"”


“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Caring for family can be difficult and challenging at times. It's so nice to know that Always Best Care Senior Services is there to help!”

Cathy K.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.

“It has been a true pleasure working with you and your organization. You all demonstrate empathy and compassion in caring for frail elderly family members and insure distant families are comforted knowing you are there.”

Steve S.

“Mom’s caregiver is a part of the family, we absolutely love her!”

Joe L.

“Always Best Care has done a fantastic job in providing us with at-home care for my step-mother while we prepared for her transition to move permanently to a skilled nursing facility. With their help, she was able to spend a full six months at home before moving. We would not have been able to do it without them. All the caregivers we have met and used have been kind and attentive, frequently going the extra mile, whatever that may be on any given day. The office staff is friendly, empathetic and very diligent in keeping all parties informed of all aspects of day-to-day care. They are knowledgeable, respectful and efficient. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone who is looking for help in keeping their loved one at home for as long as possible.”

Sarah C.
 In-Home Care Essex, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Essex, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Essex, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Essex, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Essex, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Essex, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Essex,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Essex, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Essex, CT

‘Sea Chantey’ Night at the Bar: A Rowdy, Joyous Ritual for Landlubbers

Regulars flock to a Connecticut inn each Monday to listen and sing. It’s been 50 years — and counting.From the darkness of a tavern in Essex, Conn., the first lines of the maritime folk song “Old Maui” cut through the bar chatter: “It’s a damn tough life full of toil and strife we whalermen undergo/ And we don’t give a damn when the day is done how hard the winds did blow.”When it came time for t...

Regulars flock to a Connecticut inn each Monday to listen and sing. It’s been 50 years — and counting.

From the darkness of a tavern in Essex, Conn., the first lines of the maritime folk song “Old Maui” cut through the bar chatter: “It’s a damn tough life full of toil and strife we whalermen undergo/ And we don’t give a damn when the day is done how hard the winds did blow.”

When it came time for the chorus, almost everyone joined in.

“Rolling down to Old Maui, rolling down to Old Maui,” they sang. “We’re homeward bound from the Arctic ground, rolling down to Old Maui.”

The centuries-old harmonies overlapped, swelling to the corners of the original ceiling. Dozens of patrons stomped on the uneven wooden floorboards as they sang, sloshing Guinness over the rims of their pint glasses.

“It just gets the cobwebs out of your soul,” said Kitsie Reeves, 68, a former flight attendant who has loved sea music for decades. “It’s like a porthole into the past.”

Ms. Reeves is among dozens of regulars who come to the Griswold Inn almost every Monday night for music by the Jovial Crew, a maritime band that has performed here for decades. The folk musicians — and their fans — sing songs that grow increasingly lusty as the moon rises and bar tabs lengthen.

The music is beautiful — arrestingly so. But participants also seek out a sense of community and a weekly ritual.

“It’s like church for people,” Amanda Bunce, 38, said.

Ms. Bunce, an ecologist, has come almost every week for 18 years. During the pandemic, when the inn closed, the weeks lost their structure, she said.

“Since they opened back up, I almost haven’t missed a Monday,” she said, adding, “I felt like I needed that time marker.”

Sea chanteys (also spelled “sea shanties”) are just one form of maritime folk music, although they have come to stand for the entire genre. Back when ships were powered by wind and human biceps alone, these rhythmic tunes helped sailors haul rope in unison.

In early 2021, before Covid-19 vaccines were made widely available, one maritime song, “The Wellerman,” was an unlikely hit online. Singers sang duets, their harmonies rising across the internet as people turned to TikTok for refuge from lockdowns and short winter days.

But the maritime music tradition in Essex goes back decades.

For more than 50 years, devotees have come to hear Cliff Haslam, the lead singer, croon songs of the sea. In the mid-1980s, his solo act expanded, becoming the Jovial Crew.

Each week, they play at the Griswold Inn, known locally as the Gris, which is hung with American flags. It was established in 1776 and stands at the end of Main Street in Essex, a historic town of fewer than 7,000 people on the Connecticut River.

“People still come to listen,” said Mr. Haslam, his British accent still uncut after decades of living in the United States. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

This summer has been especially busy: Recently, the musicians had to start limiting the number of attendees, after the fire marshal started poking around the crowded bar.

For those who make it inside — longtime sea chantey fans as well as a more recent crowd of millennials — Monday evenings can get rowdy. In song after song, the landlubbers yip and stomp. Sometimes, they pretend to work together, hauling an invisible rope on beat. It’s like a “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening — but set on a whaling ship.

“When I describe this place to people, it’s ‘my Gris family,’” said Hillary Clifton, a 33-year-old high school science teacher who first came to chantey night as a child with her father.

Each week, her dad got the same thing: two Guinnesses, then a coffee. A longtime waitress — Lynn Ann Baldi, who celebrated her 60th birthday there on Labor Day — knew his order by heart.

“I left for like, five years — I moved to a different state,” Ms. Clifton said. “And when I came back, I felt like I was home again.”

Shawn Mulcahy, 34, who was leaning against the bar at the Gris on a recent Monday night, was in town for just five days: He had moved to California a few years ago, after spending five years as a regular.

“I don’t even like boats,” he said, laughing, as he dropped a $2 bill in the collection bucket. “I don’t like the ocean.”

But he wouldn’t miss this for anything. Out West, he plays chanteys on his own, nearly every Monday night, on a mandolin.

“It’s got a lot of nostalgia, wrapped in a bow,” he said.

Over the past 52 years, the band has expanded and changed. They have played through at least two hurricanes, lighting candles when the power dropped. They play when friends die, letting chanteys become dirges. They even play at weddings: At least three marriages have been born from conversations that started in the audience.

“They are our oldest act, and probably the longest-running tradition that we have,” said Joan Paul, a co-owner of the inn.

Chanteys are only one part of the maritime genre. The Jovial Crew also sings ballads and mournful whaling songs.

“We’re emotional historians,” said Michael Hotkowski, 33, a member of the band. “If you’re a good folk singer, you need to understand the emotional history.”

That’s the point of folk music, he said. It’s a time capsule of feeling.

“You can’t bottle that emotion up and look at it in a museum,” he said.

Maritime music has had an international following for decades. It has kept a foothold in the northeastern United States, too. Recently, the Connecticut Sea Music Festival migrated from Mystic, home of the seaport, to Essex, home of the Gris. And interest has expanded in the past decade or so, experts said.

Partially, that’s thanks to “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag,” a popular pirate video game from 2013 that used maritime music as its soundtrack. Then, “The Wellerman” rang out across TikTok.

“I think this appeals a lot to young people who are, in many ways, having fewer and fewer outlets for social participation in a kind of casual way,” said Joe Maurer, a lecturer in ethnomusicology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who researches maritime music.

The Jovial Crew is not interested in the social media revival — or “The Wellerman.”

It’s a little bit like asking an Irish band to play “Danny Boy,” said Joseph Morneault, a band member. Or, maybe, like expecting a country music artist to play “Cotton Eye Joe.”

In fact, if someone requested the song, the band would politely decline.

“We in the sea music field don’t like being boxed into always having to sing ‘Drunken Sailor,’” he said. “It just gets to be an irritant. We do all these great songs, and all you want to hear is ‘Wellerman’?”

Some songs are Connecticut-specific: the shad runs, the Sound. Others, especially some Colonial-era tunes, are impressively raunchy. (“Think of our founding fathers singing this song,” Mr. Morneault joked, right before starting one especially suggestive verse.)

Many are tough. Women cheat. Ships sink. Friends die.

That’s kind of the point, said Ms. Reeves, the longtime fan who is Mr. Morneault’s housemate. The songs are rough around the edges because life was rough around the edges.

After three sets, and many pints of Guinness, the musicians — and their fans — drain their drinks and settle up. Audience members help the Jovial Crew load their instruments into their cars.

“See you next week,” they say.

And most will, said Will Jakubiak, 31, a regular.

“The shtick is: Every Monday is practice for next Monday night,” he said, “and that Monday for the following Monday. So if you mess up, it’s OK.”

If you would like to start listening to maritime music, the musicians and experts quoted in this story suggested a few songs. Here is a playlist:

A correction was made on

Sept. 18, 2023


An earlier version of this story included an incorrect description of the location of Essex, Conn. It is on the Connecticut River, not Long Island Sound.

How we handle corrections

5 Amazing Volunteer Organizations In Essex-Chester-Deep River

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back and get involved in your community. Fortunately for folks in the Essex-Chester-Deep River area, there’s no shortage of organizations nearby that would love to have your help.Here are five outstanding volunteer organizations in the Essex-Chester-Deep River area.1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries: This soup kitchen and pantry provides food and fellowship to those in need i...

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back and get involved in your community. Fortunately for folks in the Essex-Chester-Deep River area, there’s no shortage of organizations nearby that would love to have your help.

Here are five outstanding volunteer organizations in the Essex-Chester-Deep River area.

1. The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries: This soup kitchen and pantry provides food and fellowship to those in need in the Essex area with daily meal sites and weekly pantry services. Volunteers are needed to hold a food drive or donate food to the pantry. Learn more at shorelinesoupkitchens.org.

2. Valley Shore Animal Welfare League: This animal shelter was founded upon an increased need for animal programs along the Connecticut shoreline. Volunteers are needed to handle daily operations, play with and feed the animals and clean the facility. You can also help by fostering an animal. Learn more at valleyshoreanimalwelfareleague.org.

3. United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern Connecticut: This non-profit organization provides opportunities for people living with all types of disabilities, not just Cerebral Palsy. You can help support the mission by donating, participating in events like the Annual Golf Tournament, or helping around the campus with property maintenance or participating in activities. Learn more at ucpect.org.

4. South East Connecticut Community Center of the Blind: A community center that was founded on the mission of bringing blind and visually impaired persons together for social and recreational opportunities. Volunteers are needed to provide transportation services at the center and participate in advocacy work for the community. Learn more at centeroftheblind.com.

5. New London Homeless Hospitality Center: The Homeless Hospitality Center welcomes adults facing homelessness in southeastern Connecticut. There are many ways to volunteer including food service, welcome desk support and even hosting a workshop if you have a special skill you would like to share with guests. Learn more at nlhhc.org.

Do you know of another volunteer organization in Essex-Chester-Deep River that should be recognized? Let us know about it in the comments!

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Essex Rejects Multifamily Housing Plan, Votes to Explore Other Affordable Options

ESSEX – The Planning and Zoning Commission overwhelmingly rejected a developer’s proposal to allow multifamily housing on several properties in Essex’s main residential zone, saying they want to be the ones driving efforts to diversify housing in town.Aiming to build a partially ”affordable” townhouse complex off Saybrook Road, Greylock Properties petitione...

ESSEX – The Planning and Zoning Commission overwhelmingly rejected a developer’s proposal to allow multifamily housing on several properties in Essex’s main residential zone, saying they want to be the ones driving efforts to diversify housing in town.

Aiming to build a partially ”affordable” townhouse complex off Saybrook Road, Greylock Properties petitioned the commission to change the regulations in the Rural Residence District – which covers most of Essex – to allow multifamily housing on certain properties. The rules would have applied to three buildable properties in town.

But after two unusually packed public hearings where residents pleaded to preserve the character of the town’s single-family neighborhoods, the commission voted 6-1 to reject Greylock’s proposal.

Commissioner Mark Reeves said the proposal was a major change to how housing could be built in Essex, noting that the new regulations would apply to about 131 acres. Under the current regulations, about 65 homes could be built on that amount of land, he said, while the new rules would have allowed up to 262 units. Most of those properties would empty onto Main Street in the Centerbrook neighborhood.

“This is more than just a text amendment that’s going to impact people in a minor way and they can go about their business without any problems,” Reeves said.

Reeves said they want to make it possible for young people and those without high incomes to buy homes in the area, but argued that the 20 percent of units designated “affordable” under the proposed regulation is actually more “moderate income” housing.

He suggested the commission draft its own regulations to promote multifamily housing in a way that fits what locals want: To keep Essex a small town.

“Right now, we are responding to an application from a developer, and it is an application for a text amendment that covers multiple properties,” Reeves said. “The truth is, that amendment is written for his purposes, not for our purposes.”

Commissioner David Rosengren was the single vote against rejecting the application, asking the group, “If not now, when?”

“We live in an aging community. We also live in a very high-income community,” Rosengren said. “It’s basically a retirement community, and if we don’t start changing that, if we don’t start adding opportunities for younger people with less opportunity to get into this community, [Essex] will essentially die. You can’t stand still.”

“Save Rural Essex” became the rallying call for residents opposed to Greylock’s proposal, with yellow lawn signs lining roads around town to show opposition. But Rosengren said Essex isn’t rural, it’s already a dense community.

Essex land use official Carey Duques said Greylock’s project wouldn’t lead to a major increase in housing density because a majority of homes are built on lots smaller than current regulations allow.

The single-family zone covering most of the town now requires 1.8 acres per home, but that was a change made around 2000. Before that, the town allowed smaller lots, which is why about 65 percent of homes are on “nonconforming” smaller lots, Duques said.

Commission Chair Russell Smith said he was on the Planning Commission when it raised the lot size to 1.8 acres. At the time, he said he was concerned about too much density, and raising the minimum lot size was meant to slow that down. He said he still has the same concerns.

“I’m in favor of just making sure that we adhere to 2-acre zoning and rural residential,” Smith said.

Commissioner Bob Day said the Essex’s Plan of Conservation and Development calls for more diverse and lower-cost housing, but that those efforts should be directed toward town centers.

After rejecting Greylock’s application, the commissioners voted 6-1 to create a subcommittee to explore how the commission could write its own affordable housing regulations. Rosengren, again, was the lone vote against the action.

“If we don’t do it now, when are we going to do this?” Rosengren reiterated. “My suggestion is, we’re not. Because what happens when you go for more discussions? Everything dies in committees.”

Brendan Crowley covers energy and the environment for CT Examiner. T: 860 598-0050

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This Cozy Harbor Town In Connecticut Has A Darling Main Street & It's Perfect For A Day Trip

Just an hour away from New York City, in the beautiful spread of the Long Island Sound, lies a charming harbor town in Connecticut that has all you need for a day trip, including the most picturesque main street.Welcome to Essex, CT! Whether you're looking for a quick stop or a longer stay, this quintessential New England village has something for everyone. This place has a charming colonial vibe felt through the quaint restaurants, unique shops, and stunning neighborh...

Just an hour away from New York City, in the beautiful spread of the Long Island Sound, lies a charming harbor town in Connecticut that has all you need for a day trip, including the most picturesque main street.

Welcome to Essex, CT! Whether you're looking for a quick stop or a longer stay, this quintessential New England village has something for everyone. This place has a charming colonial vibe felt through the quaint restaurants, unique shops, and stunning neighborhood streets.

Nestled on a small harbor, Essex is a waterfront area full of history you can see in the architecture of the three local villages of Ivoryton, Centerbrook, and Essex.

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Bring your walking shoes, as you could spend hours strolling down Essex's main street, where you'll find everything from antiques to homemade ice cream.

Who knows? You could find that perfect vintage knick-knack at an antique shop you've been waiting for, a stylish new outfit from a boutique like Emmy's on Main, or an awesome toy from Toys Ahoy! to remember your trip.


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If you're looking for a bite to eat, there are a few cozy inns to choose from. The Griswold Inn is a popular old spot serving up American cuisine with a side of history.

The Copper Beech Inn is another local favorite, known for its cozy atmosphere and delicious French-American menu.

The Essex Steam Train is another famous attraction in town with different experiences that take you on scenic rides throughout The Constitution State. Most popularly, the vintage train offers a scenic dinner ride along the Connecticut River with a four-course meal and alcoholic beverages.

We can't forget to mention the yearly Daffodil blooms that paint the entire town in sunny bright yellows for a month in the springtime — they make for a breathtaking sight during a stroll through peaceful Essex.

No matter what your plans are for your time exploring, the adorable waterfront city is sure to charm you with an unforgettable getaway.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Los Charros Cantina closes in Essex, will relocate to Branford

Los Charros Cantina is leaving its Essex address and relocating to Branford this spring, chef-owner Colt Taylor confirmed this week.The restaurant specializing in traditional regional Mexican cuisine opened in 2018, first sharing the large Tudor-style building on Main Street with its sister restaurant The Essex....

Los Charros Cantina is leaving its Essex address and relocating to Branford this spring, chef-owner Colt Taylor confirmed this week.

The restaurant specializing in traditional regional Mexican cuisine opened in 2018, first sharing the large Tudor-style building on Main Street with its sister restaurant The Essex.

In a letter to customers Tuesday, Taylor noted that the increased cost of business fueled the decision, saying the building in the hamlet of Centerbrook was "too large to maintain on its own in such a small enclave of a location."

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"It's become clear that the economics of our business [are] unsustainable in the current location, and have found a smaller space that is more cost-efficient," he wrote.

"At the end of the day, it's just rising food costs, rising labor costs, rising heating and electric costs...the cost to operate the restaurant outweighs the revenue of the location," Taylor said in a phone interview. "We're kind of left with very few options. Those options are to close up shop or relocate."

Taylor plans to re-open the eatery at 120 North Main Street in Branford, in the restaurant space vacated by Dragon East last summer. He hopes to open the latest iteration of Los Charros by April.

"For us, we believe in our concept. We love everything we've gone through to get to where Los Charros is...we need to make sure that the finances make sense," he said.

This isn't the first relocation for Taylor, as he moved The Essex, his fine-dining brand, from its original Centerbrook address to Old Saybrook's Main Street in December 2021. The Essex is doing "extremely well" at its new address, he said, and he's hoping to replicate that success in Branford, a town with larger population density.

The Main Street space has been through a lot of transition in nearly six years. Taylor first opened The Essex there in June 2017, bringing his New York and Miami culinary experience back to his hometown. The first vision for the restaurant was fine dining, he said, with a dynamic open kitchen and rotating tasting menus.

A little over a year later, looking to capture a wider dining audience, he introduced the Los Charros Cantina concept to the large space, a lively, modern Mexican street food restaurant with tacos, ceviche and tequila. As Los Charros took off, he sectioned off a designated area for The Essex's fine-dining service in the front part of the building.

But as the bar and open kitchen became dedicated to the "rowdy" Los Charros atmosphere, he said, efforts to block off The Essex area and control the noise level for its diners ended up diminishing the restaurant's energy. He began thinking about moving The Essex to another location, but the search would last nearly two years.

The evolution continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Taylor launched The Essex Public Market & Food Hall in the space in December 2020. He hired a team to handle multiple concepts under one roof: menus for Mexican fare, Italian pizza and meatballs, Asian cuisine with ramen, pho and sushi; and burgers and chicken sandwiches.

"It was geared toward takeout and delivery, and it was a wonderful thing," Taylor told Hearst Connecticut in 2021. "But after we went through it for a year, we reached the level of the labor crisis...it's just the number of extra people it takes for the food hall, and specially trained, like a sushi chef. It's hard to come across those positions."

Taylor made a decision: He'd shutter the food hall and focus on his two main brands, but concluded they could no longer occupy the same space. Los Charros would take over the entire building, and Taylor built a new horseshoe-shaped bar to accommodate more guests there.

About a month after The Essex landed in Old Saybrook, disaster struck at Los Charros, as burst pipes flooded the building in mid-January 2022. It took three months of cleanup and renovation to be able to partially re-open, Taylor said, and five months to fully restore the space.

Once Taylor decided to relocate Los Charros, he looked in towns like Mystic and Niantic, he said, but settled in Branford after speaking with his friend Jared Schulefand, the owner of Home Restaurant on Main Street.

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"We really love [the space] and we feel like it's a great home base for us to expand the concept a little bit more evenly," he said. "Hopefully we can look forward to growing from this space into [more] locations...[Jared] and I spoke and we feel like it's a really promising location."

The Branford location will have about 90 seats, he said, with a similar menu to the Centerbrook original, with options like specialty tacos and tostadas, build-your-own fajitas and samplers of various housemade salsas. The bar offers margaritas and other tequila cocktails, along with margarita and tequila flights.

"We'd like to be open by the end of April," Taylor said. "It's a pretty intense timeline, but if we can get it up sooner, then we will."


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