As part of its longstanding commitment to preserving Guilford’s historic built and natural environments, the Guilford Preservation Alliance launched its Heritage Tourism Initiative in October 2011, working in tandem with professional staff from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to develop a viable heritage tourism component for Guilford’s local economy. At its core, heritage tourism is about inviting people to discover and experience their town’s local history and culture as expressed in its distinctive historic buildings, places of historic interest and preserved natural resources.
Guilford, Connecticut, was founded in 1639 by English Puritans looking for a place where they could practice their religion unfettered by the restrictive leadership of the Church of England. Since that time, Guilford has been settled by and has nurtured leaders in religion, education, literature, government, invention, industry, architecture and the abolition of slavery. The walking tours of Historic Guilford will allow our student tour guides to share our wonderfully preserved community with those interested in Guilford’s contribution to 376 years of American History!
Guilford is uniquely endowed with numerous splendid resources in each of these categories. It possesses hundreds of significant structures from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Henry Whitfield State Museum, which is a National Historic site dating from the founding of European settlement at Guilford in 1639.
Its historic Town Green is considered by many to be among the most beautiful of all town greens to be found in New England. The town additionally contains thousands of acres of preserved open space, shoreline, forests and farmland within its nearly 50 square miles of area which can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The inaugural tourism program is our Historic Guilford Walking Tours, which features several differently themed walking tours of Guilford’s historic town Green and its environs. The tours will be led by Guilford High School and college students trained to be thoroughly knowledgeable guides to downtown Guilford’s historic architectural styles, personalities and stories and will introduce interested residents and visitors to Guilford’s unique collection of house museums along its route. These homes built for sea captains, preachers, merchants, traders, and congressmen are representative of Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Second Empire, and the rare Octagonal architectural styles. Students have discovered the stories of the women and men who lived in these homes. These tours are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend of the summer through mid-September. Note: Our Walking Tours season is now over, look for us to resume in June 2016.
We have developed three tours encompassing the Guilford Historic Town Center (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.) Our regularly scheduled Saturday tour focuses on the Historic Guilford Green, Reserved group tours can experience the history of Guilford and include an introduction to three of Guilford’s house museums or focus on the architecture and include Guilford’s historic districts and scenic Broad and Fair Streets.
Historic Walking Tour Tickets & Times
Tickets are available at the time of the tour from the guides and soon from Mix Design Store and the Greene Art Gallery at 29 Whitfield Street, Page Hardware Breakwater Books, Breakwater Books and Guilford Food Center on the Historic Green, Guilford CT. Regularly scheduled tours will resume in June 2016.
Tickets are $10 per person, $8 per senior, $8 per child 7-12, $25 per family. Group tours rates are available upon request. (children 6 and under are free)
Regular tours will begin at 11 am on Saturday the 20th of June and continue through the summer (except the 4th of July weekend). Please call (203)233-1026 for reservations or email info@HistoricGuilford.org for reservations and details. Plenty of free parking can be found behind the Town Hall.
For weekday tours, weekend tours, tours given groups of 5 or more, and special arrangements please contact Dennis at Historic Guilford Walking Tours by emailing info@HistoricGuilford.org or by calling (203)233-1026.
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