It’s been years since Lorelai and Rory first graced your screen, but Gilmore Girls remains your comfort show. There’s never a bad time to turn it on and giggle at the quick banter between the beloved characters while daydreaming about life in Stars Hollow. Sadly, the dreamy town is a fictional place that was designed by the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino. However, you can still visit these Connecticut locations that inspired Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow year-round and escape to the small town you’ve come to know and love.
Sherman-Palladino noted in a 2015 interview during the ATX Festival that the Gilmore Girls pilot was filmed in Toronto, Canada. From there, the set was built in Warner Bros. Studio’s backlot in Burbank, California. She wanted the town to look warm and wholesome, to contrast Lorelai’s very strict and somewhat cold upbringing, and she ultimately imagined it as Connecticut’s Litchfield County after driving through the area. She stayed at the Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, Connecticut, which has a very similar vibe to the Independence Inn in the show. To this day, you can see the inspiration in towns like New Milford, Washington Depot, and Bantam, too.
The quintessential New England stores, town greens, and cozy diners came to life on screen, and now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically, you can visit Stars Hollow lookalikes if you’ve received all doses of an FDA-authorized vaccine. When visiting, however, it’s still a good idea to follow all local COVID-19 guidelines and practice social distancing as much as possible.
Along with your Gilmore Girls-loving BFF, parent, or sibling, you can explore the magical inn where Sherman-Palladino drew inspiration for the Dragonfly Inn, as well as Yale University’s campus. Rory fans won’t want to miss stopping to sip coffee or shopping for books to read at a quaint bookstore. These are the 10 Connecticut locations that inspired Stars Hollow or are very close to Gilmore Girls’ famous spots.
Gilmore Girls fans should start their self-guided tour at the Mark Twain House & Museum. In Deseret News’ February 2001 interview with Sherman-Palladino, the show’s creator said she decided to drive through Connecticut and visit the writer’s historical home for decorating inspo.
Twain’s home and the town of Washington, Connecticut definitely played a part in the show. Stars Hollow also has a rich sense of history to it with the storefronts that look like they’ve been around for decades, the locals who haven’t moved far (hey, Luke!), and the antique shops that always have good finds. Plus, there are other Easter eggs inspired by the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn author. For example, Rory is often seen holding Mark Twain’s books.
The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.